If the river cruise companies resumed operations in July, would you feel confident about going on a river cruise? Because we value your thoughts, we are running a survey to see how you are feeling about river cruising in the short term and beyond.
COVID-19 has made something as simple as going to the grocery store a large task that requires proper protection. Not only is the virus leaving people uncertain in their daily lives, but also leaving them uncertain when it comes to future plans. There is so much uncertainty surrounding travel right now – and with no definite end in sight – that it’s hard to say when travel will return to some semblance of normal.
Though largely applying to ocean cruise companies, on April 9, the CDC announced a renewal of the No Sail Order that was originally signed on March 14, 2020. If you want to read the whole document, you can do so here, but the jargon can be a bit confusing, so we will try to sum it up for you.
The document states that the No Sail Order will continue in operation until either the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency; or the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order; or 100 days have passed since the original order.
Essentially, COVID-19 cases will need to reach a point where they are no longer a public health threat before June 22, which is the 100-day mark, or else no one will sail until then. Keep in mind that these orders are only true for the United States, and the order applies only to ships carrying 250 or more individuals, passengers and crew.
And again the CDC’s No Sail Order applies primarily for ocean cruising.
So what does all this mean for river cruising?
Most river cruise companies have suspended operations through the end of June anyway. French company, CroisiEurope, has only canceled its cruises through May 15, 2020, and even has plans to return to the Mekong on April 19, 2020. We will see if that changes by the end of the week.
Europe will likely be among the first to open its cruise market, as there has already been a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases in many countries. This is partially due to letting the virus take its course, but much of Europe has been successful in its containment measures as well. It should also be noted that not all of Europe is seeing a decrease in cases or deaths. NPR reported that Russia’s COVID-19 pandemic was getting worse, and was “nowhere near its peak.”
The bottom line is that people are not going to travel until they feel safe again. Obviously, people are not going to travel to areas that are still being impacted by Coronavirus – but that isn’t specific to ships. People won’t be flying or staying at hotels until they feel they are not at significant risk.
Regardless of when we are able to resume river cruising again, cruise companies are ready to welcome us with open arms. We know this because we are Facebook friends with many of the crew who work on river cruise vessels, and they are eager to be back on the rivers. We’re hoping to be on the water again soon too. How about you? Please take a moment to complete our survey below.