With Covid-19 vaccinations under way and river cruises scheduled to resume operations in the spring, one question stands above all others for us: When will North Americans be able to ply the rivers of Europe again?
Our best guess: summer of 2021.
Come summer, we believe North Americans will be able to fly to Europe, go on a river cruise and return home with little worry of contracting Covid-19. Of course, summer spans several months, from late June through late September. If things go well with vaccinations, early summer is a reasonable assumption.
By June, if all goes as planned, Europeans will have already been safely river cruising during the spring and into the summer. As we’ve written here before, several European river cruise companies were successful in operating largely coronavirus-free cruises during the summer and fall of 2020. Those companies are eager to continue sailing once the 2021 river cruise season begins in March.
Based on conversations we’ve had with executives at cruise companies, we believe that when we’re able to return to Europe, the threats of coronavirus outbreaks on river cruises will be negligible. As noted, outbreaks on river cruises were negligible during the pandemic.
While it’s hard to imagine now, once the masses are inoculated, coronavirus, according to a study published last week in the journal Science, may be no more of a threat than the common cold. Some may question how big a threat the virus will pose in the future, but it is plausible that as vaccinations increase and case counts decrease, European countries will be eager and willing to allow North Americans to bring their much-missed tourism dollars back to the continent. And airlines will be eager to fly passengers to and from Europe. We can imagine that measures will be in place, perhaps proof of vaccinations, for those crossing international borders.
What about you? What’s your best guess as to when North Americans will be able to river cruise in Europe again?
Beverly Morgan says
I have already had to change my AMA cruise from Sept 2020 to Aug of 2021. Given the current C19 info I’m not sure it will happen. My question is, do I cancel or wait to see if AMA cancels? If I chose to “pull the trigger” what will be my penalties? I have TG insurance for the trip & as a single, this as well as the trip/air has cost me a lot of $$. I’m trying to figure out my “losses”. Any suggestions?
We have a trip planned in august also. We are going to wait and if AMA cancels we will get our money refunded or can apply it to another cruise.
We booked Crystal’s “Ravel” for a Danube River cruise at the end of October 2021. We’re already vaccinated. Do you think it will happen?
Ralph Grizzle says
We think so, but like everything in this pandemic, it’s hard to say for certain. Will Europe let us in? The U.S. has already started river cruises on the Mississippi and coastal cruises. Europe had river cruises all through the pandemic, but for Europeans only. The key will be Americans getting back into Europe. They need to get busy with their vaccines!
Our Viking river cruise Bucharest to Kiev June 21-July 2 2021 is scheduled to sail (sailings were cancelled thru May 31 by Viking). Fortunately we have been vaccinated and Viking claims all their staff were also vaccinated. I hear that if one person in the ship gets Covid the trip will be terminated. There’s concerns no doubt.
Alan Dean says
to plan on going to Europe before Covid is under control is crazy.
Imagine being on a ship and an outbreak develops in one of the places you will be visiting.
Everyone is desperate to begin enjoying life again but it is crazy to begin to early
William P Clark says
We Cancelled 5/15/21 cruise Budapest to Praque
Made 2 payments
Cruise line withholding $3000—no credit for future cruises
What say you?
Ralph Grizzle says
Which cruise company?
By this date March 25, 2021 River cruises thru May 31 2021 have been cancelled; I hope you will at least get voucher credits for all your monies paid even if you cancelled three months earlier their announcements – best business practice I believe
Pam Cheek says
The new orders for 14 day quarantine for returning to the US is not a good sign for the travel industry.
Bobby Borges says
James, please stop telling people what they should do. Thats the problem today. Because we believe something, everyone else should. If you want to stay home, stay home. Thats your right. I have a seine river cruise planned in late April and have every intention to go. These town and cities will take years to recover from this and people need jobs. At some point we need to start getting back to normal.
James Hill says
good luck with your Seine river cruise in April. I fear you have more chance if booked for 2022 rather than 2021; like you I am desperate for things to return to normal but fear that until infections and deaths drop, and the majority of Europe is vaccinated, that European borders will not reopen. We are told to stay home, stay well and stay safe so the day when we can all travel comes sooner.
Cheryl Gagon says
I am with you.
I agree with you on this… I’m already 1 year without a job… And my job was on river cruise ships or hotels in Europe. I hope more people will start to think like you. Enjoy your cruise and have fun
Kathy Coaker says
Assuming we are allowed in Europe, what will River Cruising look like? Will they require proof of vaccination, testing? We are scheduled for our vaccinations in February so feeling pretty comfortable about that part. Will we be done with masks and social distancing? I don’t want to spend my vacation wearing a mask for the majority of the day.
Ralph Grizzle says
Too early to say, but we assume it will much like it did before the pandemic, perhaps not right away, but we suspect it will look close to normal, if not normal, in late 2021 and beyond.
James Hill says
The biggest obstacle to the resumption of river cruising in Europe for North Americans will be the EEC’s willingness to open borders to tourists from North America – and that is a function of both the Covid numbers coming down, vaccination numbers going up, and Europe seeing that the USA in particular has made progress; but that means a massive reduction of people flying around the USA and heading off to Mexico etc.. If you want to travel in summer, STAY HOME now – which bit of this is so hard to understand ?
Betsy Hall Domoto says
Good for you, James Hill – spot on!