Are river cruises safe from Covid? Here’s all you need to know


A river cruise offers a taste of life on the slow lane, providing a much more intimate experience than extensive ocean cruises. The appetite for river cruising is clearly apparent, with a third of cruise passengers now considering a river cruise for 2021, according to a study by French Riviera travel. But are river cruises safe from Covid?

2020 was the year we all saw our travel plans go up in smoke, making travel something that many of us approach with concern. But that doesn’t mean that in our new world we still can’t embark on an adventure; it may just take a little more planning.

It’s no secret that immersing yourself in nature and taking a break from our often hectic lives is important for our well-being. A river cruise offers the possibility of discovering a slower pace of life, of discovering several destinations while taking the scenic route. But are river cruises safe from Covid, and will a river cruise always be so enjoyable with restrictions in place?

Are river cruises safe from Covid?

As with any public space, social distancing and safety guidelines must be followed in order to protect your health and that of those around you. All companies have had to adapt in order to comply with Covid-19 safety measures, especially those in the tourism and hospitality sector, which means that strict measures have been put in place on board for your protection.

“My advice to anyone considering such a trip is to get in touch with the operator to find out what steps have been taken to try and minimize the risk,” said Katherine Allen, partner at national law firm Hugh James specializes in travel-related disputes. “Only you can decide whether the risk has been minimized enough to attract you on board. “

Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and medical advisor for Prescription Doctor, advises those embarking on a river cruise to strive to spend more time outdoors to limit the spread of infection. “If the guests on the boat could socially distance themselves outside rather than below the deck, it would be advisable,” he told woman & home.

Can going on vacation abroad still be enjoyable in the age of Covid-19?

We all live in uncertain times and it can be difficult to know if traveling abroad will be worth it. But while there needs to be more anticipation when it comes to planning your vacation, it is still possible to have a relaxing and stress-free time outside of the UK. Keith, who traveled on the Lake Como, St. Moritz and Bernina Express Riviera Travel tour, was impressed with the security measures implemented on the tour. He said: “From the start it was going to be a difficult experience because of Covid-19 and to add to the difficulties Boris decided that we could not travel to Switzerland the highlight of our vacation but despite all of this we had a great stay. time.

“Matt Purse, our tour manager, was excellent; informative, organized, friendly. There was only a party of twelve but it made our stay at Lake Como fantastic. The Grand Cadenabbia hotel was an excellent base. The staff made our stay relaxing and enjoyable. We had temperature tests at every meal. All staff wore masks at every meal. The food was excellent and the room was nice with a great view of the lake. I really recommend Riviera and can’t wait to travel next year.

Alan, who has traveled on the Lake Garda, Venice and Verona Riviera Travel tour, had a similar experience. “A great visit if you’ve never been to this area before. Great guides everywhere we went, ”he said. “It was great to see Venice and Verona practically empty! Those who were there generally followed all of Covid’s rules – face masks and distancing – are now doing so before the crowds return. “

While it’s important to be aware of the risks, there are also many benefits to getting away from it all for a well-deserved break, especially when we can be immersed in nature. “Research shows that just being on the water makes people happier,” said Richard Parry, Managing Director of Canal & River Trust.“We believe that waterways have the power to make a difference in people’s lives and that spending time by the water can make us all healthier and happier.

What security measures will be put in place during a river cruise?

To ensure the health and safety of all aboard a Riviera Travel river cruise, the company recently announced that it will require each guest to either be fully vaccinated against Covid, or have tested negative, before being tested. to travel.

This means that each guest will have received the necessary two doses of the coronavirus vaccine at least seven days before travel, or will have tested negative before boarding. And, if there is a cost to having a test, Riviera takes care of it.

To give you the greatest peace of mind, Jim Forward, Commercial Director of Riviera Travel, explained, “We will also ensure that the same precautions are taken by those with whom you are likely to have the most problems. interactions during your vacation, which will include our cruise crew and tour managers. ”All crew members will also have additional daily temperature checks and ongoing health checks.

“And as the situation evolves, we will adapt these policies in accordance with the latest government guidelines, so you can be sure that we will always put your well-being first.”

So, besides testing, what other Covid safety measures can you expect to see on board? They understand:

  • The crew and staff wear face masks at all times, as well as gloves in reception areas.
  • Hand disinfection in the restaurant and lounge, as well as at entry and exit points.
  • Signs indicating a defined walking direction on the sun terrace, marked by arrows around the ground.
  • Regular temperature checks (usually once a day, but potentially more if there has been a day trip).
  • Spa and gym sessions by appointment only. Closed sauna and hammam.

New measures will also be put in place for excursions. In buses and coaches, it is compulsory to wear a mask throughout the journey, in addition to being generally empty every other row of seats.

Do I have to wear a mask on a river cruise?

As is the case in all public areas, you are required to wear a mask on board a river cruise ship, except when you are in your sleeper cabin, or eating and drinking in the one of the local restaurants.

You won’t be required to wear a mask outside or on the patio, but it is still advisable to wear a mask anywhere you cannot keep a safe distance from other passengers.

You will also need to make sure that the countries you visit while on the cruise are safe. The frequently changing list of destinations can be difficult to follow, but all the information you need is available on can vSee the list of exempt countries and territories that no longer pose a high risk to UK travelers. Please note that this list is constantly revised.

You will need to check the restrictions in place at all places where the river cruise is expected to dock, as well as entry requirements and quarantine rules, as these things can prevent you from disembarking, ”Katherine told us. “Depending on the location, you may also need to quarantine upon your return. You should also check if you need to complete a passenger locator form on your return – if you have traveled outside of the UK this will be necessary.It is also important to review your insurance policy before traveling. “Contact your travel insurer to check the situation under your insurance policy. The other thing to keep in mind is that if you are traveling to a location that is not on the list of exempt countries and territories published by the FCDO, your travel insurance may not cover you.

“Speak to your travel insurer to verify that you are covered, including if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 while you are away. River cruise operators will need to adhere to the guidelines in the same way any other tour operator / travel provider will. Therefore, tighter safety protocols, social distancing, and wearing face masks will likely be hallmarks of the holidays. “

What about UK river cruises?

For a more low-key travel option, you can also get a taste of the UK waterways river cruise experience. TheCanal & River Trustcares for and brings to life 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales, ready to be explored on organized river boat tours or at your leisure.

Riviera Travel recently launched aexciting stay offer, with tours to the most amazing parts of the UK.

From the heather-covered valleys of the Scottish Highlands to the beautiful Yorkshire valleys and picturesque lakes, to the quaint fishing villages of Cornwall, Riviera offers the best of the UK, with well-rounded itineraries that let you discover our country like never before. You can find out more on the Riviera Travel website.

All you have to do is plan your next adventure …

To request a brochure or more travel information please visit or call 01283 742348 and quote WAH


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