AmaWaterways this week announced that it is set to resume sailing with some charter sailings onboard AmaKristina in Germany, making it the first U.S.-based river cruise line to restart operations after the COVID-19 shutdown.
The sailings will be filled with local European guests and will operate with a new set of health and safety protocols and in collaboration with e-hoi, an established German tour operator.
“As the proud Godmother of our award-winning AmaKristina, I am honored that she was our very first river cruise ship to set sail in Europe this summer,” AmaWaterway’s EVP and Co-Founder Kristin Karst said. “Although many countries continue to have travel restrictions in place, we have begun operating a series of sailings for European guests.”
“With these sailings, we have been able to put into practice and perfect our enhance health and safety protocols while demonstrating that travelers can enjoy our unforgettable river cruise vacations with peace of mind,” Karst said.
The new health and safety protocols include a capacity limit of 100 guests onboard, crew required to wear face coverings at all times and guests required to wear them only while moving around the ship, plexiglass dividers in lounges, and new portable commentary systems on tours to allow for social distancing.
It also includes changes in how food is served onboard—tables have been spaced out at both the ship’s Main restaurant and The Chef’s Table, an easier task with capacity capped, and new room service options have been added.
A pre-boarding health questionnaire, along with daily temperature checks for both the crew and guests, will also now be required by the line.
Right now, there is no timetable as to when AmaWaterways will start welcoming others outside of the local European guests. When Co-Founders Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst spoke to Travel Market Report earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, they said that 95% of AmaWaterways’ guests are sourced from North America, and that a full restart date generally depends on whether or not those guests will be able to travel to Europe.
The line has also recently brought back its “Sell Five, Sail Free” travel advisor incentive, which allows advisors to get onboard should they meet selling requirements. June was the line’s best month ever for future bookings, with increased demand for 2021 and 2022 sailings.