River cruises, along with expedition cruises, are expected to be the first sectors in the industry to return to sailing. Several river cruise operators have already announced plans to return as early as June.
As we have already discussed in previous articles, many riverboats carry fewer than 250 passengers, which means they are small enough to slip under the CDC no-sail order for ships with the capacity to carry more than that number. They also have various other advantages, from ease of access, less complicated logistics, and higher guest-space ratio.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, a Los Angeles, California based company that operates a fleet of 21 river cruising cruise ships along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, and later this year is scheduled to debut Amazon river cruises, yesterday gave a glimpse of what life could look like for the rest of the cruise industry when it revealed some of its protocols for renewal of travel.
Life could look quite different
Want to ease back in a comfy chair in the lounge on a post coronavirus cruise with a complimentary newspaper or a coffee table book, forget about it. All coffee table books, magazines, and brochures have been removed from public use.
Instead, guests will be able to access these reading materials via our complimentary PressReader app on their personal devices,” said Uniworld President and CEO Ellen Bettridge.
“We have been scrupulous in our process to consider every moment that may present an unnecessary concern,” she said. “We have carefully reviewed protocols and procedures to ensure that the touchpoints between the people we care about the very most are managed with intention, respect and the utmost care,” she said.
Post Coronavirus Cruise – Get your hands off the fruit bowl!
It doesn’t stop at coffee-table books and magazines: Self-service treats are also off the menu and if you want to nibble on some fruits or cookies they will have to be served to individual guests by crew only.
Among other measures the company said it would be taking
- All guests must complete health screening prior to embarkation
- Disinfect wipes will be available throughout the ship, including at coffee stations and in the public restrooms
- Any onboard payments will be processed using a contactless payment method and credit card machines will be wiped after each pin entry
- All restaurant dining will have reserved seating, with guests at the same table, with the same people, each day
- Items that are usually shared, like bread and butter, will now be served to each person individually
- Gloves, face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer will be readily available for all guests
- For excursions, the maximum occupancy per bus will be adjusted to reduce the total number of people together at one time
The post coronavirus cruise world has changed
“The world has changed and as we start to welcome guests just beginning to step back into travel, we want them to know that we understand and are anticipating their concern and taking careful and deliberate steps to protect their safety, health and wellbeing—which will come in the form of a broad smile instead of a handshake” Bettridge said.