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River cruising returns on the Danube

Cruise line reports 70% occupancy

While parts of Australia are neck deep in COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, in Europe, river cruising is making a low key return. 


Danube River, Budapest


Following new strict safety rules, Germany’s Nicko Cruises was the first to restart Danube river voyages in late June. 


Now the cruise line is running three ships for the six to eight-day journeys from Passau, Germany, to Budapest in Hungary. 


“Normally, we have 90% occupancy, this year we have around 70%,” said cruise manager Alexander Steiner on the NickoVISION vessel, which was docked in Budapest. 


“There are no limits to how many guests you can have on board, so we are glad for every guest we have.”


According to Reuters, most passengers have come from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, while limitations remain on US, UK and Israeli travellers. 


Among the new measures passengers face are COVID blood tests prior to embarkation, the compulsory wearing of face masks while moving on board, and daily temperature checks. 


Additionally, dividing screens will separate diners, waiters will wear protective gear, and special rules will apply for excursions. 


“I don’t think they booked the cruise fully ... it seems like it is a safe experience so I don’t have any worries,” remarked Kilian Weber, a teacher from Switzerland who is travelling with his partner. 


Germans Pia and Michael Rusp, who booked their trip in January, said the only thing they miss are the buffet breakfasts. 


“Otherwise, it’s almost as it always was, apart from the requirement to wear masks. But otherwise it is ok. Like before, in fact,” said Pia Rusp.


Would you take a river cruise in Europe if you could?


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 22 July 2020

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