River Cruise Strains Cancel Christmas Market Itineraries as Austria, Slovakia Enter Lockdown

(Up to date 5:00 p.m. EST) — Quite a few river cruise traces have begun canceling or modifying the the remainder of the 2021 season for his or her well-liked European Christmas Market sailings following Austria’s two-week lockdown that started on November 22 as a measure to curb rising COVID-19 an infection charges.

On November 25, Slovkia introduced it, too, would go on a two-week lockdown, eradicating the favored port of Bratislava from the handful of traces which have elected to proceed crusing the Danube. Germany — which has shuttered nearly all of its well-liked Christmas Markets within the wake of rising circumstances of COVID-19 — can also be flirting with a attainable lockdown meant to cease the unfold.

Whereas some traces are electing to cancel the rest of their complete 2021 European river cruise seasons, others are modifying itineraries or just canceling all Danube runs by Austria.

River Cruise Strains Cancel, Modify Christmas Markets Cruises

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As of this writing, seven river cruise traces had both canceled or modified their European or Danube itineraries for the rest of 2021:

AmaWaterways: No adjustments presently. Line says it would “proceed to observe” the scenario.

Avalon Waterways: Avalon has canceled its remaining Danube and Major-Danube 2021 river cruises.

Crystal River Cruises: Crystal has canceled its remaining Danube departures aboard Crystal Debussy.

Emerald Waterways:: Emerald has canceled its remaining 2021 European river cruises.

Scenic: Scenic has canceled its remaining 2021 European river cruises

Tauck: Tauck has canceled all 2021 departures of its ‘Christmas Markets Alongside the Danube’ and ‘Vacation Magic: Danube Household River Cruise’ itineraries on the Danube. Rhine itineraries should not affected presently.

Uniworld: Uniworld has canceled choose 2021 departures throughout the first two weeks of December, together with Danube Vacation Markets,’ ‘Basic Christmas Markets,’ and ‘European Vacation Markets’ itineraries.

Viking: Viking will proceed to function its Danube sailings by crusing previous Austria with out stopping.

“On account of Covid-related lockdowns in Austria and the closing of varied European Christmas Markets, we can be suspending choose Uniworld departures and are engaged on another for visitors nonetheless fascinated about experiencing the European vacation markets this yr alongside the Rhine River,” says Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “Our ‘Danube Vacation Markets,’ ‘Basic Christmas Markets,’ and ‘European Vacation Markets’ itineraries scheduled to depart within the first two weeks of December have been suspended, and visitors have been contacted to debate substitute journey dates and crusing choices.”

Avalon informed Cruise Critic the lockdown measures in components of Bavaria had been equally accountable for the corporate pulling the plug on its remaining Danube departures.

“On account of circumstances associated to COVID-19, the Austrian and Bavarian governments have introduced lock-downs and Christmas Market closures that can have a direct influence on choose Avalon Waterways cruises,” Avalon Waterways mentioned in a press release to Cruise Critic. “Consequently, Avalon Waterways can be canceling all Danube and Major-Danube itineraries between now and the tip of the yr.”

Crystal informed Cruise Critic that the remaining 4 Danube sailings aboard Crystal Ravel can be canceled this yr. Voyages on the Rhine aboard Crystal Debussy are unaffected presently, and proceed to function.

“Within the wake of elevated lockdown measures in central Europe, Scenic Group have taken the choice to droop all remaining 2021 European river cruises,” Scenic Group mentioned in a press release to Cruise Critic. “With Austria asserting a full nationwide lockdown from Monday and the Bavarian area of Germany canceling its Christmas Markets we’re suspending 6 Scenic river cruises and 4 Emerald Cruises river cruises, all had been as a consequence of go to Europe’s Christmas Markets.

“We can be contacting affected visitors early subsequent week to debate their choices, together with transferring to a 2022 Christmas Markets river cruise.”

AmaWaterways, in the meantime, tells Cruise Critic it has adjusted the itineraries of 4 Danube-based vessels.

“With short-term restrictions introduced for Austria on Friday, the itineraries of 4 ships crusing on the Danube had been affected this week,” the road mentioned Kristin Karst, Co-Founder and government vice chairman of AmaWaterways. “AmaWaterways’ high precedence was to contact all journey advisors and visitors on these Higher Danube itineraries who had been scheduled to reach in Europe this weekend. We all know how a lot our visitors have been trying ahead to their river cruise expertise on board our festive ships so moderately than cancel, we rapidly reached out to our journey companions and visitors and supplied artistic different preparations.”

Following these Christmas Markets sailings, most river cruises aren’t set to renew in Europe till March 2022.

European River Cruises Affected by Regional Lockdowns

Avalon Envision (Photo: Avalon Waterways)

Amidst dramatically rising COVID-19 infections, Austrian officers introduced a 10-day nationwide lockdown that started on Monday, November 22. Officers mentioned the lockdown might be prolonged for as much as 20 days complete.

Austria’s determination makes the nation the primary in Europe to lock down this fall amidst rising an infection charges in a number of European nations.

Germany was additionally contemplating a lockdown, reviews Bloomberg. The nation is experiencing a spike in infections from the virus, with 50,000 new circumstances in someday reported.

On Friday, the German area of Bavaria canceled all its Christmas markets for the second yr in a row. This contains the Nuremburg, Passau and Regensburg markets, amongst these visited by river cruise passengers. The Munich market was cancel earlier this week, three days earlier than its scheduled opening.

Hungary, with Budapest a well-liked embarkation and disembarkation port for river cruises, is one other concern. The nation skilled a dramatic surge in new COVID-19 circumstances this week.

Complicating issues are the riots, typically violent, which have damaged out throughout Europe in response to lockdown measures being imposed by native governments.

Many river cruise traces are nonetheless assessing the scenario.

Cruise Critic has additionally reached out to different main river cruise traces for remark.

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