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As Coronavirus Expands, Cruise Lines Extend Suspensions



A number of cruise companies are further postponing a return to operations as the coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>coronavirus outbreak continues to grow. Here is a list of recent changes and announcements. It will be updated as required.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. extended the suspension of operations by another 30 days, through May 12; cruises that include Canadian ports are off until at least July 1. RCCL brands include Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

CroisiEurope postponed cruises through April 30 for all river and coastal cruises and through May 31 for cruise safaris in Southern Africa. Cruises on the Mekong will resume on Aug. 14, 2020. Affected passengers will be able to rebook a departure date later than April 30 or May 31 for Africa. The company said its international teams will contact each person affected. For new bookings made between March 9 and May 1, 2020, for departures until Aug. 31, 2020, passengers may cancel free of charge up to 30 days before their departure date (excluding fee routing and administrative costs).

Costa Cruises has decided to extend the voluntary suspension of its cruises until April 30. Costa is taking steps to inform travel agents and guests affected by the changes. Guests booked through the North American office will receive a future cruise credit.

Oceania Cruises is temporarily revising the hours of its Guest Services Department starting March 30 until further notice. The revised hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on Saturday and Sunday.

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European Waterways Barge Cruises Are Ideal for Family Vacations



European Waterways offers the perfect solution to socially distant family travel in Europe.

As the coronavirus pandemic begins to wane and countries begin to reopen their borders to international travelers, families are expected to look to travel to reconnect with one another, and European Waterways is ready for the surge, offering the ideal opportunity for families to explore on private, chartered river barges.

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Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways, says that he is already observing increasing interest.

This isn’t surprising seeing as how these vessels offer ideal accommodations for families, with room for anywhere between six and 20 passengers. Guests can cruise Europe’s canals and smaller waterways as well as the less-populated countryside.

“Cruising with European Waterways has always been about taking ‘the path less traveled,’ so much of our outdoor activities already take our guests away from crowded tourist attractions to the more exclusive, less populated settings,” said Banks. “Until travel returns to normal, we are further committed to providing a safe and healthy onboard environment for our guests, with pre-cruise checks for all on-board and the implementation of more stringent cleaning procedures, among other policies.”

Social distancing will likely be the norm for a while in Europe and around the world, and these barges offer the chance to enjoy scenery while still remaining safe.

For the most part, meals are served on board by the master chef and cruises feature exclusive private tours of castles, aristocratic estates and vineyards, plus other excursions, tailored to avoid the crowds.

L’Art de Vivre is the ideal barge for a family vacation. The eight-passenger vessel once carried supplies during World War One. Now, the boat has been completely modernized and cruises the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, France.

Family-friendly excursions include a visit to the Caves of Arcy-sur-Cure, which features some of the oldest cave paintings in the world, a medieval castle under construction using traditional methods at the Chateau Guedelon; the age of the dinosaurs in Cardo Land; and the fun and wildly eclectic artwork on display at the Fabuloserie Art and Sculpture Museum.

Family charters can also incorporate activities such as tennis, ice-skating and mini-golf as well as kayaking, quad biking and horseback riding.

European Waterways’ Family Charters are available throughout France, the U.K., Ireland, Scotland and Italy.

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