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Riviera River Cruises Adds Itineraries for Solo Passengers

Riviera River Cruises is making it easier than ever for solo travelers to enjoy the wonders of a European river cruise. The U.K.-based line is offering two specific departures for solo travelers. “Burgundy, the River Rhone and Provence River Cruise for Solo Travelers” departs on November 6, 2018. The eight-day roundtrip from Lyon, France takes…

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Riviera River Cruises is making it easier than ever for solo travelers to enjoy the wonders of a European river cruise. The U.K.-based line is offering two specific departures for solo travelers. “Burgundy, the River Rhone and Provence River Cruise for Solo Travelers” departs on November 6, 2018. The eight-day roundtrip from Lyon, France takes place on the 140-passenger MS Lord Byron.

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“The Blue Danube for Solo Passengers” departs on November 1 and 4, 2018. The eight-day cruises sail roundtrip from Budapest aboard the 169-passenger MS Oscar Wilde and MS Thomas Hardy.

Both itineraries waive single supplements for solo travelers.

Both also take in some of Europe’s most acclaimed scenery and cultural attractions. The Burgundy and Provence cruise traverses some of the most famous landscapes of France. Along the way, it takes in spectacular natural beauty, medieval marvels, Roman ruins and famous wine-growing regions.

Beginning in France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, the cruise sets out on the Saone and Rhône, tracing ancient trade routes.

Trip highlights include a guided tour of Lyon and cruise through the Rhône valley. In Beaune, the center of the Burgundy wine region, guests will enjoy a wine tasting. A guided tour of Arles includes the extraordinary Roman amphitheater and home of Vincent Van Gogh. While, the preserved city of Avignon still bears traces of its medieval roots as the one-time seat of the Papacy.

Solo travelers can also choose from one of two Danube departures. The eight-day itinerary travels through Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. It ventures to storied cities, towns and scenery that inspired Strauss and Mozart, among others.

Highlights of the Danube itinerary include a tour of Budapest, plus an excursion to the historic center of Esztergom. From Budapest, the cruise continues to the beautiful old town of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The cruise continues to Austria’s famous wine-growing region of the Wachau Valley. Overlooking the narrow streets of Dürnstein stands the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned after the Crusades. And, the imposing Melk Abbey in Melk, Austria is considered one of the jewels of the Baroque period.

From Linz, Austria, a motor coach excursion takes guests to Salzburg. It’s the birthplace of Mozart and backdrop for “The Sound of Music.” And imperial Vienna is the home of Strauss and the Hapsburg dynasty; a distinctive café culture, the Spanish riding school and more. In addition to daily excursions, guests will also enjoy a classical quartet recital on board.

While meals and daily excursions are included in the cruise price, the line offers drinks packages from $129 per person.

Riviera River Cruises operates a fleet of eleven vessels. It recently christened the 167-passenger MS Robert Burns.

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Cruises

When and How Will Cruising Return?

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While the entire travel industry has ground to a halt from the coronavirus pandemic, the cruise industry was hit especially hard as multiple ships were turned away from ports while passengers and crew fell ill and even died.

“COVID-19 has been a PR disaster for the cruise industry,” said Ben Cordwell, a travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

How does the cruise industry recover and regain its momentum?

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“Since the cruise industry pivoted from passenger shipping to leisure cruising in the 1970s, cruise lines have not faced a full-scale halt of operations like they face today due to the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Robert J. Kwortnik, an associate professor at Cornell University’s Hotel School, who studies tourism with a focus on the leisure cruise industry. “This situation truly is unprecedented, which means the response to it will have to be unprecedented as well.”

First, the cruise companies need to secure the finances needed to keep the core operations running – which they’re already doing. Kwortnik said they also need to prepare logistically for re-crewing ships when they are ready to resume sailing, especially with travel restrictions and severely reduced numbers of flights.

They’ll also have to figure out how to weed out sick passengers and disembark ill and healthy guests if the need ever arises again, he said. It likely will mean more detailed health forms before boarding and thermal scans to check temperatures.

“Stronger or different health screenings may become the new normal for the cruise industry, much like the more involved TSA screenings implemented after the 9/11 tragedy in the United States,” Kwortnik said.

Flexible cancellation policies also may be required so people don’t lose all they paid if they cancel at the last minute due to illness. “Reducing, and ideally eliminating, the possibility of sick passengers getting on a cruise ship will require both more vigilance at the port and the removal of disincentives for ill travelers to show up at the port in the first place,” he said.

But the biggest challenge likely will be convincing people to take a cruise. Steeply discounted fares will help, at least with avid cruisers eager to return to the seas. But many travelers will need to be convinced that ships are disinfected and clean.

“Veteran cruisers know how seriously cruise lines take onboard cleaning and hand-washing to minimize the threat of norovirus. But coronavirus is very different,” Kwortnik said. “Moreover, the important new-to-cruise segment doesn’t have experience with the extraordinary sanitation measures used by cruise lines to minimize the threat of illness spreading onboard. While it’s reasonable for the cruise lines to be reluctant to discuss a common objection to cruising — the fear of getting sick — it may now be necessary to move the question of health/sanitation more front and center as part of a public awareness campaign, especially for travel agents and the new-to-cruise market.”

In fact, Crystal Cruises released a video by President and CEO Tom Wolber, in which he said the luxury line enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols for ships, terminals and vehicles transporting guests. Carnival Cruise Line also detailed its more rigorous cleaning standards on its website.

When cruising does resume, travel advisors will be essential in helping the cruise industry recover, just as they were in building the industry since the 1970s.

“Travel agents may never have been more important to the cruise industry than now. Agents will be key sources of information for cruise education as the cruise lines make operational changes to protect passenger safety, and of course for information about cruises sailing again, itinerary changes, reservation and cancelation changes, etc.,” Kwortnik said. “Communicating and incentivizing the travel trade will be vital to the industry’s reemergence. Travel agents are trusted by their clients, and this trust will be critical as travelers decide if and when it’s safe to cruise for the first time or to cruise again.

“Cruising is an outstanding vacation value, and the industry will come out of this pandemic stronger and all the more focused on guest safety and security,” Kwortnik said. “There’s no reason travel agents shouldn’t be confident to continue selling cruises to their clients and to recommend cruises for customers who have never sailed before.”

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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