A German river cruise shipping company restarted operations, also giving the world a sneak peek into what ship cruising might look like following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Last week, the travel brand Nicko Cruises (fully-owned subsidiary of Mystic Cruises) started a Rhine cruisetour itinerary with the newbuild riverboat (introduced in 2018) NickoVISION. Shipboard and ashore policies include wearing face shields, spaced-out dining, on-floor arrows directing traffic.
NickoVISION (max passenger capacity 220) was carrying only 40 travellers. Nicko Cruises will operate with max capacity per boat 80%. All passengers must wear face masks when touring on buses and when in the ship's hallways.
Onboard facilities and activities like buffets, gym, spa, swimming pool/Jacuzzi, will remain closed as part of the company's new “comprehensive hygiene concept.” Onboard bar and restaurant staff also wear face masks and gloves. Shore excursions feature hand washing and extra stops. Before boarding, cruise tourists have their temperatures taken and are also tested for antibodies.
While Nicko is cruising on Rhine River, it has cancelled voyages on Danube, as well as in Croatia, France, Portugal, Russia and Asia until at least June 14.
The Germany-based river cruise company is not the only brand ready to start operations. The USA-based ACL-American Cruise Lines starts Columbia and Snake river cruises on June 20. It will limit ships' passenger capacity to 75% and will also feature medical screenings and touch-less boarding.