The Christmas Market cruise vacation will have another difficult year as several river cruise companies cancel cruises as Europe tightens travel restrictions.
Christmas market cruises 2021 have been canceled by a number of cruise brands due to Covid concerns.
The cancellations are made as various European countries known for their festive markets are closing.
Austria, Slovakia and the Netherlands are currently on lockdown to stop the escalating Covid rates and Christmas markets are canceled.
For example, the Viennese dream Christmas market in Austria was canceled as well as the Christmas markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in Prague, Czech Republic.
The European lockdowns have hit river cruises hard. The closure of Slovakia means that the popular port of Bratislava will have to be canceled from Danube cruises, while Austrian ports also include numerous Danube routes.
While Germany has not yet been locked – although leading politicians are calling for stricter restrictions – the country has scrapped most of the Christmas markets to fight the coronavirus.
Bavaria and Saxony have canceled all Christmas markets. This will affect the Nuremberg, Passau and Regensburg Bavarian markets, all of which are popular with river cruises. The Munich market was also canceled.
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Cruise ships are reacting differently to the crisis. Some are changing their itineraries while others have canceled all cruises.
What you need to know about the most popular river cruise lines offering Christmas market cruises this winter.
Riviera has not yet canceled cruises but is monitoring the situation.
A spokesman for Riviera Travel told World of Cruising, “We are carefully reviewing the situation and planning to operate our river cruises whenever possible. We strive to offer extraordinary experiences. “
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Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises
The Scenic Group has suspended all European river cruises in 2021 and said it was “sad” about the decision. Guests affected by the cancellations will be contacted this week.
“As a result of tightened lockdown measures in Central Europe, the Scenic Group has decided to suspend all remaining European river cruises in 2021,” said a spokesman.
“We are suspending six scenic river cruises and four Emerald Cruises river cruises, all of which should visit the European Christmas markets.
“We will be contacting affected guests early next week to discuss their options, including transferring to a river cruise at the 2022 Christmas Markets.”
Crystal River cruises
Crystal has canceled selected cruises in a “discouraging” move as a result of the Austrian national lockdown (in effect until December 13th).
The luxury shipping company said in a statement: “Crystal River Cruises had to cancel the remaining four Crystal Ravel departures in December 2021, whose Danube route mainly consists of Austrian ports.”
The brand added: “Crystal Ravel will resume river cruises in March 2022, offering seven nights of glorious Danube routes between Budapest and Vilshofen, Germany.
Rhine cruises are still taking place for the time being. “Crystal Debussy, which operates seven- to ten-day Rhine cruises from Amsterdam and Basel, is expected to continue its published itineraries through the end of the year,” the line said.
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Viking River Cruises has made “changed itineraries” so that it continues to operate, but without stopping in Austria.
A spokeswoman told World of Cruising: “In view of the blocking measures announced by the Austrian government on November 19, we have changed the travel routes of all affected river trips. Ships that originally stopped in Austria during the affected period will now only sail through Austria.
“In recognition of all the inconvenience caused by the change, Viking has also provided onboard credit for their upcoming trip as well as a voucher for their next trip to guests on these changed itineraries.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. Should further changes be required, Viking Guest Services will notify all affected guests and their travel agents directly. ”
Tauck has abolished all Danube cruises – Rhine Christmas market cruises are still in operation.
“Due to the latest COVID-19 regulations, which were announced on November 19 in both Austria and Bavaria, we are unfortunately unable to carry out our Danube holiday river cruises as planned,” said a spokesman for the cruise line World of Cruising.
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“As a result of the current lockdown in Austria and the cancellation of all Christmas markets throughout Bavaria, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all Christmas market departures along the Danube and the holiday magic of the Danube Family River Cruise in 2021.
“The departures of our other Christmas market river cruise 2021, Yuletide Spirit: Amsterdam to Brussels, are proceeding as planned.
Tauck assumes that the Danube cruises in spring will not be affected by the temporary measures.
Avalon Waterways has also canceled Danube cruises.
The cruise line said in a statement: “Due to the conditions related to COVID-19, the Austrian and Bavarian governments have announced bans and closings of the Christmas market that will affect selected Avalon Waterways cruises to the regions.
“Because of these closures, Avalon Waterways will cancel all Danube and Main-Danube routes by the end of the year.
“Avalon will be in direct contact with all affected guests and their travel agents to offer a range of options to reschedule affected cruises. Communication with the guests concerned takes place in the order of the upcoming departure dates. “
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Uniworld has canceled a number of cruises that were due to expire in the first two weeks of December. The tailor-made travel routes include Danube holiday markets, classic Christmas markets and European holiday markets.
“Due to the Covid-related closures in Austria and the closure of various European Christmas markets, we will suspend selected Uniworld departures and are working on an alternative for guests who are still interested this year in experiencing the European holiday markets along the Rhine,” said Ellen Bettridge, President and CEO of Uniworld.
“Our Danube Holiday Markets, Classic Christmas Markets and European Holiday Markets itineraries, which are scheduled for the first two weeks of December, have been suspended and guests have been contacted to discuss alternative travel dates and sailing options.”
Amadeus river cruises
Amadeus cruises keep sailing. A spokeswoman said: “The Austrian lockdown is expected to end on December 13th, so Amadeus will be operating its cruises at that time.”
Ama Waterways optimized the itineraries of four Danube ships after crossings were hit.