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River Cruise Newsletter

Below is a copy of our current river cruise newsletter. To subscribe to our weekly newsletter, absolutely free of charge, please click here. To email this newsletter to friends or family, click here. Please note that the FastDeals are subject to availability and sell out quickly.


Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

This week, I am happy to report that new cases of COVID-19 are plunging in the U.S. and around the world.

As seen on Worldometers.info, the 7-day moving average of new cases in the U.S. was 255,311 on January 11 and has fallen by 73% to 69,005 cases as of February 21. Click here to see current stats and follow in the future.

Similarly, the 7-day moving average of new cases in Canada peaked on January 9 at 8,885 and has fallen 68% to 2,838 as of February 21. Click here to see Canada's numbers.

The peak and decline began before the rollout of vaccines had any significant impact, but now nationwide inoculations are contributing to major progress against the virus.

According to Bloomberg.com, 63.1 million doses have been given in the U.S. to-date, and last week an average of 1.33 million doses per day were administered.

With more vaccine approvals coming soon and the delivery of vaccinations accelerating, we have every reason to be optimistic about the global travel industry reopening this year. The exact timing will depend on the destination and the form of travel, and it is increasingly clear that some types of travel will require proof of vaccination until the threat from COVID-19 has substantially subsided.

Four cruise lines have now announced that their guests must be vaccinated in order to cruise: American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC), Victory Cruise Lines, Crystal Cruises and UK-based Saga Cruises.

AQSC and Victory Cruise Lines sail on rivers, on the Great Lakes and in coastal regions of the U.S. and their vaccine requirement applies to sailings departing after July 1. Customers who are booked now for a departure after July 1 but who are unwilling to take a vaccine will receive a refund. Customers who are unable to receive both doses of the vaccine before their scheduled sailing can move to a later departure.

Crystal offers ocean cruises worldwide and river cruises in Europe and will require all guests to be vaccinated at least 14 days before the cruise.

Saga Cruises, which sells exclusively in the UK and caters exclusively to a 50+ clientele, will also require travelers to be vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.

These new policies will enable a safe and prompt return to service for all four cruise lines. Passengers will not have to worry about catching COVID-19 onboard and the cruise lines will avoid the costly measures needed to quarantine and care for passengers infected with COVID-19.

As of today, no other cruise lines have announced a vaccine requirement for their guests but Norwegian, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Silversea have announced that they will require all crew members to be vaccinated before boarding their ships.

In the escorted tour industry, the Globus family of brands (Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways) announced that all travelers will be required to provide evidence of a COVID-19 vaccine, a negative test or virus immunity in order to travel. The new rule goes into effect for all trips starting in April.

While these developments have given the travel industry reasons to be optimistic, most cruise lines and tour companies have not yet been able to announce a firm restart date and travel restrictions in the U.S. and other countries remain in place. We will let you know in this newsletter of any breaking news on these fronts.

Finally, in an unexpected move, the Canadian government extended its ban on most passenger cruise ships to February 28, 2022, apparently ending the 2021 Alaska and Canada / New England cruise season for mainstream cruise lines. However, cruise lines have not yet canceled any departures because they, the state of Alaska and other stakeholders are still negotiating with Canadian officials in hopes of finding a solution.

While no progress has as of yet been announced, industry experts have suggested common-sense workarounds such as allowing cruises departing from Seattle to call on Victoria, Canada without disembarking passengers, thereby satisfying Canada's COVID-19 health rules while also enabling these vessels to satisfy the U.S. Passenger Vessel Services Act requirement that foreign-built cruise ships visit a non-U.S. port before disembarking passengers in a U.S. port.

Cruise lines are advising guests booked on an Alaska itinerary not to cancel their cruise until a definitive statement about their cruise is released by the cruise line. I will let you know when that happens.



Since river cruises are not yet operating, a resort vacation is a great alternative for customers looking to get away. However, we'd like to make sure you're aware of the COVID-19 testing requirement that the CDC recently announced for international travelers.

All travelers ages two and older on international flights to the U.S. will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (NAAT or antigen) taken no more than three calendar days prior to the flight. As an alternative to a negative test result, travelers may provide proof of a positive COVID-19 test taken no more than 90 days prior to the flight and a signed letter from a healthcare provider approving the individual for travel.

The required test results or signed letter may be in paper or electronic format and will be checked at the international airport by airline personnel. Travelers may also be asked to present this information upon arrival in the U.S. To see frequently asked questions about this CDC requirement, click here.

Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 before the international flight will be required to quarantine in the destination until they either 1) receive a negative result from a subsequent COVID-19 test or 2) get a signed letter from a healthcare provider approving them to travel that would be used in conjunction with the positive test result.

Of all the international resort destinations we offer, Mexico has been the most convenient option for travelers seeking a sunny getaway, since last summer. Mexico is still the easiest choice now, as a wide selection of all-inclusive resort companies there have arranged for COVID-19 tests to be administered to guests, at no charge, at the hotel. Many companies are even covering the cost of quarantining at the hotel (including accommodations, meals and nonalcoholic beverages) if a guest tests positive. We have compiled a list of companies offering these helpful programs, and you can view them here.



Here are this week's Top 10 River Cruises. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability.

1) Southern Sampler, 9 days with American Queen Steamboat Company. Begins and ends in New Orleans. Save $1,000 per couple, plus receive a free $140 per cabin onboard credit. Starting at $1,999. Departs April 3 and November 27, 2021.

2) Charms of the South, 9 days with American Queen Steamboat Company. Travels between Memphis and New Orleans. Save up to $3,000 per couple, plus receive a free $140 per cabin onboard credit. Starting at $1,999. Departures from April 17 through December 12, 2021.

3) The Douro River, the Spirit of Portugal, 8 days with CroisiEurope. Begins and ends in Porto. Starting at $2,031. Departures from October 24 through November 9, 2021.

4) Venice & the Gems of Northern Italy, 8 days with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Begins and ends in Venice. Save up to 30%, plus receive an additional $400 per couple discount. Save an extra $1,000 per couple off airfare and get a free private car transfer from the airport to your ship. Starting at $2,749. Departures from May 9 through October 17, 2021.

5) Jewels of the Rhine, 8 days with Emerald Waterways. Travels between Amsterdam and Basel. Fly from $295 per person or save $2,000 per couple. Plus, receive $250 per couple in additional discounts. Starting at $2,995. Departures from June 6 through October 23, 2021.

6) Colors of Provence, 8 days with AmaWaterways. Travels between Avignon and Lyon. Save up to $1,500 per couple. Starting at $2,999. Departures from May 20 through December 23, 2021.

7) Romantic Danube, 8 days with AmaWaterways. Begins in Vilshofen and ends in Budapest. Save up to $2,000 per couple. Starting at $3,099. Departures from May 3 through December 27, 2021.

8) Paris to Normandy, 8 days with Avalon Waterways. Begins and ends in Paris. Fly from $299 per person and save $1,000 per couple. Starting at $3,399. Departures from May 4 through November 2, 2021.

9) Columbia & Snake Rivers, 8 days with American Cruise Lines. Travels between Clarkston and Portland. Save up to $1,200 per couple. Starting at $4,075. Departures from April 23 through November 3, 2021.

10) Gems of the Danube, 8 days with Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. Travels between Budapest and Nuremberg. Fly for free or save $2,400 per couple. Plus, get $300 per couple in additional discounts. Starting at $4,195. Departures from June 7 through October 13, 2021.

Customers in the US and Canada can call us toll-free at 800-510-4002. For a list of our other toll-free numbers worldwide, click here.

Please e-mail me your comments, suggestions and questions at alanfox@rivercruise.com and I will respond the same day.

Sincerely,

Alan Fox
Executive Chairman
Vacations To Go