The boss of AmaWaterways, Rudi Schreiner has said he is optimistic the river cruise industry will bounce back once the coronavirus outbreak dissipates.
AmaWaterways, which is sold through APT in Australia, is known for vessels like the AmaMagna, Europe’s largest river ship.
“Once everything is over people often forget quickly,” he told TravelPulse. “There will be pent-up demand, but the question now is when does it start up again?”
Mr Schreiner said that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the industry far more than the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.
He cited that the outbreak of COVID was at the start for the river cruising season.
“This is for sure one of the most severe situations we’ve ever had. It is worse than 9/11 and worse than some of the terrorist attacks,” he said.
“So, 9/11 was huge but didn’t affect European river cruising as strongly. The most intense time for us personally was the first two weeks of March this year. Ships were ready, crews were onboard, provisions were ready and then the virus spread across parts of Europe. The season was suspended.”
The line suspended sailings until 31 May and Mr Schreiner said that river cruising won’t face the same issues ocean cruising will after coronavirus.
He said many people might be fearful to take an ocean cruise in the short term.
“On the river, you’re always within a country, you’re not coming from international waters,” he said.
“It’s a different environment. Small-ship cruising will continue, and expedition cruising will continue. Ocean cruising may take longer, but I think it will also come back.”