COVID-19 River Cruise Resources

Essential River Cruise information


As the world continues to address challenges regarding COVID-19, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has been communicating with River Cruise Operators around the world, as well as leading health authorities and our partners across the wider travel community, to help coordinate efforts during the ongoing suspension of worldwide operations. This page has been created in support of the travel trade by bringing together resources that may be useful at this time, and includes content from across the river cruise community.













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  • Which River Cruise Operators work with CLIA?

    CLIA is the only association that brings together ocean cruise lines and river cruise operators with travel agents and the wider cruise community.

    CLIA works with river cruise operators around the world, some of which work with CLIA globally, and others that work regionally in either Europe or Australasia.

    The river cruise sector has grown rapidly in recent years, with river cruises visiting 340 destinations and offering holidays on up to 39 rivers across the world

  • How do River Cruise Operators promote onboard health?

    River cruise operators go to great lengths to support the health and wellness of all onboard; indeed, the health, safety and wellness of guests and crew is the highest priority and fundamental to their operations.

    From cleaning practices to public health inspections, onboard guest hygiene to guest screening, river cruise operators work vigorously to help keep guests and crew healthy. 

    Proximity to shore means there is close access to local emergency services throughout a voyage. 

  • How are river cruise operators governed?

    While the governing rules may vary according to the jurisdiction – the one constant will be the practices established by the river cruise operator, in compliance with applicable laws along the entire route.

  • Who else is part of the River Cruise Community?

    People are at the heart of the cruise community—small- and medium-sized businesses and independent business owners that extend well beyond the cruise industry—and are the backbone of our economies.

    This community includes travel agents and travel agencies, airlines, hotels, taxi drivers, baggage handlers, restaurant workers, local museums and attractions, and a variety of other supply chain businesses and industries.

    Indeed, CLIA has an Executive Partner Program in place that embraces many businesses within the river cruise sector to ensure that the whole community is engaged at every level.

  • How do the economic benefits of river cruising extend to other communities?

    River cruising traverses through the heart of countries bringing economic benefits to towns and cities along the river routes and further inland.

    Those benefits extend to businesses such as local attractions, vineyards, museums, parks, tour guides and coach operators.

    Many river cruise operators purchase supplies from local communities.

    As we prepare to sail again, a strong cruise community will be critical to supporting the much-needed economic recovery. 

  • How does the River Cruise Community focus on Sustainable Tourism?

    The river cruise community is a leader and innovator in sustainable tourism and offers one of the best ways to experience the world. 

    • Demonstrated Commitment:  The river cruise community is a leader in sustainable tourism, including its demonstrated commitment to environmental protection, being stewards of the places we visit, providing rewarding career opportunities, and above all, the health and safety of guests and crew.
    • Innovation & Leadership:  CLIA river cruise operators have shown innovation and leadership through the investments they have made in sustainable tourism, innovative technologies, and the experiences they offer travellers.
    • Progress & Results:  CLIA river cruise operators have made significant progress in their sustainable tourism initiatives —with advancements that are making a difference and providing a model for others.
    • The Best Way to Experience the World:  River cruising is a sustainable form of travel and offers guests the three types of travel they most want: Experiential, Accessible, and Transformational.

  • How does the River Cruise Community work with destinations?

    Sustainable travel means adopting a responsible approach towards destination management and stewardship. 

    As river cruises operate in internal waters, and travel through countryside and cities, respect for communities and surrounding habitats along the routes is a top priority.   

    River cruise operators work in partnership with local governments, NGOs and communities to identify appropriate solutions relevant to the local circumstances. Initiatives include social enterprise projects to encourage local artisan businesses, conservation projects to support animal conservation, and community programs to deliver local sanitation and access to clean water.

    The continuing growth of travel in recent years has led to an exponential increase in the popularity of some destinations.  While the cruise industry only represents a fraction of the overall tourism market, we recognise our responsibility to play our part.  

    We respect the local culture and heritage of the destinations we visit, not only for the sake of the local communities but also for the benefit of future generations. Our actions are motivated solely by being the right things to do.

  • How does River Cruising promote environmental stewardship?

    River cruise operators are committed to responsible tourism practices and the highest standards of environmental stewardship.  River cruise operators are committed to the protection of rivers, avoiding waste discharge, and adhering to local environmental regulations along the route. 

    Many river cruise operators are adopting new practices and technologies to promote energy efficiency, water conservation and recycling.  The use of shore power is increasingly becoming the norm in many areas.

    Please see a small sample of environmental stewardship initiatives from our river cruise operators below:

    • The new A-ROSA E-Motion river ship to be launched in 2021 on the River Rhine has a state-of-the-art electric motor, powered by large batteries, to supplement the ships engines. The ship will sail by battery power into and out of ports emission free, a quieter experience for clients and a cleaner approach for the environment in each port of call.

    • Another first for river cruise ships, the A-ROSA E-Motion ship will have air bubble technology where air bubbles are pumped under the ship’s hull from the bow with the ship gliding on a carpet of air bubbles. Fuel consumption decreases thanks to the reduction in water resistance, thus protecting the River Rhine in 2021 and beyond.