Fall 2021 ABD River Cruises

CaliforniaGirl09

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 4, 2009
I am at the 90-day mark for our October Rhine River Cruise, and I am absolutely furious that I've heard basically nada from ABD about this trip. I see that an August 5th River Cruise is still listed on the website. Is anyone booked on that? Presumably travelers on that have been given some information on protocols and itinerary changes?

I just wrote my DU travel agent a very frustrated/angry email about ABD's handling of these trips. Here is the meat of it (I left out the specifics about our air):

As today is our 90 day mark, I am extremely angry and anxious about the status of our Rhine River cruise in October. Although we are prepared to go and PIF at 60 days, I just got back from 2 weeks in England, and I am extremely concerned about the growing cases in Europe (England is talking about making France a red country due to a variant there and the Netherlands has a sharp increase of cases and has pulled back on their openings) as well as the potential for shutdowns and travel disruptions due to the spread of Delta—not to mention the issue of air travel, which I can attest is very difficult right now with all the different requirements in Europe.

The fact that we have heard absolutely NOTHING from Disney about the COVID protocols that will be in place, any potential changes in itinerary (especially visiting the WISH which was pretty much our sole reason for booking this trip), and whether they are requiring vaccinations for the ship, which seems a no-brainer to me but I’m concerned that they haven’t said anything. I have very little interest on getting on a ship with unvaccinated people as that will greatly increase the possibility of travel disruptions and infections.

It is unacceptable to me that that a company as big as Disney is holding our deposit hostage for months when none of these trips have gone for over a year and they are unwilling to give us any concrete information. It would be fine if they gave us an option of a refund as they should have under the circumstances. I had a much different experience with another high-end travel company I had a trip to Nepal booked with. They gave me the option of a refund at any point until the decision on running the trip had been made. ABD is essentially playing chicken with people trying to force them to switch their deposit to another trip even though they know (1) the trip won’t go or (2) their customers don’t want to travel during a pandemic. I’m fairly disgusted with ABD’s handling of trips during the pandemic and doubt I’ll be booking them ever again. The refusal to cancel trips well ahead of time when they know they aren’t going during the pandemic, holding on to deposits to force people to PIF and then days later cancelling trips, and the ill-advised and irresponsible refusal to cancel trips early in the pandemic when it was obvious no one should be traveling (Australia and UK travelers actually were forced to travel to destination before the trips were cancelled) are all reasons I would hesitate to ever travel with them again.

ABD still has an early August 5th Rhine River cruise on the website as available, so I’m assuming that means they hope to run one of the river cruises. I think it’s ill-advised given the situation in Europe, but I would like to know what information they have provided to travelers on that cruise and what itinerary changes have been made.

We scheduled our flights to go through London. As England is now the European pariah requiring quarantine in some places, we are planning to change our flights. Given that I see this trip as very unlikely to go forward, I would like ABD to book flights for us. That way if they cancel the trip they can be responsible for the refunds, etc.


I will post if I hear anything substantive, but if anyone is on earlier River Cruises and has info, I'd greatly appreciate it.
 

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CaliforniaGirl09

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 4, 2009

Candycane83

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
I feel the same way as you… I actually moved my December Danube cruise to Southern California for next year. I decided a couple months ago we were not going even if it was possible to go as my son is not yet vaccinated. I bit the bullet a month ago and moved it since prices of the adventures for 2022 were increasing quickly. It’s not something I wanted to do but felt like I had to…
I sort of feel ABD is always late in sending out information and you need to be the one to proactively chase them for it. Even when they do give information, you sort of have to prompt them for clarity too.
I hope you hear back from your TA soon.
 

CaliforniaGirl09

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 4, 2009
I feel the same way as you… I actually moved my December Danube cruise to Southern California for next year. I decided a couple months ago we were not going even if it was possible to go as my son is not yet vaccinated. I bit the bullet a month ago and moved it since prices of the adventures for 2022 were increasing quickly. It’s not something I wanted to do but felt like I had to…
I sort of feel ABD is always late in sending out information and you need to be the one to proactively chase them for it. Even when they do give information, you sort of have to prompt them for clarity too.
I hope you hear back from your TA soon.
Thanks so much for the sympathy and totally agree. The lack of communication across pretty much all the companies is shocking.

I did hear back from her this afternoon. She finally got ahold of ABD (long wait times) and she said they are planning to do the August 5th trip, which shocks me. But get this ... they still don't have any information on protocols, itinerary changes, etc. ***? That cruise is three weeks away and they still don't the info. I guess there is one good thing about this trip... I'm not on that one! I'd be irate. The vacationista did tell my TA to not do anything until I have to ... whatever that means. I'm pretty shocked that they are even considering starting trips at this point in the season with what is going on with Delta. Things can change so fast and ABD is not nimble. I won't be surprised if they start and have to stop quickly with the rising cases of Delta in Netherlands, France, etc.

I think you made a very smart decision to move it, especially with your son not vaccinated. I'm just done with ABD, and I want my money back. DH and I were really looking forward to this cruise, but I feel like it is going to be a you-know-what show.
 
  • CaliforniaGirl09

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 4, 2009
    Still nothing from ABD on these trips. I follow a couple threads on Flyertalk and one of the regular posters on a thread I follow there does a weekly chart for England's "Traffic Light" System. This is a generalized description, but basically the requirements for entry to England depend on how the country is coded: either green (no quarantine but day 2 test), amber (10 day quarantine with day 2 and 8 test) and (3) red (hotel quarantine for UK citizens).

    So in the chart below the colors reflect the current coding. Note that the English government has not posted the guidelines for how they decide what color a country falls into so the numbers don't always make sense (i.e. why is Poland amber?). They apparently have a rubric, which contains all sorts of data in addition to the cases per week per 100k, such as positive test rate, number of tests, number of people testing positive, etc. So don't try to make sense of the colors, LOL.

    Anyway, it shows a HUGE uptick in the Netherlands the past couple of weeks (670 per 100k!!!), and the jump of cases in France and Switzerland as well (doubling in the last week). I hope no one is planning a trip to Cyprus soon ... yikes!

    ECDC covid cases.png
    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/33428264-post9616.html

    This is why I'm shocked that ABD would consider starting cruises in early August. With Delta it's unlikely those numbers are going to get better any time soon.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    This is why I'm shocked that ABD would consider starting cruises in early August. With Delta it's unlikely those numbers are going to get better any time soon.
    I'm pretty shocked, too, but AmaWaterways is talking full steam ahead with their Rhine and Danube cruises. They just posted this yesterday:

    https://www.amawaterways.com/travel-updates

    We are deeply saddened by flooding that has affected certain regions of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands but we have not been directly impacted. Our regularly scheduled cruises on the Rhine and Danube rivers will only be restarting later this week and next. We are happy to report that blue skies and sunshine have returned to most areas in Northern Europe and water levels are subsiding. Currently, we do not anticipate major changes to our scheduled itineraries.

    The list below outlines the first restart sailing date for each ship. These ships will continue sailing as scheduled for the remainder of the 2021 Season.
    PORTUGAL
    July 3rd, AmaDouro; August 17th, AmaVida
    FRANCE
    July 22nd, AmaLyra & AmaKristina; July 29th, AmaDolce; AmaCello, September 16th
    DANUBE RIVER
    July 21st, AmaMagna
    August 15th, AmaBella; August 16th, AmaLea; August 21st, AmaCerto; August 29th AmaVerde
    September 6th, AmaViola; September 11th, AmaSonata
    RHINE RIVER
    July 29th, AmaSiena
    August 5th, AmaMora; August 14th, AmaSerena; August 14th, AmaLucia; August 24th, AmaPrima


    Guests impacted by European sailings suspended from July through to September 11, 2021 will be contacted directly by their travel advisor or AmaWaterways.

    To view all Europe sailings confirmed to depart or that have been suspended, please click here
    It will be interesting to see what actually happens.

    Sayhello
     

    CaliforniaGirl09

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 4, 2009
    I'm pretty shocked, too, but AmaWaterways is talking full steam ahead with their Rhine and Danube cruises. They just posted this yesterday:

    https://www.amawaterways.com/travel-updates


    It will be interesting to see what actually happens.

    Sayhello
    Thanks for posting the update. I'd been following their FB page and checking the website periodically and knew they'd started in early July, I believe.

    I'm not surprised about AMA sailing (I believe other River Cruise lines have been going as well), but I would be surprised at ABD going forward with the trips based on what is happening. The international travel component and uncertainty once in Europe with potential COVID disruptions due to rising cases are the main things I think that should stop ABD from starting trips right now. It is not setting up for a good guest experience--although the no communication is already off to a huge negative start--and IMO running successful trips should be more important than rushing to start trips that have been stalled for over a year.

    Personally, I wonder if they are contractually obligated to run trips if AMA is sailing. So in other words, ABD would be out money if they don't send people if AMA says it can sail. It would be horrible contract negotiation on ABDs part if this is what's going on, and they don't have an out. But who knows. That's just speculation for why they are saying they are going forward with an ABD cruise (petrie dish aspect makes it even worse) in August when they just cancelled trips for the rest of the year in California.

    Have you seen any kind of list of ABD trips that have actually run? I know I've heard of a few.
     
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  • sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Thanks for posting the update. I'd been following their FB page and checking the website periodically and knew they'd started in early July, I believe.

    I'm not surprised about AMA sailing (I believe other River Cruise lines have been going as well), but I would be surprised at ABD going forward with the trips based on what is happening. The international travel component and uncertainty once in Europe with potential COVID disruptions due to rising cases are the main things I think that should stop ABD from starting trips right now. It is not setting up for a good guest experience--although the no communication is already off to a huge negative start--and IMO running successful trips should be more important than rushing to start trips that have been stalled for over a year.

    Personally, I wonder if they are contractually obligated to run trips if AMA is sailing. So in other words, ABD would be out money if they don't send people if AMA says it can sail. It would be horrible contract negotiation on ABDs part if this is what's going on, and they don't have an out. But who knows. That's just speculation for why they are saying they are going forward with an ABD cruise (petrie dish aspect makes it even worse) in August when they just cancelled trips for the rest of the year in California.

    Have you seen any kind of list of ABD trips that have actually run? I know I've heard of a few.
    I was wondering the same about ABD's contractual obligations to AmaWaterways. Would be interesting to know.

    I have not seen any kind of a list. I know a Costa Rica trip went a while ago, and a couple of Alaska trips, some American Southwest trips and at least one Iceland trip. That's all I'm aware of.

    Sayhello
     

    CaliforniaGirl09

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 4, 2009
    I was wondering the same about ABD's contractual obligations to AmaWaterways. Would be interesting to know.

    I have not seen any kind of a list. I know a Costa Rica trip went a while ago, and a couple of Alaska trips, some American Southwest trips and at least one Iceland trip. That's all I'm aware of.

    Sayhello
    Those were the same I've heard about. Funny that they don't seem to be promoting any current trips on FB. I've maybe seen one or two current trips mentioned. Weird.
     

    ajw28

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 11, 2016
    I just saw posted on Facebook that the August 5th Rhine cruise is going, but all guests must be vaccinated.
     

    CaliKris

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2015
    So funny. After I posted the above, I went to check on ABD's website and didn't see anything, but it prompted me to join another ABD group, and I saw the pics!
    Someone just posted all the changes for the August 5th Rhine river cruise on the FB group. The biggest change is that it no longer ends in Amsterdam but in Antwerp, Belgium due to the Netherlands being a Level 4 country. They are asking guests to change their air arrangements to the airport in Brussels instead of Amsterdam. Otherwise, you need to make your own arrangements to get to Amsterdam.

    This is not much notice at all to be altering air!

    Also, all guests must be vaccinated. I assume those with unvacinated children will be issued refunds?!
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Someone just posted all the changes for the August 5th Rhine river cruise on the FB group. The biggest change is that it no longer ends in Amsterdam but in Antwerp, Belgium due to the Netherlands being a Level 4 country. They are asking guests to change their air arrangements to the airport in Brussels instead of Amsterdam. Otherwise, you need to make your own arrangements to get to Amsterdam.

    This is not much notice at all to be altering air!

    Also, all guests must be vaccinated. I assume those with unvacinated children will be issued refunds?!
    o_Oo_Oo_Oo_O

    Are ABD paying for this change??? That could be a major expense (not to mention, as you said, being REALLY last minute)!!

    Sayhello
     

    CaliforniaGirl09

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 4, 2009
    Someone just posted all the changes for the August 5th Rhine river cruise on the FB group. The biggest change is that it no longer ends in Amsterdam but in Antwerp, Belgium due to the Netherlands being a Level 4 country. They are asking guests to change their air arrangements to the airport in Brussels instead of Amsterdam. Otherwise, you need to make your own arrangements to get to Amsterdam.

    This is not much notice at all to be altering air!

    Also, all guests must be vaccinated. I assume those with unvacinated children will be issued refunds?!
    Wow, thanks so much for the head's up. I hope they will be offering refunds and help with airfare. That's pretty ridiculous notice. Also, for me, I wouldn't want to miss Amsterdam. That's one of the highlights for me, and we were planning to stay a few extra days at the fancy Waldorf there.
     

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