River cruises: what health measures are in place for holidays this summer?

A holiday that's both relaxing and safe - this is the objective of tourism professionals in France this summer. Why not take the opportunity to explore France on a river cruise? Cruise companies and boat rental services are taking all the necessary health precautions to allow you to take to the water with confidence. Welcome aboard!

The health situation in France has improved significantly in recent weeks, leading public authorities to allow holiday departures this summer, to anywhere in the country.

Phase 2 of the lockdown easing in France permitted the relaunch of nautical leisure activities (unless prohibited locally). The circulation of passenger boats, such as day trippers without on-board accommodation was permitted from June 2, subject to adhering to health protocol (disinfection, mask wearing and provision of hand sanitising gel), according to public operator Voies Navigables de France.

In the case of vessels with on-board accommodation, group numbers must be kept under 10 - although this rule is being reviewed in Phase 3.

River cruise companies are also making arrangements to welcome the public back on board their ships. Croisieurope co-created the 'Safeguard' certification for its entire fleet of 56 boats, which involves a form being sent to passengers before the cruise to ensure that none are displaying symptoms. Temperature checks will be carried out before boarding. Masks and hand sanitising gel will be provided and the cabins and common areas regularly disinfected. Cruise routes will be adapted to guarantee everyone's safety.
Video: CroisiEurope health protocol (External link)

In boat rental

Professional boat rental companies such as Le Boat, peer-to-peer boat rental platforms such as Click & Boat, and private cruise operators such as Green River Cruises and GlobeSailor are on deck to ensure your safety. The former provide independent holidays on rental boats without a captain or licence requirement. The latter are entirely cleaned and disinfected before users' arrival and contact is kept to a strict minimum, notably through online registration, check-in and check-out. Peer-to-peer boat rental platforms allow the privatisation of boats for up to 12 passengers and provide masks, gloves and hand sanitising gel at the pier and on board. Boats and piers are also subject to full cleaning and disinfection between each cruise.

As a reminder, lockdown easing in France following the coronavirus pandemic is being carried out in three phases:

Phase 1: from May 11 to June 1, 2020
Phase 2: from June 2 to June 21, 2020
Phase 3: from June 22 to mid-July 2020.

After a first phase of lockdown easing (from May 11 to June 1), the French government gave the green light to the reopening of most cultural spaces and the relaunch of leisure activities on June 2.