Sailing on Danube is ‘safe’ despite Ukraine conflict, says AmaWaterways boss

AmaWaterways’ co-founder has attempted to allay any fears about sailing on the Danube during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Speaking from the line’s AmaMagna vessel as it sailed from Budapest to Vienna, Kristin Karst told a Travel Weekly webcast the cruise was “very peaceful” and “beautiful” despite being around 185 miles from the Ukraine border.

Cruise and tour operators – including Riviera Travel and Viking Cruises – have decided to scrap Russia and Black Sea programmes due to the invasion.

But Karst insisted she had not noticed anything during the cruise that would suggest passengers were not safe to travel west of the Ukrainian conflict.

She said: “I have to say we are in the travel business. We should show that it’s beautiful and absolutely safe and okay to do a river cruise on the Danube and all our guests would agree to it.

“When you land in Budapest, everything is normal. There are no signs of anything. If you don’t know what’s going on in the Ukraine, then you know, everything is normal.

Karst added: “Nobody would even say that they want to fly home again.”

More: Ukraine conflict forces shift in Wizz Air flights

Reflecting on the situation in Ukraine, Karst confirmed that the line had Ukrainian crew who wanted to be with their families during the conflict.

“It is really a very, very intense pain right now,” she explained.

Next week, 21 ships sailing on the Danube, the Rhine, the Moselle, the Douro and in France will start their 2022 seasons.

Karst confirmed every AmaWaterways ship would be in operation before the end of March. She added: “While our cruises do not visit the Ukraine or Russia, our experienced operations teams are closely following the situation in the region.

“If necessary, we’ll make any adjustments to our itineraries to ensure the safety and the wellbeing of our guests and crew.

“We do have a 20-year proven track record of safely adapting our cruises to ensure that unexpected events have a minimal impact on the guest experience. Guests feel they are in the very best hands here.”

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