River cruise lines forging ahead with Christmas market voyages

Christmas celebrations may end up being rather different this year, with the potential of tough restrictions on how many can gather, and where we can travel, but river cruise fans can still get into the festive spirit amid Covid-19.

For while the situation with ocean cruising remains largely uncertain – the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opted to extend its ‘no sail’ order through October 31 while Canada, the Cayman Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and the Seychelles all have cruise bans in place until the end of the year – river cruise lines have been quietly making their comeback.

German river cruise company, A-Rosa, successfully resumed cruises on the Douro, the Danube, the Rhine and the Rhone over the summer, as did Amadeus and Strasbourg-based CroisiEurope. And all three outfits are offering Christmas markets cruises to British passengers – even with quarantine requirements on the arrival

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Thai police arrest protesters camping out ahead of rally in Bangkok

BANGKOK: Police in Thailand have arrested several political activists who planned to camp out at the site of a rally scheduled for Wednesday (Oct 14).

The rally site is along the route the country’s king is expected to travel for an unrelated royal ceremony.

The arrests on Tuesday came after police started to tear down tents put up by the protesters, who had travelled to the capital from north-eastern Thailand. 

The protesters resisted and pushed back against the police, sparking a brawl. 

Police said they initially asked the protesters to remove the tents, but were refused.

Wednesday’s protest has been called by a coalition of mostly student-led groups that several months ago adopted three core demands: New elections, changes in the constitution to make it more democratic and an end to intimidation of political activists.

The protesters later adopted another major demand, for reform of the

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Plan ahead with these seasonal cruise getaways

Travel restrictions across the globe and constant changes to the UK’s safe travel list have quashed most people’s hopes of a 2020 Christmas cruise … but it’s a great time to pre-plan for 2021.

There are multiple festive holiday cruises to consider, but here are top picks recommended by Iglu Cruise and Planet Cruise.

Christmas Markets of Europe, Emerald Waterways, departs December 1, 2021

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This 14-night cruise through Europe begins with an overnight stay in Budapest and a day exploring the ancient Castle district. Then guests set sail for Bratislava, to browse and buy handcrafted festive ornaments and warm up with traditional Slovakian spiced wine.

In Vienna there is an exclusive tour of Ringstrasse, dotted with decorations and markets bursting with baked goods and hot chocolate. Then it’s on to the quaint German town of Rudesheim,

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P&O Cruises welcomes new cruise ship in British ‘first’ ahead of holidays 2021 | Travel News | Travel

P&O Cruises now has a new cruise ship to add to its fleet. The Iona joined last week at an official handover ceremony with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, in the latest cruise news. She is the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market.

The area is a tranquil pool environment by day with dining and entertainment by night.

Here, guests can expect specially commissioned aerial entertainment shows under the stars when the Iona sets sail.

Holidaymakers will also be able to enjoy craft individual gins at the first-ever gin distillery at sea or unwind in the Oasis spa featuring a range of destination-themed treatments.

Iona will have eight speciality restaurants including yet-to-be-unveiled concepts.

DON’T MISS

There will also be 13 entertainment venues, four swimming pools – including a spectacular infinity pool at the aft of the ship – and 16 whirlpools.

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow,

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Pompeo Warns Of China Risks Ahead Of US-India Talks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar take part in four-way talks with Japan and Australia in Tokyo on October 6, 2020


Charly TRIBALLEAU

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday urged closer ties with India as he warned of China’s growing might on its doorstep, amid a flurry of diplomacy between the world’s two largest democracies.

“They absolutely need the United States to be their ally and partner in this fight,” Pompeo said of his four-way meetings earlier this week in Tokyo with his counterparts from India, Japan and Australia.

“The Chinese have now begun to amass huge forces against India in the north,” Pompeo told radio host Larry O’Connor.

“The world has awakened. The tide’s begun to turn. And the United States under President Trump’s leadership has now built out a coalition that will push back against the threat,”

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DIA, Southwest Airlines try to calm travelers’ nerves ahead of holiday travel season amid COVID-19

Tom Starr, Southwest Airlines’ general manager at Denver International Airport, donned a surgical mask and safety vest Tuesday morning. Just after 10 a.m. he called for the attention of the corporate travel managers gathered around him. He was about to lead them on a tour from the check-in counter to a Southwest gate on the airport’s Concourse C with a focus on COVID-19 safety and cleaning efforts.

“My goal is to walk you through what travelers will experience,” Starr said, “and help us all build some confidence in travel.”

National air traffic was down about 68% in late September compared to the same time in 2019, according to DIA officials. During the week of Sept. 20-26, 214,459 people passed through the airport’s security lines, 53% fewer than the same week in 2019, officials say.

But Denver’s airport is seeing more people than most.

“We have been about 10% above the

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Traffic in Las Vegas, Reno bounces back ahead of Labor Day weekend

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An early 3D rendering of the Nevada Department of Transportation’s proposed Spaghetti Bowl Xpress interstate exchange project in Reno.

Reno Gazette Journal

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Traffic at state line crossings and at major intersections in Nevada has bounced back from pandemic lows and is nearing 2019 levels, according to data released by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Despite year-over-year traffic falling 50 to 75 percent at several key monitoring stations in March and April, the first two weeks of August showed marked improvement, including:

  • 11% decrease on I-15 at Primm near southern Nevada’s border with California (up from a 70% decrease)
  • 13% decrease at the Spaghetti Bowl in Reno (up from a 48% decrease)
  • 5% decrease at US 50 near the Nevada-California border at Lake Tahoe (up from a 40% decrease)
  • 2% decrease at US 80 at Wendover near the Nevada-Utah border
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Christmas river cruises: plan ahead for 2021

Now is the time to start planning for next year’s Christmas getaway, and there’s not much that will beat a festive river cruise taking in the best European markets

Of all the great travel experiences, there is surely none more romantic than a classic festive river cruise. For the full fairy-tale experience, it should be said early on that your best bet is to head to Germany, where the world’s best Christmas markets are linked by some of Europe’s most scenic waterways. 

TUI’s superb range of festive cruises for 2021 takes you to some of the Rhine’s most magic towns, where they celebrate Christmas as it should be done. The air is thick with cinnamon and the smell of sweet treats. Happy children ride old-school carousels. Young couples skate on the outdoor ice rinks. And everybody drinks their fill of spiced mulled wine. 

Pick up a souvenir: there’s plenty
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