Cultural Cruises Europe Corona Protocol

 Read our full Corona Protocol

Version: May 28, 2020 | Status: FINAL

The Corona protocol for (cycling) cruises has been drawn up by the sector organization BBZ in close consultation with the most important parties in this market segment. This protocol was subsequently coordinated with the Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport, the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management and the Safety Regions of Kennemerland, North-Holland-North, North-Holland-Central and Zaanstreek-Waterland. No objections were raised to the structure and content.

What is a cultural river cruise?

Boat Bike Tours is an Amsterdam-based specialist tour operator that organizes cycling cruises. Cultural Cruises Europe is a brand of this company; same concept but without cycling. This type of cruise is a vacation where guests stay on a small passenger ship and take part in daily tours. The ship serves as a traveling hotel. Breakfast and dinner take place on board and guests take a packed lunch to eat while out cycling. The vacations are run on similar types of very comfortable, but rather small passenger ships. All ships have twin cabins with a private bathroom.

Health, safety and well-being of all passengers are paramount

On board of all ships the rules regarding distancing and hygiene will be observed. In order to ensure safe operations on board all ships that run CCE’ cultural cruises, the Corona Protocol described here will be observed. The content of the EU-Commission document (13-05-2020 / C(2020) 3251 final) “COVID-19 EU Guidance for the progressive resumption of tourism services and for health protocols in hospitality establishments” has therefore been considered.

These measures will be refined in detail on a ship-by-ship basis and are also subject to guidelines from the Dutch authorities and – if applicable – of the country in which a tour takes place. If those guidelines change, then the measures will also be adjusted.

You can also download this protocol as a pdf file.


  • Before the trip
  • Crew training/instruction
  • Measures on board
  • Going on tours/excursions
  • Conduct for suspected coronavirus in a passenger or crew member
  • Miscellaneous
Before the trip

The Corona Protocol will be communicated to all guests via our website and a targeted email update about three weeks before departure.
Guests will be made aware that they can only be welcomed aboard if they are healthy and do not show any symptoms that could indicate a coronavirus infection.

All guests will be asked to fill in a short questionnaire beforehand, which must be handed over when checking in. If a guest has to cancel their trip for health reasons, they may rebook free of charge to a later date. Guests will be reminded of their own responsibility in advance. General house rules will be emailed in advance.

We will make guests aware of the face mask policy in countries where their tour travels and ask them to bring their own face masks. BBT will provide an emergency supply on each ship.

All crew members must submit a health certificate prior to the start of their first voyage.

Crew training/instruction

Prior to tours, the tour operator will run a Corona Protocol training course for the crew. During this training the following will be discussed/practiced, among other things:

  • Explain and practice extra hygiene measures such as extra cleaning of surfaces, door handles, device displays (coffee machine), banisters etc.
  • Explain and practice measures related to the 1.5-meter distancing policy: check-in, boarding and disembarking, restaurant etiquette, one-way traffic in corridors and use of waiting areas.
  • Explain and practice using protective equipment for the crew. Plastic gloves are mandatory for kitchen staff and cleaning staff. Gloves are changed regularly.
  • Personnel wear face masks wherever the 1.5-meter distance cannot be guaranteed (kitchen, table service, assisting guests with boarding and disembarking etc.).
  • Explain to crew how to recognize COVID-19-related complaints or illness in guests or crew and what measures should be taken.
  • The crew must set a good example:
    • No physical contact. Keep a distance of 1.5 meter where possible. If that’s not possible, wear a face mask.
    • Wash and/or disinfect hands regularly.
    • Cough and sneeze into elbow.
    • Use paper tissues.
  • All crew members must submit a health declaration prior to arrival for the start of their first voyage.
    If any crew members experience coronavirus symptoms during the voyage they must immediately disembark and be replaced.


Measures on board

1. Extra attention to hygiene in general

  • Daily briefing crew and tour leaders: What works well? What could be better?
  • Hygiene instructions for passengers in different languages / pictograms / infographics in all public areas.
  • Regular explanations to guests about the measures. A number of times at the start of tour, thereafter when necessary.
  • Permanent disinfection stations at:
    • Ship entrances, with supervision
    • Restaurant entrance
  • Disinfectant soap in all cabins, paper towels in shared toilets.
  • Regular disinfection of contact surfaces visible to guests: door handles, banisters, tables, railings, windowsills, light switches, coffee machines, etc.


2. Physical distancing general measures

  • Make and keep as much space on board as possible available for guests. Don’t set tables too early; make the restaurant available as a lounge in the evening, etc.
  • Define walking routes on board:
    • Indicate one-directional traffic where possible with signs or arrows on the floor.
    • Where this is not possible, indicate clear waiting spaces.
  • Place distance markings where necessary (at the bar, reception, coffee machine, etc.).
  • Have fewer chairs in all areas, to create more space.
  • Indicate the maximum number of people allowed in each common area.


3. Kitchen / restaurant general measures

  • Extra cleaning rounds in the kitchen.
  • No more buffets, table / plate service instead.
  • Minimal crew in the kitchen. Separate kitchen crew and waitstaff.
  • Kitchen crew and waitstaff wear gloves and face masks (if 1.5 m distance cannot be guaranteed).
  • Glasses, cutlery etc. always go through the dishwasher with hot water.
  • Breakfast and lunch in two shifts according to prearranged groups.
  • Allow 15 minutes between first and second meal shifts for cleaning and ventilation.
  • Use all space and strict seating arrangements to maintain 1.5 m distancing.
  • Use sufficiently high and wide Plexiglas table dividers if distance is less than 1.5 m.
  • Use disposable napkins and placemats.


4. Breakfast plan

  • Breakfast in two shifts according to pre-arranged groups, 30 minutes per group.
  • Allow 15 minutes between shifts for cleaning and ventilation.
  • Daily choice of two breakfast options via a form. Options vary per day: e.g. continental / healthy.
  • Additional choice of different types of bread and toppings in single packs.
  • Everything served per person, or possibly on a tray per couple.


5. Packed lunch plan

  • Guests order lunch in advance via a form.
  • Lunch pack is put together by crew, packed and handed over to guests at breakfast.
  • Choice may be limited but with variations during the week.


6. Dinner plan

  • Dinner in two shifts according to prearranged groups, approx. 45 min per group.
  • Allow 15 minutes between shifts for cleaning and ventilation.
  • Everything served per person.
  • Dessert served on deck or elsewhere, if possible.


7. Bar

  • At self-service bar: clear instructions for use.
  • Regular cleaning of surfaces.
  • Plexiglas partition between bar crew and guests.
  • Bar staff wear plastic gloves.


8. Ventilation

Ventilation will take place as often and as much as possible. Always open all windows and doors during the day while sailing when guests are out on a trip. This applies to all areas. On the changeover day the cabins must also be ventilated as much as possible, either naturally or with mechanical ventilation. Regularly check, clean and replace air conditioning filters, etc.

9. Embarkation/disembarkation plan

  • Organize check-in carefully. Guarantee a distance of 1.5 meters. Spread out the arrival time of guests as much as possible.
  • Guest hands over the completed COVID-19 questionnaire, which was sent in advance.
  • At check-in each guest is asked to provide their contact details so that, in case of contamination on board, contact investigation by public authorities is possible up to 14 days after the end of the trip. After that period the data will be deleted (AVG – Dutch Rules on Data Protection).
  • Crew regularly and visibly clean railings for guests.
  • Crew and tour leaders wear gloves and face masks.
  • Crew and tour leaders organize disembarkation of passengers at an appropriate distance. Spread out the departure of guests as much as possible.
  • The crew and tour leaders will (where possible) put bicycles ashore with a distance of 1.5 m.
Going on tours/excursions
  • Guests will be encouraged to visit sights independently.
  • Formation of large groups at sights etc. will be avoided.
Conduct for suspected coronavirus in a passenger or crew member

The latest rules set by the national authorities will be strictly adhered to.


Mooring alongside another ship will be avoided as much as possible.