CroisiEurope is planning a “progressive return” to normal river cruising in Europe by early July.

The French company will initially operate within the Schengen area as European directives on the relaxation of Covid-19 lockdowns evolve.

The line’s river vessels carry an average of 130 passengers while its six canal barges hold just 22 people.

They will resume sailing under “optimal safety conditions”.

CroisiEurope said: “Our company remains committed to restarting operations mid-summer under the best conditions for everyone, with careful consideration and adaptation to the situation as it evolves.”

No further details on the measures to be adopted on board were given.

The company has redeployed 130-passenger cruise ship La Belle Des Oceans to run ‘closer to home’ sailings from Nice to Corsica on an eight-day itinerary. The vessel will move to run similar duration cruises in the Canary Islands from mid-October.

Meanwhile, deposits for new bookings on sailings until November 30 ave been abolished, with full payment required 15 days before departure. Reservations can be cancelled up to 16 days before departure.

A 15% early booking discount is being offered on 2021 departures.