Friday, December 9, 2011

River Cruise Companies Praying for Rain

Christmas Markets 
on Rhine & Danube Rivers

This is a popular time of year for river cruising along the Rhine and Danube Rivers in Europe.   Passengers experience the joy and magic of the holiday season as they cruise along Europe’s majestic waterways during this most festive time of year.

River Water Levels Low

In this picture you see a river cruise ship preparing to pass under one of the many bridges of Europe.   River vessels are designed to navigate the narrow waterways and have the ability to lower any protruding portion of the ship, the bridge for example, so that it can pass safely under bridges.   Currently the water levels of many rivers in Europe are quite low providing a completely different challenge for operators.

Praying for Rain

Due to the unseasonably low water levels, some passengers have had to switch ships halfway through their cruise; others found themselves "cruising by bus" as rivers became impassable. The situation has passengers and tour operators praying for rain so that the remaining cruise itineraries before Christmas can operate as scheduled.  Those prayers might be answered as the forecast calls for rain in the coming week and water levels should start to rise.

Current Situation


Operating as scheduled according to their website

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Panorama on the Danube has not been impacted


S.S. Antoinette  December 7 voyage began the river cruise in Basel aboard River Princess and passengers  will transfer to S.S. Antoinette in Strasbourg on December 9 for the remainder of the cruise. 

Viking River Cruises

Last week's cruises switched to hotel / bus around Budapest;  

Viking Legend and Viking Prestige passengers will switch ships between Regensburg and Passau/Melk.;

Rhine cruises will have to swap to bus tours between Heidelberg and Basel. 

Conditions are improving and next week's cruises should need fewer alterations if any.

Just as in Hurricane season, the cruise lines monitor the situation and make adjustments in the interest of safety for passengers, crews, and ships.  In many cases, compensation is provided for changes, despite the fact that the situation is really totally out of the cruise line's control.  Cruise lines are communicating directly with impacted passengers and their agents.

Holiday Market Cruising
Despite the challenges that are present this year, the experience is still great.  Imagine walking through town squares glowing with thousands of lights,  smelling freshly baked gingerbread and other delights. Picture rows of wooden stands filled to the brim with hand-blown glass ornaments, handcrafted toys, and nutcrackers of all different shapes and sizes. Friendly shopkeepers help you select that special gift for someone back home.

You'll discover the holiday traditions and experience how the Europeans have been celebrating the yuletide seasons for centuries.  All your senses will be engaged as you round out your experience with the merry sounds of Christmas carolers singing joyfully in their native tongues.

The Holiday Market cruising season is drawing to a close quickly this year, but why not plan a trip for next year.  We'd be happy to help you decide which river cruise meets your wants and pocket book.

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