Well, it was bound to happen sometime; we just didn’t think it would occur so soon after publishing our high water / low water guide last week. So, as we knock on wood, it’s time to talk about the first major high-water disruption of 2015.
Recent heavy rainfall has combined with a melting snowpack to create high water conditions at the moment along the Danube, Rhine, Rhône, Saône, and Seine rivers. At this point in time, nearly every major river cruise line is affected, with stretches of all of the aforementioned rivers closed to marine traffic or rendered impassable at the moment.
Authorities in Austria, Germany and France expect the situation to ease somewhat by the weekend, but for the meantime, there are some disruptions on the waterways of Europe thanks to low-hanging bridges and locks that cannot be operated while water levels are in their current state.
Here’s where some of the cruise lines stand:
AmaWaterways is monitoring the situation closely, but has so far had only minimal disruptions to AmaReina on the Rhine and AmaDagio in France. On the latter, guests will disembark in the city of Avignon instead of Arles.
CroisiEurope has been most affected on the Rhone. In the interest of safety, the line is offering guests full-day coach tours while ships reposition to the next port of call without guests onboard. Putting guests off on tour removes them from the tedium of having to deal with a long and difficult passage to the next port of call.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is monitoring the situation on the upper Rhine, and expects the river to reopen to shipping traffic by the weekend. Guests aboard River Empress and River Queen have been compensated and offered additional touring options to make up for the unexpected delay. S.S. Catherine, on the other hand, remains stuck in Lyon, but is expected to begin her onward journey to Avignon as early as tomorrow morning (May 7). Additional touring options have been provided to guests aboard S.S. Catherine as well.
Viking River Cruises has had to make alterations and adjustments to several sailings to accommodate the disruption. At this point, Viking notes that these are the only sailings the company expects to have to alter:
- May 6thPortraits of Southern France (Avignon to Chalon) aboard Viking Delling – Guests embarking on Viking Delling will be staying at Hotel Novotel Avignon Centre for the first two nights. (Novotel Avignon Centre phone: +33 (0) 432 74 70 10)
- May 6thParis & the Heart of Normandy (Paris to Paris) aboard Viking Neptune – Paris embarkation and docking location will be Quai Maurice Berteaux in Le Pecq instead of Quai de Grenelle in Paris.
- May 8thRhine Getaway (Amsterdam to Basel) aboard Viking Mani – This cruise will now take place on sister ship, Viking Eir (Longship, built 2015).
- May 8thRhine Getaway (Basel to Amsterdam) aboard Viking Eir – This cruise will now take place on sister ship, Viking Mani (Longship, built 2015).
- May 10thPortraits of Southern France (Chalon to Avignon) aboard Viking Buri – This cruise will now take place on sister ship, Viking Hermod (Longship, built 2014).
- May 10thPortraits of Southern France (Avignon to Chalon) aboard Viking Hermod – This cruise will now take place on sister ship, Viking Buri (Longship, built 2014).
We’ll have more up-to-date information on the high-water level disruption on the waterways of Europe as it becomes available.