Are you river cruising in Europe this year? If so, please let us know about the water levels on your cruise – and if we can ask an even bigger favor, take photos. Your reporting will help all river cruisers. You can either post your comments on our Water Levels page, or use this form to send us a note. Either way, we’ll respond right away.
For the moment, it appears that water levels are perfect on two of Europe’s busiest rivers. We hope that lasts throughout the season, and we are monitoring water levels weekly. We know that our readers do not want their river cruises to turn into bus trips. We also know that the river cruise operators do all that they can to avoid ship swaps, bus tours, and other interruptions. We are keeping our collective fingers crossed in the hope that last year’s water levels affecting river cruises were an anomaly. Currently, our readers are reporting that water levels on the Danube and on the Rhine are ideal. Here are two comments from our Water Levels page.
We just returned from a Viking cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. The water levels were fine … no problems. The only impact to the cruise was that there was dock work underway in Nuremberg so on arrival day we were bussed to the next stop (Regensburg). The first day tour of Nuremberg was via coach (which I thought was fine). All on all, it was a wonderful trip … highly recommended! – Ralph McCarthy, April 25, 2019
We just finished a Viking river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel and water levels were perfect. The weather could have been a little warmer but other than that, the trip was everything we hoped it would be. – Henry (last name withheld), April 23, 2019
Even with the rosy outlook (for now), we recommend that you research trip interruption and trip cancellation protection, which some insurance policies and even credit cards may cover in the event of unexpected changes. Full refunds are rare but they do happen. Listen to Avid Travel With Britton Frost – Travel Protection Through Credit Cards & More.
As always, we suggest you ask your travel advisor for advice about protecting your investment. You’ve nothing to lose – and a lot to gain – by using a well-informed travel advisor. In fact, you will often get equal or better rates from a travel advisor, plus possible perks that you may not receive by going direct to the river cruise lines.
Emerald Cruises, and sister company Scenic, each have a River Cruising Guarantee. They’re not the only companies that will compensate you in some form if your trip fails to go as expected. We’ll report in the coming weeks about how each company deals with interruptions due to high or low water levels. For now, here is a summary of what Emerald and Scenic post on their websites.
River Cruising Guarantee Highlights (Emerald Cruises & Scenic)
You’ll be automatically covered once you commence your cruise for any delays or cancellations that occur due to weather, natural disasters, mechanical breakdowns or strikes. There’s nothing extra to pay. In the event that a claim is required, instead of the industry standard of future cruise credits, you will be refunded in cash.
What is classed as an unforeseen event?
- A complete halt to your itinerary where the ship is unable to sail and we are unable to deliver your on shore excursions except by way of coach rides of greater than 3 hours each way
- Having to participate in a ship swap where the additional coaching between ships is over 6 hours
- Where we have the ability to accommodate you on another Emerald Cruises Star-Ship due to high/low water but your itinerary is delayed more than 24 hours
- If there is a mechanical breakdown on the ship that results in it not being able to continue the cruise and there are no alternative ships available
- If due to industrial action we are not able to pass through a lock and your cruise cannot continue within 24 hours
What is not classed as an unforeseen event?
- If high water levels prohibit the sailing of the ship for an afternoon but we are able to make it under the bridge that evening and deliver you to your scheduled disembarkation place the following day.
- If we swap ships due to high/low water and the ship swap takes less than 6 hours to complete
- If we embark/disembark the ship less than 62 miles/100 kilometers from your scheduled point of embarkation
- An attraction is not able to be visited but a reasonable alternative is provided.
The River Cruising Guarantee is not intended to replace travel insurance in any way. Be sure to ask your travel agent, or our reservations team, at the time of booking and we’ll provide you with further details.
Janet Moore says
Were notified that the water levels were too low for our July 11th Viking River Elbe cruise. We were given our new traveling itenerary. We were given the option to cancel with full refund or go and get a certificate for 50% discount on our next cruise. We are still going but disappointed.