Fluctuating river levels could impact Europe cruise itineraries

As another busy summer gets underway in Europe, river cruise passengers could once again face itinerary alterations due to high or low water levels.

Thus far, river cruise lines are reporting that water levels are a bit high on the Danube, Rhine and Rhone rivers, and a bit low on the Elbe.

Viking River Cruises has reported on its website that the Danube, Rhine and Rhone rivers currently have high water levels, which may result in delays, itinerary adjustments, and alternate embarkation or disembarkation points.

The high levels on the Danube are occurring near Passau, Germany, and the high levels on the Rhine are concentrated around southern Germany, Viking reported. Meanwhile, limited rainfall on the Elbe River has disrupted sailings between Melnik in the Czech Republic and Bad Schandau in Germany, as well as the stretch between Wittenberg and Magdeburg in Germany.

Avalon Waterways on Monday updated its Facebook page to alert passengers that “due to increased rainfall this spring, water levels on some of Europe’s rivers are higher than normal.”

Avalon noted that there are cases where adjustments will be necessary, mostly affecting embarkation and disembarkation locations. “On occasion, when waters have been too high to navigate, we’re making alternate arrangements, which may include transferring guests to hotels. When this occurs, we offer our travelers complimentary accommodations, excursion choices as well as compensation for missed sailing days,” Avalon stated on Facebook.

“Weather forecasts look favorable this week,” the company stated, adding that “we ask that our guests understand that water levels change hourly, so much can change daily. In the meantime, we’re just ‘going with the flow.’”

Severe flooding on France’s Seine River caused river cruise disruptions there earlier this month.

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