22 AUGUST 2022


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Article from BTNews 22 AUGUST 2022

Rhine cruise problems

One of Europe’s largest rivers is suffering from the drought, causing troubles for cruise operators.

Travel Rhine which starts at Amsterdam and is navigable for some 540 miles (870km), as far as Rheinfelden on the Swiss-German border, can from time to time be problematic.  Either the river is too high, and craft cannot get under the bridges, or too low, as is the case currently.

Water levels west of Frankfurt at one of the lowest points in the river near the town of Kaub have touched 30cm (approximately 12 inches), a level at which the authorities explain river traffic potentially reaches a standstill.  River cruise ships require at least 1.5 meters (approximately 60 inches) for safe operations.

The major cruise operators are monitoring the situation carefully and issuing statements typified by AMA Waterways.  “Safety remains our top priority and our experienced teams have alternative plans in place whenever the local authorities temporarily curtail or halt river traffic on any portions of the rivers. These plans include alternative ports of call, modified shore excursions as well as ship swaps, if necessary.

A ship swap is an interesting unexpected experience on a river cruise which your Editor-in-Chief encountered some years ago. We were asked to pack our bags before leaving for an extra on-the-house coach tour to a local point of interest.  On our return we made our way to the north side of the bridge we had left on the south side in the morning, and joined a sister ship.  Everything was the same as it was in the morning, even the staff, as we made our way to the same cabin.  The only thing that was different was the name of the ship.

A spokesperson from the Scenic Group, which includes both Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises, said that it is closely monitoring the ongoing record high temperatures across Europe and how this impacts the water levels in some sections of the river it operates its cruises.

“The river conditions can change significantly, depending on rain fall and other local factors”, the spokesperson said.  “Thus, we are adjusting guest travel arrangements when required and altering some river cruises to allow for the safe navigation of our ships.  “This is to ensure the minimal disruption to our guests’ experience and itineraries”.

Clients are being directly contacted if there are itinerary changes.



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