Low Danube, High Mississippi Water Levels Impact River Cruising

Open Jaw

Low water on the Danube is disrupting river cruise itineraries, forcing cruise lines to cancel sailings, alter itineraries, swap ships and/or bus pax between ports and ships in order to complete certain cruises.

After a spring of heavy rain and snowmelt, a lack of summer rainfall in the Danube watershed has resulted in low levels that have impacted ships from major river lines Viking River Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Tauck and Avalon Waterways.

Fluctuating water levels are common in Europe, and the Danube has been hit particularly hard in recent years. In June 2013, historic floods inundated parts of Europe, especially around Germany’s Passau, causing disruptions to dozens of river cruise itineraries.

In announcing a series of contingency plans, Avalon Waterways took a hopeful tone: "The good news? Because the nature of rivers is to ebb and flow, much can change daily. Rain has been forecasted so we are all doing our best rain dances in hopes that more rain makes its way to Europe (specifically, the Danube) ... soon.”

Tauck says the Danube water levels have had only minimal impact, with guests on 1 sailing of ms Savor travelling by motorcoach to an embarkation point with higher water.

Uniworld, on the other hand, has been forced to delay some sailings and end 1 sailing early and cancel the 26JUL sailing of the S.S. Maria Theresa. Further changes may be pending.

Viking River Cruises says it has "had to make adjustments to the cruise schedules of several ships.” This includes at least 2 cancellations, 1 ship swap and adjusted itineraries.

But, as Avalon says… info can change quickly so each of the river cruise companies is posting information on its website regarding current status, as well as communicating directly with agents and travellers.

Meanwhile, American Queen Steamboat Company is experiencing the opposite problem – high waters on the upper Mississippi have forced the American Queen to sail on the Ohio River instead, with the alteration expected to continue through 02AUG.

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