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  #1  
Old June 2nd, 2013, 01:16 PM
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Default Grave situation on the Danube

Been reading the German news, river reports and weather updates and the situation at Passau is desperate, with the Danube up to 11 metres and rising. It is normally 4 metres.

The town is flooded to chest height and in some parts of the region the German army has been called in to offer assistance. A terrible situation for all those living in this beautiful area.

My father and I, like many others, are due to take a Viking cruise along the Danube in three weeks time. We know that Viking will do it's best to accommodate us and bus us about, but we are wondering, is it really appropriate to be even considering taking holidaymakers out to this region which is being devastated by some of the worst floods in history? I know I would get no pleasure from seeing towns and riversides laid waste by the ravages of severe flooding, and I'm pretty sure the local people struggling to deal with the disaster don't need us tourists rubber necking.

Wondered what other cruisers thoughts are on this, and for that matter, the river cruise companies? I appreciate they have a business to run, and to cancel trips will cost them dearly, but surely it would be best to draw a line under this for the next few weeks, and let the locals get their lives back on track? Plus it appears that in some stretches the river is now closed to all traffic, so bussing people around from hotel to hotel will only cost the companies more money.

Do feel free to comment.
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  #2  
Old June 2nd, 2013, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebecat View Post
Been reading the German news, river reports and weather updates and the situation at Passau is desperate, with the Danube up to 11 metres and rising. It is normally 4 metres.

The town is flooded to chest height and in some parts of the region the German army has been called in to offer assistance. A terrible situation for all those living in this beautiful area.

My father and I, like many others, are due to take a Viking cruise along the Danube in three weeks time. We know that Viking will do it's best to accommodate us and bus us about, but we are wondering, is it really appropriate to be even considering taking holidaymakers out to this region which is being devastated by some of the worst floods in history? I know I would get no pleasure from seeing towns and riversides laid waste by the ravages of severe flooding, and I'm pretty sure the local people struggling to deal with the disaster don't need us tourists rubber necking.

Wondered what other cruisers thoughts are on this, and for that matter, the river cruise companies? I appreciate they have a business to run, and to cancel trips will cost them dearly, but surely it would be best to draw a line under this for the next few weeks, and let the locals get their lives back on track? Plus it appears that in some stretches the river is now closed to all traffic, so bussing people around from hotel to hotel will only cost the companies more money.

Do feel free to comment.
I am with you. We leave for Europe on July 7 and we are due to take a river cruise with Tauck on July 14 from Budapest to Amsterdam. We will be passing and stopping in many places that are ravaged by the flood waters. First of all, we are not even sure if this will be over by that time because there is a prediction that it will be a very rainy, cold summer in Central Europe and there may be more of this type of situation to come.
We have made final payment and do not want to lose our money. If we cancel we are sure to do that, yet I did not sign up for a bus tour. Our insurance will not cover our cancelling because of weather. We are watching the situation closely.

Tomorrow I plan to call Tauck and ask them what their contingency plans are should this situation continue. I am sure that all the companies are being deluged with calls right now, but we have a lot of money at stake, plus airline fares.

I feel very sorry for the people of the region and what they are going through right now. This is a serious situation, more so than my cruise. There have already been lives lost and I am sure much property damage. I hope this situation resolves quickly.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 01:29 PM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is online now
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So sorry to hear all of this.

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Old June 2nd, 2013, 02:07 PM
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OTOH, there's a lot of people who depend on the tourist trade to make a living.
I'd hate my lack of spending to further negatively impact the affected regions.

It will be interesting to see what contingency plans are in place since,as I read these boards, different lines provide different levels of customer experience when there's deviation from the planned itinerary.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathie859 View Post
OTOH, there's a lot of people who depend on the tourist trade to make a living.
I'd hate my lack of spending to further negatively impact the affected regions.

It will be interesting to see what contingency plans are in place since,as I read these boards, different lines provide different levels of customer experience when there's deviation from the planned itinerary.
Did not relies that the river's are flooded
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 02:31 PM
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How do insurance companies regard changes to itinerary due to weather? This seems a little different than missed ports on an ocean cruise.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 02:55 PM
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If you Google "Passau flooding", there are some scary pictures. There is one that flips back and forth from a normal to the flooded picture! We remember walking along the road next to the river, and it is completely under water!
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STUR View Post
Did not relies that the river's are flooded
We will be on Uniworld River Ambassador June 30,2013 from Vienna to Basel 15 day
3 rivers Danube / Main / Rhine

STUR DAYTON, OHIO
This is exactly what is flooded right now. I am not trying to scare anyone, but no one knows how long this will last and what the long standing effects will be. It is better to be prepared than be taken by surprise at the last minute.

I for one am doing my research and will be on the phone with Tauck this coming week to find out my options.
Terri
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 03:58 PM
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From looking at some of the news reports it is not just the Danube and southeast Germany, but it looks like the flooding extends into the Czech Republic and the Prague area as well.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 05:04 PM
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I am also with you.. Is a bus tour a cruise? One or two stops I don't have a whole lot of problem with, but being bussed from hotel to hotel and being charged for a cruise in a suite and being forced to pay airfare to get there is not what we booked. I guess we can just see how long all this lasts and how badly it affects the ships itineraries. If the cruises turn into a pack and unpack bus tour, just notify me at least five days ahead if we can't cruise and return my money.We do have travel insurance. Not sure yet how it applies to this rather unique event.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 05:28 PM
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Default Prague, now, too

Prague is being evacuated. The flood defences are being put up, but the Vlatva river is flowing so fast and strong, the city centre metro stations have all been shut, hospitals and care homes evacuated and a state of emergency declared.

Dad and I are doing our Danube pre cruise tour in, wait for it, Prague! My heart goes out all all those affected. We will be, slightly, by perhaps not having a holiday, but nothing like those who are suffering from the floods.

However, to answer some points raised ...

Travel insurance doesn't cover you if the holiday goes ahead, and you choose not to take it. So if it becomes a bus tour and you don't want to do that, viking or whoever are within their rights not to refund you. I know, I know .... I can't imagine I will be happy with that scenario either.

But what really astonishes me is that, to take Viking for example, there is no news on their website or Facebook page, and we haven't heard on here that the current tours on the Danube have been cancelled, so what are they doing with those poor people? Taking them from hotel to hotel to show them the flooded towns of Passau and Regensberg? Someone out there must know what's going on, and there must be some sort of contingency plans for those of us travelling in the next week or so?
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisinalong001 View Post
If the cruises turn into a pack and unpack bus tour, just notify me at least five days ahead if we can't cruise and return my money.
I imagine that most of the cruise companies would love to be able to predict 5 days out if it is going to rain or not ...

I'm sure they will do their best, but one days rainfall can be the difference between sailing or not with the way things are at the moment, so not sure if they are going to be able to manage 5 days notice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebecat View Post
Travel insurance doesn't cover you if the holiday goes ahead, and you choose not to take it. So if it becomes a bus tour and you don't want to do that, viking or whoever are within their rights not to refund you. I know, I know .... I can't imagine I will be happy with that scenario either.
Fortunately that is not what Viking are doing based on their earlier post. For cancelled tours not yet in progress, they are offering a land based tour as an alternative to guests already in the country, but fully refunding (along with other compensation) if that is not what you want.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...3&postcount=15

Last edited by Mark_T; June 2nd, 2013 at 06:35 PM.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 07:36 PM
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We currently have river flooding in the US near where i live. the river levels are,in fact, predicted by the weather service. I get pop ups on my iPad, I assume there is a European version. If the "green" is at 21'( for example) and the river is at 28' and falling or rising at so many inches a day, it's just a matter of math. while rain can't be easily predicted, the tour companies can probably tell when the river is likely to fall to a probable safe travel level at least days in advance,
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 08:11 PM
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This story on the flooding has just reached Australia ....

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-0...slides/4728324

If I was booked on a river cruise in the next couple of weeks I would be making every effort to have my cruise company clarify their cancellation position.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 02:44 AM
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Look at some of the other threads on the river cruising forum. GMT Ron, Ingo and I live in the area, and are trying to provide updates from the local news. Ingo and I have also provided some links there where you can check out the current river situation and the prediction.

The situation became this tense in just a matter of days if not hours. Who knows if the situation will be ok again in 3 weeks time or on the 7th of July? After tomorrow, dry and warm weather is predicted. Wait what the weather reports and the cruiseline say and just don't make hasty decisions.

In my town, the river Regen which reaches Regensburg 90 km downstream is already slowly going down. Up to now, the flood defenses in Regensburg and Prague are holding up. The main focus is now on Passau, where the situation is dire. Up- and downstream the Danube is causing problems, for example the beautiful Weltenburg Monastry in Kelheim near Regensburg is flooded, as is the historical town of Melk in Austria. The Monastry in Melk is still OK.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 02:58 AM
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thanks for all the updates. we have travelled on river cruises to those areas and it is very sad to see. we feel for the locals as well as the travellers.

lets hope there will be no lose of life and damage can be kept to a minimum. we know floods have been a potential feature to those areas for centuries but this current situation does look severe.

we enjoyed visiting weltenburg it was a scenic trip lovely scenery. would love to go there again.

many are thinking of the locals and hope this will soon be resolved. no doubt many present and future travellers will also be watching to see how the cruise industry manage this emergency too.

all the best.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 04:30 AM
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The level of the Danube in Passau has now reach the same water mark of 12.20 m as in 1954, in 2002 it reach 10.81 m, the Danube is expected to reach it's highest mark this afternoon at 12.75 m.

The photo below (taken in 2002) of the high water marks on the front of Passau Town Hall. The wet part is 2002 level, we are currently at the 1954 level, predictions are we'll top the 1501 (year) level.

We are used to flooding, the problem this time is the force and pressure of the water and the effects that it is having on the foundations and structural integrity of the buildings.

Passau cannot be approached from the north as the main routes were either flooded or closed due to road works, now the only road that was open has now been closed due to a landslide.

Haven't seen anyone crying, as we do not want to increase the Danube levels anymore than necessary.

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Old June 3rd, 2013, 04:54 AM
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Looks like the photot in my previous post didn't make it, so lets try again.

Ron

No luck this time, don't know what the problem is?
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 06:35 AM
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G.M.T., I can see your photo - it comes through as a thumbnail that can be opened. Thank you and the others who live in the area for letting us know not only what the current situation is, but also how rapidly situations change.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 11:03 AM
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Bratislava is awaiting the flood wave coming down.

Germany is now done with the very worst of it, all the more so because the rain is letting up.

Passau now has a record-breaking flood, 12.20 Metres has been beaten easily, and although automatic data transmission from the sensors has now failed, authorities are sure the record flood from the year 1501 has been beaten. That make this a milennium-size flood.
Looking at aerial pictures, the streets across old town now look like canals connecting the Donau and the Inn. We were walking around there just weeks ago - it looks absolutely alien.

The good news: starting tonight, water levels are predicted to drop.
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