River Cruises affected by flooding?

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Savaneta, Aruba
262 Posts
Joined May 2008
I've never been on a Rhine cruise or any other river cruise for that matter. Was wondering if they are adversely affected by flooding or extreme rain events. Any advice before booking would be appreciated.
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Novelist, Pilot
Fayetteville, GA, USA
764 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Yes the rivers can flood at times. The company may need to transport you by bus at times. Heavy rains may cause a river to flood. Also fast snow melts may effect some rivers.

Greenville, SC, USA
52,226 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
River cruises can be affected by either too much water or too little water. If there is too much rain, the river levels go up and the boats cannot make it under the bridges. If there is too little (especially on the Danube), the water levels are low and there is not enough water for the ships to make it thru.

In either case the cruise line will transport you by bus and you will stay in hotels.
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13,113 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Yes, river cruises can be affected both by high and low waters. The companies are used to that and handle the situation by bussing the passengers, some even change ships.

To answer an not yet asked question: No, noone can tell you when or where a river can flood or dry out. Sure March and early April can be affected by the spring snow melt. Last year in April/May we had a draught and rivers were extremely low. There wasn´t much snow during the previous winter and therefore there was no snow melt. In 2006 we had lots of snow and severe floodings in March/April. We had extreme low water in August but also extreme high water after a period of two weeks with heavy rains. Currently we have heavy rains and warnings for severe weather nearly every day here in Southern Bavaria. The rest of Germany is hot and dry.

River stages can also change pretty fast (within hours). So even if you know that there´s high water when you fly over to Europe it can be down to normal level by the time of your arrival.

So the only advice I can give you is maybe avoid the beginning of the river cruise season in March/early April as there it´s pretty likely to have high waters. That´s why prices are low too. The Danube river is more affected by high waters than the Rhine river. Tulip time cruises on the lower Rhine river are usually not affected. The Elbe river is more likely affected by low waters (but that´s where the severe floods took part in August some years ago).

No risk, no fun ! I´ve been on two river cruises in the US which have been affected by high water (but many more which went smoothly). I´ve been on two river cruises in Germany, one affected by high water, the other slightly affected by low water.

371 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
The last three nights of our Budapest to Amsterdam cruise we had to leave the boat due to high water. This is when we really appreciated having a good Cruise Director. We were taken care of perfectly and even got to see more places than originally planned.
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