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What happens when the River is Low?

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We are going on our first river cruise this summer (end July). I have been reading to try and get a "feel" of what to expect. We are Budapest to Amsterdam on Scenic.

I have read of delays and low rivers and how upset people have been but I have not gotten an idea of what they do when the ship can't keep going? Or they have to somehow bypass sections of it.

Do we get off the boat with all our stuff and get bused further down river?

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We are going on our first river cruise this summer (end July). I have been reading to try and get a "feel" of what to expect. We are Budapest to Amsterdam on Scenic.

I have read of delays and low rivers and how upset people have been but I have not gotten an idea of what they do when the ship can't keep going? Or they have to somehow bypass sections of it.

Do we get off the boat with all our stuff and get bused further down river?

Can tell you my experience on Viking. We were on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise. The morning in Nuremberg we packed up everything and left our cases at the door when we went for our tour. After the morning tour we were taken to a restaurant in town for lunch and then got on a bus and met our new ship in Passau. Since the longboats are identical we were in the exact same room on our new ship. We stayed an extra day and night in Passau so that anyone who desired could take a bus and go to Regensburg which we had bypassed. Then we continued on. The ship switch was seamless.

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We are going on our first river cruise this summer (end July). I have been reading to try and get a "feel" of what to expect. We are Budapest to Amsterdam on Scenic.

I have read of delays and low rivers and how upset people have been but I have not gotten an idea of what they do when the ship can't keep going? Or they have to somehow bypass sections of it.

Do we get off the boat with all our stuff and get bused further down river?

 

Good, good question but no definitive answer. Unnavigable rivers is not a new problem for the cruise lines and they are prepared with multiple solutions--river cruise becomes bus/hotel land tour, boat swaps (not all of the CLs are equipped to do this), day trips from boat, etc. This I know from reading these threads but I am sure that others will be along to share their experiences.

 

And, you are right most guests are not prepared for any alteration to their imagined and "promised" voyage-- and that can cause more aggida for the CLs than the navigation issues. Read the fine print on the terms of carriage/terms&conditions for your cruise line; it will also help you understand what the CL will or will not do for its passengers should things not go as expected. Also invest in earplugs or even industrial strength ear protectors so that everyone else's moaning, groaning and complaining will not effect your enjoyment of your vacation.

 

What was the tag line from some old kids show, "Knowing is half the battle."? Have a great trip no matter what what Mother Nature throws at you.

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It could either be high or low water. If water too high the ships cannot pass under the bridges.

At our cruise Saône River was high and the ship could not navigate the river. The ship did stay in Lyon rather than sailing to Macon - then we were take by buses to Macon.

You might also experience situations where the rivers are not safe to navigate - the ships might not be allowed to sail with passengers - the ship will sail empty to the ports of call while passengers are transported by bus and meet the ship in the ports - might eat and sleep on a river boat but not be sailing!!

As quoted by Peregrina651 "Good, good question but no definitive answer."

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The river too high, too low issue is important. Just keep in mind that the problem doesn't happen very much. Sure, you don't want it to be your cruise that is disrupted but the cruise lines only operate cruise during the times of years they don't expect to have problems. Before our first river cruise I looked into it and, going back say 20 years, there seemed to be only a few periods when the river heights were a problem (at least in Europe where we were going).

Being able to switch boats to work around impassible areas was one advantage to companies like Viking who have enough boats on the river to be able to have flexibility when things go wrong.

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This was our experience on a Uniworld Budapest to Amsterdam cruise in early August 2015 (a summer with record breaking heat and low water levels). My DH and I were in the security line at Dulles Airport the afternoon of the 3rd when we received both a text and an email from our travel agent saying that Uniworld had just told her that due to low water in the Danube, we would need a ship exchange in Regensberg. Instead of departing on the River Empress, we would board the River Princess in Budapest and be bussed from Melk to Regensberg to join the River Empress. Since they are sister ships we would have the same cabins. Uniworld quickly sweetened any disappointment by stating that each passenger would be issued a future cruise credit of $1000 to be used in 2015, 2016 or 2017 for the inconvenience. Sounded good to us! And since we would miss a lunch on board after touring Melk Uniworld arranged for a very nice lunch at a local restaurant before the bus ride to Regensburg. Each bus had an excellent tour guide who provided great information about the area. Later when we had to take a bus to Passau (making it a very long day) they gave each passenger 20 Euros for lunch money.

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Perhaps I’m just lucky but in over 20 river cruises (including the infamous Elbe) I have only missed one day of sailing (Rhône April 2015; water too fast for passenger traffic; industrial barges still sailing; we had a longer bus ride to that day’s destination; Vantage threw in an additional very nice museum and an additional cocktail party; I was happy). ALL travel can have disruptions; accept that possibility, ignore the whiners and enjoy the adventure.

 

Thom

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Thanks folks. I hope end July beginning of August the rivers we will be on will have the required depth.

 

I also think there are a lot of canal we need to traverse. Are those affected by water levels?

 

We chose a longer cruise because we like the idea of unpacking once and then traveling for 15 days...sure hope it is not interrupted by packing up and getting on a bus :)

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We are going on our first river cruise this summer (end July). I have been reading to try and get a "feel" of what to expect. We are Budapest to Amsterdam on Scenic.....

 

Budapest to Amsterdam on the Scenic Jasper was our first river cruise experience. We were blown away by Scenic. The ship, the food, the crew, the service, our fellow passengers..... we could find absolutely nothing to complain about.

If the water level cooperates (and it probably will) you will have a marvelous time, Enjoy!

 

Paul

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Sept. 2015 with Scenic from Amsterdam to Budapest, low levels on the Danube meant we had to swap ships. The ships were almost identical so it was easy. We packed our backs the morning of Nuremburg on the Scenic Jewel, did our excursion in the morning, were bussed to Passau in the afternoon where we embarked on the Scenic Crystal, same room. Easy peasy. I've heard of a lot worse situations, but that's pretty rare.

 

In the end, it's life on the river, and the river sometimes has a mind of its own. Life on the river means living at the river's chosen pace. You literally have to "go with the flow". And when there's no flow, there's no go. :)

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I've heard of a lot worse situations, but that's pretty rare.

 

As someone mentioned earlier, a worst case is if there is no ship for a transfer on the other side of the closed section of the river. In the summer of 2015 Uniworld had introduced a new class of ship (just one of them sailing the Danube) doing the same itinerary we were on in the older and plentiful class of ship. The week we had the ship swap Uniworld cancelled the new ship's cruise and it may have happened more than once that season. I remember Viking was posting schedule updates and/or cancellations almost daily from late July to sometime in September. This is not to scare future cruisers but just something to be aware of. Budapest to Amsterdam or vice versa is a wonderful cruise and the weather that summer was definitely out of the ordinary.

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It can depend on the ships. In the Autumn of 2016, the Danube was very low. Most cruise lines were transferring between ships because the ships could not get up or down river beyond certain low points. We met several people in one river town who were on Viking. They were on their third ship!

 

We were on Avalon and just sailed right through spots where most other cruise lines were grounded. Avalon has very new ships, built with a shallower draft, so we had no problems at all, though the captain did caution us, a couple of times, that the possibility existed that we could have a problem.

In a few days, We're leaving on our third Avalon in four years. Hoping for the best. And expecting it!

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Depends on many factors. Ports, duration, nearby towns.

 

Worse case is you stay on ship and be on the bus everyday (tiring) or they bus you from hotel to hotel until the ship can sail or you can board somewhere else.

 

It’s the cruise directors call on individual circumstances.

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Scenic runs essentially identical ships from both Amsterdam and Budapest starting the same day. The most likely place for low water is between Passau and Regensburg, which happens to be at the midpoint of both itineraries. If that stretch is impassable then they will do a ship swap as previously described. It is necessary to pack and unpack but the cruise line does all the hard work of transporting your luggage.

 

There have been a few times later in the summer where low water disrupted traffic just downstream from Budapest. I think what Scenic did then was end the cruise just outside Budapest.

 

 

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We are in Prague today on the land portion of an Avalon cruise tour. We’re scheduled to sail from Nuremberg to Budapest on Friday, but we’ve been told the stretch of the Danube from Nuremberg to Passau is impassible due to very low water - no rain in the Danube headwaters for over six weeks. The plan is this:

 

Instead of busing from Prague to Nuremberg to board the ship we’ll be picking up a sister ship in Passau on Friday. On Saturday we’ll be bused to Regensberg for a tour to replace the scheduled stop, then return to the ship in Passau. Thereafter the itinerary will be as originally scheduled.

 

The replacement ship is apparently the same layout as the scheduled one, so there will be minimal impact on cabin assignments.

 

Stay tuned. We’ll see...

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We are in Prague today on the land portion of an Avalon cruise tour. We’re scheduled to sail from Nuremberg to Budapest on Friday, but we’ve been told the stretch of the Danube from Nuremberg to Passau is impassible due to very low water - no rain in the Danube headwaters for over six weeks. The plan is this:

 

Instead of busing from Prague to Nuremberg to board the ship we’ll be picking up a sister ship in Passau on Friday. On Saturday we’ll be bused to Regensberg for a tour to replace the scheduled stop, then return to the ship in Passau. Thereafter the itinerary will be as originally scheduled.

 

The replacement ship is apparently the same layout as the scheduled one, so there will be minimal impact on cabin assignments.

 

Stay tuned. We’ll see...

 

Interested to see how this plays out. There’s not been a hint of low water issues coming from Avalon or in other recent posts.

In past years Avalon was great about posting advisories if there was any possibility of disruption.

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Interested to see how this plays out. There’s not been a hint of low water issues coming from Avalon or in other recent posts.

In past years Avalon was great about posting advisories if there was any possibility of disruption.

So far everything has gone according to Plan B. We’re on the ship in Passau, departing for Linz tomorrow, which has been added as an extra stop because we missed Nuremberg. We were bused to and fro Regensburg today. Not an ideal situation, but you have to go with the flow if you can excuse the pun.

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One thing that I have learned about traveling in general, and river cruising in particular, is that you need to be FLEXIBLE. Don't let changes in plans get you flustered. Always have alternative plans ready on how to spend your personal time, and just keep in mind that you are there to have a good time, so enjoy every minute regardless of what fate sends your way.

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One thing that I have learned about traveling in general, and river cruising in particular, is that you need to be FLEXIBLE. Don't let changes in plans get you flustered. Always have alternative plans ready on how to spend your personal time, and just keep in mind that you are there to have a good time, so enjoy every minute regardless of what fate sends your way.

 

(y) (y) (y)

 

BRAVO!!! Thank you for your words of wisdom. I don't think I have ever seen it phrased so well or so beautifully. I wish we could hang this on a plaque in every stateroom.

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Absolutely agree with Cary Cruiser. Just stay away from the negative people. To paraphrase Einstein - negative people: they have a problem to every solution.

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We’re scheduled to sail from Nuremberg to Budapest on Friday, but we’ve been told the stretch of the Danube from Nuremberg to Passau is impassible due to very low water - no rain in the Danube headwaters for over six weeks.

 

Nope, although the water is currently low on the Danube river the river is closed due to an accident sind Jun 22nd. We had lots of rain during the last 6 weeks here in Munich and our river (Isar) drains into the Danube river as many others here in Southern Bavaria. In some areas we even had severe floodings. In Northern Bavaria (Franconia) they had no rain for weeks now. But Isar, Iller, Lech and Inn river (which are coming from the South) got a good amount of rain.

 

steamboats

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Nope, although the water is currently low on the Danube river the river is closed due to an accident sind Jun 22nd. We had lots of rain during the last 6 weeks here in Munich and our river (Isar) drains into the Danube river as many others here in Southern Bavaria. In some areas we even had severe floodings. In Northern Bavaria (Franconia) they had no rain for weeks now. But Isar, Iller, Lech and Inn river (which are coming from the South) got a good amount of rain.

 

steamboats

 

We are told that the blockage due to the accident was cleared by June 30-July 1. The current blockage is due to low water upstream of the Main-Danube Canal, which obviously can only happen due to low water entering from the headwaters. The Inn River, which enters the Danube at Passau, appeared to have plenty of water, more than the Danube. But that is obviously a different catchment area than the Danube.

 

We are told as of today the stretch between Regensburg and the Main-Danube Canal is still impassible due to low water.

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We are told that the blockage due to the accident was cleared by June 30-July 1. The current blockage is due to low water upstream of the Main-Danube Canal, which obviously can only happen due to low water entering from the headwaters. The Inn River, which enters the Danube at Passau, appeared to have plenty of water, more than the Danube. But that is obviously a different catchment area than the Danube.

 

We are told as of today the stretch between Passau and the Main-Danube Canal is still impassible due to low water.

 

Correction:

 

 

We are told that the blockage due to the accident was cleared by June 30-July 1. The current blockage is due to low water downstream of the Main-Danube Canal, which obviously can only happen due to low water entering from the headwaters. The Inn River, which enters the Danube at Passau, appeared to have plenty of water, more than the Danube. But that is obviously a different catchment area than the Danube.



 

We are told as of today the stretch between Regensburg and the Main-Danube Canal is still impassible due to low water.

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Can you tell us who is telling you? The resource I normally use to monitor river level indicates that levels are low but not too low for transit.

 

 

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We are cruising the Danube on Scenic 7/19 from Budapest to Prague so very interested in the river levels esp in Passau and Regensburg. Any updates and info are greatly appreciated.

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Can you tell us who is telling you? The resource I normally use to monitor river level indicates that levels are low but not too low for transit.

 

 

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I am aboard the Avalon Panorama right now. Info is from the cruise director and captain. It sounds like one or more of the shallower draft ships going downstream are getting through.

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Correction:

 

We are told that the blockage due to the accident was cleared by June 30-July 1. The current blockage is due to low water downstream of the Main-Danube Canal, which obviously can only happen due to low water entering from the headwaters. The Inn River, which enters the Danube at Passau, appeared to have plenty of water, more than the Danube. But that is obviously a different catchment area than the Danube.



 

We are told as of today the stretch between Regensburg and the Main-Danube Canal is still impassible due to low water.

 

According to the ELWIS page which is the official website for navigation information the blockage was still on after July 1st. The notice was still up when I posted.

 

The Danube river is not navigable upstream of Kelheim (where the canal starts on the Danube side) except for excurison boats.

 

I´m totally aware where the Inn river joins the Danube river ;). There are three more rivers joining the Danube river from the South and we did have lots of rain. Actually we do have currently. I had to hurry inside due to hail and a thunderstorm.

 

steamboats

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I am aboard the Avalon Panorama right now. Info is from the cruise director and captain. It sounds like one or more of the shallower draft ships going downstream are getting through.
''

 

Thank you

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You can check out this website for low water in Bavaria.

 

 

The shallow area is close to Straubing. That´s because there´s no dam/lock close by. They are discussing this situations for more than 30 years.

 

 

The notice about the closure is now deleted in ELWIS.

 

 

Currently the Danube river is mainly on "low" and only one river gauge is showing "very low". But in that area it shouldn´t be a problem.

 

 

The Isar river here in Munich is still on "normal" and the water we had is going to the Danube river now. The Isar river joins the Danube river near Deggendorf.

 

 

steamboats

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I spoke to the Captain this morning. He said some traffic is now getting through, but a cargo ship grounded in the German section of the Danube yesterday. He felt confident that he would be able to get through on his return trip from Budapest next week.

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I spoke to the Captain this morning. He said some traffic is now getting through, but a cargo ship grounded in the German section of the Danube yesterday. He felt confident that he would be able to get through on his return trip from Budapest next week.

 

There´s nothing in ELWIS about this and no news in any media.

 

steamboats

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I spoke to the Captain this morning. He said some traffic is now getting through, but a cargo ship grounded in the German section of the Danube yesterday. He felt confident that he would be able to get through on his return trip from Budapest next week.

 

 

 

Hi Sopwith, I was just checking the location of the Panorama on some ship tracking websites and according to them you are in Vienna or Regensburg. The majority say Vienna.

 

So I was just wondering, where is the ship actually? Also are you on your way to or from the shallow stretch? I would love to hear whether you made/make it through.

 

 

 

 

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Hi Sopwith, I was just checking the location of the Panorama on some ship tracking websites and according to them you are in Vienna or Regensburg. The majority say Vienna.

 

So I was just wondering, where is the ship actually? Also are you on your way to or from the shallow stretch? I would love to hear whether you made/make it through.

 

 

 

 

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We arrived in Vienna late afternoon Tuesday, departed 5:00 pm Wednesday for Budapest, ETA 9:00 am Thursday.

 

The ship did not make it through the shallow stretch. We were supposed to board the Expression in Nuremburg, but because neither ship could get through we were diverted to the Panorama in Passau.

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I was scheduled to board an ama waterways cruise on the Danube on Sunday July 15 in Nuremberg. They just contacted me saying that we will be bussed from Nuremberg on Sunday to Vilsofen to embark there due to low water.

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We disembarked the Avalon Panorama this morning. The cruise director said the water level is down again between Nuremburg and Passau, sounds like more trouble ahead.

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Thank you for the updates, not really what any of us are wanting to hear or experience and sorry you are having to go through it and hopefully it becomes a minor inconvenience and your trip was wonderful.

I do see rain in the forecast, not sure if it is enough to change the situation any time soon but hope it does. We will be in that area around the 23rd on Scenic. I have cruised from Budapest to Passau and was hoping to get to Nuremberg without issue fingers crossed.

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According to the "low water information service" (I translated this for you) the river levels are now down to "very low" (orange dots) between the Canal and Deggendorf. Further downriver it´s still "low" (yellow dots).

 

 

We are supposed to have a pretty hot weekend (90ies) and no rain exept for maybe some thunderstorms.

 

 

steamboats

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Posted (edited)

We fly out to Prague early tomorrow morning for a Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe" cruise...3 nights in Prague, two nights in Budapest, then board the ship for 7 nights followed by one night in Bucharest...

Was supposed to be on Viking Aegir...

A few minutes ago, we received an email from Viking (slightly edited to keep it short):

 

"Dear Viking Guest,

Thank you for choosing Viking for your upcoming European voyage. This message is to let you know that the Danube River is currently experiencing low water levels. As a consequence, your ship, Viking Aegir, is unable to reach Budapest for your departure.

As a consequence, you will not embark Viking Aegir ... You will instead be welcomed on board identical sister ship Viking Embla.

Please accept our apologies for this change so close to your departure, but rest assured it will not alter your cruise experience in any way. Like Viking Aegir, Viking Embla is a state-of-the-art Longship, featuring all the same comforts and style as the rest of the Viking Longship fleet...

We look forward to welcoming you on board and wish you a wonderful journey.

Sincerely,

Customer Relations--Viking"

 

Sounds like they are saying everything will be the same--just a different ship???

Edited by Bruin Steve

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