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How are cruise lines dealing with low water conditions?

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I have been following with interest the posts on the Rhine and Danube low water conditions and am curious about how all the cruise lines are dealing with the levels. Riviera appears to have turned a cruise into a bus tour. I have seen comments on how Crystal and Avalon have changed itineraries or canceled cruises. Viking usually does ship swaps. How about AMA, Uniword, Tauck, Evergreen, Vantage, Gate 1? While cruise lines obviously have no control over mother nature, how they handle these situations can make a huge difference. I would rather pay more to cruise on a line that goes above and beyond to make the trip enjoyable than one that automatically turns the cruise to a bus tour.

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I have been following with interest the posts on the Rhine and Danube low water conditions and am curious about how all the cruise lines are dealing with the levels. Riviera appears to have turned a cruise into a bus tour. I have seen comments on how Crystal and Avalon have changed itineraries or canceled cruises. Viking usually does ship swaps. How about AMA, Uniword, Tauck, Evergreen, Vantage, Gate 1? While cruise lines obviously have no control over mother nature, how they handle these situations can make a huge difference. I would rather pay more to cruise on a line that goes above and beyond to make the trip enjoyable than one that automatically turns the cruise to a bus tour.

 

The more ships a company has, the less likely it seems that your cruise will become a bus trip. Also, the ships with less draft (less hiding under the waterline) are less likely to be put out of service when the water level drops.

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Our recent Viking Romantic Danube “cruise” on the Gullveig was a bus tour—no ship swap.

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Our recent Viking Romantic Danube “cruise” on the Gullveig was a bus tour—no ship swap.

Were you able to cruise any part of the river?

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We were docked the first 4 days in Passau, sailed from Passau to Vienna, and then were stuck in Komarom the last two days. It was quite disappointing, to say the least.

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We were docked the first 4 days in Passau, sailed from Passau to Vienna, and then were stuck in Komarom the last two days. It was quite disappointing, to say the least.

 

Did Viking do anything like extra excursions, meals in restaurants, etc to make up for not being able to sil? Did you see any cruise ships that were able to continue to cruise?

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We were docked the first 4 days in Passau, sailed from Passau to Vienna, and then were stuck in Komarom the last two days. It was quite disappointing, to say the least.

 

What is Komarom? What did you do from there?

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We were basically just bused back to the ports that we missed, meaning we spent many, many hours on buses.

Since we were often on buses and when in port, rafted to other boats, we saw very little of the river traffic. I really couldn’t tell if other river boats were getting through.

 

Komarom is a tiny town about 60? miles from Budapest. There was nothing to do there—we were just bused into Budapest from there.

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We were on Viking Romantic Danube last week. We started in Nuremburg. After Regensburg we went further down the river and did a boat swap. Cost us about four hours getting to Passau. Viking pretty much ran all tours, stopping at various places to get people on and off. After Vienna we could not get to Budapest. At Komarom (see previous post) the cruise ended and we went to Budapest by bus (75 minutes) and did our city tour. After that we went to the Hotel Kempinski (a real 5 star) in Budapest. The ship's program director went with us. When we were not with the ship Viking made sure our meals were covered in beer gardens or the hotel. I was happy with the way Viking handled the situation.

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MSKAUFMAN, I would have been quite happy with your trip, and I am happy for you that Viking handled your trip so well. I was NOT happy with the way Viking handled ours. No boat swaps, no hotels, just lots of buses.

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As I read various accounts of people’s experiences, it really is interesting how even the same company varies in the way each cruise is handled. It seems some work out better than others.

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We were basically just bused back to the ports that we missed, meaning we spent many, many hours on buses.

Since we were often on buses and when in port, rafted to other boats, we saw very little of the river traffic. I really couldn’t tell if other river boats were getting through.

 

Komarom is a tiny town about 60? miles from Budapest. There was nothing to do there—we were just bused into Budapest from there.

There is a relatively interesting mid 1800's fort there, Fort Monostor and Fortress Kormano on the other side of the river. The military history in the 1500's and 1600's of that area is quite interesting.

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I am following this post with great interest. Can someone tell me if there are official cruise line representitives that also use these boards? And if so, have any of them bothered to post on here with any info for us?

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Where do you acquire the Crystal information? We are sailing soon and I can’t seem to find any information on it.

 

Thanks.

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Where do you acquire the Crystal information? We are sailing soon and I can’t seem to find any information on it.

 

Thanks.

 

I think there were a few posts about Crystal on the Rhine Water Levels thread.

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Any Rhine or Moselle issues at the moment? Also, any AMA reports?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

The Moselle has no problems with low water levels as the navigation channel is relatively deep.

 

notamermaid

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I have friends on the AmaViola this week and everything seems to be going as scheduled. Looks like AMA ships made it to Budapest but many others didn't, so had to bus there.

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Where do you acquire the Crystal information? We are sailing soon and I can’t seem to find any information on it.

 

 

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

We just returned from our Danube cruise on the Crystal Mozart. Even though we were not able to cruise to Budapest do to low water levels, it was still a wonderful cruise! Once in Passau, it was announced that we would return to Vienna with a new stop in Krems, Austria. Crystal set up new tours and assisted passengers in getting to Budapest who wished to do so.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Where do you acquire the Crystal information? We are sailing soon and I can’t seem to find any information on it.

 

Thanks.

 

Crystal seems to be scrambling. We found out our new itinerary 3 days before departure, and they couldn't give any details until onboard. Likewise, there doesnt seems to be any consistency to how they are dealing with the changes. Once onboard we got a nice card and $750 "gift certificate" for onboard use, but when we went to exchange it they tore it up and said there had been a mistake (ouch, especially after we starting thinking how to use it!). Our ship is half full, apparently a lot of people were able to cancel (but no cabin upgrades despite a lot of empty cabins!).

 

We had heard that Crystal markets more of a luxury experience than they can deliver, and so far we've found that to be true. They have been bad at communicating, inconsistent with what they say, and indifferent. Having said that, at least our ship is on a river and Crystal didn't just put us on busses like some other river cruises have.

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Crystal Ravel sailing from Vienna to Basel trip starting August 16th-30th has been modified to a much shorter cruise, six days versus 14 days. We are heartbroken as we booked this cruise 1 year ago as a special trip for my parents 70th wedding anniversary, our friends 50th and our 49th. We are working on rescheduling to another cruise now with the TA, but changing the airline tickets 10 months out is a major nightmare and cost prohibitive. We do understand there is nothing Crystal can do about the water level, but it is still very disappointing to us.

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Is this a summer issue or year round? We are scheduled for the Romantic Danube Viking cruise November 2019 and I’m starting to get nervous.

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Crystal Ravel sailing from Vienna to Basel trip starting August 16th-30th has been modified to a much shorter cruise, six days versus 14 days. We are heartbroken as we booked this cruise 1 year ago as a special trip for my parents 70th wedding anniversary, our friends 50th and our 49th. We are working on rescheduling to another cruise now with the TA, but changing the airline tickets 10 months out is a major nightmare and cost prohibitive. We do understand there is nothing Crystal can do about the water level, but it is still very disappointing to us.

 

The Ravel cruise beginning on August 16 is comprised of two sub-cruises: the first part is 6 days (Vienna to Nuremberg) and the second part is 8 days (Nuremberg to Basel), for a total of 14 days. Do you mean to say that the second part has been canceled altogether? What will the ship do for those remaining 8 days? This doesn't make sense.

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Crystal Ravel sailing from Vienna to Basel trip starting August 16th-30th has been modified to a much shorter cruise, six days versus 14 days. We are heartbroken as we booked this cruise 1 year ago as a special trip for my parents 70th wedding anniversary, our friends 50th and our 49th. We are working on rescheduling to another cruise now with the TA, but changing the airline tickets 10 months out is a major nightmare and cost prohibitive. We do understand there is nothing Crystal can do about the water level, but it is still very disappointing to us.

 

Will your trip insurance cover any of the costs?

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The Ravel cruise beginning on August 16 is comprised of two sub-cruises: the first part is 6 days (Vienna to Nuremberg) and the second part is 8 days (Nuremberg to Basel), for a total of 14 days. Do you mean to say that the second part has been canceled altogether? What will the ship do for those remaining 8 days? This doesn't make sense.

 

Yes, per our email notification from Crystal the new disembark is Passau/Vishofen, Germany, on Aug 22. The next part of the cruise was just dropped off our itinerary.

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FunTurtle,

 

 

that is very disappointing. I am sorry to read that. Did you say in another thread that you have cancelled now? Do you know if Crystal is taking people to Nuremberg by coach? But perhaps you might prefer not to think about it...

 

 

Again, sorry, what a disappointment for such a big planned occasion.

 

 

notamermaid

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Will your trip insurance cover any of the costs?

 

We were told that the travel insurance would not cover. Crystal offered up to $1000 per guest reimbursement for amending independent airline arrangements to match new cruise booking if you opted to switch booking to another Crystal River cruise. If you opted to cancel your reservation you would receive 100% refund of all items charged by Crystal. Therefore, you could be out thousands of $ for your airline tickets if they aren't changeable or refundable.

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FunTurtle,

 

 

that is very disappointing. I am sorry to read that. Did you say in another thread that you have cancelled now? Do you know if Crystal is taking people to Nuremberg by coach? But perhaps you might prefer not to think about it...

 

 

Again, sorry, what a disappointment for such a big planned occasion.

 

 

notamermaid

Thank you nota mermaid. The new amended itinerary is after going to Passau, the Ravel goes to Grein, Austria and then returns to Passau/Vishofen, Germany where it disembarks. There was no notification of tours available. Yes, we opted to switch to another cruise in 2019. The difficult part is changing our independent airline tickets. None of this has been easy.

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Is this a summer issue or year round? We are scheduled for the Romantic Danube Viking cruise November 2019 and I’m starting to get nervous.

In the spring the river can flood. The low water level this summer is because of the lack of rainfall and the unusually hot temperatures. Hopefully, the area will get some much needed rain.

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In the spring the river can flood. The low water level this summer is because of the lack of rainfall and the unusually hot temperatures. Hopefully, the area will get some much needed rain.

 

This is not always true. In June 2013 the Danube experienced it's worst ever flooding.

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To further complicate matters, this year's drought phenomenon is (almost) all over Europe and hitting the Elbe and Danube very hard and the Rhine to a lesser extent. Danube and Rhine can often differ in how much they are affected by high or low water. When the Danube flooded badly in June 2013 the Rhine was much less affected (but the river was closed for a bit as well). November is normally an o.k. month on the Rhine with the lower temperatures and more rain beginning to fill the catchment area and the river. The Danube reacts the same way but not necessarily as much or in the same time span.

 

 

notamermaid

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This is not always true. In June 2013 the Danube experienced it's worst ever flooding.

 

You are right! In Early July 2009 we were on AMA Amalegro and the cruise before ours had to be bussed due to flooding on the Danube, and the swift currents.

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Wonder what sort of winter this part of Europe will have after such a hot dry summer?

Thinking of those travelling in December, guess time will tell.

We have had both high and low water interruptions as well as strikes by lock staff when doing European river cruises over the years. We enjoy the style and experience of that mode of travel especially when things go well however.

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We were on the Rhine last week with Viking (Amsterdam to Basel). The river was very low and we apparently came close to having to switch ships. But there ended up just being enough water to pass through the Middle Rhine without incident. The only issue was that we could not dock at their usual pier in Cologne due to low water so they let us off in Vons and bussed us about 1/2 hour to Cologne where there was the included walking tour and the optional tours and free time. They ran shuttle busses throughout the afternoon back to the ship which had relocated since dropping us off to an industrial harbor (Niehle, I think?). It was about 15 minutes from town. The rest of the cruise went on without any problems with water levels (that the passengers knew about, anyway). Thank you Captain Vadim!

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Ryan208,

 

 

good to hear about your successful cruise and I hope you had a great time. Niehl is the "winter" harbour just North of Cologne (a suburban district actually). Docking can be tricky as so many landing stages are at the side or just out of the navigation channel. Several docks in the Middle Rhine valley are also "out of order". This is Niehl harbour: 50.974248, 6.979768 on google maps

 

 

notamermaid

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Friends returned today from Avalon Vista Amsterdam to Budapest cruise that departed July 31. I had asked if they would do it again. Texted answer: "We would. It was an adventure for us . But it was hard for some people. Avalon is giving refunds for the days we were scheduled to be on the river and weren't. They paid for lunches, hotel rooms and meals for those days too."

 

I had warned them early this summer that the cruise could become a bus tour and Avalon had let them know just before they left that they would be bussed from Amsterdam to Cologne. So they were somewhat prepared.

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Friends returned today from Avalon Vista Amsterdam to Budapest cruise that departed July 31. I had asked if they would do it again. Texted answer: "We would. It was an adventure for us . But it was hard for some people. Avalon is giving refunds for the days we were scheduled to be on the river and weren't. They paid for lunches, hotel rooms and meals for those days too."

 

I had warned them early this summer that the cruise could become a bus tour and Avalon had let them know just before they left that they would be bussed from Amsterdam to Cologne. So they were somewhat prepared.

Did your friends mention being bused anywhere else than Amsterdam-to-Cologne? We're booked for the same itinerary starting 9/21, and I'm seeing mentions on other threads about impassable sections on the upper Danube (Regensberg-to-Passau) and the final stretch into Budapest.

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Friend did not mention specific bus journeys but did mention plural coaches and hotels. So apparently more than just to Cologne. From following trip on marine traffic.com I know they did not make it to Budapest on a boat. Bussed from Vienna. Also seems to have been a boat swap at one point. Good luck.

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