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Low Water Levels Affecting Danube, Rhine River Cruises

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We're supposed to sailing Basel to Amsterdam in 2 weeks with Vantage.  Not looking good right now.  The River Voyager made it to Amsterdam this morning, but looks like rain is needed for it to get back through the gorge.

 

Not looking forward to a bus tour, I hope that if we can't sail for more than 50% of the cruise, we get an option to cancel.  We bought airfare on our own, and I can cobble a trip together last minute.  We have 2 of our daughters meeting us in Brugge at the the end of the cruise, so have too much invested not to go at all. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ural guy said:

We're supposed to sailing Basel to Amsterdam in 2 weeks with Vantage.  Not looking good right now.  The River Voyager made it to Amsterdam this morning, but looks like rain is needed for it to get back through the gorge. 

Myself and neighbors are also on this trip.  Watching for weeks and getting discouraged.   First river trip and do not want a bus trip.   They did my air and I do have insurance cancel for any reason.   I am keeping an eye on it.  But no one on here has discussed any problems with the River Voyager yet???

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I just returned from an Avalon last week from Basil to Amsterdam with Mosel. The first days were bussing only with one night hotel stands and then bussing/commuting for three days from Engers/Koblenz. Then the sailing on the Moselle was perfect! The trip from Koblenz to Amsterdam was dicey. The ship slowed to a crawl at several points north of Dusseldorf. This has been the most stressful of all my cruises.

My experience on the ship was almost perfect. I can speak highly of Avalon.

I love river cruising in Europe, having done 15 of them. At the moment my advice, against the desires of the cruise companies, is that anyone contemplating booking a cruise on the Elbe, Danube, and Rhine would be wise to wait and see what the winter brings in terms of rain and snow. If there is a wet winter, all could be much better. If it is dry the cruises will be difficult.

For those of us who had booked far in advance, there was little choice.

I urge you to be wise before you plunk down your currency to book a cruise on those rivers in the near future.

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1 hour ago, DonnaMW said:

Myself and neighbors are also on this trip.  Watching for weeks and getting discouraged.   First river trip and do not want a bus trip.   They did my air and I do have insurance cancel for any reason.   I am keeping an eye on it.  But no one on here has discussed any problems with the River Voyager yet???

I haven't heard of Vantage having problems on the Rhine yet, I'm just reading the tea leaves.  Typically you don't hear a lot of Vantage news as they just don't have that many customers compared to Viking.  You can track the River Voyager's progress on Marine Tracker.

 

If Vantage did your air, then they will get you to the start point, where ever that may be.  We have been on another cruise of the River Voyager, and had a great time.  Trying to keep positive.  Thought we were 'safe' from water levels at this time of year.  Opps.

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, we were to leave today on the Vantage Voyager out of Amsterdam to Basel on a 14 night cruise. Vantage called us yesterday and said it had to be canceled due to the low water level. It was less than 24 hours before we were supposed to leave. Keep an eye on the weather. It will take a lot of rain to bring the level back up. We are extremely disappointed but what can we do but reschedule. Next fall was our only option to rebook.

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1 hour ago, cruiser747 said:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, we were to leave today on the Vantage Voyager out of Amsterdam to Basel on a 14 night cruise. Vantage called us yesterday and said it had to be canceled due to the low water level. It was less than 24 hours before we were supposed to leave. Keep an eye on the weather. It will take a lot of rain to bring the level back up. We are extremely disappointed but what can we do but reschedule. Next fall was our only option to rebook.

I emailed Vantage last night, Corporate replied that they had no word from the ships crew that they were having any problems.  That sounded way too optimistic to me;  I just wanted to know so I could start making optional plans.

 

I have 3 weeks of leave I have to use by New Year's or I lose it...so I'm going somewhere!

 

What options did you have, refunds or just a credit for a future sailing?  Thanks for update.

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I’m sure they don’t want to scare people into cancelling when they don’t know what will happen rain wise over the next couple of weeks. Also, we booked a last minute cruise to the southern Caribbean that goes out this weekend at a very reduced rate. Although we had to unpack and repack with warm weather clothes that could be a last minute option for you if they cancel yours. I hope they don’t cancel yours.

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2 hours ago, cruiser747 said:

I’m sure they don’t want to scare people into cancelling when they don’t know what will happen rain wise over the next couple of weeks. Also, we booked a last minute cruise to the southern Caribbean that goes out this weekend at a very reduced rate. Although we had to unpack and repack with warm weather clothes that could be a last minute option for you if they cancel yours. I hope they don’t cancel yours.

 

cruiser 747-  Thanks so much for your replies, and glad you were able to roll with the punches.  I would be really happy to just be able to make the cruise, agreed.  I have 2 daughters who were/are meeting us in Brugge at the end of the cruise, when we were on the extension.  Same hotel, same week as the US Thanksgiving, so perfect timing for the college girl....So I have a lot going on, like most people who are in this situation.  Returning after the opening night of Brussels Christmas market.... it'll still be good trip one way or another.

 

Did Vantage offer you the option to rebook on the May sailings, or only the Fall ones?  Thanks again.

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Thanks for the info. I wrote the concierge today and ask if there were any changes in our schedule and the cruise before us. Which is yours 

unfortunately he did not completely answer my questions  . He said we are a go on our schedule and completely ignored my concern for your 2 weeks.  Now I know why

No fuzzy compy feeling for me.  

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14 minutes ago, DonnaMW said:

Thanks for the info. I wrote the concierge today and ask if there were any changes in our schedule and the cruise before us. Which is yours 

unfortunately he did not completely answer my questions  . He said we are a go on our schedule and completely ignored my concern for your 2 weeks.  Now I know why

No fuzzy compy feeling for me.  

Donna- so are you on the 2 November sailing from Basel?  Is it Bogdan that you e-mailed?

 

Looking at the extended forecast, not much rain is forecast, and the soil is so dry...we're flying in 2 days early, so that's 12 days away.  I think Marine Tracker will tell the story in the next few days.

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Received an answer today so just a wait and see thing now

 

"Due to the low water situation, our departure VRM 18/10 was canceled

This doesn't affect our next departures at the moment, as we constantly monitor the water levels on the Rhine river and the weather forecast

Looking forward to meeting you onboard ms River Voyager"

Best Regards,
Svetlyo "Steve" Stoyanov"

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Donna-  Thanks, I'll let you know if the guy I e-mailed has anything different to say.  It does look like some rain is forecast starting next weekend.  Fingers crossed.

 

I guess without passengers, full load of supplies, etc, that would decrease the draft and they might able to make a 'quick' run down from Amsterdam if the rain starts.  I lot of 'ifs' and hope are involved.

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On 10/18/2018 at 8:07 AM, ural guy said:

We're supposed to sailing Basel to Amsterdam in 2 weeks with Vantage.  Not looking good right now.  The River Voyager made it to Amsterdam this morning, but looks like rain is needed for it to get back through the gorge.

 

And we're on the next cruise on River Voyager after yours (Nov 16 departure).  Except our cruise isn't back to Basel, it's to Budapest.  I think it's River Voyager's last full cruise of the season.  So it's not just the Rhine Gorge I'm worrying about.  If your departure gets cancelled, we're certainly toast. 

 

 

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   On 10/18/2018 at 8:07 AM,  ural guy said: 

We're supposed to sailing Basel to Amsterdam in 2 weeks with Vantage.  Not looking good right now.  The River Voyager made it to Amsterdam this morning, but looks like rain is needed for it to get backthrough the gorge.

 

And we're on the next cruise on River Voyager after yours (Nov 16 departure).  Except our cruise isn't back to Basel, it's to Budapest.  I think it's River Voyager's last full cruise of the season.  So it's not just the Rhine Gorge I'm worrying about. If your departure gets cancelled, we're certainly toast. 

 

Well  I see it a little different bad for us.  Why take empty ship. Just stay in Amsterdam and they obviously have to get back to end season in Bucharest.  So just cancel ours.  My neighbors and I are not too optimistic.  I’m in the bottom of ship they have owners suite.  I told her she better be the first notified 

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Watching this post with considerable interest as we too are on the Nov2 departure from Basel. Keeping our fingers crossed. While we certainly wouldn't be pleased to have the cruise cancelled. I think I'd rather have that happen then we spend all of the time on a bus. I could have booked a "land only" trip cheaper than what we are paying for this cruise. Vantage booked our air so we should be OK on that end and we have trip insurance. As for re-booking, it can't be a Fall 2019 cruise as we already have plans next Fall. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next 10 days.

 

If anyone gets a heads up on what is going on, please post here.

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22 hours ago, DonnaMW said:
Well  I see it a little different, bad for us.  Why take empty ship. Just stay in Amsterdam and they obviously have to get back to end season in Bucharest.  So just cancel ours. 

Just got our Vantage "Are you as excited about your upcoming trip as we are about greeting you?" e-mail message
for our November 17 departure on River Voyager.  No hint of possible trouble.  Yeah.

 

I'm inclined to agree with your assessment, Donna.  Even if a "no-pax" transit up the Rhine Gorge would actually work, how likely is it that a fully-loaded transit back north a week or so later would work?  If I'm not mistaken, most of your cruise takes place on the Moselle and north of Koblenz, (i.e., north of the Gorge), so there really isn't an option for Vantage to go as far as Mainz, say, and do the rest of the trip via bus.

 

After our cruise theoretically ends in Budapest, the River Voyager is supposed to start a series of three Budapest/Regensburg "holiday" trips.  But not only are things still problematical on the Danube, how is the ship to get there through the Gorge in the first place?  Maybe, just maybe, Ural guy's notion works by mid Nov, and Vantage can start our eastbound cruise from Mainz instead of Bonn.

   

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We are just back from Vikings Cites of Lights, Prague to Paris. We made it as far as Mainz on the Main River and could not continue on the Rhine and Mosel as planned. Viking arranged a smaller local boat trip with lunch so we were able to do the Rhine Gorge, it was very apparent how low the water levels are, shockingly so in some areas, but still a beautiful trip.  We were bussed to our other planned stops and spent all of the remainder nights on the boat. The worst for us was the very long day to Paris from Mainz, 3 hours to a stop in Luxembourg and another 4 1/2 hours to Paris. There were boats all over just stuck doing bus trips, I am sure it is a nightmare for Viking and other lines to figure out mid trip. Another Viking boat docked next to ours and I spoke to someone who was on their 4th move to a different boat, I am grateful we were at least able to stay on the same one. Everywhere we went the locals were talking about the extreme drought and heat this past summer, and it will take months or longer they say for the rivers to recover, not just one good rain fall. Prior to leaving we were told that we could be affected, the week before the trip went as planned, we were updated daily about the situation and hoped for the best. I think Viking did the best they could, it is a bad situation which I imagine is costing them quite a bit to make last minute changes to the itinerary.  Wishing everyone who has a trip planned good luck...

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On 10/18/2018 at 2:22 PM, cruiser747 said:

Both. We chose future cruise. 

When you say rebook.  Did they offer that next years tour at the price listed or just a credit. Next years prices are considerably higher. 

Could you change time of year if you unfortunately have plans. 

 

Thank you you so much 

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Just returned from Prague last night.  We were scheduled on Uniworld for the October 17th sailing on Beatrice.  We arrived in Budapest on the 12th and got a phone call in the middle of the night that our cruise was completely cancelled, to the water levels and the fact that the ship was unable to make it to Budapest.   Four couples were converging into Budapest for the cruise.  We had called earlier in the week prior to leaving USA and were told that everything was fine.  No worries they stated.  

Eight of us made the best of the situation and spent 4 days in Budapest, then hired a van with a Tauck tour guide (the guides trip had been cancelled too, so fortunate for us we were able to get an excellent tour guide)to drive us to Vienna. We spent four days there and then hired another van and driver that took us to Prague.  During that journey we stopped at a lovely Czech town and then stopped at an outstanding winery.  During the rest of our stay in Prague we drank the 2 cases of Czech wine that we had purchased.  

We couldn't control the water levels and the lack of help that Uniworld did not give, but we made the best of a bad situation.  

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Blizzard56-  Good job rolling with the punches.  Sounds like you still had a pretty good time.

 

We're in same situation; cruise is scheduled to leave Friday, 2 NOV from Basel.  We fly out Tuesday to spend 2 nights in Lucerne pre-cruise.  The boat is still in Amsterdam.

 

Vantage still can't/won't give an answer that the cruise is canceled.  I don't know why, it isn't like the small bit of rain they've had is going to change anything in the next few days.

 

Looking at checking out Portugal, have the first few nights booked, starting Friday, cancel-able until Wednesday.  The intra-Europe flights I've been tracking of course increase in price as we wait.

 

 

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