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notamermaid

Danube water levels 2019 and similar topics - plus tips and info

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Mimosa09,

Thank you for the photo. Yes, that is goldener Oktober in a typical German forest of mixed deciduous trees (with a few conifers thrown in I think). :classic_smile:

 

More mixed weather is coming your way, with rain on and off depending on where you happen to be sailing on the day. But the temperatures will remain mild (15 to 20 Celsius in the afternoons) till the end of the week. More rain will fall along the Rhine than the Danube in the next few days, nevertheless the amount for the Danube should keep the level a good bit over 300cm at Pfelling for the next few days.

 

Enjoy the canal and the Main river towns, as well as the Rhine gorge and cities later.

 

notamermaid

 

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Hello fellow Danube cruisers,

The information on this site is extremely helpful and I am grateful to those that contribute.

 

We booked Scenic aboard the Crystal going from Nuremberg to Budapest 4/9 - 4/15/2020. Pre-cruise 3 days in Prague. Hoping water levels aren't too high in April, so will be watching this topic closely as time draws closer. We were aware spring is a bit of a gamble, but there's no predicting this crazy weather!

 

We were lucky in September 2018, aboard Scenic Jewel on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel. We only missed one port due to LOW water. Many other travelers were impacted to a greater extent.

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Let us have a look at the German Danube this morning on the weather map. Much rain came down yesterday in the upper Rhine valley extending into the region of the upper German Danube, here I mean where river cruise ships cannot sail. Today the clouds have moved westwards giving the Moselle and Vosges mountains much water with some distributed among the Rhine valley. The rain I am afraid to say is reaching the areas that already have enough rain and only smaller amounts fall in the Danube area and her Northern tributaries, but they are still having a good effect. Tomorrow will see the rain subside with very little reaching the Danube at all. Tuesday only small cloudy patches remain over Germany. This is an introduction to warm, sunny and dry weather forecast for the rest of the week - potentially extending into the week after that.

 

Yes, the slightly bad news is coming. Pfelling gauge has been loosing quite a few centimetres and is now at 294cm, the most likely scenario in the forecast are figures staying just above 290cm and reaching to 300cm again with the rain having fallen in the upper reaches (Donaueschingen to Regensburg) coming today and tomorrow.

 

As the week progresses the situation could get "interesting" again between Straubing and Vilshofen, so I shall be back again latest Tuesday.

 

notamermaid

 

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notamermaid - It seems as if low water problems for river cruising on the Danube are more of an issue north of Passau.  We are traveling Passau to Budapest next September.  Is this area less prone to navigation concerns due lack of rain? Thanks for all your posts!

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skinnylegs, you are correct. The problem area is after the Straubing dock/lock downstream to Vilshofen dock/lock before you reach Passau. That is the shallowest part of the Upper and Middle Danube. Going towards the Black Sea, i.e. the Lower Danube, the situation changes again and the river is shallower and wider naturally approaching the mouth in a huge delta.

As the navigation channel is naturally/man-made deeper and the authorities try to maintain it that way Passau to Budapest tends to be more favourable for river cruising. Much of the river on your itinerary is controlled by locks helping with maintaining a decent river level. However some areas, like Budapest are free-flowing. Problems can still arise in Autumn. I cannot give you any more details as I am not so familiar with the Danube past Passau - apart from having sailed it on a return trip.

 

Budapest has an amazing riverscape, loved by thousands upon thousands of river cruisers. But I am sure you will also enjoy the other parts of your journey. Melk Abbey library is stunning beyond words for a book lover like me and I was also impressed by Esztergom (which is not so often visited by North-American river cruisers I believe, so is probably not part of your itinerary).

 

Have a great cruise.

 

notamermaid

 

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A quick note: Pfelling gauge maintaining its level. Currently at 298cm. A slight drop is indicated for tomorrow.

 

notamermaid

 

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47 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

A quick note: Pfelling gauge maintaining its level. Currently at 298cm. A slight drop is indicated for tomorrow.

 

notamermaid

 

Is there any rain forecasted in the areas where the river levels are low? We fly into Budapest on Sunday, 10/27. Leaving on Emerald Star to Amsterdam...

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13 minutes ago, prekteacher1 said:

Is there any rain forecasted in the areas where the river levels are low? We fly into Budapest on Sunday, 10/27. Leaving on Emerald Star to Amsterdam...

Sunny days coming up with little rain. I shall review the situation tomorrow. G.M.T. may and might very happily preempt me...

 

I am off to lunch and talk with boss. Byee.

 

notamermaid

 

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This morning the level at Pfelling is holding. At 298cm it is just minimally down since the slight (unexpected) rise last night. But it is all within the built-in error interval, i.e. the forecast has a most likely figure allowing for the river doing a bit differently from what sophisticated computers and experts can predict.

 

The weather: The forecast has changed a bit for the week. What looked like mostly dry sunny days is now more unsettled, with more rain. Today and tomorrow will be almost completely dry, Thursday and Friday will see patches of drizzle to light rain over parts of the Danube and its tributaries in Germany.

 

At the moment, the level at Pfelling is supposed to stay a good few centimetres above 290cm for 36 hours. That is the most likely scenario.

 

Let us have another quick look tomorrow.

 

notamermaid

 

 

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7 hours ago, notamermaid said:

This morning the level at Pfelling is holding. At 298cm it is just minimally down since the slight (unexpected) rise last night. But it is all within the built-in error interval, i.e. the forecast has a most likely figure allowing for the river doing a bit differently from what sophisticated computers and experts can predict.

 

The weather: The forecast has changed a bit for the week. What looked like mostly dry sunny days is now more unsettled, with more rain. Today and tomorrow will be almost completely dry, Thursday and Friday will see patches of drizzle to light rain over parts of the Danube and its tributaries in Germany.

 

At the moment, the level at Pfelling is supposed to stay a good few centimetres above 290cm for 36 hours. That is the most likely scenario.

 

Let us have another quick look tomorrow.

 

notamermaid

 

 

Thank you for all you reports,  so helpful. 

Is the Main-Danube canal navigable by long boats?

Regards, El 

 

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Yes, the Main Danube Canal is a man-made structure and the level throughout maintained at a certain depth, allowing all river cruise ships* to navigate, with a few exceptions like when ice is a problem and for regular closure (pre-determined times known to the industry/companies), etc. No problem with low water.

 

notamermaid

 

*the oversized AmaMagna and Crystal Mozart excepted

Edited by notamermaid
clarification

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23 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

Yes, the Main Danube Canal is a man-made structure and the level throughout maintained at a certain depth, allowing all river cruise ships* to navigate, with a few exceptions like when ice is a problem and for regular closure (pre-determined times known to the industry/companies), etc. No problem with low water.

 

notamermaid

 

*the oversized AmaMagna and Crystal Mozart excepted

With that being said, do you think the Emerald Star will be able to navigate all the way from Budapest to Amsterdam beginning on Sunday ending on Nov. 10 without having to change ships or be bussed ? 

I know...that probably isn't a fair question.

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I’m leaving Bratislava in the morning heading for Budapest by land. The Danube here in Bratislava looks good to me with quite a few River Ships coming by. I’m staying at the Grand Hotel River Park and this is what the Danube looked like today. 

F3A8F553-E4AB-439C-BCE7-C2F15AE2D78A.jpeg

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I will be boarding Vantage’s River Splendor tomorrow afternoon headed towards Maniz. 
I’m hopeful the levels will stay good. 

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1 hour ago, land of boz said:

I’m leaving Bratislava in the morning heading for Budapest by land. The Danube here in Bratislava looks good to me with quite a few River Ships coming by. I’m staying at the Grand Hotel River Park and this is what the Danube looked like today. 

F3A8F553-E4AB-439C-BCE7-C2F15AE2D78A.jpeg

 

It's beautiful – and your picture even makes it look 'blue'!

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We board the Crystal Mozart in Budapest on October 28 and depart in Vienna on November 4th. Just received an email from Crystal regarding "challenging low water conditions between Budapest and Bratislava". Contingency plan are in place. Not what we wanted to hear. Doing a rain dance. 

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16 hours ago, prekteacher1 said:

With that being said, do you think the Emerald Star will be able to navigate all the way from Budapest to Amsterdam beginning on Sunday ending on Nov. 10 without having to change ships or be bussed ? 

I know...that probably isn't a fair question.

prekteacher1,

At this point in time I would say that there is a good chance that your only problem could be the area around Pfelling. The Canal and the Main are no problem, the Rhine looks promising for some days - and rain is forecast - so what I cannot say is how Passau to Budapest is doing. Have not heard anything major so I assume things are okay. As of Monday the navigation channel in Austria had the all clear. The fluctuation of levels is not as pronounced as at Pfelling an official website tells me, have to take their word for it. I think after last year when on both the threads on the Rhine and Danube we all filled pages upon pages with stories of very low levels, ship swaps and coach trips everyone is understandably concerned. Let me assure you that we are doing much better than last year, even though there have already been ship swaps. In the current situation, your ship being 135m long, rather than the scenario being clear when you arrive in Budapest, a ship swap might be decided at short notice.

 

So, let us look at Pfelling. The gauge is at 305cm. The forecast points downwards and indicates levels of just under 290cm for Thursday. It could get tight for some ships. Let us check the level tomorrow and see what the weather forecast will say.

 

Stop press: Jimmyford51, Thank you for your message. Sorry to hear about the development.

With Crystal Mozart being oversized I do not know how much more water (her draft)  she needs for sailing, so do not know what this means for the standard 135m ships.

 

notamermaid

 

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Don't worry the photos are not the Danube (well at least not yet). They are from Passau's third river the Ilz, about 15 Km up stream from Passau, taken this afternoon, very little water. The blue skies will be with us for the next couple of days with no rain in sight.

 

It is not looking good for Pfelling, although maintaining 10 cm above the critical mark of 290 cm, should start to drop soon.

 

October is certainly going out with a bang, 20°C today.

image.thumb.jpeg.075d6d59a5249428772c123b20b46892.jpeg

image.thumb.jpeg.63c7a106e99e26b8a9ac4da2318652a9.jpeg

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Back from our trip. No water problems. Viking is currently doing ship swaps near the Main Danube canal, passenger posting that Monday. That is the Grand European between Budapest and Amsterdam. They were told they cannot make it through the canal, which I don’t get if water level is regulated. A ship was docked in Passau and passengers bussed there to board and then bussed to Regensburg I believe. Today no one has posted anything else about swaps. It was unseasonably warm for us between Nuremberg, especially farther down to Budapest. Locals said the last five years are bad. Budapest driver said no more white Christmas. Sad for all. 

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Posted on Facebook 6 hours ago that the Viking Egil is making it from Passau to Regensburg but will probably scrape bottom, but the captain will do it. We just got off the Egil on Friday in Budapest and so it went back to Nuremberg. That captain doesn’t mess around! We scraped bottom on the Rhine last year from Basel to Trier.....you do notice it! We need rain!

California residents are getting their power turned off in the dangerous fire areas both north and south as the winds start to blow for fear of power lines causing fires. Crazy weather everywhere. 

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We are currently on the Crystal Mahler, docked in Vienna and on our way to Budapest. Last night we were told that the water level between Bratislava and Budapest is so low that we won’t be able to sail in. 

 

instead, we’ll be bussed to Budapest and put up in a hotel overnight. We’ll have our meals paid for and a certain amount of additional compensation to make up for the disruption in our travel plans. 
 

 

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Mrs. Claypool,

Thank you for your report. Sounds like Crystal are taking good care of you. Yes, it appears the drought is spreading. And no help is coming from the German rain clouds. They are avoiding the Danube.

 

But first

6 hours ago, Wannawander said:

Posted on Facebook 6 hours ago that the Viking Egil is making it from Passau to Regensburg but will probably scrape bottom, but the captain will do it. We just got off the Egil on Friday in Budapest and so it went back to Nuremberg. That captain doesn’t mess around! We scraped bottom on the Rhine last year from Basel to Trier.....you do notice it! We need rain!

California residents are getting their power turned off in the dangerous fire areas both north and south as the winds start to blow for fear of power lines causing fires. Crazy weather everywhere. 

Thank you wannawander. I hope you have had a great time and your mother is in fine fettle. Crazy weather, yes, not easy to keep one's spirits up at times. We on the Rhine are doing okay (touch wood).

 

The Danube in Germany. Pfelling gauge has lost a crucial few centimetres and is now at 284cm. The forecast shows the level going up during the day but no improvement for tomorrow. At best we can probably expect a "fluctuation around 290cm". I think more stressful last minute decisions for or against sailing will be coming up.

 

The weather: apart from a fair amount of rain in and around Munich today - which does not help the Danube at Pfelling - no rain of note (a few drizzly showers here and there are possible) is forecast for the Danube valley before Monday. On Monday a band of rain is supposed to sweep over Southern Germany, also covering Austria. That country looks equally void of rain in the crucial parts for the Danube before then.

 

All in all, an uncertain time for those embarking on a journey on a river cruise ship with a deep draft.

 

A note for those new to Danube cruising. The river authorities in Austria and Hungary are known to have completely prohibited shipping at one point in time in last year's extreme drought. Not sure about Slovakia. The German authorities do not close the river to traffic in drought, the decision lies with those responsible for their ships.

 

notamermaid

 

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Reporting briefly. Pfelling is down to 277cm. Forecast suggests stagnating levels for the rest of the day with little change tomorrow. Weather pattern only minimally changed, with possibly a bit more rain for the upper German Danube on Sunday than previously thought. But that is tentative. What is a bit more definite are lower temperatures coming next week for Bavaria, so if you are starting in Budapest today and have not brought any, you might want to invest in a pair of gloves for that early morning excursion in Passau...

 

notamermaid

 

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On River Aria now. Having a great time. No, not deluxe but great service and nice people. We have been lucky with weather and no interruptions with low water levels. 

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