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Christmas Markets and water levels


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I apparently suck at searching these forums.  I apologize if this has been answered many times over.

 

I have always dreamed of visiting the Christmas Markets but due to a medical condition a bus trip is just not possible.  We were on Scenic for 11 days this past August in France for our first ever river cruise and we fell in love with river cruising.  Now that the 2021 itineraries for Christmas markets have been released it is not only just choosing between the Danube or the Rhine, I am wanting to know if river levels have posed any interruptions at this time of year on either river.

 

thanks for any help.  I know nothing is guaranteed but I am just looking for information as I thought the rivers were good in December but reading the water level posts it seems that is not the case.  When I phoned Scenic the reservation agent I spoke to treated me like an idiot when I asked.

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There are two large threads abouts, about the Rhine and Danube,  giving actual uptodate information - including levels.

 

In the past we could say how the river conditions would be in a certain month, but these days all predictions have gone out of the window. Even a crystal ball doesn't help.

 

Some areas that are controlled by locks are less impacted by water levels, these being:

a. Passau - Vienna on the Danube

b. River Main and Main - Danube Canal.

c. River Moselle

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Thank you G.M.T. for your reply.  It helps me understand which part of the rivers to begin to focus.  Yes I have read the two threads but not being an expert on the rivers I found myself failing in comprehension of river gages and how they impacted the cruises as I didn’t know where they were and my screen time is limited to 20 minutes at a time which is very limiting when trying to research.  I tried the search but I was getting anytime Christmas was mentioned on ocean cruises and my 20 minute window evaporated.

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1of4,

I second G.M.T.' s reply. They are the areas to focus on with the least problems. Just to add: while drought would be the main issue these days, flooding can be a problem. There the main problem is low bridges. Over time I have learned that here one of the problems is the bridge in Passau. However, overall flooding is rarer in December. So a good itinerary is Passau to Budapest for that, hoping that the ship docks after the bridge. G.M.T. again can help you with the geography.

 

I find the Main from Nuremberg to Frankfurt (included sailing on the Canal) a great Christmas market itinerary. But the Rhine from Strasbourg to Cologne is great too. But that includes a problem area. A near perfect itinerary for the Rhine is AvalonWaterways' Remich to Amsterdam, Remich being on the Moselle.

 

By the way, your comment about Scenic: was this person trying to hide his non-knowledge? Perhaps you actually knew more than him...

 

On that note, perhaps it might be a good idea to look at other companies. But if you were very happy with Scenic you might like to stay with them of course.

 

Do ask away if you need more info.

 

notamermaid

 

Edited by notamermaid
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I sailed last year November 20th - 30th on the Danube. We were not scheduled to go to Budapest. Due to this, our schedule was less affected but we did have some more bus rides, though nothing too bad. Those ships that went to Budapest had a more difficult time.

 

Our trip was RT Vienna and proved to be one of the better routes and was least affected by flooding.

Edited by Coral
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Coral,

That is a good idea with the round trip Vienna. A lot of European companies offer round trips, although I am not sure which one does the Vienna one. Cologne round trip is a standard one as well. Five nights to seven nights are the norm - one can get shorter ones in winter for the markets. The problem with the Cologne ones is that they incorporate the Rhine Gorge mostly and that is the area with low water problems.

 

Your dates of last year remind me: for best experience of the markets the cruise should start after Sunday of the Dead.

 

Oh, and one should avoid the Elbe, almost pot luck these days with sailing or not sailing.

 

1of4,

Forgot earlier. Perhaps this map is helpful: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2426483-rivers-in-europe-a-map/

 

notamermaid

 

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56 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

Coral,

That is a good idea with the round trip Vienna. A lot of European companies offer round trips, although I am not sure which one does the Vienna one. Cologne round trip is a standard one as well. Five nights to seven nights are the norm - one can get shorter ones in winter for the markets. The problem with the Cologne ones is that they incorporate the Rhine Gorge mostly and that is the area with low water problems.

 

Your dates of last year remind me: for best experience of the markets the cruise should start after Sunday of the Dead.

 

Mine was on Crystal. I chose the dates because it was over American Thanksgiving.

 

We did miss the markets in Germany though hit the ones in Austria and Bratislava. In what felt like every port in Germany, they were opening later that night or the next day after we were there. 

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Thanks very much for all this information!  The maps is exactly what I needed to get my bearings and I will look into Crystal return Vienna sailings.

 

For the record, the Scenic phone number in Canada has a chance to get directed to Boston.  I usually wait until after 5:00 pm Boston time to call then I get a more helpful agent in the Vancouver office.  I do not know what it is about the agents in Boston but they don’t seem to know their product and get a bit foul when you suggest that their information is different than what I have found on line in Canada.

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1 hour ago, Coral said:

Mine was on Crystal. I chose the dates because it was over American Thanksgiving.

 

We did miss the markets in Germany though hit the ones in Austria and Bratislava. In what felt like every port in Germany, they were opening later that night or the next day after we were there. 

 

I think that was a unique itinerary for Crystal Mozart [which of course is no longer in 'their' fleet].  I wondered why no one else copied it, as IMHO Vienna demands much more time than a river cruise port stop (even the 1.5 day 'overnight' stops on a few itineraries).  But I'm sure that Budapest has fans who will say the same...

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4 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

I think that was a unique itinerary for Crystal Mozart [which of course is no longer in 'their' fleet].  I wondered why no one else copied it, as IMHO Vienna demands much more time than a river cruise port stop (even the 1.5 day 'overnight' stops on a few itineraries).  But I'm sure that Budapest has fans who will say the same...


I couldn’t find it so now I know why.  Darn!

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We were on a Uniworld Christmas market cruise in Early December 3 years Ago on the Danube from Budapest to Passau. Throughout late summer and fall the water levels were extremely low so that several of the cruises just prior to ours were cancelled. Ours was the first to run as scheduled after quite a bit of disruption. It was stressful but Uniworld communicated well leading up to the cruise and it turned out fine. I do believe the severity of the water level that late in the season was rare. Was a wonderful cruise. 

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40 minutes ago, papa B me said:

We were on a Uniworld Christmas market cruise in Early December 3 years Ago on the Danube from Budapest to Passau. Throughout late summer and fall the water levels were extremely low so that several of the cruises just prior to ours were cancelled. Ours was the first to run as scheduled after quite a bit of disruption. It was stressful but Uniworld communicated well leading up to the cruise and it turned out fine. I do believe the severity of the water level that late in the season was rare. Was a wonderful cruise. 

It happened again last year.

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