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notamermaid

Rhine water levels 2020 and similar topics

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Greetings from the Rhine valley. Here is the thread for 2020 for everything related to the water levels of the Rhine and bits of information on the river.

 

The last few ships are making their way to the winter harbours and then it will be quiet on the river - actually it never is! The Rhine being the busiest waterway in Europe, barges and tankers constantly sail. But the river cruise ships and their crews will have a good rest til mid-March.

 

Nevertheless do join in with your comments and tips in this quiet time. Perhaps you are looking forward to your first river cruise, or your second, or your third...

 

From March let us look at the river levels and if you are sailing on the river at any given time your reports from your cruise are much appreciated (do not let yourself be distracted from the scenery though!).

 

Where ever your trips may take you this year - safe travels.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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We are traveling for the first time on your wonderful river and are as excited as can be!!!

We leave in November and we are hoping most of the Christmas Markets are open.

Please keep us posted on anything Rhine!!!

Thank You

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43 minutes ago, King of Cruising said:

We are traveling for the first time on your wonderful river and are as excited as can be!!!

We leave in November and we are hoping most of the Christmas Markets are open.

Please keep us posted on anything Rhine!!!

Thank You

I hope you are going late in November, otherwise you aren't likely to see many markets.

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1 hour ago, King of Cruising said:

November 21 Leaving from Amsterdam.

I would check the dates of the markets in the towns you stop at, particularly at the beginning of the trip. I think that you are too early for many locations.

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Posted (edited)

@gnome12

It is indeed a bit tight, i.e. early but most places should work.

@King of Cruising

Nice to read you are getting all excited with your cruise being still so far away. 😀 But as we all know the time to pack will be here before you know it.

November 21 Leaving from Amsterdam, hmm, let me see. I do not know what Amsterdam does, but Cologne is most likely to stick to the tradition (in Germany) of the Christmas markets opening after Sunday of the Dead (the last Sunday in November). In 2019 that was 24th November and the markets in the city opened on 25th November. This year Sunday of the Dead is 22 November. The harbour market in Cologne opened on 22nd November. So for 2020 this could look good for you with that market at least, well perhaps. If you go straight from Amsterdam to Cologne you will find shops and markets all closed on Sunday 22 November - there is a chance that you can find a market that is open from 6pm to 9pm - that is the time allowed by law, but do not rely on it. Shops are normally closed - very few will be exempt from that rule. If you stop in Kinderdijk you will hit Cologne on the Monday - great! Well not quite - the big market at the Dom might or might not open early - some of these places have a ceremony in place that opens the market when it gets dark in the afternoon!

 

By the time you reach Koblenz you should be fine.

 

To check this closer to the date, here is the website of Cologne: https://www.cologne.de/events/christmas-markets

 

Have fun planning.

 

notamermaid

 

Edited by notamermaid
missing words

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You might be looking forward to your cruise in 2020, perhaps in Spring for the tulips or in Summer, or in Autumn hoping for some great colours in the forests and vineyards along the way, or indeed - like King of Cruising - sailing in winter to see the Christmas markets.

 

I am enjoying the last official day of Christmas time. It is Epiphany and the Three Wise Men figures have arrived at my nativity scene. It is a wooden hut and the figures have been with my family for as long as I can remember. The three figures used to do a lot of travelling in our flat to finally find the baby Jesus on 6 January!

 

The star singers have been in town collecting money for charity. And this is how people around the world celebrate this day: https://www.dw.com/en/in-pictures-how-people-celebrate-january-6-around-the-world/g-51901380

 

notamermaid

 

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Thank you for sharing, Notamermaid! It is wonderful to see how the world celebrates this day!

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I am planning to film and photo my butt off while in Europe.

Will be putting together a post of the wonderful world of river cruising.

I am willing to bet, this will be the best cruise ever and I want to share it so others can see what it is like...

There is really nothing out there and I think there should be!!!

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3 hours ago, King of Cruising said:

I am planning to film and photo my butt off while in Europe.

Will be putting together a post of the wonderful world of river cruising.

I am willing to bet, this will be the best cruise ever and I want to share it so others can see what it is like...

There is really nothing out there and I think there should be!!!

 

I to am someone who takes a lot of pics... I think we came home with well over 3000 for our cruise.  I had a micro sd card/day (and some spares) so I wouldn't have to worry about running out.  May I suggest you look for the gentle walker groups.....we found it much easier to take pics on them than the others, as the guides actually talked while walking instead of rushing you from one spot to another.  We ended up having a couple of shutterbugs in our group once word got around...spouses kept an eye on the guides while we snapped to our heart content!

 

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Notamermaid — Happy New Year and thank you so much for all your reports! Sailing  on our very first river cruise - Crystal Bach - Amsterdam to Basel, June 21 - and happy to report on conditions at that time! Also any advice you have on destinations much appreciated as it’s our first time in the region.

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Thank you Allison James. Have a great year, too. Amsterdam to Basel, for the best information on things to do and what to expect on your cruise my advice is join a roll call - or start one if there isn't one for the itinerary yet. Usually, people join together in a roll call for a route rather than an individual sailing as it is unlikely that someone on your sailing uses cruisecritic. But it has happened! Also recommended are the stickies on top of this page by our host jazzbeau.

 

I myself have actually never been to Amsterdam, Mannheim and Strasbourg - some of the ports on your itinerary. I had a look at your port excursions and there is certainly a wide range for different interests and wallets. From Koblenz I would take the excursion to Eltz castle on the Moselle. It is not offered much on river cruise itineraries - Reichsburg castle in Cochem is the standard one - and is definitely amazing. In Mannheim I would be spoiled for choice, the Baroque Palace is amazing on photos, Heidelberg speaks for itself and Schwetzingen gardens I have only heard good things about. I must say, the Alsace village excursion seems over the top as regards money. Forgetting the vintage car you can most likely get a similar experience with a private booking of a car for much less than what Crystal charges (you might not get the foie gras, but not sure if that is such a big deal). I would just go in a car to Andlau or Barr, have lunch, sample some wine and return to Strasbourg. But then, Strasbourg is likely to fill your time and you might not miss seeing the countryside. Do try the Flammkoche or the Kouglehopf.

 

Well, whatever your excursions I am sure Crystal will pamper you onboard with their excellent service. Have fun.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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Thanks notamermaid for your info about Sunday of the Dead. Those dates are crucial for anyone planning a Christmas Market cruise. (I’m looking for a deal I can’t afford to miss!)

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Thanks also for mentioning the early markets this year, it prompted me to look up Colmar.  They have posted that they open 20 November this year (2020).  This works our great for those working stiffs in the US as we can combine a Thanksgiving off with a very slow week, makes it easy to get the vacation days.

 

Strasbourg hasn't updated their list.  I'm not looking at doing a cruise, but cheap airfare to Lyon would make this a nice public transportation trip.

 

https://www.christmas.alsace/colmar-christmas-market/

Edited by ural guy
to add link, Jazz if you could please delete first post.

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Ural guy,

Thank you for the tip with Colmar. It is such an interesting town. Also, nothing is mentioned on the website about a Sunday closure on 22nd November - which makes sense as Sunday of the Dead, or to give it its official title Ewigkeitssonntag, is considered a Protestant church day. France does have shop closures on Sunday but in a tourist town like Colmar I cannot say how much that is observed, i.e. which shops stick to it.

 

Went on a short trip to Alsace last year, not Colmar but some wine villages. I would love to go to Selestat next, to see the library. But I would not mind finally going to Strasbourg this year or to Colmar again.

 

notamermaid

 

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Thinking all river cruise ships are tied up in harbours I was a little surprised to spot the Vista Star still making her way upstream. marinetraffic.com gives her destination as Enns on the Danube, so she will still have quite a bit of a journey before she can rest. The Vista Star sails for the German company 1Avista Reisen. So where do the ships dock on the Rhine in winter? Last year I mentioned Cologne Niehl harbour which is again busy this year, of course. A cluster of Vikings is moored there, together with many others. I counted 18 Viking, some of the Amadeus, some of the Scenic fleet, the Emeralds and within the grand lot of modern ships: the elegant MS Goethe! Cologne Mülheim is also a winter home for a few ships. So where are the Avalon ships? By chance I spotted one the other day going North with destination Lelystad. They are docked in this harbour on the Markermeer East Northeast of Amsterdam. You can also see others docked at Arnhem. What about CroisiEurope? They are somewhat the odd ones out as they dock in their home harbour happily together in Strasbourg where the company is based, currently I count six so some are underway or elsewhere. The Danube is winter home for many more ships of course and a few are scattered around in docks along the Rhine's tributaries.

 

I do wonder if the winter harbours are getting full? After all, this season will see yet more ships on the Rhine. First christening of the season on the Rhine I think is the MS Andrea II for Phoenix Reisen. Her big day will be the 27 March in Bonn. As that would be a day trip for me I am contemplating going to see it... Shortly after that the Vista Sky and then the nickoSpirit will be christened, both in Cologne.

 

By the way, the next new Viking ships Viking Gersemi and Viking Hervor are already signalling in Rostock but I cannot find a date for their deployment on the Rhine.

 

And then there is the Amadeus Imperial.

 

And then there is...

 

Etc. ...

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

 

 

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I am getting excited; this thread will be useful.  We are sailing on our first river cruise in May.  Ama Stella. Basel-Amsterdam. We have two nights pre cruise in Zurich and two nights in Lucerne.  Look forward to a new experience.  Cheers

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First...thanks notamermaid for the informative information you provide! As a river cruise junkie it is great to get all your updates here. Now that 2020 is here, looking forward to another cruise in October, this time starting in Nuremberg and ending in Remich with Avalon. My wife and I have done a section of the Danube in 2017, and the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basil this past April. Love the service and accommodations on the boats while seeing so much beauty throughout Europe. We have met new friends along the way to the point we are all meeting up again for the October trip. 

I will be watching your posts throughout this year paying special attention to the levels at Kaub. Seems like that is the “pinch point” when levels are low. I hope if we can make that, then clear sailing to and on the Moselle. Prost! And to a good year ahead!

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Hello Steerage Club,

welcome to CruiseCritic. An experienced river cruiser joining us here! Usual procedure for us is to recommend our host jazzbeau's stickies at the top of this page, but no need to do that for you. Still, they are interesting and fun to read. :classic_smile: You even know about Kaub, the problem area. To be precise - also for others reading - Kaub is the gauge station that is in the Rhine gorge, near this lovely edifice: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pfalzgrafenstein_Castle#/media/File:Burg_Pfalzgrafenstein_2017.jpg

Taken from the English wikipedia page.

Kaub is the marker for low water levels in the area and shows most clearly the conditions for a stretch of river of roughly 50 kilometres. Annoyingly short but crucial for all traffic between Rotterdam (Amsterdam for river cruisers) and Basel, or Amsterdam to Budapest for river cruisers, well, for them the level at Pfelling on the Danube is the next worry.

 

And Prost to you, have a good year. With perfect weather around your home and a good amount of rain in September on the Rhine.

 

notamermaid

 

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If you had been on a river cruise in the Rhine valley yesterday you could have done unusual sightseeing from the river as you would have seen - nothing. Well literally almost as there was dense fog in some parts. In Cologne visibility was down to a few metres near the river bank and the Cathedral half disappeared into the fog. According to a local newspaper you could not see the ships on the Rhine. Well, it was similar where I live.

 

But Cologne was also in the news for something else yesterday - another WWII bomb. On the right bank a bomb was disposed of. Unusually only 15 people had to leave their homes but thousands of workers their offices. It is a more commercial area, with the headquarters of RTL television station also affected. It seriously disrupted train traffic and traffic on the river was halted. Everything went well. Here is a short report: https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/river-traffic-at-cologne-interrupted-for-wwii-bomb-disposal 

 

Today my part of the valley is covered with the first sprinkling of white this winter. Snow! After the initial excitement the question is always "will it stay on the ground?" As my errands today will all be on foot I would like it to stay. For cars in the higher hills it could be awkward but down in the valley it will not cause any disruption as it is too little snow still.

 

While I am enjoying the snow, others are looking ahead to warmer days when they can sail the Rhine on their own boat or yacht. Perhaps on a brand new one! If you have a bit of money to spare "Die Boot" is the place to go. It is a big fair currently on in Düsseldorf.

 

notamermaid

 

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Fog, WWII bomb remnants, thank goodness it’s not cruising season! Thinking of cruising and spring, many posts talk about Christmas markets, but I have to mention the not so publicized Easter Markets which I stumbled upon on our April 2019 cruise up the Rhine. Depending on your cruise company’s itinerary you might be able to experience one. On Avalon when the boat is docked in Breisach, Germany, you have the option of an all day excursion to the Black Forest or a half day to Colmar. My wife and I along with our friends chose the 1/2 day to Colmar instead of the long bus ride to the Black Forest. Colmar is gorgeous and the Easter market was really special with all the decorations. Would say Colmar was my favorite town on the trip. Easter falls on April 12 this year so if your cruise falls before that, consider that excursion if available. Also it left us the afternoon to explore the German countryside around Breisach via the bikes that are available onboard. Having the opportunity to get off the beaten path and explore is a great experience.

 

Steerage Club

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Barely 48 hours after the first another bomb was found in Cologne (that is unusual), this time in the suburb of Lindenthal which is West of the city. Therefore the Rhine was not affected but the fact that the university hospitals where in the evacuation zone made things a little complicated. Everything went well.

 

Meanwhile a ship christening has happened which did not make international news as it happened during the "Boot" fair but it made the police happy: the water police people. The "WSP12" which basically means Wasserschutzpolizei(boot) Nr.12 will have her home harbour in Duisburg. A few technical facts for the police patrol boat: 17m long, 50km per hour fast, equipped with infrared camera, i.e. thermal imaging, and sonar. If you think 50km is fast you are right, river cruise ships for example manage hardly more than 25km and that is downstream.

 

notamermaid

 

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Looking forward to our first river cruise on the new Viking Gersemi, Basel to Amsterdam on July 9. Hoping for optimal water conditions for everyone this year!

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On 1/22/2020 at 9:46 PM, Steerage Club said:

On Avalon when the boat is docked in Breisach, Germany, you have the option of an all day excursion to the Black Forest or a half day to Colmar. My wife and I along with our friends chose the 1/2 day to Colmar instead of the long bus ride to the Black Forest. Colmar is gorgeous and the Easter market was really special with all the decorations.

Thank you for bringing the Easter markets to our attention. Last year I went to Alsace a bit before Easter and was delighted with all the decorations they had. Here is a roundabout adorned with Easter lambs. Not the best photo, but you get the idea. This is just outside Ribeauvillé: 1984881227_DSCN2081-Kopie.thumb.JPG.0ec24f906f86b4a2477a3117272bca4c.JPG

 

The Easter markets at Colmar are part of the Spring festival: https://printemps-colmar.com/fr/

 

notamermaid

 

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