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Rhine water levels 2021 and similar topics


notamermaid
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20 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

Let's continue.

 

 Option 1

I think so too, potentially, as I am not sure what the rules are for waiting of one train for another. Platform 1 has no escalators, but a lift. Platform 9 is a bit of a distance to walk, you need five minutes from platform to platform with luggage. From what I remember. It is not tight, it just depends on how comfortable you feel with the 12 minutes.

That is the fast regional train, or in short an RE. They are comfortable modern carriages. I do not think choosing first class gives you much extra, a little bit for sure.

 

Option 2

Easy.

The slow train, called an RB. Not sure how comfortable this is, but again I do not think first class adds much.

 

The first part of your journey can be on the Süwex train, the regional one, in option 1. It looks good, really modern, never been on it, photos here, including 360 degrees tour: https://www.suewex.de/wir

Not sure that first class makes much sense here.

 

Option 2 has the ICE in the first part of your journey. I have not been on the modern ICE's, they have been updated in second class, but in general I find second class not so good here and for a long journey I would choose first class. However, you are only travelling from Frankfurt to Koblenz and not at peak time. You may find second class okay.

 

What I will say is that on the ICE you have a bistro with edible food, not brilliant, but not junk either (from what I remember) so you can have a lunch snack there. Do check when booking, there should be an icon for it. As far as I know there is no bistro or snacks to be had on the regional trains. For more info you can contact Süwex through the website. There are snack vending machines in Koblenz station. This is the station: https://www.bahnhof.de/bahnhof-en/Koblenz-Hbf-3809594

 

Flexible against non-flexible fares? Not sure what I would choose. I find the non-flexible long-distance journeys make me nervous. Allowing lots of time helps of course...

 

For more info also have a look at https://www.seat61.com/train-travel-in-germany.htm#Travel tips

 

It's been a while since I have been on a train but I remember all journeys of the past 10 years being fine and comfortable. Apart from the return journey from my river cruise... Long distance (more than three hours) on a Friday? Always first class in future.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

Thank you so much. I’m not ready to book yet, but will think about your information. In terms of food, since I arrive an hour earlier than my sister I can probably pick up lunch at the airport or airport train station for the trip. Until we know what it will take to enter Germany we won’t have a good handle on how long to leave before the first departure. I don’t want to go in without a reservation; the last time I tried that in Amsterdam I ended up with a very expensive first class ticket to Bruges. 

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Just a quick note today. Things are looking better. The Viva Moments has been moved from her winter port on the Rhine to the Moselle as a floating hotel. The Nickovision has left Tolkamer in the Netherlands and is currently sailing upstream in the Middle Rhine Valley, moving to another port, presumably getting closer to the embarkation port of the first sailing. And the Treasures is moored in Koblenz for the first sailing on 3 June - from Koblenz! Exciting. :classic_smile:

 

Not long to go...

 

The sun is shining bright onto an awakening Rhine valley, with temperatures of over 20 Celsius from tomorrow. :classic_smile::classic_smile:

 

Edit: Just seen the footage of the MS Goethe sailing away this morning for the first time this year. Oh it looks good! Last year she did not sail at all.

 

notamermaid

 

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What do you do when not much is happening as regards cultural events, you try to get away from people, the forests and beauty spots are busy with people (trying to get away from people and boredom) and it is a long Whitsun weekend? Exactly, you go to an industrial harbour in a city locked down by coronavirus restrictions...

 

A trip to Cologne ... the harbour... in the district of Niehl

 

part 1

 

Niehl is a district with a large harbour North of Cologne city centre and it so happens that it is not only full of cranes and containers but also full of river cruise ships, as seen on for example marinetraffic:

 

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And that is what I wanted to see.

 

To get to Niehl it makes sense to avoid the city centre and that is what we did. Approach was from Mülheim on the right bank of the river which greets you (the district that is) with its own and let us say different looks from the old town or shopping streets in the city:

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From there you take the bridge to cross the river and - like we were - may be overtaken by a tram:

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And it does not get better when you enter the harbour area. The splendidly mundane and boring grand entrance to the harbour where the luxurious river cruise ships reside in winter (and times of coronavirus):

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So where are the ships? Not here:

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That is the approach to the river from the harbour - a protected habitat for nature. It looked so inviting that we went down the steps to the riverfront:

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We watched the locals fishing and picnicking and saw the other side of Cologne, quite literally you are looking at the river and the other bank with the housing estates of the Northern edge of Mülheim close to Stammheim.

 

From the screenshot of marinetraffic you can see that the ships are in two basins, the larger one being used by the Viking river cruise ships. That was the one I wanted to see but it turned out to be more elusive than expected. The smaller basin was easier to get too. But I will get to that later. First Viking. I finally saw this sign:

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Bingo! What grand view of sleeping river cruise ships will await us?

 

To be revealed in part 2.

 

notamermaid

 

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The big day has arrived! And it is actually happening. The river cruise ships are sailing.

 

The first real sailing on the German and French ports section is an unlikely one. The Swiss Ruby has left Düsseldorf this morning for the Middle Rhine valley on a short "Corpus Christi weekend trip" - the river cruise operator's words. After that the ship will do the regular scheduled cruises from Münster to places like Amsterdam or Berlin.

 

Tonight is the cast-off for the former Tauck-operated ship Treasures, now called Viva Treasures. She will set sail from Koblenz tonight.

 

notamermaid

 

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A trip to Cologne ... the harbour... in the district of Niehl

 

part 2

 

In the harbour area there is much private property that is closed at weekends, shrubs are overgrown and containers obstruct the view. Those are the reasons I could not find the Viking ships at first. But added to that here is the confusing bit. The Viking ships are in the KD dock where the MS Goethe is in winter also. This has historical reasons, i.e. it goes back to when the company Viking Flussreisen started out in Germany. This is the entrance:

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This landing stage has seen better days:

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So where are the ships? Here:

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Unfortunately, this is as close as I could get from the entrance and with the help of the zoom. They are all lined up and waiting for you eager cruisers.

 

Now here is a side note: this is obviously the winter harbour but in 2019 reports came in here on cruisecritic that people have not docked with their Viking ship in Cologne proper but actually docked here and were bused into the city centre. This appears to happen when the landing stages in Cologne are full or not fully accessible due to lower water. I could not see where this landing stage/dock may be in Niehl so this may or may not be the entrance that you will see should this happen on your cruise.

 

Now what about the other basin? We had passed it looking for the Viking ships so knew where to go. And there they were - part of the Amadeus fleet in all their luxury:

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It was an interesting site and if you are as mad as me you wish there was a way of having a tour with a diesel engine and half comfortable carriage along those railway tracks in the harbour. I doubt that will ever be possible (unless I happen to know someone who knows someone) but if one could have a little ship tour like in Hamburg that would be alright as well, wouldn't it? It turns out you can! There is an excursion boat company that offers just that, trips along the harbour(s) of Cologne. Only in German but here it is: https://www.koelntourist.net/hafentouren/grosse-koelner-hafentour

Now there is an idea for my next trip to Cologne...

 

It was time to leave the harbour area in search of some food which I knew would not be that easy on a public holiday with almost all tourism absent and locals mostly at home. But I had done some research on Niehl district and it proved to be very good and valuable info from a Cologne locals website. But more on that in part 3.

 

notamermaid

 

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A trip to Cologne ... the harbour... in the district of Niehl

 

part 3

 

We left the harbour area and returned to the road Boltensternstrasse, from where we had entered. Via Niehler Damm we found our way to the village centre. As you would expect, so far away from the city centre it was quiet, very quiet due to lockdown. The village has retained a bit of character it seems and some old houses remain, but being part of a large city and much industry in the vicinity it feels also weirdly "labour cosmopolitan". However you may feel about this place, Niehl certainly has come a long way from being a small fishing village to being a huge industrial hub. But we were on the lookout for a German bakers, one that mostly makes cakes, very good cakes according to a website, a place we call "Konditorei". Found it, and the cakes were a delight. A cheesecake so light and the sweetness so well balanced, the man deserves mentioning:  Udo Robl, http://www.feinstetorten.de/

Baking as an art form...

But something savoury was needed as well, so as he had no sandwiches on that day, a nearby bakery helped us out there.

 

Harbour and baker had been visited, now it was time to find a place for eating the sandwiches and looking for my third planned sight to see on that day: the Niehler Dömchen. Dömchen is the diminutive of Dom in German, so this is a very old small church. Luckily it was (sort of) at the end of the street! And with spaces to park right next to it and this being right at the river, it became a splendid opportunity to enjoy our food, which was actually German rolls and not English sandwiches. Our spot at the river:

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Looking upstream towards the city centre with the Rhine coming from the left and the Niehl harbour ship entrance on the right.

 

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Looking downstream, with the Ford car factory spanning almost the entire length of the left bank in this photo.

 

And across from this spot is the "Niehler Dömchen", the church called Alt St. Katharina: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alt_St._Katharina_(Köln-Niehl)

Our view:

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Unfortunately it was closed, so we could only admire the info panel:

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While we were admiring the Rhine scenery we had several cyclists passing us on the tree-lined path. It looks a nice area for rides and you can stop along the way and read the info provided. Here is the post that was standing close to us:

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This one, as you would expect, highlights the fishing village Niehl and its former ferry connection. Now here is a coincidence: shortly after visiting Niehl I read in the Cologne news that enthusiasts want to reestablish the Niehl ferry!

 

It was time to head back. This was a trip to a side of Cologne I had never seen before and it was certainly different from the usual Sunday trips. So literally off the beaten tourist path but interesting. I think I will explore more of that area...

 

But next will hopefully be that long overdue ferry crossing further upstream.

 

notamermaid

 

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It is slow, but ships are beginning to sail.

 

I have mentioned the Swiss Ruby and the Viva Treasures. Today (online) I see the MS Esprit sailing on the Main river. The Viking Ve left the harbour at Cologne a few days ago (repositioning?) and yesterday the Viking Baldur started sailing upstream. The nickoSpirit and the nickoVision are both sailing today on proper itineraries. The Swiss Tiara is also no longer in home port.

 

While hygiene protocols and continued restrictions are in place, these are not yet river cruises as we know them but it is a start that gives hope for later in the Summer.

 

Locals and tourists from the region are out and about, making places feel quite busy again. A good sight.

 

The weather is splendid, could reach 30 degrees Celsius in places soon and the river level is good for sailing albeit a bit high in the Upper Rhine valley. No cruising or excursion boat trip for me yet - too busy - but...

 

Beer garden, here I come! 🍻 :classic_smile:

 

notamermaid

 

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I have done my first beer garden visit, it was fun and not busy, especially as I was somewhere off the beaten track.

 

So how are things here? The infection rate along the Rhine valley in Germany is going down, not sure what the rules are for crossing the borders on a river cruise. Day trips for individuals work with negative tests but I  do not know any details of who is allowed to cross where. River cruising is returning as states now allow group travel, details vary. They are too numerous to follow and keep up with. For those coming from outside of the EU things will improve as well, but UK citizens will still have a hard time getting into Germany. From the end of June, US citizens are allowed into Switzerland, so a river cruise from Basel is then a possibility for them. The Rhine is an international river, but the regulations for stepping onto land prove tricky right now.

 

Hygiene rules as laid out by the IG River Cruise together with the regulations and laws of the countries along the river will have to be followed. Right now, this also means a maximum occupancy of 80 percent on ships to ensure physical distancing.

 

What has the pandemic done to towns along the river you may wonder, what impact has it had on ship docking? Here is a German report from Speyer: https://www.rheinpfalz.de/lokal/speyer_artikel,-unsicherheiten-beim-kreuzfahrt-tourismus-_arid,5213422.html

Some info from it:

Uncertainties remain...

2019 saw 460 dockings ,2020 only 90. In 2021 there have been five so far. "We are not euphoric", a spokesperson is quoted. It will depend on how many restrictions are lifted in places other than Rhineland-Palatinate.

 

Since the publishing date of this article, we have received the news about Switzerland opening up. I am sure it will have further lifted the mood in Speyer.

 

notamermaid

 

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We have had a first heatwave and the end of it was quite violent, with lightning illuminating the night sky to daylight level and hailstorm of a rather unpleasant hailstones size. Quite a bit of damage in forests and one railway line near Karlsruhe lost power. It has cooled down now.

 

As a result, Lake Constance is well filled with water. The level at Maxau in the Upper Rhine valley has risen to 619cm, which means it is one centimetre below official navigation marker I. At 620cm, river traffic has to slow down. The river is forecast to rise but right now it does not look to reach official flooding status.

 

Kaub is at 271cm and Koblenz at 255cm. That is very pleasant for sailing and gives us confidence that we will not see low water on the Rhine for some time.

 

notamermaid

 

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question for all you German cruisers.  Which month is better for cruising the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.  July or August?  Thanks.  I would choose May but it may be a little cold.  Cold to me is having to wear a jacket everywhere because it's in the high 50's.  I am looking for temps in the mid 70's during the day to mids 60's at night.  Thanks

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July or August, hmm, not sure. It can vary a bit and July and August do not differ that much. Right now, nights in the valley are around 12 to 18 Celsius and day 18 to 26 Celsius. This will go up again. May is perhaps really a little cool for you, but the temperatures can be as they are now. It varies. So come July, we very often have night temperatures 14 to 20 and day temperatures 22 to 30. August is similar, it really depends on the prevailing weather pattern. Remember that on the Rhine you go through areas with different weather, so that it will vary. Breisach to Cologne tends to be warmer than further North and West. The Moselle is very similar to the Rhine, with Trier often among the highest temperatures along both the Rhine and Moselle. The nights tend to get cooler towards the end of August and you notice the reduced daylight available compared to July. For potentially balmy long evenings I would choose a start date no later than 10 August. If you have time to choose an itinerary you could follow the temperatures in the next few weeks. Accuweather for example: https://www.accuweather.com/

 

Put in two towns along the itinerary, say Strasbourg and Cologne and change the setting to daily for the forecast. Or, if you have the time, look at the actual figures everyday.

 

There is also a lower risk of low water in July than in August, but the risk is small in both months anyway compared to September and October.

 

notamermaid

 

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2 hours ago, AF-1 said:

question for all you German cruisers.  Which month is better for cruising the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.  July or August?  Thanks.  I would choose May but it may be a little cold.  Cold to me is having to wear a jacket everywhere because it's in the high 50's.  I am looking for temps in the mid 70's during the day to mids 60's at night.  Thanks

I would think that if you are looking for mid 70s (77 is 25 celsius) then you might find both July and August can be too hot for you, especially in these days of global warming. @notamermaidhas commented on temperatures as high as 30 (86 fahrenheit) through some of June, and we hadn't yet hit actual summer.

 

(As someone who also has a fairly narrow range of comfortable temperatures, I think your ranges might be unreasonable; personally, I would much rather go a bit cooler, because I hate touring in the heat, but I'm not you.)

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I would suggest that all the maritime crews will be extra busy, ships don’t like sitting around doing nothing things go wrong in them for what would seem no apparent reason. So when you get to your cabin check every thing. I’m not scaremongering think about it apart from the really technical bits open your wardrobe door that has sat closed and not moving for over a year. When a ship moves everything on it moves it’s not done that for a long time. 
Other than that have wonderful cruises. CA

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Thank you everyone for your feedback on the weather.  We are trying to take advantage of a Ama Waterways 5% discount;  we have to book by next Friday Jun 30th.  We think we will choose the 8 July 2023 sailing.  This is a makeup cruise from 2020.  It is already paid for and AMA gave us 110% extra if we didn't receive a refund.  Since the price of sailings has gone up around $500 per person the extra 110% will help cover that so we still shouldn't have to pay anything extra to take this cruise.  Thanks again for the feedback.  Have a great day and remember; Everyday on Earth is a Blessing.

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@AF-1 Sounds like you have made a decision. I was about to ask why you excluded June in your question about the weather. 8 July sounds good, not sure when school holidays will be in that year but it should not have much of an impact on the places you will visit. It is a long time away, but that of course gives you a lot of time to look forward to it. We say "Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude", not always true but you will have a lot of "pre-joy" till the actual joy of being on the river. ☺️ 

 

notamermaid

 

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43 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

@AF-1 Sounds like you have made a decision. I was about to ask why you excluded June in your question about the weather. 8 July sounds good, not sure when school holidays will be in that year but it should not have much of an impact on the places you will visit. It is a long time away, but that of course gives you a lot of time to look forward to it. We say "Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude", not always true but you will have a lot of "pre-joy" till the actual joy of being on the river. ☺️ 

 

notamermaid

 

They did not offer the 10 night cruise in Jun 2023

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Today is the perfect day for continuing to discuss the weather along the Rhine as it is Siebenschläfertag. This is a lore of the peasants that this day predicts the weather for the next seven weeks. So today it has been warm, dry and humid. In Mannheim it has been 29.1 Celsius for example. Here is the explanation for Siebenschläfertag and its real original story; https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sleepers'_Day

 

The river level did rise to official flooding level at Maxau but today has fallen again to now 634cm. With much rain forecast, it is likely to rise well, probably 700cm on Wednesday. That is quite high for the end of June but is also good for a Summer without low river levels.

 

notamermaid

 

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Three things in brief:

 

1. A mishap that may cost up to half a million euros: a tanker hit the landing stage of the Namedy Geyser boat a few days ago. Nobody harmed, tanker in harbour for inspection and landing stage sunk. No access to geyser for visitors for several weeks probably. Much annoyance in Andernach as the attraction only reopened about three weeks ago.

 

2. marinetraffic has reduced the terrestrial signal coverage so I cannot even spot ships in Koblenz anymore.

 

3. The webcam onboard the MS Goethe is back in action! http://webtv.feratel.com/webtv/?cam=3301&design=v3&c0=0&c2=1&lg=de&s=0

 

notamermaid

 

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Torrential rain has caused much damage in parts of Germany, Stuttgart in the Neckar valley and Bavaria were hit particularly hard: https://news.sky.com/story/storms-in-germany-blow-roof-off-opera-house-and-flood-stage-as-people-sit-inside-12344638 

 

It is still windy here and it has cooled down a lot. The weather is a little extreme for us by comparison to other parts of the world. We know weather extremes, but they seem to get a bit more frequent and have a bit more edge than they used to.

 

Around where I live it was bad last night but not that extreme. Nevertheless a very dear person told me: "need to phone the roofer, leaking in through the roof, too much to just put a bucket under".

 

As a result of all the rain, the Rhine is well filled with water and much more will now be coming from the big tributary, the Neckar river.

 

Maxau has moved to official flooding level, now at 676cm. No river traffic suspension is imminent, it is not forecast to rise that much.

 

The level at Kaub, notorious for low water in Autumn, is at "pre-flooding", 356cm. A rise to the official flooding mark I is not expected in the next 36 hours.

 

notamermaid

 

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Maxau peaked at 716cm yesterday. Now back under 700cm, the level will drop further but rain is forecast already for Sunday. And more is due next week. So a rise is inevitable. More and more river cruise ships have left their winter harbours and are sailing, if not on itineraries yet then sailing for positioning for picking up their first passengers this year. Will flooding put a spanner in the works for the cruises? We cannot rule it out yet. Currently sailing upstream will not slow ships down much, but being on slow traffic regulations certainly means a much longer journey going downstream than you normally need to plan into your itinerary.

 

The creepy weird bit is that the passage I have written above, I would normally write in late March, not July. What a strange year - and second one in row.

 

notamermaid

 

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A band of rain is sweeping over the West of Germany today and tomorrow, it is bringing much rain with it and will continue East. The clouds will stay in what is the High Rhine for longer which will feed well Lake Constance and the Upper Rhine valley till the end of the week. As the level in the Upper Rhine valley is still relatively high, the level at Maxau is forecast to rise to over 700cm and the risk of a river traffic ban on Friday or Saturday is here.

 

notamermaid

 

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The level at Maxau is rising fast, now at 704cm. A level of over 750cm is forecast for tomorrow, so a closure to ship traffic is imminent.

 

Going back 1800 years in time (give or take a century) we find the Romans established along the river. Deutsche Welle has explored the border called Limes: https://m.dw.com/en/on-the-ancient-roman-trail/av-58212725

 

notamermaid

 

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As predicted, river traffic in the Upper Rhine valley - the stretch Maxau station is the marker for - has been halted. The level is at 769cm now. It is likely to fall during the night so the ban may well be lifted tomorrow. If it is, it may not be for long as current forecast shows another rise after heavy rain. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

 

The Middle Rhine valley is not affected by the ban although the river is of course high there as well.

 

notamermaid

 

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