River Cruise lines relieved after rainfall hits Europe

River Cruise lines relieved after rainfall hits Europe

Rainfall in Europe has calmed the nerves of river cruise lines that have been hindered by low-water levels.
Many European river cruise lines were forced to disrupt dozens of sailings in recent weeks due to the low-water levels, caused by the severe heatwave. However, this rainfall has been enough to replenish parts of the most severely affected rivers to suitable water levels for normal sailing operations to resume.

“The rainfall Europe has received in recent weeks has improved the water levels and as a result, Avalon Waterways’ cruises are operating normally,” said Steve Born, chief marketing officer of the Globus family of brands.

“The nature of rivers is to ebb and flow, and we’re thrilled our guests are enjoying their vacations as they were intended.”

Water levels along the Danube and Rhine were so low at points that some river cruise lines began altering itineraries and cancelling cruises. Viking, Uniworld, Amadeus River Cruises, Avalon Waterways, Emerald and Scenic had to cancel or alter their itineraries this summer.

“We had to alter just a handful of cruises,” Born said, adding that by mid-August, three out of seven itineraries sailing the Rhine and Danube required ship swaps and four cruises had to be cancelled. “In the rare instances guests undergo a ship swap, they maintain their ship experience, including stateroom – down to the number – regardless of the ship’s name.”

Guests on some cruise lines were given the option of continuing with altered itineraries, rebooking on different departures or receiving partial or full refunds for unused cruise days. The water-level issues were caused by high temperatures and insufficient rainfall throughout Europe for months. Cruise lines began reporting problems in late July and continued through August.

“It started impacting us notably in July when we could not transfer vessels between the Rhine and Danube, which led to ships ending up in the wrong river,” said Marcus Leskovar, executive vice president of Amadeus River Cruises.

Ellen Bettridge, CEO of Uniworld, said the company’s large fleet size lessened the impact of low water on operations. “In total, we’ve only had to cancel 7 per cent of our cruises that we felt could not be adjusted to our standards and have operated 93 per cent of our European cruises as planned with little to no changes,” Bettridge said.

Ama Waterways said it did not have any cancellations this summer, but it did have to modify some itineraries on the Danube and Rhine rivers.

Featured Image: iStock/serts

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