The beginning of June found record flood levels in Central Europe, some breaking all levels set more than 500 years ago, resulting in changes and cancelations in river cruise line itineraries. Parts of the Main and Danube rivers have been the most impacted by torrential rain, the Main-Danube Canal in southern Germany was not usable, and officials shut down several locks and prohibited sailing on some stretches of the rivers.
As of the first week of June, Scenic Cruises, which had four ships in dock waiting for the levels to drop, was watching the situation on the Danube closely, and said the Rhine, Main and Main Danube Canal could be navigable again by mid-week. Meanwhile, Scenic capitalized on the luxury coaches of its parent company, Scenic Tours, to transport guests to scheduled excursions and exclusive events.
Viking River Cruises canceled the June 9 Romantic Danube cruise Budapest to Nuremberg onboard Viking Prestige and the June 9 Danube Waltz (Passau to Budapest) aboard Viking Legend. Agents and guests received email notifications, and the company is providing a $500 per person credit toward any future bookings and a chance to rebook or receive a full refund. Agents’ commissions are being protected.
In addition, 16 cruises were altered, with guests transported from arriving airports, whether or not they booked air with Viking, to different ships in locations where they could sail their planned routes, with the exception of calls in some inundated ports such as Passau. In some cases, a hotel night was added for the convenience of passengers. Departing guests were likewise transported to their booked airports.
Tauck canceled the May 30 and June 6 departures of The Blue Danube itinerary; the company will be providing a full refund. For additional cruises that may be affected, the company has provided guests with a choice of remaining with the ship on an altered itinerary or departing early with a full refund. Agent commissions are being protected and some cruises have been able to run according to, or close to, schedule.
Over the first weekend in June, Avalon Waterways made alterations to itineraries and cancelled five departures. Full cruise refunds have been offered along with a discount voucher for a future cruise.
For passengers already sailing, the company worked out solutions from swapping passengers by land to either side of the Main-Danube Canal so that they could continue sailing or partial sailing combined with hotel stays. In virtually all instances the ports, excursions and highlights were experienced by passengers, who also were offered compensation depending on the number of cruising days affected.Commission will be paid on the rebooked cruise or vacation (Avalon has also provided guests the option to book a Monograms, Globus or Cosmos vacation.
AmaWaterways had not canceled any departures but transferred passengers from one ship to another and arranged itinerary changes.