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River Cruise Lines Change Itineraries Due to Low Water Levels

By ,   July 24, 2019 ,   Cruise Industry

The heatwave in Europe hit record-breaking highs, with temperatures up to 41C (Lyon), 33C (Budapest, Hungary) and 33C (in parts of Germany). This resulted in low water levels, with some river cruise lines changing their scheduled itineraries.

It is not the first time that cruisers have experienced such issues over the European summer during the last 2 years, with water levels so low in the middle of 2018, that many lines had to alter routes and bus vacationers from destination to destination.

Port of Budapest (Hungary)

The Danube’s water levels are currently much below normal with extremely low water levels between Budapest and Amsterdam, which is one of the major river routes.

Elbe River (running through Germany) is another popular route for cruise lines including Uniworld and Viking, that is also experiencing low water levels. Viking issued a warning to its guests saying that the Elbe River is experiencing low water levels, and, as "rain is not forecasted in the immediate future, some upcoming sailings will be impacted." 

The Rhine that is not just a major river cruise route but a vital estuary for the European shipping industry, could be shut down again due to low water levels. Water levels at Kaub, a critical chokepoint close to Frankfurt, recorded water levels of only 150 cm. The heaviest barges are operating under tight restrictions and in case the water levels fall below 50 cm, all river cargo could cease as it did in 2018, for the first time in history.