Most Central European river cruise schedules are back to normal after a brief standstill this month as heavy rain, the worst in decades, saw rivers rising to dangerously high levels.
Worst affected were the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers through Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary with major disruptions along the top-rated cruise route between Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Budapest (Hungary).
As australiancruisingnews.com discovered, cruise companies made huge efforts to ensure their passengers experienced as little inconvenience as possible. In some cases this involved extraordinarily inventive ways to keep the cruise schedules afloat.
Scenic Tours’ organised three “ship swaps” to bypass flooded sections of rivers and enable cruising itineraries to continue. Guests (and their luggage) disembarked from one ship to travel by coach along the flooded section of river to an identical ship at the other end of the swollen part of the river. At the same time guests on that side transferred to accommodation in an identical suite on the other ship. And to ensure continuity, the cruise director changed ships with the guests.
In another instance a Scenic ship was unable to dock in Budapest so it docked at an alternative location and guests were taken by coach to a hotel in Budapest.
Avalon Waterways drew on its sister operator Globus to organise coach tours, hotel accommodation and sight-seeing for affected passengers.
Uniworld River Cruises also canceledl some cruise departures in Central Europe, offering guests full refunds and a $500 future cruise credit.
With most rivers back to normal levels it is now safe for cruise ships to navigate under bridges and through the numerous river locks in Central Europe.