River cruisers heading to Europe could face unexpected cancellations and delays due to unpredictable weather conditions in the region, causing rising waters and flooding in affected areas.

This comes after Australians were reportedly amongst 140 passengers forced to evacuate a Tui Isla river ship on the weekend after it ran into trouble on the Danube following heavy rainfall and flooding.

According to TTG, local media reported Tui passengers were evacuated last week in groups of between 25 and 30 people using a repurposed work boat, but there were no damages to the river ship. 

Meanwhile, the InQueensland reported the mostly elderly tourists from Australia, UK and America were taken to Munich airport to begin their journey home earlier than expected.

Following the unexpected weather conditions in the region, a number of river cruise lines have updated their travel advisory pages on their websites. 

APT updates travel advisory

gi a eu new ship render exterior solara budapest studiopiper supplied web 16 9

APT stated today the group is aware of the high water levels impacting the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.

“All of our future trips will go ahead as scheduled. The situation is being monitored closely, and APT and Travelmarvel will continue to keep guests informed with regular updates,” APT stated on its website.

“If you are travelling on a cruise with us over the next 2 weeks please check the Port Details for any updated embarkation details and refer to emails that we have sent you.”

Viking outlines key advantages

River Cruise Viking

Viking has also updated its travel advisory for sailings across European rivers, stating the high water levels are being monitored by its Switzerland-based nautical team, and any necessary adjustments to accommodate conditions will be made accordingly. Guests and travel advisors will be notified directly if their itinerary is impacted. 

“Viking has two key advantages with regard to handling water level disruptions. First, we own and operate our ships. We have a Switzerland-based nautical team and a network of local partners and authorities that are focused on monitoring and adapting to current water levels to ensure our guests experience the least possible disruption,” Viking stated.

“Second, we strategically launch sister ships on the same itinerary, but sailing in opposite directions. In the event of high (or low) water, this tactic allows us to implement a ship swap that is typically seamless for guests – both they and their luggage are able to be transferred to their exact, identical stateroom on a sister ship that was purposefully sailing on the other half of the river in preparation for such a disruption.”

“These advantages allow us to minimize the impact that water levels can have on itinerary, which means our guests are better able to focus on enjoying themselves and having a great journey, rather than worrying about potential changes or cancellations.”

Uniworld reassures guests

Looking at Budapest as the sun sets

Uniworld are also said to be monitoring the situation and stated it is “communicating with impacted guests and their travel advisors as soon as changes to the embarkation point, sailing schedule, and/or tours are known and confirmed; with solutions being determined on a case-by-case basis”.

“Due to the changing nature of the situation, we are not always able to provide specific details in advance. Be assured that our operations team is working diligently to provide guests with alternatives that meet Uniworld’s strict standards for quality and service,” the company stated.

Scenic outlines ‘constant state of flux’

SCER Scenic Jewel AMBA 001

Scenic has taken a more straight-forward approach, with a Travel Assurance page stagnant on their website ready to answer guests’ queries.

The company states that “with any other element of Mother Nature, rivers have personalities of their own. Our state-of-the-art Scenic Space-Ships are designed to convert easily to slide under all kinds of bridges. While we make every effort to plan our trips to the last degree, some days the water levels simply don’t co-operate. This leads to lock closures or difficulties passing under historic and often low-slung bridges when water levels are either too high or too low”.

“Our local offices throughout Europe monitor levels closely to handle all navigation issues in a timely and efficient manner to minimise disruptions.”

Travellers booked on a European river cruise in the next two weeks should contact their travel advisor or the river cruise company if they have any concerns about their upcoming travels.