Water Levels On The Rhine Cancel Sailings

by Daniel McCarthy

The Rhine near Mainz, Germany. Photo: Wolfgang Pehlemann Wiesbaden Germany.

Heavy rainfall in southern Germany have closed the Rhine River to river cruise traffic, forcing the lines to alter itineraries for the second time in three weeks.  

Viking River Cruises has changed the itineraries of three of its sailings. Passengers on the June 18 sailing on the Viking Alruna were forced to disembark at Basel—Viking is providing a hotel for the night in the city—before reboarding in Worms on the second day to avoid the trouble areas. Cruisers on the Viking Vidar sailing will also disembark at Basel, spend two nights in a hotel, before reboarding in Speyer.  

Viking passengers on the June 19 sailing on the Viking Hlin startED their cruise on the Kara and then switched to the Hlin midway through the cruise (and vice versa), allowing Viking to avoid the trouble spots on the river. Passengers on the June 22 sailings on the Kvasir and Idi will do the same thing.  

Avalon Waterways, too, is watching the rivers.  

“Due to increased rainfall this spring, water levels on some of Europe’s rivers are higher than normal. While the impact of higher waters on past and current sailings is minimal, we have had to make some modifications including occasionally changing embarkation and disembarkation locations,” notes its Facebook page.  

CroisiEurope told TMR that while it is still operating all of its itineraries there will be some modifications on the Rhine if water levels become an issue; it will have passengers disembark before trouble areas and reboard later.

Two weeks ago, torrential downpours in France caused flooding in Paris that prevented river cruise lines from docking in the city.  

Last spring high water was also an issue, then, by summer, low water levels became the concern. 

In the midst of last year’s cancellations, Uniworld president Guy Young told TMR that the unpredictability of water levels makes planning tough and the cruise line’s main job is to make guests aware that things can happen.  

“[It can happen] even within a 24-hour period, so it is very difficult for us to predict,” he noted. 

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