The heatwave in Europe has hit record breaking highs, with countries like France reaching temperatures of up to 41C in Lyon, 33C in Budapest in Hungary and 33C in parts of Germany.
The heatwave has resulted in low water levels, with some travellers saying that some cruise lines have had to change itineraries.
This is not the first time that river cruisers have experienced these issues over the European summer in the last two years, with water levels so low in the middle of last year, that many cruise lines had to alter their routes and bus guests from destination to destination.
Linda Highlander, a user on River Cruise Advisor posted on the website’s forum that her cruise with Viking, will have a ship swap.
“Got an email from Viking. There will be a ship swap mid-cruise and motor coach trips if the river doesn’t rise.”
Another user, Joan Levine said that she was also taken by bus from Nuremberg to Passau in Germany due to low water levels on the Danube.
But another user, Elsa Nystrom said: “That is strange as we just completed 14 days on the Danube, Main and Rhine with no issues on Uniworld’s River Princess from Vienna to Amsterdam. We are flying home tomorrow there was no mention of low water by our captain.
“Picked early date despite crowds and there are lots of ships on the river and tourists in the towns because we got cancelled last year.”
According to riverinfo.eu, a live infographic website which maps out water levels on major rivers in Europe, the Danube’s water levels are ‘much below normal’.
The graph shows extremely low water levels between Amsterdam and Budapest, one of the major river cruise routes.
The Elbe River, which runs through Germany, another popular route for lines like Viking River Cruises and Uniworld, is also experiencing low water levels.
Viking has issued a warning on its website to guests saying, “The Elbe River is currently experiencing low water levels. As rain is not forecasted in the immediate future, some upcoming sailings will be impacted. In order to minimise the impact to each cruise tour, Viking has several contingency plans to bypass the affected areas. We will continue to monitor water levels daily, activate plans and notify guests accordingly. Guests on affected sailings will be notified directly.”
According to a report by Bloomberg, the Rhine which is not only a major cruise route for river ships, but a vital estuary for Europe’s shipping industry, could once again be shut down because of low water levels.
Water levels at Kaub, which is a critical chokepoint near Frankfurt, recorded water levels of just 150 centimetres.
The heaviest barges are already operating under tight restrictions and if the water levels fall below 50 centimetres, all river cargo could cease as it did last year, for the first time in history.
There is little rainfall predicted for the next few weeks and local meteorologist Andreas Friedrich at Germany’s DWD federal weather agency told Bloomberg that they are expecting temperatures above 35C.
“We’re expecting clear blue skies and the water-level situation will get worse.”