Scenic has become the latest line to issue warnings about the problems facing its ships as Europe’s heatwave and declining water levels continues.
APT had already issued warnings, and been forced to cancel some cruises, despite managing to maintain cruises through the season.
APT has a warning notice at the top of its home page, and says: “The weather patterns in central Europe have been extremely warm and dry this year. This has led to a drought situation with low water levels in different parts of the Danube River, and more recently in the Rhine River.
“As such, with vast areas of the route between Amsterdam and Budapest becoming too shallow to cruise, we have no option but to cancel APT river cruises scheduled to sail between Amsterdam and Budapest.
These cancellations affect four cruises – as follows:
- 26 October 2018 – Amsterdam to Budapest
- 26 October 2018 – Budapest to Amsterdam
- 27 October 2018 – Amsterdam to Budapest
- 27 October 2018 – Budapest to Amsterdam
APT goes on to point out they have successfully run all river cruises this season.
“However, we have become aware that the Rhine is also an issue with several low water spots that will preclude these sailings. We are currently in the process of contacting all guests effected by these cancellations.
“We are offering all guests booked on this cruise a full refund on any APT arrangements booked through us.”
Passengers are advised to contact The Australian Office on 1800 792 775 (within Australia), or from overseas +61 3 8526 2411.
One Travelmarvel cruise is also affected: Amsterdam to Budapest on October 29.
Scenic issued its statement after the loss of its appeal against damages from 1,000 passengers who claimed compensation after their holidays were ruined during the floods of 2013,
Scenic said of the current situation: “The continuing weather conditions in Europe this summer have resulted in sections of the Rhine and Danube rivers sections being unnavigable to many vessels.
“As a result, there have been unavoidable restrictions placed on the navigation of vessels on these sections of the Rhine & Danube and the Scenic Group has been required to modify ship deployments, alter cruise itineraries or enact ship swaps using our fleet of ships.
“We are in direct contact with our guests and agents and provide them advice on any alterations to their cruise itinerary that are identified or confirmed.
“The impact of this low water is monitored continuously. Changes are considered on a cruise by cruise basis, subject to the particular river conditions and planned cruise itinerary Depending on the situation, alternative options are implemented.”
“In addition to having our fleet available for ship swaps to by-pass impacted sections of the rivers we also provide guests with information and the processes in regards to claiming a refund under our River Cruise Guarantee.
Scenic’s River Cruise Guarantee ensures that on every Scenic Group river cruise guests are automatically covered after the commencement of their cruise for a range of itinerary amendments or delays of the planned itinerary which result in significant change to the cruise. Further detail on the Scenic River Cruise Guarantee is available on the website www.scenic.com.au
River cruise passenger has been reporting for some weeks on how some lines have been swopping ships between shore excursions as they vessels are becalmed in low waters.
However, recently matters have caused even more problems.
The Rhine River’s water level has slumped to the lowest for the time of year in more than a decade, halting supplies to industry as it is a working waterway.
The level at Kaub, Germany — a bottleneck point — is now at its lowest level for mid-October since at least 2006, government data show.
The water level dropped for nine consecutive days through Tuesday and rose slightly to 40 centimeters on Wednesday afternoon, data shows.
The river is forecast to fall in the coming days to below 35 centimeters, a level not seen since 2003.
According to Bloomberg, no improvement is in sight for water levels. A couple of days’ significant rainfall would be needed for water levels to begin to rise again, according to German weather forecaster DWD.
APT said in a statement: “The safety and care of guests and staff is ATG’s highest priority and as such we will continue to monitor the situation. ATG regrets any inconvenience to guests and further updates will be issued as required.”
Low water levels along parts of the Danube and Rhine Rivers have also affected some Avalon Waterways itineraries.
The affected itineraries include:
- 23 October 2018 – Magnificent Europe
- 23 October 2018 – Legendary Danube
- 24 and 29 October 2018 – Danube Dreams
- 24 and 30 October 2018 – The Blue Danube Discovery
- 26 October 2018 – Magnificent Europe
- 27 and 28 October 2018 – Romantic Rhine
- 2 November 2018 – Danube Dreams
The affected itineraries are anticipated to proceed with modifications such as hotel stays, ship swaps and amended embarkation/disembarkation points.
Avalon Waterways has advised currently booked guests and agents of all changes to affected itineraries, and further updates will be issued as required.