The one where European rivers were hit with a drought…

Viking Freya

Low water levels on the Rhine and Danube rivers have caused several lines to shift passengers onto buses, with the port of Budapest closed last week as a result of the drought.

Rain was expected over the weekend but Cruise Critic is reporting that river cruising passengers still face uncertainty as to whether their ships will sail with water levels still too low to guarantee a smooth passage.

Lines are varying in their refund policies with Viking River Cruises offering passengers a combination of shipboard credit, complimentary optional excursions and future cruise credits for Danube and Rhine sailings affected in December.

“Should you decide instead to not join us, we will provide you with a credit for 100 per cent of your cruise fare towards a future cruise,” a Viking River Cruises spokesperson posted on the Cruise Critic message board.

Whilst Uniworld allowed the cancellation and full refund on one Rhine Cruise, they are assessing each cruise on a case by case basis.

“If we expect to be able to operate the cruise as per the normal itinerary we will not allow clients to cancel and receive a full refund,” Uniworld Cruises company president Guy Young told Cruise Critic.

Avalon Waterways, Uniworld and Viking Cruises are moving passengers onto ships with shallower drafts on the Rhine with Mr Young reporting that, regardless of the changes, only a small amount of cancellations have been received by their company.

Viking River Cruises are updating passengers via their company website and have reported amendments to the following itineraries:

3 December 2011 – Romantic Danube aboard Viking Legend

3 December 2011 – Romantic Danube aboard Viking Prestige

4 December 2011 – Rhine Getaway aboard Viking Helvetica

4 December 2011 – Rhine Getaway aboard Viking Sun

4 December 2011 – Danube Waltz aboard Viking Pride

AMA Waterways are also keeping passengers up to date via their company website with extensive contact details provided.

Cruise Critic have reported that the low water levels have also uncovered unexploded World War II bombs in the Rhine River with almost half of the population of Koblenz, Germany evacuated over the weekend while the bombs were diffused.

Originally published for e-Travel Blackboard.

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