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River cruising challenges: Floods and rising waters

Skift Take

River cruises are the hot thing in European tourism right now, but they face challenges from floods and rising water levels that limit where their boats can go.

— Jason Clampet

Several cruise companies have had to cancel or change their river voyages, with widespread flooding still affecting large parts of Central Europe.

Viking River Cruises has cancelled two cruises along the Elbe River due to sail tomorrow (June 8). It had previously cancelled three cruises along the Danube on June 8, 9 and 12. All affected passengers had been notified and offered a full refund as well as a credit to be spent on future cruises, a spokesperson said.

Viking River Cruises stated that people booked on cruises after June 16 should assume their voyage would continue as normal.

Scenic Cruises, meanwhile, has altered two of its departures from Budapest. In a statement, it said: “It is our expectation at this time the ships will be unable to dock in Budapest on those dates. Instead the ships will be docking in another location that is in the process of being determined.”

River levels continue to be critical in several parts of Europe with thousands of Hungarians working through last night to reinforce banks along the River Danube.

Authorities in the country’s capital, Budapest, have warned of a record flood surge from the Danube, which is a particularly popular destination for river cruisers.

Earlier this week, 120 British passengers on the Filia Rheni cruise ship operated by Titan Travel were stranded on the Danube when it was unable to dock in Vienna. The company cancelled the remainder of the voyage. All passengers on board were disembarked yesterday and are being flown home today. A spokesman said all passengers had been given a full refund and offered a 15 per cent discount on future cruises. Several other sailings were also cancelled.

Passengers booked on all voyages affected by cancellations will be entitled to a full refund or a transfer under regulations for ABTA (the travel trade association for tour operators).

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