New river cruises canceled as floods devastate central Europe: Travel Weekly

River cruise lines are canceling more departures as heavy rains have caused some of the worst flooding in decades in central Europe.

Torrential rains last week have raised rivers to dangerously high levels. Parts of Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic were inundated by floodwaters, and tens of thousands of residents were forced to evacuate. According to reports, between 10 and 15 people died from the flood wave.

River cruise operators have said that the segments of the Main and Danube rivers have been the most affected by the flooding and, as a result, have canceled crossings in the region.

Viking River Cruises canceled three departures on June 9 – the Romantic Danube Cruise (Budapest to Nuremberg) aboard the Viking Prestige; the Danube Waltz cruise (Passau to Budapest) aboard the Viking Legend; and the romantic Danube cruise (Budapest to Nuremberg) aboard MS Vienna.

The company also changed 15 departures by June 16, ranging from passengers having to sail on different vessels than originally planned (due to vessels unable to reach their destination until the flood waters subsided) to the ‘addition of land arrangements.

Most Viking routes bypass visiting the German city of Passau, which was particularly affected by the floods.

Viking has updated contact details for sail and customer service on his website.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has also canceled departures due to flooding: June 7 Grand Danube & Prague on Ambassador River; June 9 Enchanting Danube Passau in Budapest; and the European Jewels of June 16 on the Empress River.

Several of Uniworld’s current cruises have been affected, either by itinerary changes or by the cancellation of the rest of the cruises. In the event of a cruise cancellation, customers receive a full refund and future cruise credit.

“Rising and falling water levels can change quickly, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Uniworld said on a page on its site dedicated to floods.

Avalon Waterways this weekend canceled three departures over the next 10 days. Affected passengers were offered a full cruise refund as well as a discount voucher for a future cruise.

On current crossings in Central Europe, Avalon has made adjustments such as transferring passengers from one ship to another to be able to continue sailing, or combining sailing with hotel stays.

Avalon said it was offering passengers compensation based on the number of cruise days affected.

AmaWaterways had not yet canceled any departures but was transferring passengers from one ship to another as the ships were unable to cross the Main-Danube Canal in southern Germany.

Tauck has canceled the May 30 and June 6 departures of its Blue Danube route and will offer customers a full refund.

The devastation from the floods threatens to exceed that of the 2002 floods, which cost Germany about $ 15.3 billion and Austria about $ 4 billion in damage, the Wall Street Journal reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Bavarian city of Passau on Tuesday and pledged emergency first federal aid of $ 130 million to the flood-ravaged region, according to the Journal.

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly.

Photo of a flooded street in Steyr, Austria, courtesy of Lisa S. at Shutterstock.com.



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