When the rivers run
Floods in Europe this year played havoc with cruise departures and itineraries
THE rising popularity of European river cruising hit a snag this northern spring. Scheduled departures were rerouted or aborted due to phenomenal rains that left continental rivers impassable. Operators spoke darkly of ‘‘the challenge of a once-in-500-year flood event’’ (Scenic Cruises) and ‘‘the worst floods in my time in the river cruising industry’’ (Uniworld general manager John Molinaro).
APT Cruising’s CEO Chris Hall described the floods as ‘‘a rare and unusual event. It was, we hope, a once-in-alifetime event.’’
Just imagine. You’ve always dreamed of cruising the Danube to cities such as Budapest and Vienna. But before you can say ‘‘Batten down the hatches!’’ the fantasy turns into a sodden nightmare. Your landmark trip has been cancelled, or diverted, or confined to port where a fleet of waiting coaches can offer only a pale imitation of the promised itinerary.
What happens when things go wrong? Why don’t we ever read about that? A T&I reader posed those questions to us after returning home from a disappointing holiday adrift.
In late May, she sailed from Amsterdam to Budapest. Or she was supposed to, except spring’s freakish flooding closed the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers as well as the Main-Danube canal. The ship was forced to dock at Mainz in Germany on day four of a 15-day itinerary. The
Deer negotiate the flooded Danube in Hungary earlier this year