Travellers are beginning to dig deeper into whether they should commit to a European river cruise
It’s a travel problem that won’t go away. And though we’ve discussed it before, it deserves deeper treatment.
Following a difficult season in which a good percentage of European river cruises had to be replaced by bus rides and landbased hotels, this coming year’s potential river cruisers are asking: How can I protect myself against drought-created high water levels that caused my river cruise to be cancelled in whole or in part? Is there a time of year in Europe when drought conditions may cause my river cruise to be inoperable?
Though many observers will claim that July and August are the times when this condition is likely to occur, poor water levels have forced cancellations of river cruises at other times as well, and on rivers other than the Danube, like the Rhine.
So should a potential river cruiser avoid those months? And avoid the Danube? Are there insurance policies that can mitigate the unhappy event of a cancelled river cruise? Should a would-be cruiser demand an insurance policy from the river line on which he or she plans to travel?
And should a river cruiser proceed anyway, regardless of these problems? How bad is it to occasionally leave the ship and accept a bus and/or overnight stay in a hotel that bypasses the area of stoppage?
These are all potential issues that should be discussed openly and frankly with the river-cruise company that hopes to sell you a river cruise. And although the percentage of previous problems ran as low as six per cent, should that danger be confronted and anticipated?
Please forgive this return by me to a travel problem we have just recently discussed, but it should be confronted by anyone considering a European river cruise. Hot weather is expected to return to Europe in the year ahead, and water levels resulting from prolonged hot weather may wreak havoc with the operation of your river cruise.
Arthur Frommer is the pioneering founder of the Frommer’s Travel Guide book s eries. He co-hosts the radio program, The Travel Show, with his travel correspondent daughter Pauline Frommer. Find more destinations online and read Arthur Frommer’s blog at frommers.com.
Uniworld Enchanting Danube River Cruise on the River Beatrice from Passau to Budapest.