Drought con­di­tions

Trav­ellers are be­gin­ning to dig deeper into whether they should com­mit to a Euro­pean river cruise

The News (New Glasgow) - - DESTINATIONS - BY ARTHUR FROMMER

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.

GARY BEMBRIDGE/FLICKR

Uni­world En­chant­ing Danube River Cruise on the River Beatrice from Pas­sau to Bu­dapest.

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