River flooding

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#1
New Jersey
3,522 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
First and foremost, we've been watching the coverage, especially of Passau and Prague, on news channels and it's heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with all, residents and travelers alike, who are affected.

And we're keeping an eye on the forum, too, because we all know that Cruise Critic members are the best source of info anywhere. Thanks, everyone, for posting, and we fervently hope your cruises aren't impacted.

We've reached out to all the major lines (and have posted a news story: http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=5378). We've only gotten information from two lines, believe it or not:

*Scenic's still cruising, but people are spending time on motorcoaches

*Avalon, which has done a terrific job at communicating during this crisis, has actually canceled some cruises (as has been reported here). I don't know that I ever, ever remember a cruise line saying things are so bad we're canceling. Usually they just bus travelers around....

Haven't heard much or anything from Viking River, Uniworld, Tauck, or AMA at this point, but will update as we get more info. Please keep sharing what you know on the forum, too. And thanks.

Carolyn

Carolyn Spencer Brown
Editor in Chief
Cruise Critic
#2
New Jersey
3,522 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Uniworld has just posted (here), but here's the info:

Due to record high water levels in Europe on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, we have made the difficult decision to cancel several cruise departures. Listed below are the departures that have been affected. A full refund and a $500 future cruise credit will be issued.

River Ambassador
· Grand Danube & Prague. Prague to Belgrade. June 7 cruise/tour start date.
· Danube Discovery & Prague. Prague to Vienna. June 7 cruise/tour start date.

River Beatrice
· Enchanting Danube. Passau to Budapest. June 9 cruise/tour start date.

We would also like to note that several cruises already in progress have been impacted. In these cases our ship staff and European-based headquarters staff are working on itinerary deviations and in, some cases, canceling the remainder of the cruises. In the case of a cruise cancelation with guests already on board we will be providing a full refund and a future cruise credit. Our guests will be given the option to stay on board the ship while we assist them in securing alternative arrangements or flights home.

The rise and fall of water levels can change rapidly, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely. We will continue to evaluate cruises scheduled to depart after June 9 and will provide a timely update to our website.

Please do not hesitate to contact your travel agent or a Uniworld representative at 1-800-733-7820, Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 6:00 pm PDT, and 6:30 am to 3:00 pm PDT on Saturdays, should you have any further questions. You may also reach us at customerservice@uniworld.com.

We want to sincerely apologize to our guests for having to cancel the above mentioned cruises and want to thank you in advance for your understanding. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the individuals who live in the towns along the rivers that have been severely impacted by the floods.

THE UNIWORLD TEAM
#3
Bluffton,SC
3,951 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Thank you Carolyn,
I hope you hear from the other companies as well. I have posted a note on the Tauck forum in hopes of an answer. If I do, I will post it here as well.
I think all of the members are doing a great job of trying to keep each other up to date.
Special thanks to Ingo, GMT and UKBayern who have provided live reports.
Terri
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#4
New York
7,262 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Thank you Carolyn. This thread makes mine ("Avalon and Viking Heard From on Flooding -- Other Cruise Lines?") unnecessary, and you may remove it.

Jazzbeau
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#5
1,420 Posts
Joined May 2000
I heard from my clients today who are cruising on the Avalon Visionary. They were fed up with Avalon by 3pm EST!! They felt that their Cruise Manager was overwhelmed and that Avalon should have sent in help given that these are the worst floods they have seen and have ever had to deal with. I'm sure the Cruise Manager is doing the best she can but it appears that it may not be good enough unfortunately. The hotel they were staying in Bayreauh Germany was subpar considering what they paid for their cruise which is now a bus tour and yes I realize that all the cruise lines need to find places for their guests. Since my clients booked their own air out of Prague, Avalon was not helping them with new flights out of Munich which is where they were told they are being taken. Luckily, I was able to get them on flights out of Munich for them.

I called Avalon early this morning to try to get an update on where the passengers from this ship were today and what the plan was for them, so that I could try to make some arrangements for my clients, hadn't received a call back from them by 2pm EST, called again, spoke to someone who said that someone would call me back...no call! While I understand that they must be swamped with phone calls, I'm disappointed that I had to first hear from my clients about where they were and that they needed help getting home because no one was helping them from Avalon....This is obviously just one person's experience. I have seen others say that Avalon has been doing a great job! Wish my clients thought so too!
#6
New Jersey
3,522 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Great insight, thanks for sharing and will you keep us posted? We're doing a separate piece tomorrow about what it's like for passengers who are on cruises now...so feel free to share details with us!

Carolyn


Originally posted by Peacemkr59
I heard from my clients today who are cruising on the Avalon Visionary. They were fed up with Avalon by 3pm EST!! They felt that their Cruise Manager was overwhelmed and that Avalon should have sent in help given that these are the worst floods they have seen and have ever had to deal with. I'm sure the Cruise Manager is doing the best she can but it appears that it may not be good enough unfortunately. The hotel they were staying in Bayreauh Germany was subpar considering what they paid for their cruise which is now a bus tour and yes I realize that all the cruise lines need to find places for their guests. Since my clients booked their own air out of Prague, Avalon was not helping them with new flights out of Munich which is where they were told they are being taken. Luckily, I was able to get them on flights out of Munich for them.

I called Avalon early this morning to try to get an update on where the passengers from this ship were today and what the plan was for them, so that I could try to make some arrangements for my clients, hadn't received a call back from them by 2pm EST, called again, spoke to someone who said that someone would call me back...no call! While I understand that they must be swamped with phone calls, I'm disappointed that I had to first hear from my clients about where they were and that they needed help getting home because no one was helping them from Avalon....This is obviously just one person's experience. I have seen others say that Avalon has been doing a great job! Wish my clients thought so too!
#7
Bluffton,SC
3,951 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Tauck posted the following on their forum:
As you already know, unprecedented high water levels have been reported along various rivers in Central Europe. There is no indication at this time how quickly the river levels will subside, and we are monitoring the river levels and the weather forecasts closely.

If you are a guest with travel plans in this region, a Tauck representative will be personally reaching out to you (or your Travel Agent).

To address some of your concerns:

All of guests on tour are safe and attended to.
We have cancelled our Blue Danube Westbound tour departing 6/6. We personally call our guests (or their Travel Agent) to make them aware of the situation.
The situation with river levels is very fluid, as levels rise and drop quickly. We are continuing to monitor all other tours operating in the area’s affected by the high waters.
I am on a cruise in the middle of July. so I will hope that all is back to normal by then.
Terri
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January 2011-MS Maasdam-Southern Caribbean-11 Days
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March 2012-MS Veendam-South America and Inca Explorer-31 Days
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#8
2,441 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Carolyn, just can't begin to comprehend the logistics involved in trying to accomodate stranded pax right now. The CDs on existing trips must be ready to tear out hair (theirs or others) trying to get and relay info.
My heart and prayers go out to all affected by this terrible flood.
Thanks to all who have been keeping us informed. Pat
#9
Ontario, Canada
2,725 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Carolyn -

Thanks for consolidating all in one thread. This is so horrible for the people in the affected areas.... I only hope (and pray) that there is no further loss of life.

We don't leave until early September. Somehow I think that many areas will still be trying to recover.

Fran
#10
Auburn, CA
3 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
I have seen nothing on their Twitter or Facebook and they have not responded to email all day. We are scheduled on a Danube cruise with them on the the Jewel later in June.
#11
Dallas, Texas
413 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
We're on the May 31 sailing of the Amacello sailing from Basel to Amsterdam. We've been docked in Breisach since day 1 and doing bus tours. There's a briefing this morning, but we know we'll be disembarking on Wednesday and spending the night on the Amalyra docked in Frankfurt, and then moving to a hotel in Amsterdam for the final night.

All in all, AMA is doing a good job in a tough situation, but communication could be more frequent.
#12
Germany
12,603 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
The Danube river crested at Passau at 12.89 m last night and is now falling although upriver at Regensburg the river is still rising.

Currently all river traffic is stopped. So no ship will run until the authorities have given clearance. As the landing areas are flooded too there are hardly any places where you´d be able to board a ship (just to use it as hotel).

Austria is pretty much effected too which includes Melk, Dürnstein and Vienna. News were over here that Bratislava is preparing for the flood starting yesterday. So over the next few days the flood wave will go downriver.

The good news is that the rain has more or less stopped here in Bavaria. It will take a couple of days until the smaller rivers are back to a normal stage again (even here in Munich we had flood level 3 but are currently back to 2). The whole navigable part of the Danube river from Kelheim to Passau is still on level 4.

The current river level at Passau was measured with 11.80 m at 8 am this morning. Actually the do have to measure "by hand" as the automatic system is broken.

Some stories out of the local news: A couple got married yesterday in the flooded town hall of Passau. Graduation tests have been postponed (although they are on the same day all over Bavaria and same tests for everyone). Poor law students have to start with their tests today (also a state wide test).

steamboats
#13
Dallas, Texas
413 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by Needzavacation
We're on the May 31 sailing of the Amacello sailing from Basel to Amsterdam. We've been docked in Breisach since day 1 and doing bus tours. There's a briefing this morning, but we know we'll be disembarking on Wednesday and spending the night on the Amalyra docked in Frankfurt, and then moving to a hotel in Amsterdam for the final night.

All in all, AMA is doing a good job in a tough situation, but communication could be more frequent.
Update: During our cruise briefing this morning, the cruise manager announced that AMA is providing a 100% future cruise credit, good through December 2016. Very, very generous, under the circumstances. That's a company focused on customer satisfaction - that's why we chose AMA for our first river cruise, and then again and then again.
#15
1 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by Peacemkr59
I heard from my clients today who are cruising on the Avalon Visionary. They were fed up with Avalon by 3pm EST!! They felt that their Cruise Manager was overwhelmed and that Avalon should have sent in help given that these are the worst floods they have seen and have ever had to deal with. I'm sure the Cruise Manager is doing the best she can but it appears that it may not be good enough unfortunately. The hotel they were staying in Bayreauh Germany was subpar considering what they paid for their cruise which is now a bus tour and yes I realize that all the cruise lines need to find places for their guests. Since my clients booked their own air out of Prague, Avalon was not helping them with new flights out of Munich which is where they were told they are being taken. Luckily, I was able to get them on flights out of Munich for them.

I called Avalon early this morning to try to get an update on where the passengers from this ship were today and what the plan was for them, so that I could try to make some arrangements for my clients, hadn't received a call back from them by 2pm EST, called again, spoke to someone who said that someone would call me back...no call! While I understand that they must be swamped with phone calls, I'm disappointed that I had to first hear from my clients about where they were and that they needed help getting home because no one was helping them from Avalon....This is obviously just one person's experience. I have seen others say that Avalon has been doing a great job! Wish my clients thought so too!
On behalf of Avalon, I appologize for your experince regarding the current situation. Please give us a call at 1-800-372-1761. We look forward with speaking with you.
#16
New Jersey
3,522 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Thanks for the on-the-scene update, Needzavacation. We feel for you and definitely for crew and CDs. What an awful situation. Glad you're in good spirits.

Carolyn

Originally posted by Needzavacation
We're on the May 31 sailing of the Amacello sailing from Basel to Amsterdam. We've been docked in Breisach since day 1 and doing bus tours. There's a briefing this morning, but we know we'll be disembarking on Wednesday and spending the night on the Amalyra docked in Frankfurt, and then moving to a hotel in Amsterdam for the final night.

All in all, AMA is doing a good job in a tough situation, but communication could be more frequent.
#17
New Jersey
3,522 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
We just posted a new news story on the impact of the flooding. It's here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=5379. We'll be updating it on an ongoing basis as more info emerges and please don't hesitate to share insights with us here that we can put in future updates.

One of our staffers is also working on a piece about what it's like for those passengers onboard ships (or rather in hotels) now, to give us a glimpse into the scene from their perspectives. I'll past that link here when the story launches.

Thanks.

Carolyn
#18
New Zealand
111 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Our cruise has become a coach trip. We were Amsterdam to Budapest. Avalon have been trying to get us to the various ports of call but obviously that is not always possible and because we are on a coach our free time to look around has been very limited. We are currently in Salzburg in a hotel that does not match the ship in quality of room, food or services eg Buffet dinner with limited choice, no free wifi in room. Passengers have been offered 1200 in country of payment currency, however many increasingly are not happy with this amount considering the high cost of the cruise and the lowered standard of food and accommodation. There are many Australians and New Zealanders on this cruise so for many it has entailed very expensive and long flights for a dream holiday. Although the current circumstances are not Avalon's fault choices should have been given that would allow people to salvage their vacation in a way acceptable to them. We are in the position of being on a 3 star coach trip for a 5 star cruise price.
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#19
Vancouver BC, CANADA
1,242 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I can't imagine a bus tour ever replacing a river cruise under the best of circumstances.

But to sit on a coach and drive through flooded roads, in pouring rain to visit places that maybe aren't even visitable? (is that a word?)

Here is a video shot recently of flying over top of Melk Abbey which I know is a highlight of any visit to the area

http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-0...d-water_212366

...looking at the surrounding roads (and you can't even get into Passau)...how is this even an option? I sympathize for those of you stuck with a bad situation that was no one's fault and out of anyone's hands to predict or fix.

A flight home (or to Paris!) would be a good start if it were me!
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#20
B.C.
162 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by smokeynz
Our cruise has become a coach trip. We were Amsterdam to Budapest. Avalon have been trying to get us to the various ports of call but obviously that is not always possible and because we are on a coach our free time to look around has been very limited. We are currently in Salzburg in a hotel that does not match the ship in quality of room, food or services eg Buffet dinner with limited choice, no free wifi in room. Passengers have been offered 1200 in country of payment currency, however many increasingly are not happy with this amount considering the high cost of the cruise and the lowered standard of food and accommodation. There are many Australians and New Zealanders on this cruise so for many it has entailed very expensive and long flights for a dream holiday. Although the current circumstances are not Avalon's fault choices should have been given that would allow people to salvage their vacation in a way acceptable to them. We are in the position of being on a 3 star coach trip for a 5 star cruise price.
Hopefully Avalon will change its position. I noticed on another thread that one cruise line, can't recall which one, that has had to do similar and they've offered a 100% credit for a future cruise by 2016. That's what they should be offering.