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notamermaid

Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

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Greetings from the Rhine valley. Here is the thread for 2018 for everything related to the water levels of the Rhine and bits of information on the river.

 

It has been an eventful January as regards weather and river levels; looking at last year's thread, quite different from January 2017.

 

We started into the New Year with flooding, followed by storm, subsiding river levels, minimal snow, rising temperatures, more flooding and a lot of rain and grey skies. The cold crisp yet sunny winter days where virtually non-existent in my area of the valley.

 

For those of you interested in details, this is the graph for the river level at Koblenz for January: https://screenshots.firefox.com/StRg8DtBm0cqW5Vc/www.pegelonline.wsv.de

 

I am not a technical person, the site says it runs out in 14 days. Hope the link works. In the graph you can see a line saying HSW M_II. It indicates the official level for river closure, and yes, the river has been closed twice this month, not just in the Koblenz area, but further upstream and partly downstream from there as well.

 

We are back to a reasonable level now - for winter - but what February will bring noone knows. One thing is certain, the coming month will bring lots of merriment to the Rhine valley in the shape of Carnival!

 

Today is another miserably grey day with rain and unpleasant wind, quite typical of what January has been like.

 

Oh well, there is always the sight of the first river cruise ships sailing in March with the first new green leaves adorning the trees along the embankments to look forward to! :)

 

Wherever you are headed this year on the rivers and oceans, safe travels.

 

notamermaid

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Thanks notamermaid, I will be looking forward to your reports. Here's hoping levels stay good for everyone sailing this year!

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I too will look forward to your reports. My mum and I are doing Amsterdam to Basel with Scenic in September. We did Amsterdam to Budapest in 2016 and had a brilliant trip and all rivers behaved. We hope it will be the same this time round :-)

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Thank you Notamermaid for your first 2018 update for all of us upcoming river cruisers! We will be going on AMAStella on March 26 from Amsterdam to Basel. It will be our first river cruise! We are hoping for a smooth sailing experience and water levels acceptable for the boat! I will be very much looking forward to your updates!

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Thank you everyone. February has started as miserable as January ended and the Koblenz area is back on "slowed-down river traffic" status as the rain has made the level rise. But as this happens frequently we are quite relaxed about it. The flooding we had at the beginning of January on the other hand was one that we experience statistically every four to five years. I feel sorry for the people on the Seine; Paris and the regions downstream appear to be in real trouble.

 

But to a happier subject. Supposedly the Middle Rhine valley has the highest density of castles in the world on such a short stretch (I have to take the experts' word for it) but trying to find out how many there are in Germany proved impossible when I researched it some time ago. No wonder I could not find out because, actually, noone is sure of the exact number. 25,000 seems to be a popular figure and here is an article by Deutsche Welle on the subject: http://www.dw.com/en/does-germany-really-have-25000-castles/a-42350502

 

By the way, number 9 in the photo gallery, Burg Satzvey, is an optional excursion with Tauck on an itinerary that a past cruiser sailed on the Rhine last year. It is actually not on a hill overlooking the Rhine, but is a moated castle (as clearly visible in the beautiful photo) in a valley near Bonn.

 

notamermaid

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Oh well, there is always the sight of the first river cruise ships sailing in March with the first new green leaves adorning the trees along the embankments to look forward to! :)

 

Wherever you are headed this year on the rivers and oceans, safe travels.

 

notamermaid

 

I'm looking forward to your posts as I'm doing my first river cruise this year, on the Rhine, in March. So there is a chance of green leaves? ;) It's possible that there will still be snow where I live.

Thank you for your reports!

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I'm on my first river cruise in March, Amsterdam to Budapest on the Amavenita, leaving on the 17th. I'll be watching your posts with interest, notamermaid, and hoping the rivers will behave for our cruise. :)

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Hello from a very wintry valley! Yes, I know I sort of complained about not having had proper winter days in my first post...

 

Yesterday we started with a few snowflakes, today it has snowed without stopping for about five hours in my area. As it is around freezing temperature the snow is staying on rooftops, cars and in nature and when I look outside all is a hazy kind of white, sky and everything. The river looks a pale grey-brown from a distance. Ok, not so attractive. :D

 

Yes, Snowshoecat, we can get snow in March. I might have exaggerated with the leaves a little but we do have a warmish climate with relatively early Spring in the Rhine valley. It varies from year to year but there will certainly be buds on trees with the first leaves trying not to freeze in night frost.

 

 

Feelincrusey, I assume you are going with APT on their Magnificent Europe itinerary. I really like that one for its unique offers, especially Namedy castle dinner. It is a relatively small intimate castle and you might not get to see the Lady of the House yourself but the castle has a lovely air about it, hidden away in a small village close to the river. Put Namedy castle in google photos and see what hits you get. Would like to do the steam train ride, too: https://www.aptouring.com/trips/europe/eumcr15/mar2018-dec2018

 

Have a great cruise everyone.

 

Oh, yes, nearly forgot, not important yet, but for your info: river traffic is back to normal, the Rhine "has lost" over 60cm at Koblenz in 48 hours.

 

notamermaid

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Thanks for your very informative posts, notamermaid. Yes, we'll be on an APT cruise, one of the first for the year. I did as you suggested and had a look at photos of Namedy Castle ... what a place! We get to explore most of it before the banquet and piano recital in the Hall of Mirrors. I hope we get to meet Princess Heide. But it will be a thrill, regardless. I am really looking forward to the concert (Mozart Boys' Choir, opera singers and chamber orchestra) at the Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna, too. Another brush with royalty. It will be my birthday! I only hope the river levels will be favourable so we get to see all the castles along the river.

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Hello feelincruisey,

 

my pleasure. I had missed earlier that you have only just joined the community. Welcome! Our host jazzbeau has put together a great list of things for newbies. You can find those stickies at the top of the title page of the river cruise forum. But perhaps you have had a look at those already. I also recommend looking around the river cruising roll call pages. You can join or start your own thread - there might be a collective thread for the APT Budapest to Amsterdam (or vice versa) cruises perhaps. You are on the first itinerary for this year (or the second?) so you might like to have a look at last year's threads. If you are the first for this year, beware, future cruisers might shower you with questions. :D

 

The sun today is slowly melting the snow and Karneval or Fastnacht, the Rhenish and South-Western German versions of Carnival, is fast approaching. If you ever get to come during this time just before Lent into the regions do not be alarmed by mock 19th century soldiers marching or people in masks doing weird things in the streets, like leaping in a certain line together. It looks like Germany has gone completely mad, but it is perfectly normal and all will be over by Ash Wednesday!

 

notamermaid

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Yes notamermaid, I'm a newbie on this forum. Thanks very much for your warm welcome. I've had a look around and picked up a few bits of good advice. I'm a little reluctant to start a new roll call for the very reasons you give ... do I have enough time to spend on it? :D

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Thanks for starting this thread notamermaid. I thoroughly enjoyed your 2016 and 2017 editions. We’re planning our 2019 Amsterdam to Basel cruise on Scenic.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Thank you so much jeb_bud.

 

It is cold here still, but the forecast is for an unpleasant windy, rainy, snowy and slightly warmer Carnival weekend. But a true Carnival enthusiast goes outdoors in any weather!

 

Happy to report that the river level is still slightly but steadily falling. It will sort of stagnate soon at a very comfortable level for winter. No flooding in sight for a few days. I cannot believe it is only four weeks till the first German river cruise ships sail the Rhine. Feels really too cold, sailing before the 20th of March is not for me.

 

By the way, it is actually possible to sail in Winter on the Rhine. One can go on excursions before Christmas on KD ships and a few other companies. Ships are available for day hire in Winter as well.

 

notamermaid

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notamermaid

 

In general what kind of water levels can we expect on the Rhine A to B in late September/early October?

 

And what kind of air temps?

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toseaornottosea,

 

river levels, ooh, that is a difficult one. Statistics with figures are a little difficult to get hold of, they are either a bit technical or you need to subscribe to weather sites for historical data. I have not found a satisfactory website yet. Without figures I can tell you that there is tendency towards low water, i.e. lower than the mean seen over a ten-year period. September is better than October, October can get quite low, but real low water does not happen every year. Most of the Rhine is ok in low water anyway. The bottleneck that is Bingen to Koblenz is mostly affected in low water. Let us say flooding very rarely happens in September and October, low water can happen, but the impact can be minimal to none depending on river level, itinerary and ship size/draft.

 

The temperatures vary throughout such a journey of more than 800 kilometres (not sure about the exact figure) and one week very likely. You can get anything between 10 degrees Celsius at night and 25 Celsius during the afternoon. Here is a graph for Bonn for example: https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/germany/cologne/climate These are of course averages. In Bonn you will hardly get colder nights than that, on a very fine day the temperature can be 28 degrees in the town centre, that is sort of the highest around that time. On rainy days it can be 15 degrees only.

 

Expect temperatures slightly lower and more rain as you get closer to the Netherlands and Amsterdam in general. The Rhine valley is milder in climate along the vineyards warmed up from the Summer sun, past Düsseldorf you get into "open country".

 

I have just realised that you are going Amsterdam to Basel, sorry, I always think in "as the river flows"-terms.

 

Hope this helps.

 

notamermaid

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Going on a river cruise on the Rhine this year or planning one?

 

This I find a very good overview of what you can expect and a little more as the article starts with the Rhinefall at Schaffhausen, the area upstream is only partially navigable, partly due to low bridges at Basel.

 

The section of the article on the lower Rhine only partly applies to river cruise ships as the ships mostly "turn off" at a certain point to enter the canal to Amsterdam. Which is not the only place that is not on the Rhine but that you visit on a Rhine river cruise, by the way!

 

Reserve a bit of time for this article is my recommendation as there is quite a bit of info. Here goes: http://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/along-the-rhine/s-100650

 

notamermaid

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We took Rhine & Danube cruises with Viking in mid-November in 2008 & 2014, in each case we needed gloves, scarves, hat, winter coats & umbrellas. We didn't mind the weather at all, which was quite similar to Tennessee. We enjoyed being nearly the ONLY ship on the rivers and at the docking locations. No river level issues at all & didn't really know that could be an issue! Mike's business trips to Germany were in Feb., except for 1 trip in late Aug. which we enjoyed quite alot. I found the Rhine river sooo much more interesting, but found the Danube somewhat boring.

NOW we are considering an early June Rhine cruise with friends -- are we in for a shock as to boat traffic & docking locations? We are eager to share our love of the Rhine River with our friends, plus our nephew & family recently moved to Basel for a couple years! We will definitely want an air deviation at each end!

Where on the Rhine are the most likely places to encounter places that river tends to get too low or too high?

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Cruisin Kay D,

 

good to hear you enjoyed the Rhine so much you want to share it with your friends! As regards crowds and river traffic I tend to get a bit philosophical, "like what is full and what is over crowded, much can a single place take?" I would say comparing it to 2008, yes you will see the difference.

 

Water levels are fine in June almost all of the time along the whole Rhine.

 

notamermaid

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Cruisin Kay D,

 

I have given your question another thought. Since you travelled on the Rhine last in the month of November I had a look at this year's list of ship docking in Koblenz. The difference between June and November is quite significant! You will find the same pattern in the other ports as well (nearly all the companies on the international market go to the same places, a few less offered itineraries excepted). So, you will find June much more busy than November.

 

As regards double docking or even three in a row, yes, in June this is likely to happen. Viking normally do not share their "personal" docking locations with other companies in the busy towns on the Rhine as they need them for their large fleet now almost the whole year. I see, more and more often, Viking "doing the double-docking" with their own ships in Koblenz now! You will be able to follow this on the official webcam showing you the view from Ehrenbreitstein fortress onto Deutsches Eck. The Viking landing stage is on the Rhine to the left of the Kaiser Wilhelm statue: http://www.wsa-ko.wsv.de/webcam/webcam_deutsches_eck/

 

If you look before sunset in about three and a half hours, it is 2pm here, you can still see the city covered in snow. So peaceful. I think I might copy this shot and save it. :)

 

 

The river level has fallen considerably leaving room for snow melt.

 

notamermaid

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Mainz landing stage to be renovated

 

Mainz is getting ever busier with river cruise company demands putting a strain on the current infrastructure. One such landing stage will be renovated and enlarged to meet with safety regulations and be able to take the sheer weight of the largest river cruise ships of 135m. I have mentioned before that not too long ago 110m was the largest type of ship. The landing stage of a local institution called "Wirtschaftsbetrieb Mainz" in short WBM, has been dismantled and brought by truck to a shipyard in Andernach (downstream from Koblenz). The pontoon was likewise removed and taken by the excursion boat "Carmen Sylva" (her home is in Neuwied downstream from Koblenz) to Andernach. The structure on land holding the bridge will be strengthened and "upgraded" to be able to cope with the additional weight. Total investment: around 250,000 euros. And this is how it was done: http://www.allgemeine-zeitung.de/lokales/mainz/nachrichten-mainz/mainz-setzt-auf-groessere-kreuzfahrtschiffe-neuer-anlegesteg-am-winterhafen_18509823.htm from the local newspaper with video (and many ads)

 

And if you would like to know where this is in relation to the town, here are the landing stages on a map: https://www.mainz.de/medien/internet/downloads/schiffsanleger_mainz_anreise.pdf The landing stage that has been dismantled (to be returned) is WBM J in the winter harbour. And, you might have expected it, Viking has its own landing stage in Mainz as well. See map.

 

notamermaid

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It is a cold weekend on the Rhine, as one would expect in February, but the forecast tells us that we will see even colder temperatures this coming week. Frost day and night in the hills and hardly any warmer in the Rhine valley. Cold winds from the North and Northeast will make it feel really chilly. And as locals (and me) have suggested: snow in March - at least very likely in the first week of it. There will be little snowfall though, meaning the river levels that are already comfortably low will keep falling. That is good for those taking the first sailings of the season but it could bring us flooding later.

 

The river is keeping ever busy with barges but the other day I saw a river cruise ship being relocated, sailing downstream.

 

So much for this weekend.

 

notamermaid.

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You think this is flooding (that we had a few weeks ago)... this is flooding!

 

With 24 years having come and gone it is easier to jokingly talk about the worst flooding on the Rhine in the 20th century. At the time though it reached catastrophic dimensions and affected many lives along the river (mine included to a minimal extent). I have lived close to the Rhine almost all my life and seen a lot of water but the memory of 1993 is still quite vivid. Talk to people about flooding in 1993 and anyone close to my age and older will remember it well and be able to tell you a story. Mine goes like this: while I was not affected directly by dirty water in my ground floor flat or something similarly "unpleasant" (to put it mildy), I was faced with having to get to work and as I took the train to get to my office quite a distance away from home had to face disruption on the line close to the river bank. My last day in the office on 22rd December started with the train lines being disrupted on the right bank in parts, but the left bank line was still open. I took a fast train early in the morning. In half darkness still, the train went along a low lying section of land and when I looked out of the window I could see only water on both sides of the train. On the right was the flood water, on the left ground water rising. The train, normally travelling at 90 km an hour was going very slowly. An eerie sight and very uncomfortable feeling. I did not know if I would be able to get home in the afternoon! Thankfully, the river level rose slowly and I was able to make the return journey.

 

The 1993 flood is impressive in negative numbers and sadly, a few people died as well. It is called the Weihnachtshochwasser 1993, as the level peaked on the 23rd of December in Koblenz and 24th and 25th December further downstream. The areas most affected were Koblenz and the river downstream from there.

 

This website dealing with historic events along the Rhine (water-related, hence the name Undine, a water spirit) is in German only but has a very good photo of the flooding in Koblenz: http://undine.bafg.de/rhein/extremereignisse/rhein_hw1993.html Some figures: in Koblenz nearly a quarter of the built-up area was flooded, in Cologne more than 4500 households reported damage from flood waters, a further 9000 reported damage from rising ground water, the river from Koblenz downstream to the border with the Netherlands was closed to shipping for seven days. Cost of the damage in the Rhine area was around 1 billion Deutschmarks.

 

Flooding on the Saar, Moselle and Neckar was also severe.

 

There is a town on the Rhine downstream from Koblenz called Neuwied. Built close to the river, flooding used to be severe before the place got a flood protection dyke. Here is a photo from 1920 of boats sailing in the street: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hochwasser_1.jpg Those almost purpose-built flat-bottom boats are called "Nachen". Think of it as Venice without the romance and added odours and filth.

 

These days the fire brigade still has similar boats they can manouvre around the embankments with but without paddles and added diesel engines.

 

To the present day: as mentioned the level is quite low and will continue to stay so for a few days.

 

notamermaid

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Brrrr!!! I've been noticing the reports about the nasty cold weather in Europe. With our departure from Amsterdam only a little over two weeks away now (boarding Amavenita 17 March, leaving Amsterdam evening 18 March) I'm wondering if the freezing conditions with wind chill are going to continue, and if it will affect the river heights. I notice you say the levels are quite low at the moment, Notamermaid. Hopefully not too low. I guess a lot can still happen in two and a half weeks. Coming from Australia, the cold is going to be quite a shock, that's for sure. The water woollies, thermals and down coat are packed!

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feelingcruisey,

 

Yes, it is very cold, was down to -23 degrees in the night, and it has been snowing again! But before I scare everyone, those temperatures are in the highest hills and -15 figures appeared in the East. The Rhine valley has chilly winds, not storms, is currently at around -5 degrees and little snow. Too cold statistically for end of February but bearable. Temperatures will rise again towards the weekend and rain will come. The cold spell will be gone by then more or less and we will return to standard weather for the beginning of March. What the middle of March will bring we do not know yet. A relatively accurate forecast is such a graph that you can follow along (lots of ads): https://www.wetteronline.de/wetter/koblenz I have set it for Koblenz in the middle of the Rhine valley. On the right-hand side you see a graph called 14-Tage-Wetter. Follow that one along as you count down the days to your cruise. Or change the settings around in the middle of the page for the coming days "heute, "morgen", etc. You can change the town at the top of the page where it says "Das Wetter in ..."

 

As regards water levels. They are more or less perfect, could be a little lower to allow for more snow melt, but are certainly nowhere near being too low for sailing. All fine for a few days.

 

Not to worry, AmaWaterways I am sure will take great care of you. With hot chocolate and warming tea if necessary! :)

 

notamermaid

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Thanks Notamermaid, that link is very useful. I notice it's getting warmer on the weekend, if you can call 0 - 8 degrees warm, haha! It's "cool" here in northern NSW, Australia. The last day of summer was a 29 degree day. So it will take a bit of adjustment hitting Europe next week. I do hope APT has that cup of hot chocolate waiting for us. :)

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Posted (edited)

The Rhine valley around my area is bathed in sunshine right now. The temperature has risen and it feels warm compared to Friday. The icy wind has disappeared. The river level has risen a little but it can just as easily fall again as it is not raining. In the hills it is colder so not that much snow melt yet. Rain will come during the week to the South of the valley and then further downstream as well. But even when applying the worst case scenario published by the experts there will be no flooding on the Rhine for the next seven days.

 

Looking good for the first sailings.

 

 

If you would like to see what it was like a few days ago here is a video of a reporter explaining the weather conditions at Lake Constance: https://www.wetteronline.de/wetter-videos/2018-03-02-mk?sort=date

 

notamermaid

Edited by notamermaid
added video

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Thanks Notamermaid, this sounds very hopeful for our cruise. I hope we'll be bathed in sunshine as we sail through your valley!

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Beyond the standard ports... part 11

 

Opposite the more frequented city and port of Mannheim, that being used mainly as a stop for coaching passengers to Heidelberg but increasingly for excursions into the city, lies the city of Ludwigshafen. Recent regional newspaper reports suggest that Ludwigshafen wants a piece of the cake of river cruising popularity. I admit to being completely biased, but I am sure I am not the only one to say that Ludwigshafen for such an endeavour has one big problem: image. For me the city is synonymous in my mind with the chemical works BASF. This however is not accurate as the settlement goes back a bit longer and the town that emerged as the later Ludwigshafen was there before the chemical factory was built on the outskirts of the town.

 

Still, Ludwigshafen has built a landing stage for river cruises; I say the city has built it but newspaper reports suggest that both the construction contract and the financial means came from the ECE company that stands behind (in legal not literal terms) behind the shopping centre "Rhein-Galerie". The landing stage will be close to the actual building of the Rhein-Galerie.

 

To give you an idea what Ludwigshafen is about, here is the wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwigshafen

 

So when you think of medieval castles, palaces and quaint streets, do not think of Ludwigshafen.

 

Who goes there? Well, I could not find out if Ludwigshafen has had a landing stage somewhere along its embankment before but no German river cruises currently have Ludwigshafen in their schedule (a few that I might not have found excepted). The construction of the new landing stage has been delayed due to the flooding we had earlier this year but is supposed to be operational from April. AmaWaterways has decided to use Ludwigshafen for a stop to put passengers on the excursions to Mannheim or Speyer or the technical museum in Speyer on the itinerary "Medieval Treasures". They might use it on other itineraries, I did not check that.

 

It sounds as if AmaWaterways only regards Ludwigshafen as a convenient stop for scheduling excursions which is very understandable but if you do decide to explore Ludwigshafen or even just to report on the dock I would be happy to read your info here. If you have been to Ludwighafen on an itinerary before do send us a message in this thread, too.

 

After all, with all its romanticism and treasured history on the Rhine we should also give the 19th century and industrial heritage a bit of a chance...

 

notamermaid

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Posted (edited)

If you are new to my little series of ports on the Rhine and wondering where numbers 1 to 10 are, you can find them in last year's thread on the Rhine: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2447516 But not to worry, you do not need to "wade through" hundreds of posts, this should ease the search:

 

Part 1 #29 Düsseldorf,

part 2 #30 Worms,

part 3 #45 Karlsruhe,

part 4 #71 Wiesbaden-Biebrich,

part 5 #90 Bingen,

part 6 #123 Lahnstein,

part 7 #209 Engers,

part 8 #246 Andernach,

part 9 #259 St. Goar,

part 10 #262 St. Goarshausen.

 

notamermaid

Edited by Host Jazzbeau

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notamermaid: This is such a terrific series that I took the liberty of copying all the posts you mention into a new thread:

Rhine - Beyond the Standard Ports

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2608575

 

I will also add a link to this new thread in my Sticky on RIVERS and AREAS. Please continue!

 

 

[bTW there was one typo in your list above: part 8 Andernach is #246 in the older thread. I corrected it to prevent confusion :)]

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Hostjazzbeau, I am delighted! [blush] Thank you very much for the thread and the link. Will continue the series in the new thread.

 

I will conclude this evening with a happy smile on my face. :):)

 

notamermaid

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Thank you for the great info, notamermaid. We are going on our first river cruise on June 3rd, Amsterdam to Basel on Uniworld/SS Antoinette.

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My pleasure, JerrylnlL.

 

Jpalbny did a great report/blog on the itinerary on the SS Antoinette. Well worth reading, especially as your itinerary is one of the few North-American ones stopping on Boppard. I have not included Boppard in my series as it is such a well-known place, so to make up for that, for those who would like to read up a bit on that town and the furniture "genius" Thonet, here is the website of the museum: http://museum-boppard.de/start-english/

 

Have a great cruise.

 

notamermaid

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Thanks for the info! We are sailing with Avalon from Amsterdam to Budapest the end of April. Hoping for great river levels then!

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Just to reassure everyone: it has been raining quite a bit. River levels are still looking more or less perfect and the worst-case scenario does not bring us anywhere close to flooding status before 18th March. Looking also promising for a few days after that, unless it rains by the bucketload.

 

It is sunny today, but the general weather conditions are considered "unsettled".

 

notamermaid

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Well, that sounds great, Notamermaid. (y) I think our ship AmaVenita leaves Amsterdam on the 18th. All looking good! We'll wave as we pass you by. :*

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