August 17, 2022by Will Payne
Europe’s river cruise lines remain confident in their ability to continue offering itineraries with “minimal” disruption as drought conditions continue to impact sailings on some of the continent’s most popular rivers.
According to The Guardian, some areas of the Loire in Germany can now be crossed on foot, while the Rhine becomes “impassable to barge traffic”. The newspaper reports that scientists warn the drought could be “the worst in 500 years”.
However, despite the threat of disruption, river cruise companies are reassuring their customers that they are monitoring the situation closely and changing itineraries accordingly.
Lucia Rowe, managing director of A-Rosa River Cruises, said it was “not uncommon” for water levels to fluctuate, stressing that river cruise companies are adept at dealing with such situations. “When water levels become low, we monitor the situation on a daily basis and are in constant dialogue with the relevant port authorities and respective water management offices,” she said. TTG.
“If necessary, we adapt our itineraries and draw on our long experience of sailing on European rivers to make the appropriate adjustments. River cruisers are able to react to a change in the situation and find alternative ports suitable and attractive.
“Also, when changes are made, we always organize additional onboard activities such as additional culinary events and local musicians and we offer additional excursions when needed.”
Brad Bennetts, sales and business development manager for APT and Travelmarvel, said fluctuating water levels were something that businesses and the wider river cruise industry “always had to plan for. an emergency plan”.
“We are fortunate to have very loyal, understanding and sensitive customers who appreciate these situations beyond our control and have appreciated the fact that they can still take their well-deserved vacations, with almost all customers continuing with their plans for journey. ,” he said.
Bennetts praised the brands’ agent partners, thanking them for their “professionalism and transparent communication.” “While this prolonged period of high temperatures means we are dealing with more low water than we would normally expect during the season, we are experienced in dealing with changing water levels.
“Our operations are set up so that we can respond quickly and seamlessly to any changes in external factors and continue to deliver exceptional vacation experiences to our guests. As such, we haven’t had to adapt much; instead it was about working at pace and handling more volume. The team coped with the challenges very well.”
Jamie Loizou, Managing Director of AMAWaterways, said GTT all of the company’s river cruise ships were still operating their routes as scheduled. “We are monitoring the situation on certain sections of the Rhine very closely and adapting our timetables as needed,” he said.
“As water levels on the rivers can change rapidly depending on local rainfall, we have a dedicated communications team in place to alert our customers and valued travel agents to any major changes affecting their upcoming river cruises and assist with any changes that may be required.”
Ellen Bettridge, president and chief executive of Uniworld, added that although the line must make changes to some itineraries – and had to cancel “a few” trips – affected customers and travel partners have and will receive updates and the opportunity to book on another navigation.
“The nature of rivers is that they come and go with the seasons,” she said. “We have made the necessary adjustments with the current low water levels caused by the staggering summer heat.”