At some point in most people’s lives, they have the desire to visit Europe.
With the rich history, gorgeous architecture, and breathtaking scenery, it’s no wonder why.
One of the best ways to do this is on a river boat cruise.
Europe is full of deep, wide rivers that are ideal for river boat travel. These types of cruises allow travelers to see some of the most glorious parts of Europe that they might not otherwise see.
However, it’s important to note, that there are certain challenges when it comes to river travel.
Let’s say you want to take a cruise down the Rhine River.
This is one of the most beautiful cruises in all of Europe. But it can be hindered by nature, particularly Rhine River water levels.
Rhine River Water Levels – What You Need to Know Before You Cruise
For most cruisers, water levels aren’t something they really think about. It’s easy to think about a river cruise in the same context as an ocean cruise – there’s water, so cruising is always possible.
This isn’t always the case with river cruises, though.
When Rhine River water levels drop, it can, at times, make river travel impossible – at least for larger river cruising vessels.
But even if the river levels rise, it could spell hardship for cruise lines.
River cruises are subject to what happens in nature.
Whether it’s low river levels, high water levels, fog, or rain, all of these things can have an immense impact on whether a river cruise can proceed or not.
Thankfully, much of the time, river cruises don’t necessarily have to be cancelled.
Instead, changes are made to the itinerary.
This means that there may be delays getting to or leaving certain port cities. It can also mean that some cities may have to be taken off the port city list completely for that particular cruise date.
Sometimes, when water levels are particularly low, passengers have had to disembark as the boat makes its way through areas where there’s the potential for running aground. Once the ship has been cleared, passengers can board the boat again.
You might think that high water levels aren’t much of an issue, but they can be.
There are a number of bridges that run across European rivers like the Rhine. Each bridge has strict passage guidelines, meaning that only vessels of a certain height may pass beneath them.
If the river levels are high, the boats may not be able to pass under a bridge without risking damage to the bridge and the boat, as well as injury to the passengers.
High water levels usually occur in late spring, while lower levels occur at the end of summer.
Should You Cancel Your Cruise Due to the River Water Level?
When you have a river cruise booked on the Rhine, it can be easy to get discouraged by water levels as you get nearer to your vacation date.
In some cases, travelers have been tempted to cancel/reschedule their river tour based on the water levels they see online.
This isn’t always the best course of action, though.
Between now and then, simply keep an eye on things. As your vacation date approaches, contact your cruise line to find out more about current Rhine River water levels.
You may find that the water levels are still adequate for cruising. And as your cruise date nears, there may be more rain or snow melting that will raise the water levels.
If water levels aren’t ideal, all that’s required is a change in itinerary – not a cancellation of the entire trip.
In many cases, the best course of action is to wait on the cruise line to cancel or reschedule. Doing so could save you a lot of money as, at times, there are cancellation fees or you could lose money you’ve already paid.
On the other hand, if the cruise line cancels, they’ll do so at no charge to you. Instead, they’ll offer compensation or reschedule without any additional fees.
Why You Should Be Aware Water Levels If You’re Planning a Cruise
Why is it important to keep an eye on the river water level if your best bet is to wait on the cruise line to reschedule?
Watching water levels can help you create a backup plan.
Every trip is going to have its challenges. Whether it’s raising or lowering water levels, inclement weather, or political tensions – travelers are going to face challenges.
Does this mean that you have to cancel your trip and hide away at home until conditions are perfect?
Your best bet is to have a backup plan.
And keeping an eye on certain challenges – like politics and river water levels – can help you do this.
The better prepared you are, the more likely it is that you will have a wonderful trip – even if you have to make some adjustments in your itinerary or vacation dates.