Flooding disrupts river cruises

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Severe flooding is disrupting river cruising in central Europe. The picturesque Bavarian town of Passau where the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz meet, is one of the worst affected with water levels at their highest for 500 years.
Viking River Cruises have cancelled departures from Passau to Budapest and from Budapest to Nuremburg, and another 16 itineraries have had to be amended.
Avalon Waterways have cancelled three departures and other operators are assessing the problems faced as the rivers rise to record levels and in some cases burst their banks.
Other operators have moved guests to hotels, or transferred them between boats which have been unable to use the Main-Danube Canal in southern Germany.
A state of emergency has been declared in the Czech Republic and dams have been opened on the River Vitava in an attempt to prevent flooding in the centre of Prague, where the Charles Bridge has been closed.
Elsewhere, cruise operators are exercising caution on visits to Istanbul, where police have used tear gas and water cannon against political protesters in Taksim Square and the Besiktas district.
Paving stones have been ripped up to build barricades, and more than 1,700 arrests have been made as a peaceful sit-in trying to halt plans to build a shopping mall has escalated into wide-ranging anti-government protest.
Demonstrators are unlikely to target tourists, but the UK Foreign Office advises that “further violent protests remain possible.” The official – and obvious – advice to visitors is that they should “avoid all demonstrations and leave the area if one develops.”
Passengers boarding Azamara Journey in Istanbul yesterday for a cruise to Troy, Ephesus and Santorini said they felt safe in their hotels in the city. No shore excursions were affected and the ship was able to leave on time.
Thomson, MSC, AIDA, Norwegian, SeaDream Yacht Club and Costa all have ships which are scheduled to visit Istanbul during the next week.
A Thomson spokeswoman said: “Our cruise team continue to monitor the situation, and are reviewing the Turkish excursion programme on a daily basis. As a precaution, the Easy Istanbul excursion due to take place tomorrow has been cancelled.”
She added: “Our colleagues in our resorts have expressed that it is very much a ‘business as usual’ operation. The atmosphere is quiet and calm, with people continuing to enjoy their holidays as normal. All our holidays to Turkey are continuing as normal in accordance with Foreign Office travel advice, and Turkey continues to be a popular holiday destination for customers.”
Norwegian Cruise Line, whose Norwegian Spirit is due to visit Istanbul in a week’s time, said “The safety and security of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance. We are currently monitoring the situation in Istanbul. At this time, we have not made any itinerary changes.”
The Turkish Culture and Tourism Office added: “There have been protests in Istanbul and a number of other provinces regarding the redevelopment of Taksim’s Gezi Park. There are currently no problems being experienced with either transport or security in Istanbul or any of our tourism regions and thus every sort of touristic activity is carrying on as normal.”

By | 2013-06-04T10:09:09+00:00 4 June 2013|Cruise news, River cruise|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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