Marooned passengers leave Danube

//Marooned passengers leave Danube

filiarheni_x.jpgThe 120 British tourists who spent a week stranded on a river cruise boat in Vienna were finally flown home today. They had hoped to spend seven days seeing the sights along the Danube; instead, record levels of floodwater forced them to spend almost all the time unable to travel anywhere and not even to leave the boat.
The 110-metre long ship Filia Rheni had been chartered exclusively by Titan Travel for a “Danube Waltz” cruise, and after embarking passengers last Friday should have travelled gently to Passau, Bratislava, and Budapest.
High water levels – the result of record rainfall and flooding that has disrupted central Europe and caused a number of deaths – not only prevented the ship from leaving, but also left its landing pontoon unusable.
The only way off, according to spokesman Paul Green, was via a smaller boat, which was impracticable for the majority of the passengers.
“Fortunately,” said Green, “there was plenty of food on the boat, and more importantly plenty of wine. One of Titan’s directors flew to the vessel to supervise operations and to reassure passengers, who will receive a full refund, or full credit on a future cruise.
“It’s difficult to plan for the worst floods in 100 years but in those floods, customers were better off on a luxurious cruise ship with three weeks’ supply of food and wine.”
Eventually, a replacement pontoon was constructed and floated into place, and the passengers were able to walk safely ashore on Thursday evening. A busy rail line was closed down during the rescue attempt so they could cross it safely. They were accommodated in hotels in Vienna before returning to the UK, most by the flights originally scheduled for their return from Budapest.
Filia Rheni was built in 1999; unusually for river cruise vessels it has a gym and a swimming pool. The ship, operated by the Dutch company Rijfers River Cruises, was due to start another Titan charter today, embarking passengers in Budapest for a 17-night “Grand Voyage to the Black Sea.”
It is not yet clear how this cruise will be affected by the floods. A statement on Titan Travel’s website advises “If you are due to travel on any of our European river cruise holidays in the coming week, rest assured we will be in contact by telephone if there is any impact on your itinerary – there is no need to call us. We are in constant contact with local partners and are monitoring the situation very closely.”

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:31+00:00 7 June 2013|Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

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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