Last updated: 11:27 AM ET, Thu July 23 2015

River Cruise Operators Deal with Low Water Levels

Impacting Travel | Viking Cruises | Theresa Norton | July 23, 2015

River Cruise Operators Deal with Low Water Levels

PHOTO: The SS Maria Theresa's July 26 river cruise has been canceled due to low water levels. (Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection)

Water levels are low in some of Europe’s rivers, forcing river cruise operators to cancel departures or adjust itineraries. Viking River Cruises, Avalon Waterways and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection have all made changes.

Viking said low water levels on the Elbe River forced adjustments to several ships sailing this week. Passengers booked on cruises scheduled to depart within the next week whose itineraries have changed will be contacted directly by email. Guests currently traveling are asked to call their vessel’s telephone number.

The July 24 “Elegant Elbe” cruises aboard Viking Schumann and Viking Fontane have been canceled.

The July 25 “Elegant Elbe” departures on Viking Astrild and Viking Beyla will sail adjusted itineraries. All included excursions will operate. Details will be determined by the nautical team and communicated to passengers once onboard.

Uniworld has encountered low water levels on the Danube River, forcing the cancellation of the July 26 sailing of the SS Maria Theresa. “We are in the process of contacting all guests, and we will issue full refunds and a goodwill future cruise credit,” the company said.

The SS Maria Theresa’s July 12 voyage ended prematurely. The ship docked in Vilshofen, Germany, and Uniworld helped guests make alternate arrangements.

The River Princess, which departed July 20, might experience a delay in sailing of one or two days, but the sightseeing program is expected to be delivered in its entirety. That ship’s prior cruise operated normally except for two days without sailing.

Uniworld notified all travel agents about the situation, and affected guests can stay onboard with full services until their departure.

Travelers with questions can call Uniworld at 800-733-7820 or email Guest Relations at

Avalon Waterways also is experiencing issues on the Danube River, where water levels are especially low between Regensburg and Passau.

“While the Expression was able to traverse the low waters (hooray!), two ships — the Avalon Vista and Avalon Impression — are currently operating under contingency plans and our on-the-ground teams are working closely with affected passengers,” the company posted on its Facebook page. “We also have contingency plans in place, should waters stay low, for the upcoming Avalon Illumination cruise. We have reached out to affected travelers (and their agents).

“The good news? Because the nature of rivers is to ebb and flow, much can change daily. Rain has been forecasted so we are all doing our best rain dances in hopes that more rain makes its way to Europe (specifically, the Danube) ... soon. In the meantime, we will provide additional posts on this page as needed.”

Those with questions can call 866-397-6593 or email


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Honeymoon in St. Maarten With Sonesta Resorts

Hotels & Resorts