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European Floods Cause Some River Cruise Shifts

April 20, 2006 By: Susan Young Travel Agent

Heavy rain and melting snow have caused substantial flooding along the Danube River recently, particularly in the Balkans. The rising waters are creating difficulties for some river cruise lines and forcing them to change itineraries. Uniworld said its newly launched River Royale had a bit of difficulty on one journey in southern France a few weeks ago; high water affected certain locks, forcing the cruise line to take passengers off the vessel and motorcoach them to the other side of at least one lock. One Uniworld vessel on a Black Seas itinerary this week opted instead for a Vienna, Austria roundtrip cruise. Tom Russell, Uniworld's senior vice president of sales and marketing, said the line created an alternative journey the passengers were enjoying and the line would offer a small future cruise incentive for the shift. Peter Deilmann Cruises said Danube flooding has generally not affected sailings of the Mozart and Danube Princess, but flooding on the Elbe and Moldau (Vltava in Czech) rivers affected some sailings of other vessels. The Dresden, which sails alternately between Hamburg and Dresden, and Frederic Chopin, which sails between Potsdam (Berlin) and Prague, were unable to operate for 10 days (as of April 18). U.S. passengers booked on those cruise vessels were notified of changes before they sailed and were accommodated on other ships. Deilmann says its seven-night sailings set for April 22 should operate normally. Viking River Cruises' trips on the Danube do not begin until the end of April, so none have been affected. Similarly, the Abercrombie & Kent River Cloud is sailing in Holland and won't move to the Danube for a few weeks.

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