|(c) 2011 Avalon Waterways|
Last Friday at about 9:30 p.m., the Avalon Tranquility was struck by a cargo ship just north of Passau, Germany on the Danube River. In a statement, Avalon Waterways says the cargo ship had come loose from its mooring. German authorities are investigating the accident.
The line said the accident caused significant damage to the ship's engine area, located in a non-passenger section. One report noted that there was a two-foot gash in the river vessel's hull.
Thankfully, no passengers were injured and the river cruise line said in a statement that "all were removed safely from the ship that evening."
Avalon Waterways was aided by the officers and staff of Uniworld's River Empress, which took the Avalon passengers onboard and transferred them to Deggendorf.
There, they were met by motorcoaches provided by Avalon Waterways and escorted to two hotels in Regensburg where they spent the night.
On Saturday morning, members of Avalon Waterways' European operations team as well as a trained counselor met with the passengers to ensure everyone was doing well. The line overnighted passengers in Munich on Saturday.
By many media accounts, the line handled the crisis situation well. On Sunday, the on-site operations team met with passengers to discuss their options. Passengers were given two options -- either to return home from Munich, with Avalon making the arrangements, or to continue on a special land tour in Europe so they could see many of the areas they wanted to experience on the river cruise.
Avalon Waterways picked up the tab for those opting for the land tour. The line said the vast majority of its travelers chose that tour.
In addition, all travelers will be compensated with a refund for the majority of their cruise and a voucher for future travel in 2011, 2012 or 2013.
The Avalon Tranquility is currently in drydock for further inspection and repair. Avalon Waterways says it will know more about the ship's status for upcoming cruises in the coming days.