The holidays are a great time to do a little traveling - but if you were planning on going on a cruise through the Christmas markets of Europe, you might have to change your plans this year; as low water levels lead to cruises being canceled! Christmas cruises are a tradition for many - a way to get the whole family together, experience some snow-covered scenery, and avoid all the stress that comes with sleeping on couches and doing the dishes for ten people.
It's not necessary for these cruises to be particularly Christmassy, of course - there are plenty of island cruises that are just the ticket for a holiday celebration. But for those who are looking for something a little more seasonal, there are plenty of cruise options that will head around Europe and allow passengers to explore the local Christmas festivities along the way. However, this year, some European cruises are running into trouble, as low water levels make it impossible for the ships to safely follow their planned routes.
After a surprisingly long, hot, summer, certain rivers in Europe are at unexpectedly low levels - including the Danube and Rhine (which are vital waterways for cruises through Germany, Austria, and Hungary). Several cruise ship companies have posted notices on their websites about the changes in cruise itineraries, making contingency plans to have guests stay in hotels for extended periods, to swap out ships, or to travel part of the way by bus.
The cruise lines affected have been quick to point out that while it's easy to panic about Christmas cruises being canceled, it's very possible that the water levels will rise before this causes too much of an issue. It is also worth noting that this won't affect every cruise over the holiday season, but is just going to affect a small number of cruises that would no longer be able to safely navigate these rivers.
It's also worth pointing out that this year's low water levels is an 'anomaly', and isn't something that passengers would usually have to worry about when booking a cruise... although, of course, mother nature does have an impact on cruise lines, and there are times when there is simply no way to continue with a cruise as originally planned. Passengers on affected cruises are being contacted directly if changes need to be made, although at this point, this is more advance warning of the possibility than a reason to panic over Christmas being ruined.