(June 19, 4:07 p.m. EDT) -- After almost a week of torrential rains and flooding in Central Europe, life along the Danube, Elbe, Rhine and Main Rivers is getting back to normal. River cruise operations are also normalizing, with only small sections of the rivers still unavailable to ships.
In Austria, for instance, the Altenworth lock, which is located on the Danube River between the cities of Vienna and Melk, was damaged and is closed for repairs. It's scheduled to reopen by June 21. In many cases, river cruises that need to reach either of these cities are utilizing buses to get passengers to their destinations.
In Slovakia, the Gabcikovo Lock sustained damage, and, although upstream operations resumed June 15, downstream operations are still on hold for a couple more days.
The water levels along a portion of the Danube, between Regensburg and Passau in Germany, are still high and may cause delays in river cruise operations, as well.
Here's the latest from several river cruise operators on which sailings are affected by the flooding's aftermath.
All river operations are expected to return to normal by the end of this week. However, the Jewels of Europe river cruise aboard Scenic Crystal hit a snag after an unexpected river closure in Serbia. The cruise, which was scheduled to begin June 17 in Budapest, has been delayed, as the ship has not been able to reach Budapest. Passengers stayed in the city until June 18, when they were transferred to Vienna. Scenic is "working with river authorities" to sail the ship to Vienna as soon as possible so passengers can continue with the remainder of their cruise.
All river cruise operations are expected to return to normal after June 21, though some sailings will forego badly hit Passau in favor of Munich.
Other changes include:
The June 19 departure of Romantic Danube (Budapest to Nuremberg), scheduled for Viking Odin, will begin on Viking Bragi. In Vienna, passengers will transfer to Viking Freya, after which the cruise will continue with no further alterations.
The June 19 departure of Romantic Danube (Nuremberg to Budapest), scheduled for Viking Freya, will take place on Viking Odin. All port calls are expected to proceed as scheduled.
Passengers on the June 13 Blue Danube sailing have been forced to do much of their sightseeing by motorcoach. Also, because the ship, ms Swiss Sapphire, is not able to proceed to Vienna, passengers are staying at hotels in the city.
A limited number of sailings will require passengers to swap ships mid-sailing to get across the Altenworth lock.
The June 17 departure of Romantic Danube is being operated on AmaBella, instead of the originally scheduled ship. The sailing will operate as normal through June 21. If the Altenworth Lock is reopened at that time, the ship will continue on as scheduled. If not, alternate arrangements will be announced.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor