Update: Flooding in Europe Disastrous for River Towns, Cruises Canceled

June 3, 2013
News: Central European Floods:
Flooding on Europe's Rivers: Cruise Critic Members Weigh in
Update: River Cruises Canceled Due to Flooding
Floods Continue to Force More River Cruise Cancelations
(1:47 p.m. EDT) -- Heavy rainfall in Europe over the past few days has led to record-breaking flooding in central Europe. According to Associated Press reports, floods in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and Poland have caused several deaths and shut down tourist destinations as water pours into the streets. Passau and Prague -- two major river cruise ports -- have been especially affected. Across central Europe, people have been evacuated from their homes.

As of June 4, the German National Tourist Board reports on its Web site that the south and east of the country have seen the worst of the flooding. Traffic has been halted on rivers such as the Danube, Elbe and Main, and some roads and rail lines are closed. Flood waters are beginning to abate in the south, but record water levels are expected in the east today, such as in Regensburg. Meterologists are predicting better conditions by the end of the week.

In Passau, water levels were the highest in 70 years, and the town is closed to visitors. The electricity has been shut off, and residents in the worst-hit areas have been evacuated by boat as foot traffic is impossible in many places. The Passau tourist office is predicting that by the second week of June, life will return to normal.

The Prague Information Service posts that flood waters are gradually receding. Most monuments, museums and gardens are open, but some parks are closed as trees and branches may still come down. Car and metro service in the city is limited. Zoo animals were relocated due to the flooding, but the zoo is expected to reopen on June 5. The Charles Bridge and a few other tourist attractions remain closed.

Cruise Critic member UKBayern, who lives in Germany near the Czech border, gave this firsthand account on the message boards yesterday: “The situation became this tense in just a matter of days if not hours. … After tomorrow, dry and warm weather is predicted. … In my town, the river Regen which reaches Regensburg 90 km downstream is already slowly going down. Up to now, the flood defenses in Regensburg and Prague are holding up. The main focus is now on Passau, where the situation is dire. Up- and downstream the Danube is causing problems, for example the beautiful Weltenburg Monastery in Kelheim near Regensburg is flooded, as is the historical town of Melk in Austria. The Monastery in Melk is still OK.”

Lines such as AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Grand Circle Cruise Lines, Scenic Cruises, Tauck, Uniworld and Viking have been impacted by the flooding. For information on cancelations and itinerary modifications, you can read our story, River Cruises Canceled Due to Flooding.

--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor