River Lock Accident Sparks Domino Effect Cruise Delays

August 9, 2013
(1:04 p.m. EDT) -- A shipping accident that trapped a river boat and a cargo ship in a lock tied up traffic on the Rhone River and delayed the sailings of at least two other river cruises.

AmaWaterways' 148-passenger AmaDagio and a cargo ship were trapped in the Logis Neuf lock between Viviers and Le Pouzin on the Rhone River early Tuesday morning when the lock failed to sense the presence of the boat and the doors "came down on the back of the ship and ended up getting hooked on the last inch of the ship," AmaWaterways executive vice-president and co-owner Kristin Karst told Cruise Critic.

No passengers were injured and there was no damage to the boat, but extracting AmaDagio from the lock required a heavy crane to be brought in from the southern French port of Marseilles to fix the damaged lock doors. Passengers were disembarked directly from the lock Tuesday and put up in a nearby hotel.

Two Grand Circle Cruise Line ships, MS Chardonnay and MS Provence, were waiting to enter the lock when the accident happened. A spokesperson for Grand Circle said both ships sailed to the nearest port to wait for the lock to become passable.

After being freed from the lock, AmaDagio resumed sailing Wednesday afternoon. In a statement on its Facebook page, AmaWaterways said it was offering a 50 percent future cruise credit to passengers onboard AmaDagio.

Additionally, both Grand Circle ships have resumed sailing. Cruise Critic member NorbertsNiece, who was posting photos and updates from the scene reported that the line is offering a $200 credit to passengers whose cruise was delayed by the accident, valid for two years.

--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor