CroisiEurope's Leonardo da Vinci on the Neckar at Heidelberg
After a spring marked by cruises canceled or modified by too much water in major rivers, and a summer marked by cancellations due to too little water in some rivers, it looks like smoother sailing ahead as water levels return to normal.
Mid-August rains have helped get the process started, and there have been no water-related cancellations announced in the past week on either the Rhine or the Danube. The Elbe, though, which has been the biggest summer trouble spot, is recovering more slowly, and Viking has cancelled its Elbe itineraries through at least this week. Its water levels are less strictly controlled than those on the two major transport rivers.
Looking ahead to the future, there are still clouds. In the near-term, forecasts for the next period call for drier-than-usual weather through September. And the spectre of long-term climate change is raising its head; AmaWaterways, for one, cited it as a factor in deciding not to expand to more Elbe cruises. Other lines, such as CroisiEurope, are looking at ships that could operate in shallower waters, with side-mounted paddlewheels.