If that does not work, search under Viking Cruise Review Danube and you should pull it up. It is very recent (July 2003) and I would agree with almost everything stated in the review. The differences were that our cruise director (not the one listed in the review) was weak. And we had no water problems. Maybe this helps.
We will be on the Antwerp to Basel cruise the end of July--maybe the same sailing as HFWT--and we are concerned about river levels this season. Though there is no mention of drought this year, I have learned from a river monitoring website that the Rhine River is well below normal right now. Were you aware of any navigation difficulties during early summer last year? (I know that by late summer and fall, sailings were being converted to bus tours because of the effects of drought.)
We live in Germany and took this cruise from Amsterdam to Basel a few years ago in the Spring.
Germany has had a cool and wet Summer so far.
I would not worry about low river levels unless we start getting very continually warm weather in the next few weeks.
The Rhein river water level website that I looked at this morning showed that although the river level is a little lower than usual in some places it is within normal limits.
What website do you use to follow the river levels? I have been using WetterOnline. My German is limited so I have made some assumptions when looking at the data. For instance, I assume that "weitere flusse" in cm is the maximum depth of the shipping channel at a particular monitoring location. Since the draught of several of the Viking river boats is 150 cm, I am a little nervous when I see the water levels hovering just over 150 cm--as it currently is at several points along the river. To what extent are the water depths of the shipping channel controlled by engineering?
I don't have the whole picture--I have just enough information to be dangerous! Thanks to anybody who can correct any faulty assumptions I have made.
Glad to know that it is a cool, wet season in Germany this year. That is good news.
I have to admit that I am not an expert on river levels compared to draught of ships.
Although I understand that each ship must have a certain amount of water under it to float properly, I was not really aware what level is required for the Viking ships. I think that the Viking ships and other Rhein river ships have more of a flat bottom that allows them to move along the river easily at lower water levels.
I looked at the same website as you. On the web page at http://www.wetteronline.de/pegel/pegelkarte.htm you see a list of rivers on the left hand side. The "weitere flusse" is a pull down that shows "other rivers" (the literal translation). You click on Rhein and get a listing of measuring stations. The column "Abweichung von Normal" (change from normal) is blue and I read the footnote on the chart and see that blue indicates normal pegal movements. Although you and I are using these charts to determine if there is enough water in the river, their normal purpose is probably to determine if flooding is immenent (sp?).
Not being an expert and having seen water level measuring equipment (ruler type sticks and electrical measuring devices) on the sides of the Rhein and other rivers, I thought the measurements were from the bank of the river, not the middle. Not sure now if this is true. I spent some time reviewing German websites tonight, but it is still not clear to me how the measurement is taken. I also don't know what engineering techniques are used to control the water level of the rivers.
I can tell you that I have lived in Germany for over 35 years and we are having a regular Summer, not hot, not dry. Our weather is no where near what it was last year when we had the warmest Summer in over 100 years that caused the river levels to be too low for ship traffic.
It is my laymans opinion that the river level will probably not affect a Rhein River cruise this year.
Sorry if you think that I have misled you or others, probably should be more careful before I "open my mouth".
Thanks for responding. It had occurred to me that the pegel measurement might reflect the depth at a port/dock, because without enough water, a port is not do-able. Then I thought, that interpretation is probably wishful thinking! If your exploration of German/other websites yields more info, I am interested in knowing about it. As you can see, I am not that great auf Deutsch, so if I find the website I may have difficulty understanding it. After 35 years in Germany I bet you do quite well auf Deutsch!
Thanks for letting all of us Nervous Nelsons and Nellies know that this summer is not a repeat of last!
You'd think the cruise line would be more forthcoming with information. 10 days ago I talked by phone with an agent who was clueless and had no idea where to get a clue. She promised to get back with the requested information about river levels and the draught of the Viking Sky, but did not. Then I contacted the company twice by email for any information they might have about river levels and alternate plans should the cruise not be able to sail as scheduled. No response--not even, thanks for your inquiry. After 5 days, I don't think I will be hearing from them. That is a disappointment.
When we are not traveling for business, we go for fun. When we go, we take our most positive outlooks, our sunniest dispositions, and a juicer to make lemonade out of lemons. (Golly, we travel on Amtrak--for fun!) I think our river cruise will be great--even if we find ourselves on a bus. Every indication is that Viking works hard to deliver a great experience. On the other hand, every indication is that Viking does a poor job communicating with their customers--certainly, that's what others have reported, and, sorry to say, our experience thus far. I hope to be able to say "it ain't so" in a future post.
We have been on three river cruises and 12 ocean cruises.
Two river cruises were with a company that later sold their cruise ships to Viking and one with Viking.
The 18 day Viking cruise we took last April/May on the Danube from Passau to the Black sea and return was the best cruise we have ever taken. The ship we were on, Viking Primidonna, is normally not used for English speaking passengers. The entire crew did an outstanding job. The Austrian Chef and his staff were so good that the passengers wanted to have a raffle to determine who would be able to take the Chef home with them. We had two small problems on the ship that required us to correspond with Viking after returning from our trip - Viking responded immediately and resolved these minor problems very professionally.
You will enjoy your Rhein River cruise. The stretch of river from Bonn to Heidelberg is amazing - Enjoy looking at all the castles along both sides of the river.
We leave this Friday for a cruise on the Oceania Insignia.
Good luck with your river cruise!
I was wondering if you knew how close the port is to the Antwerp train station?
We are flying into brussels and will take the train to antwerp and then a taxi to the port.
If you know about how much a taxi's rate is that would be great as well.
I emailed a response to you, but thought I'd answer on the board as well. The docks that Viking was using last summer in Antwerp for the Viking Sky were Kattendijkdok and Willemsdok. The docks are about 10-15 minutes from the Centraal train station. (Use Centraal, not Berchem.) Your cruise documents should give you specific information for your cruise. Our departure information told us to have the taxi take us first to Kattendijkdok, where the ship is usually docked. If the ship was not there, we were instructed to go on to Willemsdok. They are not far apart, but you can't see one from the other.
Our taxi fare was 8 euros including tip for 3 people and 6 pieces of luggage.
We are leaving in 3 weeks for the Treasures of the Rhine cruise...I was wondering what kind of clothing should we bring? Layers for outdoor activities...but...should my husband bring a suit jacket and dress slacks? Should I bring heels and a dress for evening meals? How casual is ship attire? Are blue jeans acceptable?
Your cruise in May will be considerably cooler than ours in mid-summer last year. So, yes--layers are key.
We took the Treasures of the Rhine last year and enjoyed it thoroughly. Viking is not too formal. Your husband does not need a suit, though a sport jacket and slacks would be appropriate for the two "captain's events" during the week. (My husband has a couple of travel sport jackets from Travelsmith that serve well--he wears them while traveling to save suitcase space and for any jacket-suggested events we may attend.) You would not be out of place on the two dressier evenings on the cruise in a dress and heels, but that's not necessary. You will be fine in a dressy (not formal) pant outfit and flats.
Blue jeans? It's your choice. I wouldn't suggest jeans for dinner, though. I didn't take denim--mostly because of its bulk and weight. But it might feel good in Germany in May.