Many people ask me for water levels in connection with their planned Rhine river cruise. Especially whether low water levels could be dangerous for their cruise. |
Well, it's really very exceptional that Rhine river cruises are stopped by low water levels. In 2011 we had a low level of about 120 cm in Cologne and there were no problems with Rhine cruises. The cruise ships have a draught of 1 meter or less. And … the official level announcements don't mean the river has this level in the entire riverbed. In most areas the shipping lane is more deep, in most cases it has a deep of about 2 meters more than the official water level says. The only problem could be the less deep banks of the river since there are the landing stages and so the landing could be a problem in some cities in case water level has less than 1 meter there. But I cannot remember a year where they said it was impossible for cruise ships to land somewhere, in Cologne for example.
And water level in the 1- 2 meter area subsides very slowly. In very hot summer without any rain it could be 1 – 3 cm a day the level subsides. In most cases the rain has come back in this time …
Freighters have a more deep draught with their heavy freight. So we have several low level years where the freighters have problems, but this only means they have to reduce their freight. But there are normally no problems in this same situation with cruises.