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notamermaid

Rhine water levels 2019 and similar topics

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Greetings from the Rhine valley. Here is the thread for 2019 for everything related to the water levels of the Rhine and bits of information on the river.

 

The beginning of the year has been fairly uneventful, the last river cruise ships have made their way into the winter harbours and it is cold, stormy and rainy. The river levels are very pleasant for sailing, there is always plenty of barge traffic, it is neither too low nor too high. Exactly one year ago we had flooding with parts of the Rhine and the Moselle closed to shipping. I am looking forward to a bit of snow, forecast for the week after next in the Middle Rhine valley. I missed the few snow flakes we had a week before Christmas as I was in England then. So I have not seen any this season yet.

 

Whether or not your journeys this year involve a river cruise ship, have a great time wherever you are headed. Safe travels.

 

notamermaid

 

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Notamermaid,

 thank you for starting this thread,  Many of us look for your posts to know what is really happening on the Rhine.  All of your added stories about history and geography are such a joy to read.

As Neil  Gaiman once wrote...

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful, and don't forget to make some art...write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope , somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

 

RB

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notamermaid,

thanks for this thread.  i'm booked on the crystal bach for a cruise from basel to amsterdam beginning on november 3rd, so i'll be reading your comments all year until i leave.  thank you for doing this.

 

 

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Thanks for this posting.  Will be followng it closedly.  We had our late August/18 Rhine River cruise cancelled by Emerald, but have rebooked for late July/19.  Hope our timing is better this time around.

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So with the barges cruising again, has the fuel shortage eased?  Here's hoping you are warm and snug!

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Just hope we don't have to cust and paste from the 2018 thread.

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5 hours ago, G.M.T. said:

Just hope we don't have to cust and paste from the 2018 thread.

 

After the terrible low-water problems, I assume you mean "cuss and pace" :classic_laugh:

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Thanks for starting this Notamermaid. 

 

We we are booked on a Scenic cruise Amsterdam to Basel in October. I hope there is water in the river then. Alternatively I hope Scenic has enough ships on the river to do swaps. 

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Thank you notamermaid!

Hoping to follow the other posters lead and sail on the Rhine this year!

If so, would be for the holidays - so a long time away - but after last years issues with water levels will be following closely.

 

Thank you again for all your postings last year - very informative.

 

Bob

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Thanks notamermaid.  I followed your posts last year, and now we are back from our European break, I will be following even more as we are sailing on Scenic Amsterdam to Budapest in October.

 

Fingers crossed that this is a better year than last year.

 

We got a sprinkle of snow in Strasbourg and Riquewihr just over a week ago and also a little in Frankfurt on Friday so it is definitely coming.

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Looking forward to your reports, notamermaid.  We’re on the August 24 Amsterdam to Basel cruise on Emerald.  Water levels on the Rhine might be dicey in August but we’re hoping for the best, and thanks to this site we’ll know what’s happening.

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I’m also interested in this, as I’m booked on Viking cruise Basel to Amsterdam March 31, will be watching this thread avidly.

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On 1/10/2019 at 9:37 PM, Ritabob said:

Notamermaid,

 thank you for starting this thread,  Many of us look for your posts to know what is really happening on the Rhine.  All of your added stories about history and geography are such a joy to read.

As Neil  Gaiman once wrote...

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful, and don't forget to make some art...write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope , somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

 

RB

Rita,

 

that is just... beautiful. What a lovely quote. And I thank you double, as you have also introduced me to a new author I had never heard of before. I will certainly look into his works catalogue. After all the other books that are piling up in my bedroom, attic, ... I am the sort of person who could never comfortably read an e-book. I need the rustling of paper. :classic_smile: In my previous job I was responsible for ordering copying machine paper and spent many an hour a week handling paper and photocopying. "Paperless office"? A thought that could give me nightmares. :classic_wink:

 

notamermaid

 

 

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On 1/11/2019 at 2:43 AM, Host Jazzbeau said:

So with the barges cruising again, has the fuel shortage eased?  Here's hoping you are warm and snug!

Container, tank and barge traffic are well on their way to being normal again. Some logistics companies are apparently still using train and truck more than before the low water but that will be further reduced and return to ship transport as the year progresses.

 

I am warm and snug, thank you. :classic_smile:

 

The weather is cold-ish and miserably most of the time, the neighbour's cats stand in the doorway each day, assessing the situation and usually return into the house quite soon after. I suspect they return to the comfort of my neighbour's chairs, sofa, etc. Yesterday I made the mistake of leaving the house at the wrong time. Got drenched in driving rain. The rain stopped five minutes after I had got back home.

 

We have high water levels but no official flooding. It will peak in the Middle Rhine valley later today and into the night. Much water is coming from the Neckar river which is partly closed to shipping. We on the Rhine are fine, but as luck would have it - or rather unluckily - a barge ran aground yesterday at Oestrich-Winkel which is a little South of Rüdesheim closing the river as the barge had turned and stood at an angle towards the navigation channel. The Rhine was closed for most of yesterday and is now being dredged to get rid of accumulated gravel. It is currently one lane traffic only but the river is due to reopen fully by the end of the afternoon.

 

More rain is forecast and some snow down into the valley even. A gentleman operating a ski lift in the Hunsrück hills - that is South-Southwest of Koblenz - has not been doing too well so far this season. When interviewed on television yesterday he said that he wished he had just a bit of that snow which is blighting the Alps in Bavaria...

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, notamermaid said:

 

I am warm and snug, thank you. :classic_smile:

 

Hi notamermaid,

Thanks for starting this post to keep us updated. After last year I think we are all a little concerned about water levels for our booked cruises.

 

I’m also warm, it is 40C at the moment (6.25pm) and was 42C(107.6F) today. I’ve never seen snow and we don’t get much rain where I live, in fact I don’t own an umbrella or raincoat. Guess I’ll need to buy both for my 31 March to 7 April Basel to Amsterdam river cruise.

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OzNaiNai,

That is warm! I have set my heating system for 22 degrees to feel comfortable, outside it is between two and eight degrees. Frost will come to the valley soon - and the snow. When your cruise starts it will normally be too warm for snow but the hills beyond Basel can provide you with the sight. End of March sees anything between 8 and 22 degrees during the day in the valley. For recommendations for clothes, etc. I suggest you join the roll calls. Past cruisers are a tremendous source of detailed info.

 

notamermaid

 

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Thank you for the updates!  Currently on Scenic in September but considering changing to Tauck October. 

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On 1/17/2019 at 8:33 PM, Aapreciate said:

Thank you for the updates!  Currently on Scenic in September but considering changing to Tauck October. 

I would say that Tauck is considered as a level up in luxury. What I like about Tauck is the fact that on the Rhine itineraries the excursions differ slightly from the norm. They offer a couple of places that no-one else of the English language cruises go to (as far as I can ascertain this). But, the caveat is that, if you change to October you are statistically more likely to experience low water levels. There was not much feedback from Tauck cruisers last year, so we cannot say how well - or not - they did during the drought. I have seen on the other thread that the river level is not your only concern. If it was I would say stick to September.

 

The further we are into autumn the more the Rhine relies on rainfall for keeping its level up, it is much less fed by the glaciers in the Alps than during snowmelt and Summer.

 

notamermaid

 

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One thing we learned this year with the low-water situation is that river cruise lines with only a few ships had a much harder time adapting to the conditions in ways that minimized the disruption for their passengers.  Viking, which had done very badly in the past, was a champ this year because they positioned their vast number of ships so that each cruise could proceed pretty much on schedule with one or two 'ship swaps.'  Crystal on the other hand, despite being the top luxe cruise line, was unable to do this because they only have 5 river ships – they might have been able to position the four identical ones to do ship swaps, but didn't even try [maybe next year they will develop a 'plan B' early enough to allow this].  That would make me very leery of Tauck because they also have a small number of ships.

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Thank you for pointing this out jazzbeau.  It is  certainly something to consider. Emerald, Esprit, Swiss Jewel, Treasures are Tauck's smaller ships of 110m so one could choose an itinerary on one of those ships for that extra "buffer" in centimetres of river levels. Something that works on the Rhine where the river is never closed. For the Danube this is an option but is reduced in value by the fact that the Hungarian authorities close the river in drought at Budapest. However, that scenario is less likely than the too low to sail for the 135m ships scenario in Bavaria.

 

All this going back to 2018 in my thoughts is making my head spin again☹️.  It would be great to not need to mention low water. But it will happen in 2019, it is the seasonal cycle of nature's water supply. Just how low it will be and if it will only affect barges or also river cruise ships we shall find out later in the year. First up: frost, snow, rain, Rhenish Carnival, flooding (possibly) and a rest for the river cruise ships and crews.

 

notamermaid

 

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Part of a January 19, 2019 NY Times article:

 

"It’s early to make a final judgment on the wines of 2018, even for Mr. Dirksen, a critic for Vinum, an industry publication. But he nodded his head approvingly. Here, and almost everywhere else in the country, German winemakers are celebrating what they believe will prove to be a banner vintage.

“It’s not just good,” said Roman Niewodniczanski, one of Germany’s most celebrated vintners and the owner of Van Volxem. “It’s grandiose!”

What proved to be the country’s hottest, driest spring and summer on record were disasters for many German farmers, river boat captains and foresters. But they were a blessing for winemakers, leading to a record harvest — Mr. Niewodniczanski estimates his output will be up 20 percent or more on last year — while also imparting a high must weight: the all-important measure of a grape’s sweetness."

 

 

 

 

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oneadam12,

 

that is true, the vintners profited much from the dry and warm weather. Not many others did. As the low water became a tourist attraction, especially around Bingen and Kaub, cafés and restaurants were busier than ever serving the many people who wanted to walk along the dried-out river bed or cross over to Bingen Mice Tower, on foot as the ferry could not run!

 

Right now it is COLD. There is frost in the valley and mist over the Rhine. I saw a glimpse of the blood moon this morning (missed the full eclipse as I did not feel like getting up so early in winter). Even with just a quarter covered by the Earth's shadow it was an interesting sight and I am sure quite a few professional photographers will provide us with great photos. I hope someone has taken a shot of the blood moon over one of the Rhine castles or even Reichsburg castle on the Moselle. That would be a great motif.

 

I had thought that by 10 January all the river cruise ships are safely towed for a rest in winter harbours but I did see two still making their way down river just a week ago. "Where do they all - not just the two - go?", I wondered. So I had a look at Cologne Niehl harbour on marinetraffic. I had guessed right. Many river cruise ships are docked there, a few excursions boats as well. There are at least 34 ships docked, including 18(!) Viking ships if I counted right. It is almost a bit scary how many ships there are on the rivers now... 8 years ago the majority of those 34 ships had not even been built.

 

notamermaid

 

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Notamermaid

I'm not sure what you consider cold. It was -21 celcius when I got up this morning, without taking into account the wind, which is very unusual for us here. I'm grateful that I have a car and drive it to work, so I only had to walk to my garage at the back of the house. I feel sorry for people that have to wait for buses, or even more, those that are sleeping on the streets (and unfortunately we have them; many of them refuse to go to shelters).

 

We are expected to rise above freezing on Wednesday; and are expecting flurries and rain showers.

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gnome12,

Ooh, just minus six here...

I walk to the shops and to work so do feel the cold, especially as I am the sort of built and person that feels the cold quickly. Minus 4 to minus 10 are "good, solid" cold temperatures in my area. It does get colder occasionally but more in the hills.

 

There are of course much colder places in Europe where sadly dozens of lives are lost to the frost each year.

 

notamermaid

 

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4 hours ago, notamermaid said:

"Where do they all - not just the two - go?", I wondered. So I had a look at Cologne Niehl harbour on marinetraffic. I had guessed right. Many river cruise ships are docked there, a few excursions boats as well. There are at least 34 ships docked, including 18(!) Viking ships if I counted right. It is almost a bit scary how many ships there are on the rivers now... 8 years ago the majority of those 34 ships had not even been built.

 

notamermaid

 

Thanks Notamermaid. I was thinking about making a similar posting. The other places where I’ve found a lot of river ships are Linz (I think that I counted over 35!) and Vienna (21 Viking Longships by my count).

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