Q – Hi – just found your excellent site today. Some quick info before the question on heat. My wife and I are considering a cruise on AMA from Amsterdam to Basel plus the extra land days to Zurich/Lucerne in mid-July of next year. The date is fixed as we would be joining some other family members who have made the initial plans already. I have been to Europe six times (only once in summer) and I am a seasoned traveler. – but never on any type of cruise for either of us. My wife has never been to Europe. We are both in our fifties. She has lupus and her health issues make her more sensitive to heat and humidity than most. I checked average temperatures along the cities of the Rhine in July and the average highs and lows are moderate and look acceptable to me. Am I missing something or, on average, is the heat and humidity in this area just not that bad.
A – This is a bit tough to answer. The only really positive thing we can say about river cruising in mid-July is that it is fractionally better than cruising in mid-August. Heat and humidity will likely be an issue as will crowds. We don;t think that the term “moderate” really applies. Mid-summer on the continent has seen record highs, the highest temps since records were kept. Heat warnings this July were issued for Switzerland’s central plateau with record highs in the Basel and Rhone regions.
We would suggest that a discussion with your wife’s physician should decide this issue. If you make the trip, do remember to bring a complete medical summary so that it can be presented to a local English-speaking doctor should the need arise.
Would we feel more comfortable having you seeing portions of Europe on a Baltic itinerary in July – yes. And we would feel most comfortable having you on a ship with good on-board medical facilities and staff, something river boats do not provide.
Given all of that, we still think things will be fine and you should do the trip with your physician’s consent. But do avoid full-day touring in the heat. Also put our advice in perspective. Ours is a minority voice when it comes to mid-summer travel in Europe. Not everyone shares our belief that heat-induced exhaustion on July and August programs is something consumers should carefully consider.