August 17, 2022 – Q – My family and I have been really upset by the article we read from CNN Travel which came out quite recently. It seems to say that river cruising is, for all practical purposes, over with. This article makes us think that our planned family cruise next August along the Seine River may be inoperable. Wondering if you have seen the article and wondering if you agree with its premise.  Really enjoy your websites. 

A – This article, by Julia Buckley, has gone “mature people viral”. The title of the piece, “Europe’s Drought Could Signal the Death of River Cruising” is, we think, based on fact, along with some opinions by a professor of tourism. The conclusion seems to us to be rather dark.

The first paragraph states that “Europe is having another cataclysmic summer”. Given that 63% of the land mass across the EU, as well as Great Britain, is operating under drought warnings or the more serious “alerts” we think this is quite literally true. Add in the record-breaking heat waves and we have to wonder what river cruising in the seasons to come will look like.

This is a big topic and we don’t want to spend a lot of time responding to a piece on CNN written by someone who does not, as far as we know, work in the industry. But at its heart, the article correctly points out that the management of these river cruise lines has nothing but the ravages of climate change to work around. Next summer may be much better. And even the summer after that. But sometime in the near future, this will happen again and with more severity and riverboat companies on Europe’s rivers will have to re-examine their business models. 

From our perspective, this will not mean the end of an industry. It will, we think, mean a reallocation of seasons. October may become the most desirable month to cruise the Rhine or the Danube, or perhaps April before the drought has typically begun. 

The Seine is still standing at the moment. France always survives and there are many harder-hit localities. Continue planning what we are certain will be a really enjoyable family vacation.