Budapest illumination cruises a no-go for some river lines

A view of Hungary's Parliament building on an illumination cruise in 2018.
A view of Hungary's Parliament building on an illumination cruise in 2018. Photo Credit: Jeri Clausing

Budapest's popular illumination cruises past Hungary's brightly lit Parliament building may be a thing of the past for river cruise lines.

The evening Danube sailings that had become a staple of Budapest itineraries were halted by the river cruise lines following the deadly May crash of a Viking river ship and a small tour boat, said AmaWaterways co-founder and president Rudi Schreiner.

While some companies like Crystal have resumed the sailings, other lines, including AmaWaterways and Avalon, continue to keep their ships docked at night while the investigation continues into who was at fault when the Viking Sigyn hit the Hableany sightseeing boat during a stormy nighttime cruise, killing 27 people on the Hableany. 

The boat carried South Korean tourists. Seven people were rescued and one tourist remains missing. The Hableany sunk and was raised from the bottom of the Danube by a floating crane on June 11.

The Viking captain was arrested and later released on bail.

While some restrictions on turning around along the most crowded areas of the Danube in Budapest were implemented in January, some have called for a complete ban on illumination sailings by the larger ships since the accident.

Update: This updates an earlier story to clarify the ban has been lifted and some lines have resumed the illumination cruises.

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