A river cruise ship collided with a canal lock on the
Danube River near Riedenburg, Germany, on Wednesday, leaving the lock
extensively damaged and ships unable to travel the river in either direction.
While local authorities have yet to release any definitive
information on how soon the lock will be repaired, cruise companies are
preparing to reroute ships scheduled to pass through the Riedenburg lock -- located
south of Nuremburg -- in the coming days.
"We're not sure how long it will take to fix the lock,"
said AmaWaterways president and co-founder Rudi Schreiner. "It could be
days or it could be a couple weeks. We have one ship currently on the way
toward Riedenburg, and it needs to pass through the lock on its way to
Nuremburg in a couple days."
Schreiner added that passengers aboard the affected cruise
have already been informed that their itinerary may be modified. If
AmaWaterways' ship is unable to pass, the company plans to disembark passengers
and transfer them to Nuremburg, where they'll be able to board a second ship.
"For many cruise lines that have ships that go between
Amsterdam to Budapest, this is the same halfway area that is very prone to
either high water or low water levels," explained Schreiner. "If they
can't get through, they swap ships and move people from ship A to ship B on the
other side. So it's not a big thing. We will stop an hour before Nuremburg,
transfer people there, and then pick them back up on a ship."
Likewise, Crystal River Cruises' vice president and managing
director Walter Littlejohn confirmed that the company's Crystal Mahler ship is
scheduled to pass through the damaged lock in nine days as part of an
Amsterdam-Budapest itinerary. While details on that ship's plans for a
potential reroute are currently unavailable, Littlejohn said Crystal River
Cruises is expecting any permanent repairs to the lock to take several weeks.
Avalon Waterways is similarly preparing to make itinerary
adjustments, with one of its ships setting sail next week expected to be
affected by the lock repairs. An Avalon spokesperson told Travel Weekly that
the company is currently "working on modifications for the itinerary and
for our guests."