Last week, a fire broke out onboard German river cruise line A-Rosa's Danube cruiser, the Riva.
The company told Travel Weekly that no injuries were sustained and that all 150 passengers and 40 crew onboard were evacuated and are safe. The Associated Press reported that eight people were treated for smoke inhalation.
According to A-Rosa, the fire originated in the ship's sauna and was extinguished by the local fire brigade. The ship is now in a shipyard in Linz, Austria.
This latest incident was fortunately not a tragic one, but it comes on the heels of a recent ABC report about a fire onboard an Amazon river vessel last year that resulted in the deaths of two passengers.
Fires on river cruise ships are not very common at all - in fact prior to last year, I can't remember the last time I heard of one. But these incidents serve as a reminder that the hazard does exist.
On every river cruise sailing I have been on, there is always a safety briefing, no matter how brief. And during that briefing, it's not uncommon for there to be snickering and laughter due to how safe river cruises feel. The water is relatively shallow and land is in sight the vast majority of the time, so passengers feel almost goofy putting on their life vests and heading to the sun deck for a safety drill.
For myself, and hopefully for other river cruisers, incidents like this serve as a bit of a wake-up call to pay a bit more attention and be more alert to the safety features onboard, and to the emergency scenario protocols.
Passengers should ask themselves if they would know what to do in the event of an emergency. If I'm being honest, I probably wouldn't always, but it's now going to be more of a priority to make sure I am armed with more and better safety information going forward.