The Rhine River Is on the Brink of Effectively Closing

An article I just read about the water levels on the Rhine River is not great news for us taking a river cruise on the Rhine this summer. We are on the Rhine Enchantment southbound in October so maybe things will be better by then.

The article is saying that by this weekend the river is set to drop to 47 centimeters (18.5 inches). This would be within 7 centimeters of being all but impassable.

A link to the article is below.

Rhine River Is on the Brink of Effectively Closing

I realize Tauck has some contingencies in place but we were hoping to unpack in Amsterdam and have our hotel room accompany us down the river.


  • John, October is a long time, it will be ok by the time you go

  • I just talked with Tauck about this. They currently have a trip Northbound on the Rhine that has thus far not been impacted by the low water levels. The cargo barges on the river can ‘draw’ a lot more water than a passenger boat. The “Grace” as best I can tell draws about as much as an empty cargo barge.

  • We just got back off the Rhine on 8/3. It was very low. Our cruise did the full itinerary and it was great, but there were two places the captain made small adjustments to docking location due to low water.

    I don’t know better than anyone else on this forum (and I know better than to disagree with Sealord.) I don’t believe the August Rhine trips will “sail” the full itinerary. It was stunningly low and people were comparing it to 2018. Some portion will change to bus. That said I know some people who’s favorite cruise ever was a 2018 Elbe that never had enough water to move. I think they bussed from boat to boat somehow.

    I also talked to people on board who would know and they said the August Rhine trips would be modified between Koblenz and Basel.

    They say rain in Switzerland and lake level in Lucerne are the variables that matter, but it is so low and the European drought and heat wave are so widespread across the watershed, I have trouble believing anything will change in August.

    Sept or October is a totally different story. Anything could happen.

  • We are going in September but feel that worrying about the unknown is exhausting and pointless. I have complete faith that Tauck will take care of us, no matter what. Thanks for your info and insight JMine.

  • We were on the Rhine in 2018 and had to take the Motorcoach often instead of the boat and it really wasn't a big deal. If anything, I think some of our meals were even better than what we have on the River Boats. Tauck always has alternate options when anything like low water levels, or train strikes, or anything off of their schedule happens - they will make it work -- I don't think it affected our trip, what we saw & did at all.

  • I’ve been following ‘Grace’s’ progress on CruiseMapper. So far so good. They are nearing Koblenz Northbound which is where they should be.

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