Barbara Orr just had a very unusual cruise experience. Over the next few days she will explain what happens when a trip does not work out as planned. We thought it important to share this information with you, our readers, because these things do happen when you travel and it is wise to think ahead as to how you might react in a similar situation. — Cynthia Boal Janssens, editor
Cruises are expensive investments of money and time. But sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the cruise goes wrong. And then what? Who’s at fault? Is there any compensation?
Here’s the day by day record of a cruise that didn’t roll out as it should have – read it to see what to expect when Mother Nature throws a curve ball, to learn your rights and the obligations of the cruise line, and to see how you can plan best to avoid disappointment.
This was to be a week long cruise from Basel to Amsterdam aboard the new Emerald Sky river ship, scheduled for the first week in May. But heavy rains and rising water levels changed the whole character of the cruise.
Day 3: Monday
The newly planned excursion for today took us in to France, to Alsace and the beautifully preserved town of Colmar. This is the birthplace of sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who created the Statue of Liberty, and a copy of the lady stands in the centre of one of the traffic roundabouts.
In the heart of the old town, half timbered houses, narrow streets and a large cathedral dominate the centre. We dis a walking tour and then had free time, which we used to enjoy pain au chocolate and coffee sitting in an outdoor cafe in the sun, and to visit the Unter Linden Museum, home to the famous alterpiece painted in 1512 by Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald.
We ogled the foie gras, the pastries, the chocolate delicacies, and the fine leather goods in shop windows.
Lunch was in one of the pretty half timbered cafés, – I had a tarte flambé, or Flammekeuche, a local specialty, a kind of thin crust pizza with cream, Munster cheese, bacon and onion.
After lunch we drove along the Route des Vins, through tidy vineyards and past tightly clustered towns to a stork sanctuary to see how the endangered stork population is being nurtured. Storks have been nesting in this area of France for as long as anyone can remember, and are part of the folklore. Their numbers have been decreasing, and thus the need to help grow the population.
This is wine country and every hill is covered in vines. We visited the picture perfect town of Riquewihr, where time seems to have been stopped in the Middle Ages. I bought fresh macaroons, and a tin of foie gras, but had to pass on the colourful hand painted baking dishes- too bulky and heavy to take home.
On return to the ship, there was more bad news. We learned that the river levels have remained high, and the situation is becoming serious. Passengers were beginning to worry, the captain was morose, and the tour director, Karla, was desperately making further contingency plans.
Next: An excursion to Heidelberg