Q – We loved  your response about river boat companies and their candor is talking about possible weather problems. We are scheduled to do a Danube cruise on Scenic next August  and it sounds as though that could be the time of year when draught and low water levels is a problem. We were wondering, looking ahead, if there is any advantage in terms of the direction of our cruise. We are headed downstream as things now stand. We’re going to make our own air arrangements. How do we keep the line from cancelling our scheduled cruise after we have boarded our flight to Europe? What protection is there?

A – The general consensus is that the ships on schedules that take them upriver on the Danube handle low water problems better than itineraries in the opposite direction. The reasons for this are rather complex but direction does indeed matter based on the experiences of the past several years. Both flooding and draught just months apart would be an extremely unusual occurrence but we would not rule it out.

In the case of river boat journeys, we highly recommend insurance that offers cancellation for any reason. River boat companies do not generally offer a refund for “Acts of God”. But some companies are much better at informing guests about adjusted sailings and routes than others. We measure this carefully when compiling our Ratings so we suggest you read them carefully.

If you book directly you are on your own.  The best protection is to do what a really good river boat consultant would do – carefully monitor English-language online German newspapers and keep in touch with news reports and the weather channel. Given the investment of any cruise reservation, the consumer should always take full responsibility for getting updated weather reports that include river conditions. Weather and strike conditions, along with re-confirmation of all of your flight details 24 hours prior to your departure from home are critically important. Don’t leave this to the river boat company. They have little interest in refunding your money. And don’t leave these details to your travel consultant, no matter how good you think he or she might be. . Given their work schedule, they cannot devote the time to last-minute checking that you might do. Here are the basics of what you need to do 24 hours before leaving on a river boat trip:

01 – Check for airline strikes and river water level issues. Are sailings being cancelled.

02 – Have a five-day weather forecast so you know how to pack and what issues you may be facing.

03 – Re-confirm all flights and all seats directly with your airline. (Your travel agent will provide the best contact numbers)

04 – Notify your credit card company where and when you will be traveling.