With the recent collisions taking place on Europe’s waterways, there has been some concern that overtourism might be an issue. In Venice, the MSC Opera slammed into Uniworld’s River Beatrice wounding five passengers. Also, in Budapest there has been talk of restricting river cruises from their illumination cruise past Hungary’s Parliament building since the Viking Sigyn struck a much smaller tour boat, leaving seven deceased and 17 missing. These incidents bring the river cruise collision count to four since October last year.
Although the cause of these situations weren’t the same, they both took place on one of the busiest sections of Europe’s waterways, which brings to question whether the expansion of the river cruise and ocean cruise industry is in need of better regulation.
A river boat captain said that such an event was bound to occur seeing as big and small ships congest the Danube at night as they make their way past the bright lights of the Hungarian Parliament building. The captain suggested that bigger cruise ships should be barred from these night voyages. The larger ships are allocated specific time periods dictating when they’re allowed to sail in the evening, however, the small ships have no such guidelines.
Is this cruise-way still safe?
After the Danube incident, Viking said in a statement, “The Viking river ship, Sigyn, was involved in a collision with another vessel – a Hungarian tourist ship – on the Danube River in Budapest yesterday evening. Sadly, there have been reports of fatalities, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to those affected by this tragic accident. There were no injuries to Viking crew or Viking guests. We have been and continue to cooperate fully with the authorities while they undertake their investigations.”
Vice President of Amadeus River Cruises, Marcus Leskovar, says, “River cruises are still completely safe, and there is enough room on European rivers for currently deployed ships and also for future growth.” And CEO of Avalon Waterways, Pamela Hoffee, says that a river cruise is still among the safest methods of travel.