A big part of the river cruise experience is going through locks. On our 15-day Viking River cruise, we went through 67 of them. Raising or lowering just one or several vessels at a time, the locks, canals and waterways make up the river Danube’s navigation system.
The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied. We have been through a variety of different locks on our voyage as seen in this photo album.
Earlier this year, a strike by the operators of the lock system brought disruption not only to river cruises but to the transport of freight as well. In Germany lock keepers conducted rolling strikes, which extended beyond the initial timeframe and resulted in some locks being temporarily closed.
The Altenwörth Lock in Austria was operating with one of two chambers open, which had the potential to cause a minor delay in sailing time depending on river traffic at the time a ship is passing through. For that reason, river cruises may arrive early or late at destinations.
A few Viking ships had their sailing schedules altered by the closure of locks during the strike as they did during times of high (or low) water levels.
My first experience with a lock on a river cruise came in the middle of the night on a previous cruise. Wakened by some unusual noises, I looked out of the window to see a cement wall. Oh was I ever surprised!
Stay tuned as we work our way along the river from Budapest to Amsterdam on a 15-day Grand European Tour hosted by Viking River Cruises. As always, my words are my own and no expectation has been set by the cruise line for what you see written here.