Royal Caribbean has been forced to change departure and arrival times to several departures for Jewel of the Seas sailing from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The cruise ship will depart earlier than scheduled from Amsterdam and return a day early at the end of the voyage.
The itinerary changes are due to the extremely low water levels in the North Sea Canal, which connects Amsterdam with the North Sea. It’s not just Jewel of the Seas that has been forced to make itinerary changes as the low water is affecting several cruise ships that sail from Amsterdam.
Low Water Levels Affecting Ship Traffic In Netherlands
Drought in Europe is affecting daily life more and more, with rivers reaching their lowest levels in history. The lack of significant rainfall, which has lasted for months now, also affects cruise ship traffic.
Amsterdam can only be reached by sailing through the North Sea Canal in IJmuiden, a 21km waterway cutting straight through the Dutch landscape.
However, as water levels have reached their lowest point in history, the Dutch authorities have decided to limit the time the locks stay open between the canal and the North Sea. This means that ships are grouped together to sail through the locks, after which they are closed again.
The port of Amsterdam said in a statement: “Due to the drought of the past weeks and the lack of precipitation, the Netherlands is experiencing low river water levels and high salt levels in the canal. The low water levels mean that less water can be brought in, resulting in high salt levels in the North Sea Canal.”
“This is not good for water quality. The Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) will take measures in the coming weeks and has requested us to adjust the passage regime of the locks at IJmuiden. This should ensure that less salt enters the North Sea Canal.”
If ships are not in a position to sail through the locks at the set time, they will lose their slots, which could affect subsequent departures, flights, and other travel arrangements for guests.
All this means that Royal Caribbean has been forced to make changes to at least two itineraries for Jewel of the Seas, which has a further three sailings from the Dutch capital this year.
Changes to At Least Two Jewel Of The Seas Itineraries
What is currently clear is that at least two of the remaining three sailings onboard Jewel of the Seas sailing from Amsterdam have been affected by the low water levels. The August 19 sailing, a 12-night British Isles cruise, and the August 31 sailing, a 9-night Norwegian Fjords Cruise.
The August 19 voyage will not be visiting St. Peter Port, Channel Islands, and instead will be in Dover, England, a day earlier than scheduled, on August 29.
Jewel of the Seas will arrive in Amsterdam on the night of August 30, where guests can enjoy the Amsterdam nightlife before disembarking on August 31.
The August 31 cruise will be sailing earlier than scheduled, at 3:30 PM, so guests must ensure they are in the terminal on time. Jewel of the Seas will also be returning a day early to Amsterdam on September 8, providing guests with an overnight in Amsterdam.
The earlier departure on August 31 and the early return do not affect any port calls, as the ship would have been at sea on September 8.
For the September 9 sailing, Royal Caribbean has not made any announcements of changes to that cruise yet.
Jewel of the Seas is not the first cruise ship to be affected by the low water levels in the Netherlands. Last month, the MS Rotterdam changed several itineraries to depart from Rotterdam instead of Amsterdam.