River Cruises: Watch out for bankruptcies

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Courtesy WendyVH/myBudgetTravel
Cruise of the Mosel River in Germany near the town of Mehring

The popular German river cruise companyPeter Deilmann Cruises will shut down its river cruise operation by year end due to money trouble.

[UPDATE 7/10: Its ocean cruises will continue to operate.]

Meanwhile, one of the largest European operators, Viking River Cruises, has been having a bumpy ride financially. A planned funding deal this past spring to cover expenses has fallen through. But—unsurprisingly—Viking claims it is in sound financial condition, reports The Travel Insider.

Bottom line—be careful with whom you book a river cruise with. Given the struggling economy, river cruise lines—and the travel agencies that sell them—may sink in red ink. Book with a credit card. If you never receive the cruise you paid for, write a letter to the "billing inquiries" address on your credit card statement (and keep a photocopy for your records). You should get a refund to your card within 60 days, thanks to protection under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act.

If you buy travel insurance, buy it directly from an insurer like Travel Guard or Access America rather than from a cruise line or travel agency, which may go bankrupt and charge marked-up prices for policies.

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