Disruption to European river cruises is set to continue in the wake of record floods on the Danube and the breaching of a dam on the River Elbe in Germany.

At least 20 people have been killed in central Europe while thousands have been force to evacuate their homes in the German city of Magdeburg.

Water levels on the Danube in Budapest are believed to have peaked and officials say defences should prevent flooding in most areas.

Viking River Cruises was forced to cancel cruises on the Danube while other companies have also seen itineraries disrupted or cancelled including APT, Avalon, Uniworld and Tauck.

Viking said in a message to prospective passengers: “We fully understand that you are concerned and have questions about your upcoming cruise due to the unprecedented and severe flooding throughout areas of central Europe.

“Please be assured that we are working hard with our Swiss operations and nautical team and in many instances, due to having the largest fleet in river cruising, we are able to continue operating some itineraries through careful planning and switching of sister ships.

“Where it is not viable to operate a particular sailing we have taken the decision to cancel it. In every decision we make, the safety of our guests and crew remains our top priority.”

The company’s customer services team is contacting passengers whose sailings have been affected or have had to be cancelled for departures up to June 16.

“If you are due to sail in Europe after 16 June you should assume that your cruise is still scheduled for departure,” Viking added.

“If there is a need to alter or cancel any sailings due to the current areas of flooding, you will be notified by Viking as soon as we are aware of any necessary changes.

“This level of flooding is extremely unusual and we will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation closely.”