Saturday, November 27, 2010
Three weeks ago we left for our first river cruise, this one on the Danube as you know now.
We chose Vantage Travel for our cruise and can highly recommend them after using them. We saw one other Nordic cruise line and those people seemed to be happy too.
I sleep really well on a ship. Of course the five I have slept on were usually on calm waters and I know I wouldn't be sleeping in a storm. That would be like me trying to sleep on a jet airplane 6 miles high going 5-600 MPH. That is what I call an out of body experience.
Sleeping on a ship on calm water is like sleeping on a giant comfy bed on top of giant waterbed. I don't wake up in the middle of the night like I often do on land.
Our bed was two small beds put together and each had its own fluffy comforter but looked like a queen sized bed.
I mention sleep because we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed and without good rest the day is pretty well shot.
Vantage really knows what it is doing. Everything is top notch and service is better than anything else you will see. You have to work together on a 5 day to two week deal or the customer isn't going to be satisfied. They do it and the customer is very satisfied.
The routine is great for me. Wake up, shower, eat, walk, read, study, eat, walk, see, experience, eat, have some entertainment and go to bed. After three days I am totally relaxed like a leaf on a tree, just blowing in the breeze.
Our ship was 170 guests, mainly couples, and 42 staff so the chef cooked 640 or so meals a day for us and crew. The kitchen was very high tech and very efficient. Every worker was at the top of his game in that kitchen to the dining room.
We got to eating on the higher deck of the Compass Dining room with the kitchen underneath us. There we met Emil, the best waiter I ever had and his able assistants Milai and Atilla. They soon knew our habits and we became friends on our short journey.
You can take one of these vacations for about $3000 each, U.S. After adding tips for crew and whatever you buy off the ship, you are probably still under $10,0000. It is well worth it to me and compares to every kind of vacation we have taken in the last ten years. It is different though as you are really being waited on and the herds are not as big as the big cruise ships. That makes it very personal and special.
The guests are all in our age group and education level. That makes for good relations and discussions at dinner. The hard part for me was seeing where I will be in 10 years as we were that much younger than most of the cruisers.
It was good to see older folks still out learning culture and seeing sights. They take their bumps and bruises from age in stride. One old german from New Jersey was 89 and his wife right behind and he was still doing his thing in retirement. Hip and knee replacements are common among passengers.
It really was a good experience and I would sure do it again.
Holland in bloom, the Christmas markets and new countries are still out there for us.