I boarded Avalon Waterways Artistry II with great expectations for my 10 day cruise featuring Highlights of Germany. This would be my first river cruise.
I was among the first of the passengers to board during the 4pm to 5pm time allotted. One of the crew members guided me to my cabin and answered any questions that I had. He reminded me that the 6:15pm Safety Exercise on the Sun Deck was mandatory for all passengers.
The first thing that I noticed was that the cabin was more roomy than you would expect, especially the bathroom area. My next post will give more detail on the cabin and the ship, Artistry II.
When I travel I love to unpack and settle in immediately so I proceeded to hang my clothes in the generous closet space, organize the rest of my belongings and tuck away my baggage for the reminder of the cruise. I had just finished when there was a knock on the door. My cabin steward was delivering a large platter of fresh fruit along with a napkin, knife and small plate.
Having skipped lunch, I ate some fruit and relaxed for a few minutes before setting out to explore the ship. Since only a few others had boarded I was able to get a good photo of the main lounge which was rarely empty once the cruise began.
The lounge is the location for all meetings, entertainment and the daily happy hour with 50% off all drinks. Just below the main deck at the entrance to the dining room I found the menu for that night’s dinner displayed. The menu was displayed before all meals, including the breakfast and lunch buffets.
Notice the “Always Available” in the lower right corner of the menu. For breakfast, lunch and dinner daily there were standard items that you could order from the wait staff if nothing on the daily menu appealed to you.
Next I explored the Sky Deck, a large area with chairs and lounges and a whirlpool.
On the way back to my room I passed the always friendly crew ready to welcome the many passengers that were now boarding.
It was soon time to return to the Sky Deck for the 6:15pm mandatory Safety Exercise required on any cruise. The smaller scale of a river cruse made this is an easier and less stressful event than on an ocean liner.
While still on deck passengers saw their final views of Passau, Germany our point of departure.
At 6:30 we all assembled in the Panorama Lounge for a continuation of the safety briefing. Next the captain welcomed all on board and introduced the crew members. A welcome cocktail and appetizers accompanied a toast from our captain.
Our cruise director Sabine, whom we would all come to know and appreciate over the next 10 days, gave a brief overview of the cruise agenda and provided detail on our schedule for the next day. At 7:15 it was time to move to the dining room for our Embarkation Dinner.
Meals are open seating. At each meal you can choose where to sit and you soon get comfortable asking if tables have an open seat.
I started my meal with a Caesar Salad followed by a pork dish and Bavarian Crème dessert. The very tasty food was a glimpse into the culinary treats in store for us for the remainder of the cruise.
Dinner was followed by music in the lounge for the next three hours and a late night buffet snack at 10:30.
After a few minutes of listening to the music I returned to my room to be greeted by a cozy fire, soft music and a chocolate on my pillow!
As my head hit the pillow I was already dreaming about the next day’s activities on board ship and in our shore stop at Regensburg, Germany.
Read my review of the ship Artistry II.