We got back on our buses in Regensburg for a couple more hours drive to Vilshofen. We were all getting a little excited to get onboard our ship and begin our cruise.
The Danube River, or the Donau as it is known in Europe, is Europe’s second longest river flowing almost 1,800 miles from its source in the Black Forest in Germany to its mouth in Romania where it empties out into the Black Sea. Vilshofen, where we were to embark on our ship is on the southern edge of the southern Bavarian Forest where the Vils and Wolfach flow into the Danube.
The buses pulled up to the dock and we walked across the gangplank to the lounge area of the ship. There we would have delicious little pastries and treats as well as refreshing fruit drinks as we would wait to be called to the reception desk and given the keys to our room. While we waited, we met the crew, our cruise director Monika and our Captain. It didn’t take long for them to call us.
We did not book a full balcony as others in our group did but instead we had the French balcony. The name is a little misleading because it is not what you think of a balcony. It is essentially a sliding glass door that will slide all the way open with horizontal bars across so you will not fall out – that’s it. It does allow fresh air and there are two chairs inside by the French balcony. Other staterooms had two balconies – the traditional one where you sit outside and a French balcony. I went into one of those rooms to get pictures for you. If you have never taken a river cruise, the staterooms are small but functional. On AMA Waterways, all rooms have computer/television for our use as well as free WiFi.
We were in a Category C stateroom and if you look at the deck plans and the above photo you’ll see that the shower is triangular in shape. Only one door slides and you are getting into the shower on the narrow end where two sides of the triangle meet. Just wanted to “alert” you to this design flaw, in my opinion.
There is a pool/ whirlpool with a bar and stools but no bartender assigned there. The pool is about 98 degrees and it is regulated remotely so it can’t be cooled down. Nevertheless it felt good to me particularly when I got out.
I love the rooftop at the front of the ship as it has unique seating arrangements. It is rattan sectional furniture set in a large U shape figure with lots of pillows. Inside each U are 2 square shaped coffee tables. There are also 4 person regular tables with rattan chairs. The lounge is very nicely appointed. There is a small game room to the left of the lounge with a fireplace glowing but no heat thank goodness. The two tables in there are too low to play games on. Also they do not have cards for your use since they sell cards but there is a nice assortment of games and books in the mini library.
After we all got settled, we left the ship to go back on the dock for an Ocktoberfest – which was our welcoming reception. I was having too much fun to take pictures but I did meet a lot of very nice people. We were given two tickets for beer each which I initially thought was a little stingy but there were so many tickets floating around that there was no need for worry. We had an Oompa Band, German dancers and they even got us up for dancing. This was a wonderful way to begin our cruise.
We spent the night docked in Vilshofen and didn’t leave till mid-morning the next day. Many people checked out the bicycles that the ship carried for us (about 25 of them), others walked back into town and others just relaxed on the ship.
Excitement was growing in all of us as we introduced ourselves, asked where they were from and began to make fast friends for this one week journey down the not-so-blue Danube.