Friday, 28 June 2013

More Fruit Carving

Just for fun - two more fruit carving photos, taken aboard MSC Sinfonia on our Mediterranean cruise last month.

Mmmmm- Cookies!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A Short Cruise on the Danube River from Passau

On board the Crystal Ship
In my last blog post I wrote about the Crystal Ship that does short cruises along the Danube leaving from the town of Passau.
We chose to go on a morning cruise, that departed from and arrived at dock 11 at Passau. The cruise took just over two hours and was a very pleasant way to see the local scenery.
The different coloured waters of the Inn and Danube Rivers
On leaving the dock, we cruised past the end of the Passau peninsular where three rivers ( Danube, Inn and Ilz), each a different colour, join up. It was very interesting to see how marked the definitions were of where the waters met. A little further on from where I took this photograph, the River Ilz with its very dark water, flowed in, adding to the mix.
  Onward we cruised, along the Bavarian/Austrian Danube River Valley until we arrived in Austria at the little village of Kasten.
Kasten, in Austria
This was the endpoint of the cruise and from there we headed back towards the Bavarian town of Obernzell.

Obernzell, Germany
After a short stop at this pretty town, (you stay on the boat) we returned to Passau.
  For us it was very enjoyable; a beautiful ship, great weather and a chance to relax and enjoy the pretty scenery. The only downside was that the commentary was not in English.
  The Crystal Ship does this cruise several times daily from March 30 to the end of October. There are two more crystal ships in this fleet, operating out of Regensburg - Crystal Queen and Crystal Princess.
  If you are in Passau or Regensburg with a couple of hours to spare, I would recommend a crystal cruise!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Cruising on the Danube with the Crystal Ship

The Kristallschiff (Crystal Ship) at Passau
I have been in Europe for two months so have been far away from 'Cruising the Pacific'. But I have been on some interesting cruises and some interesting ships so I will tell you about those in this blog over the next few weeks.
  We were in Passau, a river cruise port on the Danube, and saw this ship that intrigued us. The Kristallschiff ( Crystal Ship) is part of the river cruise fleet of ships of Wurm & Kock that do short scenic cruises out of Passau. But the ship was not your typical river cruise ship; this one was special.
  It was designed in partnership with Swarovski crystals.
  There are crystals on the staircase, on the walls, and hanging in great glittering ropes from the ceiling. There are even displays of crystals in the toilets! And there's a statue of Isa, the mermaid of the Danube, with large crystals embedded in her tail.
The two level dining room of the Crystal Ship
I had wondered before boarding if it might be rather tacky. But it is all decorated tastefully, with beautifully upholstered furniture in soft shades, and a spacious interior layout.

à la carte dining in the Gallery of the Crystal Ship

The Crystal Ship has 388 interior seats, 208 on the deck where you enter and another 180 on the mezzanine gallery. Upstairs on the roof-top deck there is seating for another 350 people.
  On the day we took the morning two hour cruise it was very hot and, after spending some time on the top deck in the full sun, I went indoors and sat at a dining table in the Gallery. Of course, I just had to look at the menu. The range of ice cream sundaes looked delectable, and yes, I had one. In fact it was so big I couldn't eat it all. I left it to my husband to scrape the bowl clean!
  Next time I'll tell you about where and when the Crystal Ship went. If you've always wanted to do a European river cruise, but haven't had the time or the money, this short scenic trip on the Danube River will give you a taste of what a full cruise would be like.