Much Logistics Involved in our Drop offs and Pickups!
Navigation of the Viking Gefjon got tricky at times when having to negotiate low bridges. Bamberg is located at the confluence of the Mine and Danube Rivers, and in this area, low bridges prevented direct passage on the river. This required some maneuvering for drop offs at our tour locations and pick-ups afterwards. Seen here, the Gefjon is meeting us at a different rendezvous point at a smaller nearby river.
That’s Our Ship!!
It was fun to watch the Gefjon approaching as it cleared the old bridge. In contrast to the other congested river ports we had experienced, the Gefjon was the only vessel on this small river. Notice that the navigation bridge of the ship can be lowered to negotiate these overpasses. Also, note that the upper deck has been flattened. For a certain portion of the river cruise, the top deck is closed off. The tables, umbrellas, chairs and railings are laid flat to allow for the ship to pass under low bridges. Every inch matters. Note the clearance of only inches between the overpass and the ship. In addition, adding ballast to the ship and thus making it sit lower on the water helps as well. But sometimes even all these efforts don’t quite work. We were told that there have been times when a ship is not quite able to clear a bridge, causing sparks to fly as the bridge and ship scrape together.
Did You Miss Us?
As the Gefjon approached, we waived to the crew and the other passengers who opted to remain on the ship instead of taking in an additional tour, as we did. We saw the two rows of balconies and guests waving from them, relaxing and enjoying the view. There was a chef grilling meats on the Aquavit deck as other passengers sat at dining tables nearby. It was in interesting glimpse of a day on the Gefjon, as if from an outsider’s point of view.
There’s Our Duck View Room!
We located the windows of our Duck View Room, just above the water level. Our room location could be easily spotted among long the row of windows because we could see our laundry drying on an adjacent ledge inside. The days were hot, sometimes in the 90’s as we explored the cities, and clothes needed to be washed often. Driven by economy as always, instead of using the laundry service, we washed our clothes in the sink each night and laid them on our ledge to dry. By the time we returned from our next day’s touring, our quick dry clothing was ready to wear again. That process worked well for us. We had no regrets whatsoever for not paying extra for amenities like a balcony room or the laundry service. That savings allowed for us to give more generous tips to crew members at the end of the trip. Besides, today was one of the rare times that one could even enjoy their balcony while the ship cruised because the Gefjon mostly traveled at night, arriving in port by early morning before most people awoke. To us, our room selection was perfect.
It Was So Good Just to Chill For A While!!
Once on board, we enjoyed some welcome downtime. Days are pretty full on this cruise, and we tried to take full advantage of every opportunity to learn as much as we could about these fascinating cities in Europe. But some downtime was a welcome respite from these hectic days.
There was even opportunity to sit in a secluded part of the ship to enjoy the passing scenery along this quiet and peaceful river.
An Afternoon English Tea!!
Then in the afternoon, we were treated to an English tea on the ship, complete with a variety of teas, and delectable pastries, scones, clotted cream and finger sandwiches.
A Tart Made From Local Apricots!!
Apricots are grown in regions near the river, especially in Wachau, Austria. These apricots are renowned for their strong flavor. They are large, plump and exceptionally sweet and juicy. Wachau Apricots are such an exceptional product that they are protected by the EU. The region’s unique climate and rich soil combination create a perfect setting to produce this highly sought-after fruit.
Each spring, densely spaced apricot trees transform the Wachau landscape into a fragrant pink-white blanket of blossoms. During this time cruise ship passengers can enjoy this pastel Springtime scene as well as the sweet perfume of the apricot blossoms that waft all the way to river.
For their river cruises, Viking purchases many of their supplies locally, partially due to limited storage space and also to support locals businesses. When I saw this apricot tart at Afternoon Tea, I wondered if they were made from the famous Wachau Apricots.
Coming up: Wurzburg, Germany
Want to see something different? Try my fun Amtrak Adventure Video!!
Want to start at the Beginning of this Viking Grand European River Cruise?