Rolling on the River

IMG_1527So now that I wrote all about the destinations I visited on Uniworld’s River Princess it’s time to write about what I did on board the ship itself.

We were supposed to board the ship in Nuremberg, Germany but, the ship never made it there since the water levels on the Danube were too low. Instead, the ship was docked at another German town, Vilshofen. This didn’t stop us from making our visits and Uniworld handled this little bump by supplying a bus for us to get to/from the ship until we were ready to sail on to Passau.

My first reaction to the ship itself after being on so many ocean cruise ships was how small it looked. How were we all going to fit on there? As we entered the ship we were immediately greeted by name and told that we’d get our room key shortly so we could just

go relax for a while in the ship’s bar. How civilized is that? The bar was beautiful with panoramic views and stunning art deco furnishings and with a glass of prosecco in hand this was a most luxurious introduction to river cruising.

The rooms are beautiful too with each being individually designed and lavishly decorat20151115_214545ed.
As small as the ship seemed there was still a fitness room with sauna, a library, a sun deck, a gorgeous reception area and of course a restaurant. (Plus the bar I mentioned earlier.)

Although I planned to have most meals off ship, this first night on board we had a marvelous dinner that was accompanied by as much wine as we wanted. Knowing I’d be up early for a bus ride to film the next day, I kept that drinking to a minimum. The choices on the menu for this small ship were quite impressive and the dishes served were excellent. I was so fortunate to know I’d be meeting the Executive Chef, Bogdan Gostinariu, and would be cooking with him later in the week.

Before my kitchen time however, I first got to meet the Captain of the ship, Jord Zwaal,  and have a talk with him about life on the river. I had noticed the very first night how he was in constant communication with all of us and even took the time to make a fun and informative presentation. During our chat, he told me how much he loves the small ships because it’s more intimate and every one becomes like family. He told me a story about how once when a dishwasher broke he and others stepped in and started washing dishes so that things could keep running smoothly. Wow! I was so impressed. He really was so down to earth and friendly and I’m so glad I had the chance to meet with him.

When the ship sailed on into Vienna, I had made arrangements to meet Chef Bogdan at the market there. It was so much fun walking around with him and trying to find ingredients for the dishes he’d be making me. While we didn’t find much he did get some spices that he planned to use in his special Viennese Goulash.

It was a real treat to have him cook the goulash, a poached catfish dish and even tafelspitz (another Viennese meat specialty). He sat with me while I ate and told me how he loves to cook and enjoys food that’s not too complicated and  “not so fancy.” The goulash was a great example of that. It was full of flavor with the simmered beef, paprika and chunks of Viennese sausage that felt hearty yet simple. He had worked on larger ships and traveled the world so learned to cook all types of cuisine but he said he loves the smaller ships because he can try different things out. Lucky me trying these 3 dishes out. Thank you Chef!IMG_1236

I have to say, this river cruising is a most comfortable, easy, tasty, beautiful and quite simply enjoyable way to get around.

Cheers and all the best,

Zita

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5 responses to “Rolling on the River

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