So far we have travelled approx 1300kms and passed through 59 locks and visited 10 towns, the country side has been beautiful, passing through some amazing hills with towns , castles and churches built into the hillsides, the country is so green and lush, the waterways with birds, swans and ducks a plenty.
The boat or as the crew like to tell you, it is a ship, so if I keep using boat or ship it is because I am confused also but I do know we are sailing on water so either one is fine by me, the cabin is spacious with an outside decking with chairs and table and a section inside with seperate lounge chairs, the bathroom is a good size, not crampy at all, the cabin is equiped with a bar fridge, TV/Internet and the cabin is serviced twice a day.
I have since worked out that there are three dining rooms, a lounge area with a bar, a sitting/reading room, a small gift shop, a gym and massage area. and the all important latte coffee and tea available 24 hours.
It has 3 levels of cabins, the bottom level has only enlarged portholes and the other two levels have the outside decking etc, the top deck has a small heated swimming pool, decking chairs and tables and a walking track,(haven't tried that yet) unfortunately we have been unable to use this area for most of the trip as it has been roped off, railings removed and all decking furniture dissembled due to sailing under very low lying bridges.
Now the food, what can I say about the food, breakfast is either a buffet style help yourself to fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals, cold meats and salad or you can order a cooked meal, then we have morning tea with sandwiches, cakes, pastries, lunch is a full four course meal with a choice of two selections each course or you can have a light lunch in the lounge, this is help yourself. then comes afternoon tea which is an extension of morning tea, dinner is also a four course meal the only difference is this is time we have three selections for each course. then most people head for the lounge and some type of entertainment is provided for an hour. then comes late night snacks, another extension of morning and afternoon tea. Thankfully most of the time we are on guided tours for both morning and afternoon tea, and have quickly learnt to really cut down on lunch and dinner.
Each day we have either already arrived at a town overnight or very early in the morning as you awake, and you usually get a choice of two or three guided tours, if you want to take them, or depending on how close the town centre is from where we are docked you are able to wander of on your own. or the ship has bikes that you can use to ride around the town.
The ship has approx 160 passengers and we have three couples from New Zealand, one couple from the UK and guess what, the rest are Australians, "Go figure, what are the chances of that happening? and surprisingly the age range is from mid/late 30s to one elderly couple who have been married for 67 years, so must be in their late 80s but very active and a lovely couple. We have met some really nice people, and yes there is one or two that are not happy campers, always finding something to complain about,
The ship staff are excellent, always polite and helpful, nothing is too much trouble.
Down side to the trip has been minimal, the lock system, while the first one or two or three was interesting after so many, the only word I can think of is tedious, Internet access is very sporadic, very hard to get Australian news, and while I have enjoyed the guided tours, the towns along the way are all starting to look like each other , the biggest issue is no Doctor on board and although you are advised this before and during booking your tour, this trip has become above the normal as so many people have come down with flu like symptons, and have been laid up in their cabins,