The story of the cruise vacation continues:
And then we were on the ship—and instead of sailing the picturesque Rhine, we traversed a set of not-very attractive locks. And traveled at night, so the whole sailing thing was kind of lost. And then off the ship and on to more buses for excursions.
This is where it really fell apart. You think of a cruise as a restful respite from life. This ship had set times for meals, and then early times for the excursions. Sleep? No! Get up, eat, get on the bus, ride around, get back, eat on schedule. As for the excursions: the cuckoo clock making demonstration was five minutes of how they are carved and how the cuckoo sound is made, and then a sales pitch with how they ship worldwide and how to avoid the VAT! Not much of an excursion. And this is Bavaria, home of my ancestors. I am trying to feel some sort of historic connection, and instead I feel like I’m on QVC.
Meanwhile, global climate change gets involved, and we need to switch ships. So we’re off the ship, onto buses, see something, and in the evening, board the new ship. (I think without some people who may have gotten Covid? I mean, some people seem to have just disappeared.) And the new ship doesn’t have the same staff and in fact, quality goes down. The excursion I was most looking forward to gets cancelled. And they run out of Riesling. Which is made in Germany. They run out.
Finally in that last leg we did see some lovely river scenes. One morning, we were supposed to get off the ship earlier than ever for an excursion on to another ship to sail past Rhine castles. We slept in instead. Later, I braced against hearing how good it was, but apparently the ship left without them and they were all on buses driving past castles. We instead had 12 hours sleep and were better for it.
In the end, the whole trip was much too regimented and overseen by a cruise I characterized on my survey as having an ego larger than the ship.
The final nail in the trip: the return flight through Newark was a mess with changed gates and lost luggage, which made the complexity of the Amsterdam airport seem like a pleasant dream.
So maybe a future river cruise, but with a different cruise line. Or this one in Russia, maybe, if that ever becomes a possibility. But overall, with a few good moments, the cruise itself was not the vacation we had anticipated.