Monday, August 31, 2015

Cable Car in Rüdesheim

click on images to enlarge
Seilbahn  Rüdesheim 

A highlight of any visit to Rüdesheim is the ride in a cable car up to the Germania (Niederwald) Monument. The awe-inspiring panoramic views over Rüdesheim's oldtown and the shimmering waters of the Rhine dotted with green isles make the smooth glide over the vineyards a very special experience.

Experience what the ride is like in this short video segment:




The entire visit took about an hour - 15 minutes each way by cable car and 30 minutes on top to go to the monument and take photos of the surrounding area.   The cost was not included in our excursion, it was 7,00 euro round-trip per person.


Niederwald Monument


The monument was constructed to commemorate the foundation of the German Empire (Unification of Germany) after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. It overlooks the valley of the Rhine and was built in the 1870/80s.

The central figure is the 10.5 metres (34 ft) tall Germania figure. In the sculptured impression, Germania holds the recovered crown of the emperor in the right hand and in the left the Imperial Sword.




Rhine & Moselle River Cruise (Play all videos)

Video Diary of Avalon Rhine & Moselle River Cruise on Artistry II. This was a 13 day river cruise that started in Zurich, Switzerland and concluded in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 


Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page:

Rüdesheim - Cable Car

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc
 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Rüdesheimer Coffee Tasting

Rüdesheimer Schloss Hotel 

click image to enlarge
Following our visit to Siegfried's Museum of Mechanical Instruments, we walked a short distance to the Rüdesheimer Schloss Hotel where tables were awaiting us in the courtyard. Avalon Artistry II crew had arranged for a special treat, tasting of a brandy-based coffee, known as Rüdesheimer coffee.

Rüdesheimer coffee didn’t come on the scene until 1957, when German TV chef Hans Karl Adam created a drink that combined Asbach brandy, coffee, sweetened whipped cream and dark-chocolate shavings. Flames are involved.

Making the Coffee

The brandy is poured in first and ignited, coffee is poured on top to put out the flames. A large amount of whipped cream is added and the chocolate shavings add the final touch. You have a treat that even my husband, who is not a coffee drinker, enjoyed.

 In 1892, Hugo Asbach started making a brandy here that he promised would rival the best French cognac. Over the years, Asbach brandy has won a slew of awards. It’s one of Germany’s most famous spirits.

We were entertained with live music during our visit as well. Owner,Heinrich Breuer, welcomed us and told us about the history behind the famous coffee. If you liked, you could purchase the complete coffee-making kit, including the mugs, to take home (several folks did).



Rhine & Moselle River Cruise (Play all videos)

Video Diary of Avalon Rhine & Moselle River Cruise on Artistry II. This was a 13 day river cruise that started in Zurich, Switzerland and concluded in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 




Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page:

Rüdesheimer Coffee Tasting

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc
 

Self-Playing Musical Instrument Collection

click images to enlarge
Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum in Rüdesheim

We sailed from Mainz, Germany at 5:00 AM arriving in Rüdesheim around 8:00 AM.  Following breakfast, we boarded the mini City Train for the short ride to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum.  Our Cruise Director told us this would be one of our favorite excursions, and he was correct.


Self-Playing Instruments




The "Siegfried Mechanisches Musikkabinett" is the first museum collection in Germany dedicated to self-playing musical instruments. From delicate musical boxes to a gigantic piano-orchestration, there are approximately 350 automatic instruments exhibiting one of the largest and finest collections from the 18th to the 20th century. The museum also includes tools and machines for manufacturing barrel organs, cardboard music, piano rolls and musical box plates. 



A few of the highlights on the 45 minute guided include: 
  • A snuff box with a musical songbird which was produced in the first half of the 19th Century by J. Bruguier in Geneva. When the mechanism is activated, it opens the oval lid and a tiny bird appears, moving its beak and flapping its wings. 
  • Bernhard Dufner’s band of 27 automatic dolls, each one playing a different instrument. This is the largest Doll Automaton calliope that was ever built. 
  • The Hupfeld phono Liszt Violina are amazing mechanical violins. Because these instruments musically and technically surpassed all expectations they have been described as the eighth wonder of the world.



Rhine & Moselle River Cruise Play all

Video Diary of Avalon Rhine & Moselle River Cruise on Artistry II. This was a 13 day river cruise that started in Zurich, Switzerland and concluded in Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page

Rudesheim - Siegfried's Museum

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Middle Rhine River - Loreley

An ancient legend of the Rhine

The Loreley is a 132m-high steep slate rock on the east bank of the river Rhine, near Sankt Goarshausen in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. It marks the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea, and is the most famous feature of the Rhine Gorge, a 65 km section of the river between Koblenz and Bingen that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2002.

A very strong current and rocks below the waterline have caused many boat accidents there.

Lorelei is also the name of a feminine water spirit, similar to mermaids or Rhinemaidens, associated with this rock in popular folklore and in works of music, art and literature.

I cannot divine what it meaneth,
This haunting nameless pain:
A tale of the bygone ages
Keeps brooding through my brain:

The faint air cools in the gloaming,
And peaceful flows the Rhine,
The thirsty summits are drinking
The sunset's flooding wine;

The loveliest maiden is sitting
High-throned in yon blue air,
Her golden jewels are shining,
She combs her golden hair;.

She combs with comb that is golden,
And sings a weird refrain
That steeps in a deadly enchantment
The listener's ravished brain:

The doomed in his drifting shallop,
Is tranced with the sad sweet tone,
He sees not the yawing breakers,
He sees but the maid alone:

The pitiless billwos engulf him!-
So perish sailor and bark;
And this, with her baleful singing,
Is the Lorelei's gruesome work.

~ Translation by Mark Twain 1880 - A Tramp Abroad.

 
Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc


Hurricane Ignacio Impacts Pride of America

Hurricane Ignacio
Other images: 5-Day track on3-Day track on3-Day track offInteractive

Hurricane Ignacio

Hurricane Ignacio is the latest tropical cyclone in this busy 2015 eastern Pacific hurricane season to pose potential danger for the Hawaiian Islands. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) in Honolulu Hawaii predicts that Ignacio will still be a hurricane when it passes to the northeast of Hawaii in the next several days.

CPHC issuing advisories for the Central Pacific on IGNACIO

 

Full coverage of this, and all tropical storms, can be found on our Hurricane Zone page.   There are RSS feeds from the National Hurricane Center posted there giving you up to the minute information.   For storms that impact cruises, we will bring you information on those details as well.  Please bookmark that page for further reference during the Hurricane Season which runs now through November 30th.


HURRICANE IGNACIO
800 AM PDT SAT AUG 29 2015

...JIMENA MOVING WESTWARD AS A POWERFUL CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE...
WIND:
near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

SHIP IMPACT: Due to Hurricane Ignacio in the Pacific, Pride of America's itinerary for the cruise departing on August 29 has been adjusted to call on Nawiliwili on Sunday where the ship will overnight, followed by Hilo on Wednesday, Kahului on Thursday where the ship will overnight and returning to Honolulu on Saturday.

Monitor the following link for the latest updates:

Norwegian: Weather Alert  
 
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected
somewhere within the warning area.  A warning is typically issued
36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of
tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside
preparations difficult or dangerous.  Preparations to protect life
and property should be rushed to completion.
 
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible
within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours
before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force
winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or
dangerous.
     
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.


MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HURRICANES (CLICK HERE)

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

None.


HISTORICAL NOTES
 
300 PM MDT WED AUG 26 2015

...ANOTHER TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS WELL WEST OF MEXICO...
...NO THREAT TO LAND...


800 AM PDT THU AUG 27 2015

...JIMENA STRENGTHENS A LITTLE...
...FORECAST TO BECOME A HURRICANE ON FRIDAY...



200 AM PDT FRI AUG 28 2015

...JIMENA BECOMES THE EIGHTH HURRICANE OF THE SEASON...


200 PM PDT FRI AUG 28 2015

...JIMENA NOW A CATEGORY 2 HURRICANE...


800 PM PDT FRI AUG 28 2015

...JIMENA BECOMES A MAJOR HURRICANE...
...EXPECTED TO BE NEAR CATEGORY 5 STRENGTH ON SATURDAY...



Friday, August 28, 2015

Erika Impacts Cruise Schedules

Other images: 5-Day track on3-Day track on3-Day track offInteractive

Tropical Storm Erika

On the forecast track, the center of Erika will move over the Dominican Republic this afternoon, move near the Turks and Caicos Islands tonight, and move near the central and northwestern Bahamas Saturday and Saturday night. Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines have all been impacted by the tropical storm. Please click on the following links for updated information.

Carnival: Tropical Weather Update (Erika)
Norwegian: Weather Alert
Royal Caribbean: Tropical Weather Updates


NHC issuing advisories for the Atlantic on TS ERIKA
NHC issuing advisories for the Eastern Pacific on Hurricane JIMENA
CPHC issuing advisories for the Central Pacific on IGNACIO

 

Full coverage of this, and all tropical storms, can be found on our Hurricane Zone page.   There are RSS feeds from the National Hurricane Center posted there giving you up to the minute information.   For storms that impact cruises, we will bring you information on those details as well.  Please bookmark that page for further reference during the Hurricane Season which runs now through November 30th.



TS ERIKA
930 AM EDT SAT AUG 29 2015

...ERIKA DEGENERATES TO A TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE...
 
This is the last public advisory issued by the National Hurricane
Center on this system.  Additional information on this system will
be available in Tropical Weather Outlooks issued by the National
Hurricane Center, as well as marine forecasts and local forecast
office products issued by the National Weather Service. 
WIND:  near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

Interests in the Bahamas, eastern and central Cuba, and southern
Florida should monitor the progress of the remnants of Erika.

SHIP IMPACT:
Carnival Conquest: The August 23 departure was forced to skip St. Maarten 
and St. Kitts. It will instead spend two days in San Juan before calling 
at Grand Turk and Nassau.
 
TROPICAL STORM ERIKA - Saturday 8/29 - 2:00 PM

After the latest advisory, Tropical Storm Erika has dissipated in the Caribbean. While we will continue to keep a close eye on the track of the remnants of the storm,  we will be operating our originally scheduled itineraries for the following ships departing today: Carnival Breeze will resume its Eastern Caribbean course and Carnival Valor will call on Nassau.

Carnival Fascination departing from Jacksonville will not be able to call on Half Moon Cay since the tenders were sent away from the island to be safeguarded and will not return in time for our call.  The ship will have an extended call in Nassau on Tuesday, September 1 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and then proceed to Freeport on Wednesday, September 2 from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Carnival Glory guests sailing from Miami should keep in mind terminal 
doors will close at 3:30PM and any guests arriving after this time will 
not be able to board. The ship will sail shortly thereafter.  Her 
itinerary remains as scheduled.

Adventure of the Seas: Scheduled to have a sea day Thursday, August 28, 
and visit St. Thomas on Friday, August 29, the ship will now visit 
Curacao Thursday and move its sea day to Friday.

Norwegian Getaway: Getaway's August 29 departure will now call at 
Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Nassau.

Norwegian Gem: Also departing August 29, Norwegian Gem will now dock 
at Bermuda's Royal Naval Dockyard from Monday, August 31 through 
Wednesday, September 2.

Norwegian Sky: Norwegian Sky's August 28 sailing will call at Nassau 
and Key West.

Freedom of the Seas: Guests are asked to arrive to the ship between 
11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The ship will now depart at 3:30 p.m.  

Independence of the Seas: Due to the current path of the storm,  
will now depart Port Everglades at 3:00 p.m.  Check in and boarding 
will take place between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  
 
     
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Storm Archive       Graphics Archive


MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HURRICANES (CLICK HERE)

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

RAINFALL: The remnants of Erika are expected to produce total
rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 10
inches possible across portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and
eastern and central Cuba through Sunday.  These rains could cause
life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. In addition, rainfall
amounts of 1 to 3 inches are expected across the Turks and Caicos
Islands as well as the southeastern and central Bahamas through
Sunday.  Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches, with locally heavier
amounts, are possible across southern and central Florida beginning
on Sunday.

WIND: Gusts to tropical storm force are expected in squalls over
portions of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern
Bahamas for the next several hours.  These conditions are expected
to spread into the central Bahamas this afternoon and tonight.
Gusts to tropical storm force in squalls are also possible over
eastern Cuba today.  Gusty winds could occur over southern Florida
beginning on Sunday.
 
HISTORICAL NOTES
 
1100 PM AST MON AUG 24 2015

...TROPICAL STORM FORMS OVER THE CENTRAL TROPICAL ATLANTIC...
 
500 PM AST WED AUG 26 2015

...ERIKA EXPECTED TO MOVE THROUGH THE LEEWARD ISLANDS OVERNIGHT...
 
1100 AM AST FRI AUG 28 2015

...CENTER OF ERIKA NOW SOUTH OF THE EASTERN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...
...TROPICAL STORM WATCH ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF CUBA...
 
200 PM AST FRI AUG 28 2015

...ERIKA SPREADING HEAVY RAINS AND GUSTY WINDS INTO THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC... 
 
 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Spending Evening in Mainz

click images to enlarge
Staying Overnight

Artistry II was docked in the central area from where it was a 15 minute easy stroll to the core of the city.   The ship remained docked there overnight. 

The evening program began with the usual Port Talk in the lounge at 6:30 PM, followed by dinner at 7:00 PM in the main dining room or 7:15 PM in the lounge for those signed up for the Bistro Dinner.
Main Dining

Each evening the menu was posted outside the main dining room.  As with ocean cruising, the waiter brings you a menu and then you pick  a starter, main entree, and dessert.

We looked forward to entering the dining room to see what folded napkin creation had been created by the crew.

As usual the dining room was open seating, which meant you could sit with the same people every night or find new table mates each time.  There were also various size tables to pick from.

Tonight's Menu

 Tonight's chef recommendations included Cocktail of Marinated Mango with Serrano Ham and Roast New Zealand Rack of Lamb.

Soups choices were a Clear Fish Soup or Cream of Vegetable Puree.  One of our favorite starters was the always available Caesar Salad.

The ice cream creations were always a good selection for dessert.

 Wine, Beer, Soft Drinks

We may not have mentioned this previously, but every night the chef paired regional wines and beers with the menu.   Tonight we had some regional German wines that were included.

Select beers and soft drinks were also included with dinner.  There were additional beers and after dinner drinks that could be purchased as well.

 Entertainment

Following dinner, entertainment was provided by Tom & Michael, two local musicians who performed upbeat tunes in the lounge.  If you were still hungry, there was the usual Late Night Snack at 10:30 PM.

A local hangout was just across from where our ship was docked.  You could listen to the music from the Sky Deck or join the party in person.

For those used to ocean cruising, think of the onboard entertainment like one of the lounge shows.  This is a much more intimate experience than the shows in the main theater of an ocean cruise ship.

 
Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc