SS Antoinette Day 1
Day 1 on the SS Antoinette
I left Gatwick early in the morning in brilliant sunshine only to land just 1hr 15minutes later in Basle, Switzerland in the pouring rain, and it hasn’t stopped!
We were met by the Titan/Uniworld airport representative as soon we we had passed through customs. She was very pleasant but had to tell us that we were not going to be able to join the SS Antoinette in Basle as the water level was too high for one of the bridges that the boat would usually have to pass under. It has been raining continuously for two days now. So we were transferred by coach to Breisach, a one hour journey to where the boat is moored. As this was to be the port we would have sailed to this evening ready for tomorrow’s tour it was not an inconvenience.
We were warmly welcomed on board by the Tour Director and the Captain! We were asked to go to reception to register and leave our passports and then were advised that a buffet lunch was available in the L’Orangerie. This was very welcome after an extremely early start this morning.
The group on board SS Antoinette
The L’Orangerie is on the sun deck and beautifully furnished with large black wicker cushioned furniture around glass topped tables that were already laid with cutlery and napkins. The lunch provided consisted of delicious soup, fresh salads with Lasagne followed by delicate pastries and an excellent cheeseboard. From the experience of this lunch I think we are going to be very well looked after by the Head Chef and his team!
As we were leaving lunch we were pleased to hear that our cabins were ready for occupation, We were asked to go to reception to collect out room key. We were then individually escorted by a member of staff to our cabin. Instead of a conventional key, our card worked the same way as an Oyster card, we just scanned it across an electronic pad and the door was unlocked - very hi-tech!
Category 1 cabin on board SS Antoinette
I am in a Catergory 1 cabin on La Princesse deck. It is very unlike any river cruise cabin that I have seen before. It is decorated in pale blue and white with chintzy patterned padded paper around the walls, a blue and white carpet and pure white bed coverings. It is very fresh and welcoming. I also have a lovely conservatory with two comfortable arm chairs and a table, with floor to ceiling windows and a flat screen tv. The amazing part of this is that at the press of a button, the top half of the full width window, can be lowered to turn this into an outdoor seating area - weather permitting. It is a very innovative design and although takes floor space away from the cabin itself I think it is a fantastic design feature. Even in the rain you feel as if you are enjoying the outdoors.
There are plenty of plug sockets, both European and American and another flat screen tv facing the bed. There is plenty of hanging space in the wardrobes along one wall together with shelves and drawers.
In the spacious bathroom there are containers of L’Occitaine products and a large shower with glass door. The bathroom is much larger than many I have experienced on ocean cruises.
Once I had unpacked we walked into town for a look round. There was a steep hill to climb up to the very large church, which floodlit at night is far more impressive than the drab exterior in the day!
When we returned to the boat there was just time for a quick change and then into the Salon du Trianon for the Captain’s welcome. This is a very spacious lounge with plenty of easy chairs and sofas, a small dance floor and a bar that stays open until the last person leaves!
We enjoyed a humerous speech by both the Captain and the Tour Director and this was followed by a talk from the Hotel Director explaining the dining arrangements and facilities on board.
It was then time for dinner. This is always served at 7pm and is open seating so you can sit with whoever you choose or take a table for two if that is your preference.
This evening’s meal was quite delicious. I had crab salad to start which had a lovely flavour followed by Snert (!) a local type of pea and bacon soup. Despite the name it was very nice. I then had Butterfish which I had never heard of but it had a lovely buttery flavour and was very tasty. This was followed by a crème patisserie tart and coffee. An excellent meal. The complimentary wine was free flowing.
After dinner I took the opportunity to explore the boat a little more and found the indoor swimming pool which looked very inviting. It is tiled with a deep blue colour and has a glass roof and glass walls on three sides. I also found the Leopard bar which has a more intimate atmosphere and is perfect for after dinner drinks.
There is also a large seating area on the sun deck and I hope that I have the chance to sit up and watch the scenery as we proceed along the Rhine.