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MS Casanova

Peter Deilmann Cruises - Page 6
Continued from page 5

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ABOVE: Beverage stewardess Nicole Hoppe, a native of Hamburg, tops up a passenger's glass.

Service

Casanova has an unusually large staff for a river ship that carries only 96 passengers. Peter Deilmann claims a passenger-to-crew ratio of 2.5:1, or "about the best crew to passenger ratio of any river vessel." There's even a physician on board.

The multilingual restaurant, bar, housekeeping, and reception staff were a hardworking bunch during our cruise, and they were also highly-trained professionals. Our waiter, Mladen Tomljanovic, was a nine-year veteran of cruise ships, and our beverage stewardess, Nicole Hoppe, had three years of professional education and apprenticeship before joining Peter Deilmann Cruises. Mladen, Nicole, and other members of the restaurant and beverage staff worked together as an efficient team, delivering service on a par with what you'd expect on a luxury cruise line or a five-star hotel.

I was also impressed by the crew's warmth, friendliness, and overall good cheer. One evening, the younger staff were kind enough to invite my 18-year-old son to join them at a nightclub that was popular with riverboat crews. (I resisted the urge to play chaperone, spending the evening with a Donna Leon mystery instead.)

Casanova's cruise manager, Ramona Kurcsics, did a great job of providing information to English- and German-speaking passengers, whether she was describing our ports of call or the unexpected changes to our itinerary.

Tipping suggestions:

The Casanova's newsletter recommended dividing gratuities of € 6,50 to € 7,50 per passenger per day among the service staff, and passengers were encouraged to make additional contributions to a tips box at the reception desk for other members of the crew. I thought the recommended figures were a bit low for staff who worked 15 hours or more per day, so I gave € 50 each (for two passengers) to our waiter, beverage stewardess, and cabin stewardess, plus another € 50 for the crew box.

(Note: Tips for bar purchases should be made at the time of service, since the person who serves you a drink may not be your regular beverage stewardess or waiter.)

Next page: Shore excursions




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