European Travel and the Coronavirus
More ship photos
The Franzius is an authentic replica of the flat-bottomed cargo sailboats that once carried freight and passengers between the city of Bremen and ships in the North Sea.
In this deck plan, you can see the interior layout of the Franzius. The main cabin or mess (see photo below) has a large dining table with padded benches for sitting or sleeping. Smaller cabins are located fore and aft, each with bunks, a WC, and a sink.
The ship's capacity is 16 passengers for overnight cruises and 30 for day trips.
The mess is a large, high-ceilinged room for socializing, eating, or sleeping.
The ceiling is a more refined version of the tent-like
tarpaulins that sheltered the freight or passenger holds of Weser sailing barges
in the early 19th Century.
I took this snapshot in the mess on a chilly morning in October. (The temperature was pleasantly warm below decks.)
The man speaking on the right is Dr. Wolfgang Grams of
Research and Travel (R&T), a
genealogical- research service and heritage tour operator for foreigners of Germany
Later, up on deck, Dr. Grams chatted with our fellow
passengers. (In the background, you can see the banks of the River Weser, which
is lined with shipyards, ferry landings, houses, and the occasional farm.)
In this photo, you can see the tentlike roof of the mess
and a modern life raft. The ship is being steered by the man in the stern, just
behind the raft. The woman on the right is one of several volunteer crew
The Franzius is steered with a tiller, just like its early 19th Century forebears.
Here, the captain takes a turn at the tiller.
Passengers on the Franzius can help to raise and
lower the sails. (Being wary of swinging booms, I kept my head down and out of
There's plenty of room for lounging and chatting on deck. (The passengers in this Franzius stock photo enjoyed warmer weather than we did.)
You may hear accordion music on board if you're lucky (or unlucky, depending on your attitude toward bellows-driven musical instruments).
For a dizzying view, look straight up (but hold onto a handrail if you're on the edge of the boat).
As the Franzius cruises along the Weser, you're likely to see sailboats, car ferries, cargo vessels, and other maritime activity.
We encountered a herring boat as we cruised upstream.
We also passed a number of huge channel markers or navigation lights. (Notice the size of the marker compared to the man on the beach.)
I didn't take this photo--it was supplied by the Weserkahn "Franzius" association--but I find it intriguing. It shows how the flat-bottomed boat is able to navigate extremely shallow waters, such as these tidal flats where tables have been set up for a meal.
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Photos 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, and 17 copyright © Weser Kahn "Franzius" e.V.
Copyright © 1996-2020 Durant and Cheryl Imboden. All rights reserved.