First a few items that may be of interest to cruisers aboard the Sky. These may have been covered already by someone else, but I haven't seen them mentioned:
1. We wish that we'd thrown in some wire coat hangers. Our cabin has 10 wooden hangers, and that's okay, but if we'd thrown several wire hangers in, we wouldn't be hanging two and three items on a single hanger, and we could toss them at the end of the trip.
2. The doors don't automatically lock when you shut them. This isn't a big deal, but I'm used to hotels where the door locks whenever it shuts. You need to lock your door with the key every time you leave. We didn't lose anything, but I felt pretty stupid when I realized that I'd left the door unlocked every time I left it.
3. You have a maximum of three plugs to use in the cabin for chargers, etc. One is occupied by the TV while another is taken by the charging station for the headphones you use on the tours, leaving one free all the time. Again, not a big deal, but something to keep in mind if you plan to charge cameras, computers, ipods, etc.
4. Internet service is surprisingly good. You get one id and password for each passenger. The service is good everywhere on the ship except on the top deck where there seems to be no service at all.
Now on to the cruise:
The day began with breakfast, and we left the ship at 8:30 for a tour of the old Roman city of Trier. We had a great tour with a very knowledgeable guide. He was well versed in everything from Roman architecture to viticulture to the detailed history of the region. The Viking headsets worked really well and were comfortable. There were three “regular” tour groups and one “leisurely” group. We started on the mountain overlooking Trier and then went down into the city to see the sites close up that we’d seen from the hill.
We returned from the tour shortly before lunch and the boat pulled away from the dock and headed down the Moselle. Lunch was served almost immediately with the option of enjoying a sit down dinner in the restaurant or going to the lounge where a carving station (flank steak) was set up. The trip to Bernkastel took around four hours, and I spent most of the time on the top deck enjoying the great weather and scenery. The scenery was beautiful, and we went through the first two of fifty locks that we will pass through. Viking conducted a German lesson and a cooking demonstration in the lounge as well as holding a galley tour during the cruise.
We arrived at Bernkastel around 4:30 and had time to walk around the city for a couple of hours before dinner at 6:30. Dinner was excellent (I had the halibut) as it was the night before. There was a briefing at 6:15 about tomorrow’s activities in Cochem.
Bernkastel is a charming little wine tourist town with a population just over 1,000. The narrow streets are lined with shops, small hotels, and wine bars and restaurants. We enjoyed the walk and and window shopping. Viking had an optional wine-tasting excursion with a local vintner after dinner (23 €), but after having wine with dinner, we decided that we’d had enough alcohol for the night. We took another leisurely walk through the city before turning in. The ship leaves at midnight tonight for Cochem.
So far we're having a great time.