Deutschland Entertainment & Activities
The main venue for entertainment is the Kaisersaal (Emperor's Ballroom), one of the most beautiful rooms afloat. It's a two-story lounge with balcony seating all the way 'round. The ceiling is a painted mural of sky and clouds from which is suspended a huge crystal chandelier. Seating is arranged in small groupings around tables with hardwired, parchment-shaded lamps. The dance floor is on the stage, and it is quite large. Every evening there is dancing in the Kaisersaal, and there is often entertainment.
The ship's orchestra is Romanian and plays ballroom music with an emphasis on Latin numbers and foxtrots. There is a singer who is quite striking looking. When she sings in English, you are certain she doesn't speak the language because the words she sings don't make sense.
There are four bars on Deutschland. The main bar is the Lili Marlene, named for the World War II song that was popular among both Axis and Allied troops. This is a lovely room (there's that adjective again!) with small seating groups of comfortable chairs and a splendid bar. The room is separated from corridors by walls of small-paned beveled glass. Bar drinks are generous and fairly priced (under five euros). Patrons add their own gratuities to checks. My favorite bar was Zum Alten Fritz, a dark wood paneled space with leather chairs, lighted by brass torcheres. The other two bars, Lido Bar and Pool Bar, were open during the day.
On my crossing there were additional musical groups. There was a five man Dixieland jazz band, Addie Munster's Old Merry Tale Jazz band, that played music from the 20's to the 40's (think "Sweet Georgia Brown"). A trio played standards in the Lili Marlene, where there was also a small dance floor. A pianist played show tunes outside the Alten Fritz Bar. There were two Slovakians, the Pressburger Duo, who played piano and violin, performing light classical music, waltzes and polkas. (They also played Slovak folk instruments.) There was wonderful live music throughout the ship.
There were no shows, per se. There were reviews at which the various instrumentalists played, while the ship's two professional dance couples (who were excellent) demonstrated their skills. (The dancers also gave daily lessons for beginning and advanced students.) The Captain's wife, a professional singer, presented an evening of music that was highly enjoyable, mostly show music from the middle decades of the last century. On two evenings there was dancing under the stars to the music of one or more of the ship's bands.
Otherwise, entertainment was low-key. Movies (in German) were shown twice each day in the ship's small (but lovely) Kino that seats about 50. The ship's Lutheran chaplain had daily services here, accompanied by one or more of the ship's musicians. The chaplain also hosted book club meetings in the evening. There was a bridge expert, a Spanish teacher and a cooking teacher. The navigational bridge was open for tours by reservation. The sole English lecture -- remember, there were only three English speaking passengers -- was given by the cruise director with slides of the ship's around the world itineraries (so it was more of a sales job than anything remote approaching informational). Television programming included two movie channels in English and four in German, plus teletype news in each language. If this doesn't sound like a hectic round of activities, think how little time there was between meals!
Affinity gatherings were held for members of service clubs, doctors and dentists, military veterans and native English speakers (yes, we three saw each other often).
Because this was a point-to-point sailing with no intermediate ports, there were no shore excursions. The television, however, did show clips of former cruises with shore excursions, and the line organizes cruises around interests that suggest excursions, e.g. horseback riding, gardening, golf and classical music, in addition to standard, general-interest excursions.