Gregory Straub
Cruise Critic Contributor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

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.

Deutschland Public Rooms

At 22,000 tons Deutschland is a small ship. The Adlon library has a service bar for private parties and a (non-working) fireplace. There are bookshelves of German, French (not many) and English books. The English books run to classics. (For example, there are two copies both of Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Brothers Karamazov.) The Adlon also has the ship's Internet stations. There are two laptops whose only function is to send e-mails. You must use a shipboard account, opened with reception. There is no facility onboard to surf the Web or to check Web-based e-mail. (This is another of those anachronisms that is not attractive.) Rates for sending e-mails are high, depending on the volume of material to be sent and the time taken to send it: Figure 12 euros to say hi to grandma.

There are three shops: the photographers' shop at which photos are sold (4.20 euros); a branch of H. Stern, the Brazilian jeweler with their nicely set semi-precious stones; and a boutique that sells everything else from Mont Blanc pens to Swarovski crystal, and from women's clothing to perfumes and sundries. Items in the shops are not subject to V.A.T., so appear cheap to Europeans; they are not so to Americans (especially as the euro has appreciated against the dollar).

Deutschland Spa & Fitness

The ship has a small gymnasium located on Deck 5, aft of the Berlin Restaurant. It is accessible from the outside decks. Here there is a sauna with posted times for male, female and mixed use. The gymnasium, with views of the sea, is small with two each of the following machines: cross country skiing, rowing, treadmill, stair climbing and cross training. There are two benches for free weights. A trainer who supervises deck walks and (mild) calisthenics, and consults on use of the gymnasium is on hand.

There is an outdoor saltwater pool, little more than a dipping pool, really. There are shuffleboard courts, a Ping-Pong table, two putting greens and a driving range. Skeet was shot once during my crossing. There are numerous venues for playing chess. There is a large, outdoor set on deck, most cabins have an inlaid chess board on the credenza, and a couple of public rooms, i.e. the Adlon and the Lido Terrasse, have chess sets.

Surprisingly for this day and age, there is an indoor pool (fresh water) on Deck 3, part of the spa complex for both beauty and health conditioning. The pool is surrounded by marble columns with tile massage tables and wicker recliners. There is a Turkish bath and areas for Thalassotherapy, dry heat, tepidarium (cooling down pool), masks and massages. Rates for spa treatments are comparable to other ships, but there are several packages that combine treatments in economical ways. For example, a combination of wet heat, salt oil massage and tepidarium is $160; men's pedicure and foot massage, dry heat and classic massage (120 minutes total) is $155. A spa consultant supervised on-deck yoga and Pilates. A separate hair salon/barber shop is located on Deck 7.

There are teak decks that wrap around the ship, but there are sun loungers and deck chairs (all wood with pads, blankets and towels) that impede a serious walker's progress.

Deutschland For Kids

The only children on my crossing were the two children of one of the officers. They were looked after by their parents. There is a children's room, but it's little more than a cabin, far forward on Deck 4. It is dark, unstaffed, has nicely colored European children's toys and would be crowded with three children and a minder. There are no facilities for older children.

Peter Deilmann Deutschland Ship Stats

  • Crew: 260
  • Launched: 1998
  • Decks: 7
  • Passengers: 513
  • Registry: Germany
  • CDC Score: 93

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