Leaving the MT; our first stop en route to Vienna, the glorious abbey of Melk

After our gala farewell dinner, we bade farewell to our favorite servers in the dining room, went to the lounge for a while and then headed to our room to pack. Some of the passengers were taking advantage of their last night on the MT enjoying the music and atmosphere. We would undoubtedly see the new  friends we had made on the cruise during the next three days, but we didn’t think it likely we would be in the same place at the same time again.

Chad handed out our next days schedule in the usual information session before dinner. As it turned out, we would all be staying at the Ritz-Carlton for our two nights in Vienna. Budapest was another story. It is a much smaller city and though it has its share of hotels, there was not one which could take all of us. Chad told us he was still working on placing us in Budapest Hotels, but they would all be four star hotels.

Actually most of us were pleased to be staying at the Ritz. It has a central location off the Ringstrasse and we would be able to walk to many places on our own. If we had still been on the Maria Theresa, we would have been quite a distance from the city center, requiring either a bus, taxi or tram ride.  Finally, because we wouldn’t be eating our meals on the MT, we each got 90 EU spending money for our lunch and dinners in Vienna. Breakfast was included in our hotel stay.  The Ramblers were surprised to hear a few people grumbling about the amount, as we thought it was quite fair and actually came home with Euros left over. However, we spent no time at the bar, didn’t order room service and enjoyed eating regional food at local places. We felt that Uniworld had treated us very well, adjusting as best they could to the low water problems.

We were asked to have our packed luggage outside our cabin door by 4 AM, so it would be ready to be loaded onto our busses just as if we were leaving for our flight home. And so it was, after a last excellent  breakfast, we headed down the gangplank  of the MT for the last time. Of course, a number of the staff were there to wave good-by as we left.

Before we leave the Danube behind, the Rambler would like to say her bit about exiting a river boat. If you are at all familiar with boats, you may recall that all gangplanks have some sort of cleat on them to prevent people from slipping on rainy days. These cleats stick up from an otherwise smooth surface. In the case of the Maria Theresa, they were very prominent, and placed every foot or so along the gangplank. Those of you who are prone to tripping or have trouble walking please look carefully before you place your feet when walking up or down, even when it’s not raining. It is possible to take a nasty tumble when leaving the ship, especially when you are walking downhill.

Our first stop today would be the beautiful Abbey of Melk,  nearly 200 miles from Regensburg.

We had arrived at the abbey parking lot. The abbey is still quite a ways off.
We had arrived at the abbey parking lot. The abbey is still quite a ways off.

We left the quay at 8:30 and expected to get to the Abbey around 12:30. On the way we would stop for a break at a rest stop off the Austrian version of the US Interstate. Of course we all got out to check out the rest stop. Some wanted to visit the bathrooms and others looked over the shops. It wasn’t quite as nice as the  one we had stopped at on our way to Salzburg from Linz, but clean and neat, nevertheless.

We got to Melk at 12:30, but would only be able to stay for an hour as we were scheduled to go on a cruise of the Wachau Valley at 1:30. Seeing the abbey in an hour was a tall order as it is huge. It also turned out to be a fairly long walk from the parking lot to the Abbey entrance.

These steps were quite a haul for the Ramblers and many of the other passengers.
These steps were quite a haul for the Ramblers and many of the other passengers.

Some of us were dismayed to find that we would have to climb an extensive series of steps to reach the main path to the Abbey.  After having both her hip joints replaces, the Rambler can now walk quite well on level ground but steps are still a chore. Nevertheless, Melk is a spectacular place, so climb we did.

Last December we had visited Gottweig Abbey, another Benedictine monastery near Krems, only a sixty miles from Melk. It too is an impressive baroque structure, founded a thousand years ago but rebuilt during the late 17th century. However, I found Gottweig to have a museum-like quality as its current congregation is quite small, and there is a sense of loneliness within. Melk, on the other hand, exudes a welcoming warmth, and not just because the sun was shining.almost thereWhile Gottweig has a pink and white exterior, another favorite baroque color, Melk glows in Hapsburg gold and white. Evidently that particular shade of gold was a favorite of the Habsburgs; think of the Schonbrunn Palace…  In fact, Hapsburg gold is a popular colorchoice today in Vienna paint stores.

A little bit of history before we enter the abbey. It was founded in 1089 by Benedictine monks. A century later, the monks established a school there and it soon became renowned for its manuscript collection. some of the monks who worked there excelled in copying manuscripts and it soon was renowned for its collection. The Benedictine life included both work and prayer; some monks were farmers, others copied books.

This photo is from Wikipedia's public domain photos. We could look but not touch.
This photo is from Wikipedia’s public domain photos. We could look but not touch.

The abbey was rebuilt in the early 18th century in the baroque style so popular in Eastern Europe. Its library is renowned for its collection of incunabula. Although the word sounds like some sort of mystic spell, it actually refers to books printed before 1500. When you consider that the printing press was invented in Europe between 1440 and 1450 (the Chinese much earlier) these books date to the beginnings of the printed word in Germany.

One of the many long interior hallways; the walls are lined with portraits of assorted Habsburgs.
One of the many long interior hallways; the walls are lined with portraits of assorted Habsburgs.

Melk has 750 in its collection which is amazing. There are many rooms to the library but only one is open to the public. The others are for research purposes only.

Melk also has a famous and expensive gymnasium or high school which currently has over 900 pupils, both boys and girls. Perhaps that it one thing that give it such an air of vitality.

We would have a quick walk through of the abbey, which included a stroll on the terrace with its magnificent views

To me, this view of the town looked almost like it could be a miniature train setting.
To me, this view of the town looked almost like it could be a miniature train setting.

After being awed by the  the library and admiring the views from the terrace at the top of the abbey, we headed for the church. Now Austrian baroque churches are similar, lots of gilding, curves and gorgeous frescoes but the Melk abbey church actually had something more unusual to offer. Nearing the end of a two week river cruise, we had already seen many churches and frescoes. Quite a few of the passengers took a quick look around and headed toward the gift shop. The Rambler on the other hand, had to get her money’s worth so she walked down the side aisles and stopped, looked, looked again. Yes, that was a skeleton dressed in velvet and pearls reclining in a glass coffin at one of the side altars. Looking further, I saw there was yet another elaborately dressed skeleton in a coffin at another side altar. Looking at them closely I decided they were relics of saints, but there were no identifying signs to tell just who these saints were.

St. Friedrich in his glass coffin in the Melk abbey church.
St. Friedrich in his glass coffin in the Melk abbey church. For a gruesome close-up, check out the link.

We Catholics do have a penchant for relics of saints which dates back nearly to the time of the apostles but they are usually not displayed in skeletal form, or so I had thought. When we got home I found an interesting article on these skeletal saints on the web here, if you are interested.  http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-most-beautiful-dead-photographs-of-jeweled-skeletons

Incidentally, the saints at Melk are Saints Colomon and Friedrich. These saintly skeletons can be found in churches in Eastern Europe and Switzerland, and are still considered by many to be a devotional aid, although others have been packed away, vandalized or stripped of their precious gems.

After communing with these saints, I was more than happy to spend time in the Melk gift shop staffed by jolly and helpful Austrian women. Since we weren’t going to be able to spend time in Krems or Weissenkirchen, I was able to buy some of the apricot schnapps which this region produces in large quantities. It makes wonderful souvenirs. For the non-drinkers, they also sell delicious apricot jam. The ladies kindly wrapped my purchases very carefully so that they would travel home safely.

On the way out, I noticed this back parking lot, must be the tradesmen's entrance.
On the way out, I noticed this back parking lot, must be the tradesmen’s entrance.

By 1:30, we had boarded our busses and were on our way to Krems, where we would board yet another boat for an afternoon cruise to the Wachau Valley. The Ramblers wouldn’t have minded staying on at Melk as its restaurant looked very inviting and the food smelled delicious.


A bus ride to Passau on our last day on the Maria Theresa

Again it was cloudy when we headed to breakfast, and not particularly warm.  The weather forecast predicted a high of 66 and a cloudy showery day. We had hoped for beautiful weather on our last full day on the Maria Theresa.

According to the original schedule, we would have been docked in Passau this morning;  instead we were still in Regensburg. Fortunately, our walking tour of Passau was still on the menu though we would have to take a bus to get there.

As we got off the buss we could see one of the many Churches of Passau
As we got off the bus we could see one of the many Churches of Passau

The folks who had wanted to bicycle through the Wachau Valley were not so lucky. They would still be able to take their bike ride but it would be in the Regensburg area instead.

I haven’t said much about the bicycles on board the Maria Theresa because the Ramblers can’t bike any more. However, they looked very new, sturdy and comfortable. They weren’t electric though; the cyclists would have to supply their own energy. Since the trails along the river are flat, it shouldn’t be too difficult and the cool weather would probably be more comfortable for them. If you enjoy cycling, there are opportunities to ride at many of the stops on most river cruises. Most river boats now provide bicycles for their passengers.

We, along with a substantial number of the MT’s passengers, boarded busses at the Regensburg quay  at 9 AM for our drive to Passau. The picturesque Bavarian city is about 90 miles cross country from Regensburg. As the Danube loops around it is considerably further by river boat. The Ramblers didn’t mind the bus ride; it gave us a chance to look at the countryside away from the river

Although we didn't get to the other side of the Da
Although we didn’t get to the other side of the Danube, it looked very intriguing.

. We would be spending most of the day in Passau with lunch on our own, so we were all handed 30 EU lunch money to cover the cost. This turned out to be more than ample.

Passau is one of the oldest cities in Bavaria, mainly because it sits at the confluence of three rivers, the Danube, Ilz and Inn.  People have settled near rivers for thousands of years, and Passau has three! Initially settled by the Celts, then the Romans and finally Germanic tribes, it has always been an important stop for Danube travelers. By the 10th century it was also a Christian center, and would be ruled by the Bishops of Passau for nearly six centuries. Mozart visited the imposing Dom or cathedral and played on its majestic organ when he was only 6 in 1762. The Bishop was impressed by his talent but also thrifty as he gave the child prodigy a measly ducat ($2). In fairness, that was a lot of money in 1762. The Dom of St. Stephen’s would be our first stop when we got to Passau.  There is more information about Passau in our blog about our Christmas Markets cruise.

Unfortunately the rain that had been forecast, had started falling by the time we reached Passau, around 11 AM, but thankfully it was more of a drizzle than a downpour.


After meeting our guides and sorting ourselves into groups, we headed for St. Stephen’s Cathedral for a concert on their renowned organ at 11:30. Chad, the tour director, was already stationed at the Church entrance to hand us our tickets.

When the Ramblers visited Passau on the Christmas Markets cruise we  missed the organ concert. I love organ music and was looking forward to it but the Senior Rambler who doesn’t and wasn’t, opted to stay outside, saving Uniworld some money. LOL  There were quite a few folks scrambling into the Church for the concert. The majority were Viking passengers, as they are usually wearing something red, red and white being the Viking colors. I am glad that Uniworld doesn’t inflict this punishment on us.

Before the concert, the audience was instructed to refrain from recording or taking pictures during the performance which is customary.

A picture of the huge organ, taken after the concert.
A picture of the huge organ, taken after the concert.

Of course, as soon as we heard the first notes of the magnificent organ, several people around me began recording the concert with their phones or cameras. This is one of my pet peeves. You are not going to get a good quality recording in those circumstances and it is extremely rude besides. Oh well, there was nothing I could do about it, so I closed my eyes and listened to the music with great pleasure.

The organ in St. Stephens is the largest in any European Church and it has the sound to match its size.

This is a beautiful church, rebuilt at the height of the baroque era. All the art moves heavenward.
This is a beautiful church, rebuilt at the height of the baroque era. All the art moves heavenward.

The concert was a wonderful experience. A few organ statistics here: it has 17,974 pipes and 233 stops. It consist of 5 separate parts and all can be played from the main console, either individually or simultaneously, delivering a  fantastic sound. All in all, a great experience, except for the annoying folks recording it, and I highly recommend it if you enjoy the sound of a magnificent organ.

The weather hadn’t improved much when I stepped out into the plaza in front of the Church after the concert, and I soon located the Senior Rambler. We both thought it was time for lunch so we headed towards the Hollgasse in the old town area where we knew there  were many restaurants and shops. Unfortunately it was still drizzling so we bypassed those with outdoor seating, though they were doing a brisk business. We noticed a number of our fellow passengers already eating lunch in several places and were then hailed by another group we knew from the ship. They invited us to join them at a large table and since the food being served smelled delicious, we were happy to do so.

I didn’t write down the name of the restaurant but after looking at photos on Trip Adviser, I think it was called Zum Grunen Baum. Not only did we enjoy the company, but the food was absolutely delicious, a true home-style Bavarian meal of roast pork, sauerkraut and dumpling.

Not the clearest photo, but you get an idea, everything was delicious, Here they make dumplings the size of baseballs, much like mine at home.
Not the clearest photo, but you get an idea, everything was delicious, Here they make dumplings the size of baseballs, much like mine at home.

This is dumpling country and they come in many shapes and sizes. Each cook seems to have his/her own recipe as I do myself. We Ramblers pronounced these as being excellent and noticed that all the members of our party cleaned their plates.

After our hearty lunch, we still had some time, so we wandered around the streets before stopping at Simon’s Patisserie for coffee and dessert. Simon’s is both a cafe and purveyor of Shokolade and Pralinen, really tasty Shokolade and Pralinen. They also make a wonderful gingerbread with marzipan. I know most Americans don’t like marzipan, but with my Eastern European roots, I love it.

A view of the pastry case from the cafe area at Simons
A view of the pastry case from the cafe area at Simons

Simon’s does not ship to the US, so I bought several cans to bring home. However first we chose slices of Black Forest Torte which seemed appropriate since we were in Bavaria, and enjoyed them with coffee in the cafe section.

We then headed back to the quay to wait for our bus back to the MT, it was still drizzling, but hopefully the sun would be shining tomorrow. Chad explained what we could expect for the next three days. We would tour the famous Meik Abbey, and cruise the Wachau Valley along the way to Vienna by bus.   We were instructed to put our bags outside our cabin door by 3 AM, just as if we were going to the airport to head back to the states. However, instead we were heading to Vienna by bus with several stops on the way.

Low water blues, only two more nights on the Maria Theresa

After an exhausting but entertaining day, we were looking forward to  a special dinner in the Leopard Lounge and the next day’s stop in Passau. This Bavarian city had been the last stop on our previous cruise and something about the place had captivated us. However, we were just a little concerned about the possibility that we might not get there by boat. On the way to Regensburg, we saw that the river had receded from the banks several feet, exposing a rocky shore, and could only imagine what lurked underwater in the channel. Unfortunately if we couldn’t go any further, we would miss cruising through the Wachau Valley, On our Christmas Markets cruise, it had been cold and rainy, and we wanted to see this picturesque area when it was warm and sunny.

Thus we were a little apprehensive when we went to hear Chad, our tour director,  talk about the next day’s activities before dinner. We had enjoyed our voyage on the Maria Theresa very much  so far,and hoped it would continue all the way to Budapest.

As it turned out, our fears were justified. When we walked into the lounge, we found waiting for us not just Chad, but our Captain and Carmen, the Hotel Manager as well. This did not look good.

From left to right, our hotel manager, Carmen, our tour director, Chad, and Captain, Martin.
From left to right, our hotel manager, Carmen, our tour director, Chad, and Captain, Martin.

Captain Martin , despite his English sounding name, was a an experienced Dutch mariner who knew the Rhine river very well.

During the voyage, our Captain had been very forthcoming about the state of the river and his hopes that we might complete the voyage. However, this time, he explained that the water in the  channel was  now as low as he had ever seen it, too low for the Maria Theresa. Thus, for the safety of the passengers and crew, we would go no further on the Danube.

We would stay on board for yet another night but then we would travel to Vienna and Budapest by bus, staying in hotels for the last three nights.

Evidently there was a low spot between Regensburg and Passau that held the larger river boats and barges back when rainfall was scant. After we left, the Maria Theresa would tie up on the opposite side of the Danube and await its next group of passengers who would have to  board in Regensburg instead of Budapest. They would be staying in hotels the first three nights of their cruise and then board the Maria Theresa for the voyage to Amsterdam.  Both the shipping and cruise lines felt that if a lock were constructed between Regensburg and Passau the low water problem would be solved but so far environmental concerns had blocked its construction.

Chad told us that he was already working on our hotel assignments and would let us know tomorrow night just where we would be staying in Vienna.  In Budapest, we would be split into several hotels as the smaller city’s hotels did not have the capacity of Vienna’s.  At the same time,  he assured us that Uniworld would do its best to make sure we had the opportunity to  take all the tours that had been scheduled in our original itinerary. Carmen then explained that our gala farewell dinner would be scheduled for the following evening, and we would say  farewell to the Maria Theresa and its crew the next morning. The the riverboat part of our trip would end three days early.

Needless to say, the Ramblers were very disappointed to learn that they would have to leave the Marie Theresa three days early. However, Uniworld has an outstanding reputation for treating its customers very well, and we hoped that this would be the case for us. We need not have worried. Although the rest of our trip was different, it was very enjoyable in a totally different way. We would, however, miss the crew of the Maria Theresa who had treated us so well on our voyage.

That night the Ramblers were scheduled to attend a special , intimate  Hapsburg Dinner in the Leopard Lounge available to all the passengers.

Here is the senior Rambler all dressed up an ready for dinner.
Here is the senior Rambler all dressed up an ready for dinner.

All they had to do was make a reservation  in advance at the front desk as there was seating for only twenty. There were rumors that the dinner was only available to the passengers in the suites, but this was not the case. Anyone could attend if they reserved a spot in time. This was an evening to dress up a little and the senior Rambler even wore his sport coat,  but not a tie.

The dinner was a five-course tasting menu, which started out with a kir royale, and then moved into a five course meal with wines to match.

The appetizer course.
The appetizer course.

The alcoholic beverages were rejected by the senior Rambler, but I enjoyed them very much. No worries about having to drive home! Since it was a tasting menu, the portions were small, but you got a “taste” of a variety of foods, except for the main entree which was an excellent filet.  We had a great time, although there was a sense of concern as to what would happen next. The food was of the same high quality that we had enjoyed all along, but the presentation was extra special. Even the white-gloved butlers were part of the wait staff for the special dinner.


I haven’t talked much about the evening entertainment available on the Maria Theresa, but that is because for the Ramblers, evening entertainment wasn’t necessary. The senior Rambler would miss it entirely, spending his time somewhere on deck, enjoying the scenery and the night air. That is not to say that many people did enjoy the evening entertainment. Most times it was low key but fun.

Every evening  an excellent pianist played a variety of requests, and even a small dance floor for those who enjoyed dancing. This came into play several nights when a band came on board. The band was so popular with a number of the passengers that they were invited back for an encore.

The Bavarian Optimum in concert.
The Bavarian Optimum in concert.

This night a 4 man German band, Bavarium Optimum came on board to play a variety of German songs. They were dressed in traditional costume, lederhosen, suspenders, etc. , very appropriate as we were in Southern Germany where these costumes are popular. They were a great group of talented musicians who seemed to enjoy playing as much as we enjoyed hearing them.

After a very  long day, we Ramblers headed to our cabin, hopeful that the last days of our trip would be as good as the rest.

We Ramblers get our fill of walking on an amazing tour of the BMW Plant…

For the first time since we boarded the Maria Theresa near  Amsterdam, the Ramblers were going directly to our second tour without returning to our ship. We didn’t understand why then but the reason would be revealed to us later that day. Although we missed our lunch, the driver distributed water on board the bus, which was definitely appreciated. Uniworld supplies a pitcher of fresh water to each cabin every morning and we all got metal water bottles with the Uniworld logo to fill and take with on our outings. However, the Ramblers must confess that they never used their water bottles on the cruise, preferring to take along a plastic bottle that could be discarded. They did make nice souvenirs though.

The Regensburg BMW Plant is located on the outskirts of the city and I enjoyed the drive through the streets of the ordinary neighborhoods, a  change from the historic sites we visited. Would have liked to check out their supermarkets but we went directly to the plant which was indeed as large as had been reported.  We disembarked from our bus at the welcome center and found that we would have a tour limited to our Uniworld group with an English speaking guide. BMW offers two kinds of tours, a mixed group or an exclusive guided tour. The Ramblers were glad that we were on an exclusive tour as on the regular tours the guides are German-speakers.  Before we started, we had to place all our belongings in lockers as we could bring only ourselves into the plant. Unfortunately no photos were allowed. This was disappointing for the Rambler who missed a lot of great photo ops,  I have compensated by putting up a few excellent pictures from the BMW website. This is the first post in which I haven’t used any of my own photos.

Ariel view of the BMW plant in Regensberg.
Ariel view of the BMW plant in Regensberg. Since we couldn’t take any pictures all of these are from the BMW website.

Our guide told us that to make getting around easier, sometimes we would take our bus to the next plant.  Even so, we were warned that there was  lots of walking on this tour. More than 25,000 people from all over the world,  take the tour every year.

In the press shop, metal is stamped into auto parts.

Our first stop was the press shop where lots of metal was stamped into auto parts. We learned that the Regensburg plant has been in operation for twenty years. It has a workforce of 9,000 in the plant with approximately 300 apprentices who all wear some form of blue uniform. Jobs in this plant are much prized and there is considerable competition for them. We were there during the beginning of the shift change and the large groups of workers heading for the plant, certainly looked happy to be there.

A view of the paint shop. The painting is done by robots behind a glass window.
A view of the paint shop. The painting is done by robots behind a glass window. The is absolutely no paint smell in the viewing area.

BMW now employs both men and women although this was not always the case, but women are in the minority in certain areas, particularly the press shop.

Here they produce more than 1,100 BMW’s every day.  The models that are built in Regensburg include the BMW 1 Series, BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, BMW 3 Series Sedan, BMW 4 Series Convertible, BMW M 4 Convertible, BMW X 1, and BMW 24 Roadster.

Another view of robots at work. The human workers duck behind the wire screens before the robots do their thing.
A view of robots at work. The human workers duck into the wire cages before the robots do their thing.

My favorite part of the tour was the final assembly plant where the cars were put together by humans and robots on a series of assembly lines. BMW uses many different kinds of robots which work alongside human workers in what looks like a stylized ballet. It was very impressive.

Robots and humans at work in the plant.
Robots and humans at work in the plant.

Everything was choreographed for efficiency but also for safety as no one would like to be clobbered by one of those robots. By the time the tour was over, we were all ready to go home and order a BMW, so impressive was our experience. The company does an excellent job of selling the superiority of their product during the tour, but for most visitors, the glow wears off eventually. I am still driving my Jeep. LOL

At the end of our tour, we were offered cold drinks which were much appreciated after our long hike. We did get a bathroom break during the tour, for those who wonder about this, as the tour itself took several hours. Tired and hungry, we boarded our bus for the drive to the Maria Theresa at the Regensburg quay.  Much to our dismay, construction in the area forced the our bus to stop a long way from the ship.  When we finally got to the quay, we found that we had to cross over a rafted ship to board the Maria Theresa. The Ramblers and their fellow tour members were not the only ones climbing up and over to get to the Maria Theresa. We shared space with a long procession of the kitchen staff, each carrying boxes of vegetables and other kitchen supplies to the galley. Wish I had taken a picture because it looked like a scene out of a film, , but I was hot and tired  and didn’t think of it until later. Drat!

Back on board, we gravitated to the Leopard Bar for a cool drink, trying to decide if we had the energy to walk back into town to get a bite to eat, as we had missed lunch and dinner wouldn’t be until 7. There were always snacks available, of course, but we were pretty hungry. After a very brief discussion, the Senior Rambler refused to walk anywhere else as some major body parts were aching. I must confess I wasn’t too eager to go anywhere either, since I had done the full tour while he had stayed on the bus for a few of the stops. Wish I had worn a fitbit to see just how far we walked that day.

What we didn’t know was that it wasn’t really that far to the alstadt, The Maria Theresa was now tied up on the opposite bank of the Danube  opposite  where we had been  dropped off early that morning for our historic Regensburg tour. We wouldn’t have had to cross that 1,000 ft. bridge to reach the historic center.  We didn’t learn this until I starting work on this blog entry. I always try to place our location with google maps, and I searched for our quay for long time on the wrong side of the Danube before I realized this.

A photo from Wikipedia commons of Die Konigliehe Villa von der Donau.
A photo from Wikipedia commons of Die Konigliehe Villa von der Donau. The Maria Theresa was tied up right in front of the turreted wall which effectgively blocked our view of the town. We looked directly at the stone blocks of the wall from our cabin window.

As it turned out, the high stone wall of Die Konigliehe Villa, blocked our view of the alstadt

Even if we had known it was close, we were pretty tired of walking, so we just sat there looking very droopy. The MT’s hotel manager for our cruise, Carmen Mladenovic, noticed us and asked if we needed anything. We confessed that we didn’t have the energy to go to town to get something to eat, and we had missed lunch. She frowned and asked us why we hadn’t ordered food from the bar, since it was available all day and into the evening. Before we knew it, she had handed us bar menus and almost ordered us to get something.  Of course, we were pleased to follow her orders and enjoyed our impromptu lunch. We did appreciate Carmen’s kindness and concern very much;  just one of the many reasons we cruise with Uniworld.