UnCruise Adventures’ Rivers of Wine Cruise: Day 7 aboard the SS Legacy

Like a dish? Un-problem. Ask for the recipe and it will be delivered to your cabin. Want to try a little of everything? Un-problem.

Why two buses when we could fit into one?

“We aim to never have a full bus,” says historian Bob. “That way if you want a pair of seats to yourself, fine.”

On UnCruise, it’s an un-problem, which explains the name. UnCruise sounds awkward and, well, dorky, but take one and you understand.

On S. S. Legacy, the crew is young and multitalented. None of the regimentation and caste system of large cruise ships here. If something needs doing, whoever is there does it. Captain Tim may get you a cup of coffee or mix you a drink. Hotel manager Kirsty waited tables and heritage guide Bob handled luggage.

Steward Jesus and Lead Steward Jared often assist Charli, the bartender. If no one is tending the bar, you are welcome to do it yourself. Crewmembers with time off can join passengers on excursions. With this policy everyone becomes friends.

Everything is inclusive, from transport to and from the ship and tips to drivers and tour guides to your beverages of choice. Only “extra” is the end of cruise gratuity for staff, a recommended $25 to $30 a day.

Informality is the rule in dress, too. Shorts any time, breakfast through dinner. A good thing because the farther east you go the hotter it gets. If you want to dress up for dinner, fine, but you will be in the minority.

The ship is a replica of an 1898 coastal gold rush steamer with a sleek version of Victorian design and modern equipment. With 44 cabins, Legacy usually carries 88 passengers. There were between 40 and 50 on this cruise, which left plenty of room.

At 300 square feet, the owner’s suite is the largest of the cabins and comes with Jacuzzi tub as well as wet bar, refrigerator, king bed and sofa bed for extra occupancy. Other cabins are cozier with fixed queen, double or twin beds. All cabins have small wardrobes, a desk and chair, window and tiny bathroom with shower.

TVs (ship’s channels only) with DVD player, hair dryer, terry cloth bathrobes, safes, binoculars and reusable water bottles, wall units in the shower for soap, shampoo and conditioner are standard amenities. All cabins are outside, have a view window and are above deck. There are drawers and spaces under the ends of the beds for extra storage and two small drawers in the desk. Lighting is good.

Ceilings in the bathrooms are low so taller passengers may have to bend and squat a bit in the shower.  One-ply, almost see-through toilet paper designed for the onboard septic system takes some getting used to. The pedestal sink limits storage but there are two small shelves that help, although anything that falls off will be headed for the toilet. Fortunately, river cruising is pretty smooth.

A few cabins have private – sort of – outdoor seating areas; no walls, just a roped of area. They frequently become gathering spots for “neighbors,” the rope becoming a backyard sense of sorts.

The dining room on the main deck is filled three times a day. There are specials for each meal but the kitchen can usually provide whatever you want. Open seating is the rule for the round tables for six or four in the middle and long booths for six along the sides. Sommelier Chris confers with Chef in planning meals, selecting a red and white wine for each as well as desert pairings. Stewards like Henry, Carol and Jada add spice to the meals.

Beyond the dining room is the Pesky Barnacle Whiskey and Beer Bar. A small, man cave-type space, the traditional Captain’s Poker Game is held here. On the aft deck behind is a small designated smoking area.

The Lounge (on the Lounge Deck) is Legacy’s gathering place with bar, upright piano, large A/V screen, book and DVD libraries, water, coffee machine, snacks, early risers’ breakfast, afternoon hors d’oeuvres, daily wine presentation and evening talks. With quick exits fore and aft, port and starboard, it is a good spot for watching the scenery glide by. There was always a jigsaw puzzle set up with a revolving crew of stalwarts determined to complete it.

The upper deck (level three) is all cabins and the Bridge Deck above, besides being the captain’s domain, has a sundeck, hot tubs, fitness equipment and covered area with seating. By 2018 it will also house a supply of kayaks. A small elevator connects dining, lounge and all-cabin decks.

Children 8 years old and above are accepted for this cruise but it is not appropriate for anyone less than legal drinking age. Rivers of Wine is designed for adults from cuisine to company.

Captain and crew will welcome you aboard with handshakes but when the process is reversed at disembarkation, it is hugs all around.

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