MS Viola Review and Specifications
Specifications of MS Viola
|Year built||1995 / Age : 25|
|Class||Red Cross Ship (hospital ship)|
|Owner||Rijfers River Cruises|
|Operator||Phoenix Reisen Flusskreuzfahrten|
|Speed||11 kn / 20 kph / 13 mph|
|Length (LOA)||97 m / 318 ft|
|Beam (width)||11 m / 36 ft|
|Decks with cabins||2|
|Former names||MS Henry Dunant|
|Christened by||Annika Zeyen|
Current position of MS Viola
Review of MS Viola
MS Viola cruise ship is a former Red Cross Ship (hospital ship) built in 1995 and previously named "MS Henry Dunant". Purchased in 2019 by Phoenix Reisen (shipowner), the riverboat Viola operates on two itinerary routes - through West Germany and South of Holland/Netherlands along Rhine and Maas rivers. Departures are offered from Germany (homeport Bonn). The German cruisetour travel company Phoenix Reisen was established in 1973. It started passenger shipping operations in 1988 with the chartered MV Maxim Gorky (Russian ocean liner built in 1969 / scrapped in 2009). In 1993, Phoenix Travel started to offer river cruises in Europe.
MS Viola has a total of 60 cabins. All staterooms are outside/riverview, tastefully decorated, elegantly furnished, spacious and comfortable, each fitted with 2 separate (lower) beds convertible to double bed (if pushed together). All staterooms offer as standard cabin amenities individually controlled air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom (with washbasin, shower, WC, hairdryer), flat TV (satellite reception, ship info channel with daily-schedule activities), intercom phone, alarm clock radio, wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), Nespresso coffee machine, minibar (refrigerator), lockable drawers. Twin cabins are sized 12-17 m2 (130-185 ft2). Some cabins are with a shared bathroom (positioned in between). These are pairs of separate/adjoining cabins consisting of a handicap cabin connecting to a standard twin cabin (for the accompanying passengers).
This unique riverboat has 34 wheelchair-accessible cabins specifically designed for passengers with disabilities. These special staterooms feature wider entry- and bathroom doors, height-adjustable beds with locking wheels, an emergency button, en-suite bathrooms with accessible (lowered) washbasins, drivable showers, toilets with foldable grab rails (hinged on both sides). An extra-wide elevator (passenger lift) connects to ship's top-deck (Sun Deck).
Main Deck cabins are wheelchair-accessible, with an entry door width of 120 cm (47 inches) and large windows (non-opening). The beds are electrically height-adjustable, with locking wheels and separated via a curtain. Lower Deck cabins are not handicap and with small windows (non-opening). Their beds can also be separated (via curtains) upon request.
On Phoenix Reisen Viola ship pets are not allowed - even assistance dogs. Cabin categories include:
- Lower Deck staterooms - Twin Outside (category A), Twin Outside with Private Bathroom (category B), Single Outside (category E)
- Main Deck staterooms - Twin Outside Wheelchair-Accessible (category C), Twin Outside Wheelchair-Accessible with Private Bathroom (category D), Single Outside Wheelchair-Accessible (category F).
MS Viola has 4 passenger decks (2 with cabins), Panorama Restaurant (Dining Room), Panorama Bar Lounge, Lobby area (foyer with Excursion Office and Reception Desk), Boutique Shop, Library, lift (passenger elevator connecting all decks). The large sundeck area is furnished with sun loungers, deckchair and table seating, shaded seating area (roof-covered retractable bar-lounge).
Sun Deck also provides passengers with the opportunity to enjoy outdoor fun activities - playing cards and popular board games, as well as dancing with live music performances (in the evenings). The sundeck area is fitted with two collapsible structures - the Wheelhouse and the glass-walled, roof-covered bar lounge. They are retracted/lowered and off-limits (not accessible to passengers) when the ship passes under low bridges.
Entertainment options also include themed evenings (with live music and quiz games), regionally/itinerary based onboard events (lectures, media presentations, folk performances), language courses. Laundry service, wireless LAN (WLAN) and WiFi Internet are offered at extra cost. Onboard language is German, the currency is EUR. As forms of payment are accepted cash and credit cards (Girocard, VISA, MasterCard). Smoking is only permitted outdoors - at Sun Deck's designated area.
MS Viola cruise deals are inclusive of all shipboard meals. Breakfast includes a rich buffet, while lunches and dinners are multi-course, with European and vegetarian cuisine specialties. Afternoon tea/coffee service and midnight snacks (cakes, biscuits) are also complimentary. Beers, house wines, soft drinks (bottled mineral water, juices, coke, lemonade), tea and coffee are also ticket price-inclusive and available daily between 8am-12midnight. The traditional events Captain's Reception and Captain's Dinner are both with special menus and premium beverages (cocktails, wines by the glass, soft drinks). Dishes for special diets (gluten-lactose-dairy-free, diabetics, etc.) can be prepared and served upon request.
River cruise itinerary
Phoenix Reisen Viola ship cruises on a week-long (7-day) cruisetour itinerary (Monday through Sunday) roundtrip from homeport Bonn. Next table shows itinerary's ports sequence with times (arrival/departure) in ports of call.
|Day||Port (Time), Tour|
|Monday||Bonn (einschiffung/embarkation from ~12-noon) departure 3:30 pm|
|Monday-Tuesday (overnight)||Konigswinter (5 pm)|
|Tuesday-Wednesday (overnight)||Koblenz (10 am), Seilbahnrundfahrt und Stadterkundung (Cable car tour and city exploration)|
|Wednesday||Middle Rhine River cruising|
|Wednesday-Tuesday (overnight)||Boppard (1 pm - 8 am), Stadterkundung & Weinprobe (City exploration, wine tasting)|
|Tuesday||Loreley Rock (passage)|
|Tuesday-Friday (overnight)||Rudesheim am Rhein (2:30 pm - 9 am), Kino "anno dazumal" mit Musik und Wein (Cinema "anno dazumal" with music and wine)|
|Friday-Saturday (overnight)||Lahnstein (1:30 pm - 9 am), Rheinanlage und Mineralbrunnen (Rhine plant and mineral wells)|
|Saturday-Sunday (overnight)||Remagen (1 pm - 7 am)|
|Sunday||Bonn (ausschiffung/debarkation until ~12-noon)|
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Phoenix Reisen officially christened its unique riverboat Viola on June 3 (2019) in Bonn Germany. Ship's inaugural cruise (maiden voyage) on Rhine River departed from Bonn on the same day. The naming ceremony was held at Bonn Brassertufer (downtown, on KD-Anlegestelle / jetty-dock), started at 2 pm and ended in the evening. The special event was attended by Johannes Zurnieden (Phoenix Reisen's founder).
Ship's Godmother was Annika Zeyen - 1985-born wheelchair basketball player, gold medalist of Paralympics 2012. She also participated in the Summer Paralympic Games in 2004 (Athens Greece), 2008 (Beijing China), 2020 (London UK) and 2016 (Rio de Janeiro Brazil). Annika Zeyen has played in Germany's wheelchair basketball league and national team (winning three European titles) and for the University of Alabama.
Phoenix Reisen deliberately purchased the former Red Cross Ship to make the company industry's first to offer the largest number of handicap cabins on a single vessel. The ship was built in aaa and initially named "MS Henry Dunant" (MMSI 244650846, Holland-flagged). After the acquisition by Phoenix Reisen, it was reflagged to Malta (MMSI 248957000).
Ship's former name honors Henry Dunant - Jean-Henri Dunant (1828-1910) Swiss businessman, the founder of Red Cross (officially "International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement"). He was also the first Nobel Peace Prize recipient. The 1864 Geneva Convention was based on Dunant's ideas. In 1901, he became world's first Nobel Peace Prize recipient - together with the French economist Frederic Passy (1822-1912).
Phoenix Reisen Viola ship is operated via partnership with the shipowner Rijfers River Cruises (2004-founded) via the subsidiary Rijfers Nautical Management BV (Arnhem Holland-based company). Shipboard hotel and dining services are provided by Sea Chefs (group of companies). Ship's wheelchair equipment and assistance are by Runa Reisen (2006-founded disability travel company). Onboard medical services are by Malteser Hilfsdienst (Roman Catholic charity organization, 1953-founded by Deutscher Caritasverband/German Caritas Association, the German division of Souveraner Malteserorden / Sovereign Order of Malta).
Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.
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