June 8, 2012 …The Danube is a lot wider here than up closer to its headwaters like we’ve seen in Germany and Austria. The captain says this is the Golden Depth … not too high, not too low. So we make it under the bridges easily and dont hit the bottom.
There are few bridges here … we go many miles between bridges … perhaps a measure of the relative prosperity … more in the West, less in the East… where Communism was.
The ship is a little longer than a football field.
If built today, it would cost about $30 million Euros
The River Princess was born in 2001
Our Captain was born in 1967… Both in the Netherlands.
His mother and father were captains. He grew up on a river ship.
He has been captaining the River Princess for seven years.
His work schedule is 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off.
He has a home in Germany and also Budapest, where his wife is from.
River Princess has just been renovated….Uniworld renovates all their ships every 4 years.
2 1100 horsepower Duetz diesel engines … They consume about 105 gallons of diesel fuel per hour at full throttle. Each powers a rotatable prop. Those rotatable props steer the ship. There are no rudders. A joy stick controls the propellers … No conventional steering wheel.
The marker system on the rivers of Europe is opposite of the US: … “Red-Right-Returning,” which I learned in the US Navy.
Iron Gate Lock and Hydro project1964 – 1972
We just went thru the first of the “Iron Gate” locks. See photo. These locks are a lot wider than the ones up river and in France. These will take a lot wider ship or barges doubled up.
A Yugoslavian and Romanian project embarked on by their dictators at that time. It created a reservoir that inundated towns and villages 100 kilometers up river. 25,000 people had to be re-located. New towns are called New_______ … New Moldova etc.
The Iron Gate project doubled each countries hydroelectric output. Two thousand MegaWatts, with 6 hydro turbines for Yugoslavia (Now Serbia) & 6 hydro turbines for Romania.The project was one of the largest in the world. The lock has two stages, each of which raise the boat about 45 feet. That 90 feet of elevation takes out many dangerous rapids and sand bars. What used to take 4 days with a lot of danger and lost cargo & ships and lives … now is a gentle sail of only a few hours.