Frederic Chopin, built in 2002, is one of seven ships currently sailing Europe river cruises for Vantage Deluxe World Travel. Based on the Elbe, this vessel carries a maximum of 78 passengers and more than 20 crew members, making the passenger-to-crew ratio better than 4:1.
In the way of accommodations, 40 cabins are spread across two of the ship's three decks -- Main Deck and Upper Deck. All cabins are outsides, and half (those on the Upper Deck) have French balconies -- sliding-glass doors that open to the outside. All cabins on the Main Deck have fixed windows that cannot be opened.
There are two single cabins onboard. Located on the Main Deck, each comes in at 97 square feet with a sofa bed. Standard staterooms, of which there are 36 spread throughout the Main and Upper Decks, are all 130 square feet. The two Deluxe cabins on the Upper Deck each offer 140 square feet of space. All cabins feature shower-only bathroom setups, hair dryers, satellite TV, telephones, safes and mini-fridges.
On the Main Deck, passengers will find the Panorama Restaurant, the ship's only dining room, which seats all passengers at the same time. Cruisers are free to choose their own tables. Cuisine is contemporary with an occasional German twist.
The ship's front desk and the Panorama Lounge are both located on the Upper Deck. The desk is where passengers can settle onboard accounts, exchange currency (onboard currency is the euro) and get information about shore excursions. The lounge is the place to be at night for live music and dancing, as well as port talks. The bar offers drinks priced a la carte. (Vantage includes select wines, as well as soda and beer with dinner, but all other alcoholic beverages incur a fee. Bottled water is provided daily for free in each cabin, but there's a charge if it's ordered at the bar.)
The third passenger deck, Sun Deck, is ideal for mild days, offering plenty of sun loungers (and shade if desired). It offers 360-degree views of the passing scenery.
A small selection of books and board games is also available for passenger use, and it's worth noting that, oddly, Frederic Chopin does not offer onboard Internet.