December 2018, I received an email from a magazine editor and photographer I have worked with for years; “Hey Jenn.. do you have any tattoo artists that would want to join us for a Tattoo Themed River Cruise from Frankfurt Germany through Bavaria to Regensburg Germany? With stops daily in quaint towns Miltenberg,, Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Kelheim and Regensburg this August? ” …… My response, “of course I do! what a great and unique idea!”
7 towns have to create a few blogs
Since our River Cruise stopped in 7 incredible towns and each day and evening was a new adventure with clients and new friends I am going to break this blog out into a few different segments. PLUS, Reese, Jackie and I continued on to Prague then met Loz and Vanessa (Ms Flakiss) in Berlin Germany before ending in Copenhagen. Also check out Reese Hilburn’s video of this awesome event: https://youtu.be/jtzXZ2–4ro
Uniworld River Cruise Part 1
Tattoo Artists BOOKED!
I happily placed long time clients on this cruise. I brought season 2 Ink Master winner Steven Tefft and Tattoo Nightmares Miami & Black Ink Chicago cast member Reese Hilburn. On August 16th, 2019 we all arrived in Frankfurt Germany not really knowing what to expect. This was the first tattoo themed, river cruise ever! Personally, I had never even been on a traditional Caribbean Cruise or cruise of any kind. I was familiar with river cruises all throughout Europe but I was under the impression they catered to a more conservative, older clientele. I found out that Uniworld was trying out their “B ship” to a younger demographic with edgy themed cruises.
We arrived in Frankfurt
It was raining and cold in Frankfurt when we all arrived and sat through a safety meeting from the captain. Then the fun began when host, Heather Moss took the microphone to inform everyone tattooing was available during the 7 days we were cruising. Plus, the cruise line had daily, excursions available for the guests and tattoo artists or you could just explore each town on your own. Also planned while cruising were some fun tattoo themed contests with the guests and staff. After an evening off the boat and exploring Frankfurt about 15 of us stopped at a Cider Festival. Back to the boat and off we sailed… Little did I know how much this cruise was going to bond me to new friends and how the experience we all had together on this incredible journey would set into motion more group tattoo themed travel.
Most evenings and some days we set sail and made our way through locks to woke up in a new Bavarian town ready to explore. I did not know there is something called “collecting locks” while cruising on a European river. Lock gears either empty or fill a chamber with water. No photos taken. You’re in a cement chamber while the water increases or declines. We collected a total of 16 locks to be exact. The first 2 nights we were all up far too late due to jet lag and night 2 was MY BIRTHDAY! Many of us danced the night away the first evening while the boat was moving to our next town and destination!
Mildenburg and it’s Castle
Our first stop was the adorable town of Miltenberg Germany. Steve and I seemed to be on same schedule for excursions as two absolutely FUN travel, health and fitness influencers Rizzo and Serena. We set off on our own to explore the little town of Miltenberg which only has a population of a little over 9,000. We explored through the streets filled with adorable buildings and started our hike up to the Mildenburg Castle. The first document mentioning the castle Mildenburg dates back to the year 1226! Short stop, small town.. great way to start the trip! It was time to get back to the ship before it departed and cruised over night to our next town! Midnight… my birthday… shots… up until 3am no photos of the debauchery.
My Birthday in Würzburg
While Steven Tefft and Reese Hilburn tattooed some of the guests while cruising calmly down the Main River to Würzburg, Rizzo and I joined the tour of The Residenz an incredible Baroque Palace. No photos allowed inside.. let me create the picture for you: The interiors are considered masterworks of Baroque/Rococo or Neoclassical architecture and art include the grand staircase, the chapel, and the Imperial Hall. Plus, I’ve never seen frescoes this ornate and detailed! The Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, assisted by his son, Domenico, painted frescoes in the building. You’ve GOT to make the time to visit this Palace!
Thankfully the Uniworld/U River Cruise was late in getting to where we were in town to pick us up. We had the chance to join in a summer nightly tradition on the old bridge “Alte Mainbrücke” sipping a glass of Franconian wine watching the sun set. The bridge was erected from 1473 to 1543 replacing an old Romanesque bridge. The characteristic 12 statues of saints were added around 1730.
After a full day exploring Würzburg we walked back to the boat to enjoy dinner with everyone. The breakfast and dinner meals were traditionally German and fantastic on the ship! Nothing like a German Pretzel! The staff of Uniworld found out it was my birthday and brought me a cake! After dinner about 20 of us ventured into town to find a bar we’d all enjoy. After some shots of absinthe some people went back to the boat to sleep while myself and some incredible new life long friends decided the evening should not end just yet … We stumbled into a hookah bar and announced it was my birthday and another evening lasted until about 3am. I can honestly say I met some amazing people on this trip!
We awake the next morning in a new town.. the adventure continues.