PayingTooMuch.com Holiday’s Steph Hurdle was invited to stay onboard and review the Titan River Cruise ship Serenade 1, travelling from Amsterdam to Basel on the River Rhine on the 10th April. Here’s what she had to say about her experience.
Steph: “Flying from London Heathrow on a BA flight, we landed and were escorted through the airport to our coach. On the way to the Serenade 1 we were told about Amsterdam for those who had never been. Once aboard the ship I was given my cabin keys, which was on Mozart deck."
The newly decorated, spacious en-suite twin cabin was very comfortable and suitable for older travellers. Additionally, the cabin had built-in wardrobes and drawers, a small fridge and tea making facilities. The beds were comfortable, and the sail was so gentle that you didn’t feel that you were moving.
The evening four course meal, accompanied with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks is served in the single restaurant at 7pm. After dinner, passengers are then asked to migrate up to the lounge-bar area where the resident pianist plays a mix of music that you can shake your moves to on the dance floor if you wish.
The first full day began moored in Arnhem in the Netherlands. Breakfast is served from 6.30-7am in the lounge or 7-9am in the restaurant for a more extensive buffet, including freshly made omelettes and fresh fruit giving you the option to have a relaxing start to the morning.
The organised trip was to the Arnhem Airborne Museum, learning the stories of the various battles in the second world. This is followed by a walking tour of the town, a spot of lunch and then free time walking around the town for the remainder of the excursion.
Back onboard the Serenade 1, afternoon tea is served at 4pm before setting sail at 5pm for Cologne. In the evening, the welcome gala dinner meal, followed by entertainment in the lounge completed the day.
Steph: “Sailing overnight, we arrived in Cologne. We had free time here all day or we could take the optional tour to Bonn. Opting to take the shuttle bus into the centre, you are dropped off by the very impressive Gothic Cathedral, with its north tower reaching over 516ft tall. After visiting the cathedral, head to Café Reichard opposite for the best cakes and hot chocolate around. The dolly trolley bus ride (€8 for a 45 mins round trip) is an excellent choice to see further afield taking you round the old town stopping at the Lindt Chocolate Museum where you can catch a later trolley back. For those who like to shop, head for Hohe Street for the designer shops. We set sail later that evening for Koblenz.”
After mooring up beside Altstadt, passengers are given an informative tour around the old town and a ride across the Rhine to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress from the gondola lift station.
Steph: “The views were magnificent. This trip does include a lot of walking on cobbled streets so comfy shoes are a must.”
The Serenade 1 then set sail at 12.30pm travelling through the Rhine Gorge in time for a lunch and an audio commentary on the places of interest – most notably pointing out The Lorelei, the beautiful maiden who lured fisherman to their death. The ship arrived in Rudesheim just before dinner, giving the passengers the opportunity to explore the night life in the local street called Drosselgasse.
Steph:“The next morning was free time or there was an optional excursion. Look out for the Christmas Shop which is ideal for a little souvenir or take the cable car to the top for more stunning views and the monument.”
The Serenade 1 set sail at just after lunch for more scenic cruising sailing past the towns of Mainz and Worms, giving everyone amazing views to accompany their dinner and before sunset.
Docking at Mannheim, the day ashore began with an 8.30am start for a guided tour in Heidelberg. We took the funicular railway up to the castle ruins, home to the famous Great Heidelberg Tun, which holds an impressive 219,000 litres of wine.
Steph: “Walking back to the coach there is a very nice place to stop for refreshments called Galthaus zum Eisernen Kreuz. I can vouch for the ice-cream and the apple strudel looked amazing. Heading back to the ship for lunch we started cruising again and spent a very pleasant afternoon sitting on top deck admiring the scenery."
Arriving in Strasbourg the passengers were coached into the inner circle of the town and set off on a walking tour in the old town followed by a leisurely canal cruise around the area known as Petite France and past the European parliament building. Passengers have the option of returning to Serenade 1 to relax or sample some lunch and meander the local town. Heading to the souvenirs shops which are full of gingerbread and storks, both of which Strasbourg is famed for.
Steph: “If you wish to stay on after the tour, it is suggested to get a taxi back to the ship (€10 approx.) before sailing off at 5.30pm heading for Basel and disembarkation for our flight back to Heathrow.”
Steph’s Top Tips
- Wear comfortable shoes there is quite a lot of walking on cobbles
- If travelling early in the year take a mixture of clothes to cover all weathers
- When choosing a cabin, try and go middle deck mid ships, to avoid the noise of the engines
- Take some travel hangers as only a limited supply in the cabin
If this looks like something that would be ideal for you, call us today on 01243 213 213 and we can book you in for this wonderful experience.
Steph was staying on the Mozart Deck in a twin room. The cost of her trip would have been £1699pp for seven nights including flights and transfers.