For travel agent Gwyneth Prosser, a seven-day river cruise through Europe’s historic heartlands with one of the industry’s best-known operators was a fairytale come true
The Titan service began at Heathrow where we were met by Alana Jones, the agency’s sales executive. I was one of 18 agents headed for Titan’s exclusive charter cruise on the 68-cabin MS Serenade 1.
We joined the tour on day three by flying to Basel on October 20. The other guests had travelled from the UK two days earlier, spending time in Geneva and Montreux before joining the ship. The staff on board gave us a warm welcome and even the passengers seemed genuinely pleased to see us, although their good mood could have had something to do with the chocolate factory they had visited that morning.
After a glass of bubbly we were shown to our twin shared cabin: it had everything you could possibly need, from the en-suite bathroom with separate shower and bath to satellite TV. A daily programme of the next day’s excursion was provided along with historical notes on the port of call. Customers who didn’t want to follow the planned itinerary could explore for themselves or stay on the ship. Although most of the guests took up the offer, a few of the guests had trouble walking long distances so stayed on board. For those that went, it fell to the onboard tour manager to try and organise us all!
The quality of the food on board was excellent: breakfast cooked to order; four courses at lunch; afternoon tea; a four-course dinner and a midnight snack served in the panorama lounge. Local wine and beer were served with meals and hot drinks were available at any point.
Our journey took us through Breisach, Kehl, Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn and Cologne, nishing in Amsterdam. The Rhine is so beautiful: apart from the wonderful castles, palaces and cathedrals, we also passed through many locks, which would see all of the agents crowd onto the top deck to see the gates open and close. One fellow traveller who was a local expert (or so he had us believe) fed us extra facts on the various places of interest.
I learnt so much during the week, not only about the history of the Rhine, but about how Titan take care of their customers. The warm welcome and the option to either follow the itinerary or take things at your own pace make this a wonderful holiday, especially for older people. The agency also o er VIP door-to- tour transfers, with a driver to collect you from home and a Titan agent at the airport from check-in to your destination. For many people this could be the difference between having a holiday or not at all.