TravelMarvel dining area

Kathryn's experience at the CLIA Cruise Conference

My recent journey to the CLIA River Cruise Conference in Amsterdam opened my eyes to the wonders of river cruising like never before. Having never set foot on a river cruise ship, I was immediately struck by the impeccable standards of service, luxurious cabins and the delectable cuisine offered across all three ships that hosted us during our stay. From the moment I stepped on board, I was enveloped in an atmosphere of luxury and immersion that surpassed my expectations.

Despite the smaller size of river cruise ships compared to the ocean liners I had previously sailed on, I found them to be surprisingly spacious. The sun decks provided ample room to relax and take in the breathtaking scenery whilst sailing along Europe's majestic rivers, perhaps with a refreshing cocktail in hand. Many ships even boasted a small pool or jacuzzi, perfect for cooling off on sunny days. I was especially impressed with Emerald Dawn, including the three-tiered atrium and heated pool that transforms into a cinema space on selected evenings, definitely giving it the wow factor.

Emerald Dawn Pool

The cabins exceeded my expectations in terms of size and comfort, with meticulous attention to detail evident in the décor and amenities provided. Even the lead-in window cabins, which I initially had reservations about, proved to be more than adequate, offering the same level of comfort and amenities as French Balcony cabins on most ships.

One of the highlights of my experience was dining alongside the cruise director aboard the APT TravelMarvel Polaris, indulging in a delightful four-course à la carte evening meal accompanied by fine wines. His extensive knowledge of the rivers and ports of call featured on the ship was truly impressive, enriching our dining experience with fascinating insights and anecdotes that added an extra layer of depth to our culinary journey. The dress code on board is smart casual, offering guests the perfect balance between elegance and comfort. Evening entertainment was provided by the resident band in the lounge and the whole experience was very relaxed and enjoyable.

Kathryn and Sophie at CLIA cruise conference

One aspect of river cruising that particularly impressed me was the culinary experience. The food served on board was nothing short of delicious, with each meal crafted using locally sourced ingredients and showcasing the flavours of the regions we visited. I was also pleased to find that the ships were exceptionally accommodating when it came to dietary restrictions, ensuring that my travel companion's food allergies were catered to without any hassle.

Food at CLIA cruise conference

Evening entertainment on board was relaxed and enjoyable, with live music in the ship's lounge providing the perfect backdrop for socialising with fellow passengers. Some ships even offered onboard spas and fitness centres, allowing guests to tailor their experience to their preferences, whether they preferred a leisurely pace or an active itinerary. Additionally, complimentary bicycles were available for use in ports of call, adding another dimension to the exploration of each destination.

Ultimately, my experience with river cruising left me thoroughly impressed and eager to embark on my next journey. The convenience of exploring multiple destinations without the hassle of constant packing and unpacking appealed to me immensely. In essence, river cruising felt like an upscale multi-centre city break, offering a perfect blend of relaxation, exploration, and indulgence. Needless to say, I would wholeheartedly consider a river cruise for my next holiday, and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a truly unforgettable travel experience.

Call Panache Cruises on 0161 513 8200 if you want to learn more about River cruises.

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