Corinne and her husband, Morris, were in two minds about whether a cruise could fulfil their travelling needs. So Carly arranged them the perfect adventure on the Rhine/Moselle river to taste life on the water…
“We were both undecided about cruising but felt the only way to find out was to give it a try. We spoke with Carly at Abbotts Travel and given that she has been responsible for assisting in all our holidays over the last 10 years, we knew we could trust her recommendation.
Carly believed Riviera Travel river cruises for seven nights in Europe would be a good option to see if it was something we would enjoy on a longer cruise in the future. Our aim was generally to get a feel for cruising.
We decided on the seven-night Rhine/Moselle river cruise and for a change, given that we had the option, decided to go via Eurostar to Brussels and a three-hour coach trip to Bonn. We were meant to go to Cologne and end the trip there but it was changed in the week leading up to the trip, although this made no significant difference to the cruise.
We were met at Brussels by the Riviera Travel Representative and duly arrived at our ship the MS Emily Bronte three hours later. It was a very inviting sight in the early evening light. Baggage was brought to our cabins. A great start and passengers and staff alike were extremely friendly.
The ship is spotlessly clean everywhere and it stayed like that throughout, a credit to the cleaning team. We had a beautiful room, although small, the design had allowed for everything you needed and I would argue that every expectation you would have of a hotel room is met in these cabins. The sliding patio door with a glass safety balcony gave that wonderful feeling of space - it was fantastic.
We were not expecting particularly hot weather but that is what we got for the full eight days, which really added to the quality of the cruise. Lucky us!
There are two restaurants onboard, a main one and a smaller bistro. The food was excellent for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and afternoon tea if you didn’t go on the excursion). The menus were varied and catered for all diets. We certainly did not go hungry and again the restaurant staff were ever accommodating. There was also a wonderful bar and lounge where there was a pianist playing every night. One night in the week the crew put on a show. It may sound a bit corny but it was brilliant. All part of the endearing way the crew engaged with the passengers.
We also took the drinks package as an add on the cruise. It was definitely worthwhile if you are partial to a glass of wine or two.
Although I later learned that the average age of the passengers was 73, they certainly knew how to enjoy themselves. There were 165 passengers on board and 43 crew. It made for an enjoyable trip.
There were daily excursions, usually for a maximum of four hours, but all meals were on board. So either a morning or afternoon excursion. We often sailed through the night but we slept like proverbial logs.
My favourite excursions were: Koblenz (so much history), Ruddesheim (wine region and beautiful historic shopping streets with Siegfried's mechanical museum as an added bonus), Bernkastel (another famous wine region where we visited a wine producer for a tasting session) and Dusseldorf with a plethora of bars and restaurants. We also enjoyed the free time to walk around the town for a good stretch of the legs.
The cruise affords plenty to see and do along the beautiful scenery of the vineyard rising up out of the Moselle, the joy of the mechanics of the locks enabling these extremely long cruise ships to navigate the rivers and also enjoy the rugged beauty of the more commercial and dominating River Rhine.
We had plenty of time to relax as well as sightseeing. The cruise director kept everyone extremely well informed of daily activities and things we would see along the rivers whilst cruising.
I would highly recommend this particular cruise and Riviera Travel.
Will we go on another cruise? Yes, but again I think we would stick with something smaller and certainly not one of those monster cruise ships.
As far as Abbotts Travel are concerned… there is none better. The team really are the best at what they do and have helped and looked after us more than we could have wished for. We would never go to anyone else or ever want to.”