River cruising with Titan Travel aboard MS Serenade 1

I was very pleased when Titan Travel invited me to join a three-night VIP inaugural cruise from Cologne to Amsterdam, hosting national journalists, trade press, travel agents, their own MD and directors on board to celebrate.

The ever popular 4 star MS Serenade 1 is being exclusively chartered by Titan Travel, for much of 2017, following a winter refurbishment. She will be offering a number of river cruises between late March and October 2017.

All of Titan Travel’s river cruises on the MS Serenade 1 will include the following: –

  • VIP Home Departure Service
  • Check-in Service by Titan staff
  • Services of an experienced Titan tour manager and cruise director
  • Best available coaches with experienced drivers
  • Port taxes, security charges and fuel surcharges
  • Welcome buffet, cocktail and evening gala dinner
  • Captain’s farewell gala dinner
  • Wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
  • Meals as indicated in each itinerary
  • Quietvox portable audio headset system on cruise excursions

MS Serenade 1 carries around 130 passengers, over 40 members of crew and offers a range of cabins and suites to suit all needs.

  • S grade suites with a full sit out balcony are situated aft on Chopin deck
  • A grade superior cabins with French balcony on Chopin deck
  • B grade superior cabins with French balcony on Mozart deck
  • C grade superior cabins with French balcony on Mozart deck
  • D grade superior cabins with high level window on Beethoven deck

The cabins are all 16 square metres in size, they all have a shower with separate bath tub, twin beds (convertible to double), satellite TV, telephone, mini-bar, tea & coffee making facilities, individually controllable heating / air conditioning, safety box, hairdryer and bottled water, which is replenished daily. They all have European twin round pin power sockets. The suites are 22 square metres in size, and in addition to the features mentioned above, also have a separate sitting area and a sit out balcony.

While there are no single cabins it is possible to book a cabin for sole occupancy and the supplement will depend on the cabin grade and the date of travel. There are two cabins which have a wet room for wheelchair users, with one on Chopin deck and one on Mozart deck. There is a lift which enables passengers to go between the cabins on Mozart and Chopin decks, the restaurant, reception and lounge but it doesn’t go down to Beethoven deck. There is a stair lift between reception and the sun deck.

There is a small gym and sauna onboard and the sundeck has sunbeds, chairs and tables, as well as a deck chess game. There are awnings and a sheltered area, to cater for all weathers. A small selection of postcards, souvenirs and T-shirts can be purchased in the reception area and there is a mini-library near the lounge. The front desk is open 24 hours a day.

Drinks from the bar or the mini bar in your cabin are charged to your onboard account. Free Wi-Fi is available in the reception and bar area. A number of the public areas, including the restaurant, have recently been fully refurbished.

The Captain operates an ‘open bridge’ policy when the ship is sailing along the rivers and you are able to go in to have a chat and see how everything works.

Tuesday 28th March 2017

My trip started with Titan’s VIP Home Door-to-Door Travel Service, when a driver arrived at my front door in an executive car, ready to drive me to Heathrow for my flight to Dusseldorf. I was met at the airport by uniformed Titan staff and shown to the check-in desk.

Upon arrival in Dusseldorf I was met by Titan staff again and taken to the coach for the drive to the ship. When we reached the ship in Cologne we left our luggage on the coach and it was unloaded by the ship’s crew, while we enjoyed welcome drinks and afternoon tea. We were then given a tour of the ship before exchanging my passport for my cabin key at reception. When I got to my cabin my case was there. As it was the first night it was the Captain’s Welcome Gala Dinner, which was very enjoyable.

Wednesday 29th March 2017

After a comprehensive hot and cold breakfast buffet, including an excellent ‘cooked to order’ omelette, we went on a guided walking tour of Arnhem. There was then time to explore on our own, before boarding again to enjoy lunch as we departed for Hoorn.

The evening brought another very enjoyable dinner, followed by some light entertainment from the excellent resident musician and singer Pavol.

Thursday 30th March 2017

After breakfast we disembarked in bright sunshine for a walking tour of Hoorn.

Lunch was taken onboard, as we sailed to Amsterdam, where we arrived at 3.30pm. A number of people went ashore for a wander around the town and enjoy a canal cruise. It was our last night onboard so we enjoyed a Gala Dinner and more music in the lounge. 

Friday 31st March 2017

It was an early breakfast before heading off to Amsterdam airport for the flight back to Heathrow where I was gratefully met by my driver who drove me back home.

Clare Dudley
About the Author
My first job in travel was when I was just 18 years old and I worked for Lunn Poly Business Travel, But when I moved to Premier Travel in Cambridge, as business development manager, my role involved me more and more with the cruise market. Gaining more experience in other sectors of the trade was necessary, before stepping off on my own and I joined Fred Olsen Travel as cruise development manager. “The confidence to set up my own business came from the work I did at Fred Olsen’s. The company is part of a multi-million pound cruise empire and the hunger and knowledge to grow the business was everything I wanted. It was Christmas 2009 when I finally realised that I had accumulated all the background and knowledge to do it for myself. So it’s now been over 3 years since I launched Ponders Cruise and Travel and I am exceptionally proud of what we have achieved to date and my passion for Ponders and delivering superb service and holidays to all our clients is still as intense as the first day we launched.

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