Chapter 1: Welcome aboard the Royal Crown – a perfect start to our cruise

Well, it was a full-on day.  With quite a few revelations and one or two new experiences!  Mother and I flew from London City Airport for the first time, en route to another first, a river cruise on the Royal Crown. 

Antwerp, Belgium So all went very smoothly, landing in Antwerp as expected, then a bus and a train to the city centre. It was pretty easy, if somewhat uninspiring. Another time I’d try the Eurostar to Brussels, then take the train to Antwerp just for fun. Antwerp Station is famously known as the city’s second cathedral and rightly so, the marble, carvings and soaring glass roof, delicately spun together, are unexpected in their elegance.

So to our ship by taxi: the Royal Crown is, without doubt, luxurious, stylish and rather what I imagine a floating Orient Express might be like. The first impression is of a rather lovely boutique hotel, it has a traditional reception desk manned by the highly efficient Kristina and her team, who are all helpful, smiley and without exception, charming. Which is, in fact, the same throughout the ship; every member of staff greets you politely, does their job superbly and is totally customer focussed.    

The public areas of the ship are exactly right, large windows, polished daily, creating an intimate atmosphere in the lounge, which actually feels more like a very large country house drawing room, fortunately without some of the quirkier relatives.  Royal Crown - eWaterways The lighting is soft too, which adds to the relaxed feel.  Geza, the resident musician, very gently tinkles upon a rather magnificent Steinway in the corner, throughout teatime and the evening, with a suitably laid-back repertoire. Tea is a hearty affair with cakes and sturdy, well filled sandwiches, just what we needed after the 5 am start.

So, with Mother restored, she travels well, but does require regular re-fuelling with coffee and snacks, we sweep down the main staircase to our cabin. It is important to say that neither of us has ever been on a cruise before, so we are viewing this with totally unbiased, fresh eyes. And frankly, I am delighted! Cabin 7 is really well appointed, good size twin beds, plenty of cupboard space to absorb our many belongings and quality wooden coat hangers. Little details make all the difference. A safe, hairdryer and ample toiletries are provided too, as are extra pillows and really warm blankets.  The bathroom is a little gem, bijou certainly, however, everything is cleverly slotted in, and the fittings are smart, dark wood again, with good lighting. The shower works perfectly and is, thankfully, easy to use.

Royal Crown dining room - eWaterways This is a great start to our four days on board. Dinner, preceded by champagne in the lounge, is a sophisticated meal. Each of the five courses is perfectly proportioned and delicious, really delicious. Aleksander Klaus, the executive chef, is to be highly commended, for the presentation and execution of all the dishes. The beetroot risotto converts me to a vegetable I’ve never enjoyed before, no mean feat. The salmon is cooked beautifully and to celebrate, I allow myself the crème caramel, which is a culinary delight. Happily replete, we retire to the lounge for coffee and a brandy, whilst cruising gently along. The sunset during dinner was picture perfect, a fiery red in a backdrop of lowland landscape, flying geese criss-crossing the fields as if choreographed by an artist.

Next stop, Rotterdam!

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Hebridean Island Cruises for European Sailings on the Royal Crown.

See also

179 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Jennie Carr

Silver Travel Advisor Creative and Communication Director, member of BGTW

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Hidden gems await among the islands of the Caribbean Sea, secluded spots that are off the beaten track and offer…
Rich in exotic wildlife, tropical forests, white-sand beaches and lost civilisations, Belize really is a diverse pocket of overlooked beauty….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.