Pat Richardson joined the launch cruise on board MS Serenade 1, Titan’s exclusively chartered river cruise vessel.
Titan’s wide range of holiday options includes ocean and river cruises, in partnership with cruise lines. These either involve Titan taking an allocation of cabins for one or more sailings, or them chartering an entire vessel for a season, or for specific sailing dates.
Doing this allows them to offer a popular holiday option to their established and loyal customers, and enables them to build into it their own signature brand of service. However signature branding can only be done within limitations on cruises where not all passengers on board will be travelling with Titan – which makes make the case for exclusive charters. Now, for the first time, Titan have exclusively chartered a vessel for the full season in both 2017 and 2018, and it will sail on the Rhine, the Main, the Danube and the Dutch Waterways.
The 4-star Serenade 1 isn’t a new ship, but is being refurbished, with Titan passengers in mind. Decor is elegantly contemporary, the cuisine, comforts and ambience have been given a distinctly British flavour, and with all-British passengers there’ll be no multi-lingual announcements or excursion commentaries. The ship’s dress code is relaxed – for which read casual by day, smart casual in the evenings, with a dash of non-compulsory formality for the Captain’s Gala Dinner. Titan’s own highly experienced directors will be on board, ensuring that itineraries, inclusions and excursions are tailored to Titan travellers’ needs and interests. Plus, they’ll enjoy Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service* transfers from their front door to the airport, and back again.
The ship’s 68 spacious cabins measure 16 sq m and are spread over three decks. All are outside and those located on the two uppermost decks feature French balconies, whilst those on the lowest have windows. There are also two suites with private balconies. A major bonus is that every cabin has a bathtub in addition to a separate walk-in shower. All have twin beds, heating and air-conditioning, satellite TV, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a fully stocked mini-bar and bottled water which is replenished daily, as well as a hairdryer and a safety box for valuables.
There’s a large and inviting Panorama Lounge with extensive windows, a bar, a library and a resident entertainer providing music in the evenings. The restaurant serves hot and cold dishes for breakfast, a four-course lunch and another four-course meal at dinner time. Wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner are included; midnight snacks are served in the lounge. and tea and coffee are always available.
Topmost is Sky Deck, attractively furnished with chairs, tables and full-stretch sunloungers, and offering 360 degrees of scenic sightseeing as you sail. The ship also has a sauna, and a gym for those seeking action.
Of course, river cruises are not just about life on-board – good as it is; they’re also about where you sail to and what you can see and do at (or from) each and every port of call. In early spring 2018, Serenade 1 will sail along the charming Dutch Waterways to the season’s highlight sight: the Keukenhof Garden; call at the historic ports of Hoorn and Enkhuizen, and take you to see two life-size replicas of Dutch East india Company ships as well as the historic windmills, clog-makers and cheese-makers at and craftsmen of Zaanse Schans. Another, later springtime cruise in the Low Countries goes there, and to Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Rotterdam.
After that tempting start to the year’s cruising, the ship ventures further along the Rhine with itineraries from Amsterdam or Cologne to Basel, including two hotel nights in Lucerne on some dates, or to Strasbourg. Some offer a no-fly option, with travel to Cologne by coach.
Cruises along the Rhine and the Main rivers showcase the medieval heart of Germany. Another, extended Rhine itinerary adds the Moselle and a stretch of the Danube, as far as Vienna. One, which is a day longer, takes you as far as Budapest on the Danube, so you will sail on three rivers, the Rhine, Main and Danube, in four countries: The Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary.
As well, there are 8, 10 and 11-day itineraries sailing on the Danube or the Main and the Danube; and a spectacular 17-day Danube from Budapest to the Black Sea coast and then back to Vienna.
In December 2017, there are 5-day cruises to delightful Christmas markets on the Rhine; plus one (departing 21 December) which has you celebrating Christmas on board.
For details of Serenade 1’s 2017 and 2018 cruise dates and prices, visit www.titantravel.co.uk/silvertraveller or call them on 0800 988 5803.
*From any UK address except those in the Scottish Islands and Sark, where are invited to nominate a UK Mainland address for their pick-up. Also note that VIP door-to-door transfers are not available on Titan’s ‘Essential Collection’ Holidays.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Titan Travel.