Saga uses the Rex Rheni which is exclusively reserved for it. I had booked “Springtime in Holland”:http://travel.saga.co.uk/cruises/river-cruises-where-and-when-we-go/where-we-sail/dutch-and-belgian-waterways/springtime-in-holland.aspx#app-Tabs-activeTab|reviews|| with Saga holidays and was on the Rex Rheni.
I had booked a cabin on the lower passenger deck as I was just planning to use this for sleeping. It had a single window, fairly high up. The cabins on the passenger, main and promenade decks all seem to be the same size and similarly furnished. The only difference seems to be that those on the upper two decks have an opening window. If you are wanting a balcony to sit out on, then you are out of luck. There is also a lift between these two floors for those with mobility problems. There is a small chair lift to the cabins at the prow of the passenger deck but not to those to the rear.
The cabins did rather lack character and as is often the case on river cruise ships, might be a bit snug if there were two of you, with a small wardrobe, cupboard space above one of the beds and a shelf above the other. There was a small seating area under the window with table and two chairs. This was reached up two steps which could present a trip hazard. There was a small flat screen TV and telephone. I found the mattress a bit soft for me and it didn’t give much back support.
The bathroom was also a bit small with wash basin, toilet and shower screened by a curtain. I found the temperature control of the shower could be very variable and difficult to control. It would suddenly go cold for a few seconds before warming up again. There would only be room for one person at a time in the bathroom. Toiletries were provided along with hand, bath towel and a bath mat. The bath towel was also on the small side. Towels were changed on demand.
The cabin was well maintained, spotlessly clean and checked twice a day. The morning clean took place during breakfast which meant staff often wanted to service the cabin while you were still in it. My main criticism however, was the smell of cooking from the kitchen in cabin 109.
The dining room is on the main deck and seats everyone on the ship in one sitting. We were allocated tables for lunch and dinner, although breakfast was free seating. Lunch was a self service buffet and times for odd and even tables were slightly staggered to cut down on queues. For some reason we never did work out, our table apart from the first night, was always set without any wine glasses. It took ages to find some for us and we began to wonder whether the ship was a bit low on numbers of glasses – or trying to tell us something…
Serving staff were pleasant. Soup at lunchtime and the evening meal was served to the table. Evening meals were excellent with starter, soup, choice of meat, fish or vegetarian main course and desert. It was nouvelle cuisine so portion sizes weren’t huge. The food was beautifully cooked, presented and was always excellent. Breakfast was a self service buffet with a good choice of yogurts, cereals and fruit along with cold meats, cheese and fish or a hot breakfast. Lunches included soup followed by cold meat, cheese and fish similar to breakfast with a rather pedestrian salads. There was always a choice of two hot meals.
The lounge area was attractive with plenty of comfortable chairs scattered around. In the evenings there was an entertainer providing music. He also produced a daily quiz sheet and arranged a deck quoits competition one afternoon, although there were few takers for this. The small library had an interesting selection of novels and I did actually find two books I wanted to read.
As on other river cruises, dress code is informal. There is not the same dressing for dinner as there is on some of the ocean cruises. However nearly all the men wore a tie for the Captain’s dinner and many of the ladies had brought a dress.
The weather in mid March was cold and dull most days, so there were few takers on the sun deck. There were two fitness bicycles up here as well as a table tennis table and shove halfpenny. There was an undercover area with seating as well as sun loungers to the rear.
This isn’t a ship to set the senses racing – it is safe and reliable. That does sound rather a damning statement, but it isn’t meant to be. I had a few niggles but nothing to spoil my enjoyment of the trip. All the staff are excellent and took good care of us. Food was good. The dining room and lounge were comfortable with excellent views.
All my pictures along with description of the trip are “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/holland/index.html