Melissa Hammond, a Travel Consultant at our Norwich travel agents in store at Jarrolds, experienced her first river cruise when she sailed on board Fred. Olsen River Cruises’ Brabant recently. Here’s what she thought of the ship and the picturesque ports she visited along the Rhine and Moselle.
Destination: Germany- Rhine/Moselle
Operator/Host: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
(Hotel names/Ship name): Brabant
Duration: 3 nights
Our flight out with BA was short and on time. The return flight was with Lufthansa and we were provided with a drink and sandwich.
Brabant is the first river ship I have been on and was larger than I expected. On arrival, the outside of the ship was impressive and very clean, with large windows throughout the length of the ship showing off the restaurant inside.
Near reception was an open area with a staircase, making it feel spacious and not crowded, even with a lot of people arriving at the same time. We were too early for the cabins to be ready but were still able to embark and enjoy a hot drink in the lounges – the cabins were available very soon after. This did mean that people were going to reception to check-in and get their room keys gradually, which is probably a lot better then everyone queuing up in one go on arrival anyway.
The main lounge area and restaurant were wider than I expected so also felt very spacious. The large windows throughout allowed for a lot of light and great views from wherever you are sat inside. The decor isn't particularly modern but it is clean, homely and suits the product.
The cabins were a fair size with amble wardrobe space and a good-sized bathroom. The beds were a good size and very comfortable. I stayed in a Juliette Balcony cabin and the large window allowed for spectacular views; it was just a shame the door only opens half way, as it is a little awkward for two people to sit at the same time. There are tea and coffee making facilities in the room, a TV and radio.
What Was Included?
We started our cruise in Düsseldorf, where we were given a few hours of free time to explore and, with Brabant being docked so near to the centre, this was easily accessible.
We then moved on to Cologne for a morning excursion to the cathedral with a guided tour. The tour guide was very informative and took us past many points of interest on the way to the cathedral, and the audio guides meant that we could stray away from the group to take photos whilst still hearing what the guide was saying. It also meant if you walked at a faster or slower pace than the rest of the group, you didn't miss any information. We had enough spare time after the tour to enjoy a German beer and pick up some chocolate treats from the Lindt factory.
Our next stop for the afternoon was Königswinter. Here we had free time but opted to take the cog railway up the Drachenfels for a superb view of the river followed by an ice cream in the little, traditional town.
Our next stop was Cochem where we had a morning of free time. I hired one of the onboard bikes and went for a ride along the river, which was very easy to do thanks to the cycle path. Later in the morning, we were taken on an excursion to a small wine store to sample the local wines and we got a very informative insight into how wine is produced in the Moselle region.
Sailing down the Moselle with constant beautiful views of the countryside and vineyards, basking in the sunshine on the Sundeck with comfy sun loungers and a bowl of ice cream.It was very relaxing and a perfect afternoon.
I would recommend this trip because it is a really nice way to travel. I got to see a few little traditional German towns that I wouldn't have ever considered a holiday to.Also, you only need a couple of hours to explore some of the smaller destinations so it was nice to fit in several destinations in a short amount of time without feeling rushed. The food on board was fantastic, so if you’re concerned about visiting a country because of the traditional cuisine, you don’t need to worry because you’ll be well-fed on the ship.
I would recommend this trip to anyone who is after a quiet environment – the entertainment is somewhat limited.
I think it would be perfect for solo travellers, nervous travellers or those who like the British familiarities which aren’t found with the European/American operators.
Must see? The views from the Sundeck
Must do? Bike along the river
Must try? A game of Shuffleboard
If you’re thinking of booking a river cruise for yourself, we have plenty of great itineraries available. Visit your nearest branch to find out more; we have travel agents in Suffolk and along the south coast.