MS Serenade I Review - April 2017
Ian Warren – 04/04/17
The MS Serenade 1 has been exclusively chartered by Titan Travel for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. This ship is very popular with British guests, many of whom will be pleased to see her available again from the UK. Although I spent a few nights onboard late 2012, I hadn’t seen her since, and was intrigued to see the results of the recent work done on the ship. I was therefore very excited when Titan Travel invited me to join a 3 night trip in March 2017 for travel press and selected agents, from Cologne to Amsterdam. You can now read my review of the trip, and look at my video and photos to see how I got on. Then call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850 for more details, or to book your cruise on the MS Serenade 1. Click on the following link to see my MS Serenade 1 photo album.
MS Serenade 1 carries around 130 passengers, and 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 sq mtr in size, and 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, so you will need a travel adapter. The suites are 22 sq mtr 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, and the restaurant, reception and lounge, but 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 when you go to the sundeck you will find 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. The front desk is open 24 hours a day, for any assistance you might need.
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, but the speed can vary especially when the ship is sailing. A number of the public areas, including the restaurant, have recently been fully refurbished, while other cares have also had some work done. To be honest, everywhere was looking good, and nothing seemed to have aged since I was on there in 2012, apart that is from me.
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. In fact, I was on the bridge chatting to him one afternoon, when he noticed a dredger drifting ahead of us. He called them on the radio and found that their engine had broken down, so he stopped alongside them. The dredger was tied to our ship and he gave them a lift to the next port. It hardly affected our timing at all, and it was great to see him give a hand to another ship.
What is Included in the cost of your holiday?
Your river cruise on the MS Serenade 1 starts with the VIP Door-to-Door Travel Service, and also includes return scheduled flights from the UK (or Eurostar on some cruises), all meals onboard, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, tea and coffee at all times, a programme of excursions and visits, with the use of VOX portable audio headsets on cruise excursions, as well as port charges & airport taxes. If a hotel stay is included within an itinerary, it would generally be on a bed & breakfast basis. As well as having a Cruise Director onboard, there is also a Titan Tour Manager, and between them they look after all your needs, and can sort out any queries you might have. They have a desk in the reception area, and I have to say that they were both excellent.
Obviously each cruise itinerary will vary, and although my short three night trip isn’t actually available to book, I have given brief details below of what we did, to give a feel for what these cruises are like.
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 10.45 flight to Dusseldorf. He stopped to pick up another couple on the way, and we had a great journey and arrived in plenty of time. We were met at the airport by uniformed Titan staff, and shown to the check-in desk.
Upon arrival in Dusseldorf we were met by Titan staff, 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 wen 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, and I was able to prepare for the evening. As it was the first night, it was the Captain’s Welcome Gala Dinner, which was very enjoyable, and then spent the rest of the evening drinking and getting to know my fellow passengers.
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. It was a relaxing afternoon, during which time I was able to get to know some of the other people onboard, including the great team from Titan Travel.
Evening brought another very enjoyable dinner, followed by some light entertainment from the excellent resident musician and singer Pavol. We were still sailing when I went to bed, as we weren’t due to arrive at Hoorn until 2am.
Thursday 30th March 2017
I was up early for breakfast, and saw an amazing sunrise over the Zuiderzee. After breakfast we disembarked in bright sunshine for a walking tour of Hoorn. I had been there before, and it is a really picturesque town, and great to wander round.
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, but I had been there only a few weeks before, so decided to relax onboard and enjoy the sunshine. 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. I was met there by our driver, who dropped off one lady near Milton Keynes, and then drove me back to my home in Leicestershire. I arrived home so much more refreshed than I would have been if I had needed to get my car from an airport car park, and then drive round the M25 and up the M1.
Details of the itineraries for 2017 and 2018, which all include Titan’s VIP Door-to-Door Travel Service, are shown below, but these are of course subject to availability and change in the future. Call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850 for an up-to-date check on availability and price.
MS Serenade 1 Itineraries
Dutch Waterways and the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens (SE8)
This 6 day (5 nights) cruise takes you from Amsterdam to Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Keukenhof, Lelystad, Zaandam and back to Amsterdam. Included are a full-day excursion to Keukenhof Gardens, an excursion to Zaanse Schans windmill village, and an Amsterdam city tour and canal cruise. Meals included are 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners
Delights of the Low Countries (SR6)
Spend 8 days (7 nights) cruising from Amsterdam to Kinderdijk, Dordrecht, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Rotterdam, before returning to Amsterdam. This itinerary includes an excursion to Kinderdijk windmills, a Ghent walking tour and an Amsterdam city tour and canal cruise. Included are 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
Springtime on the Rhine with Amsterdam (SE1)
This 10 day (9 night) holiday takes you from Amsterdam to Arnhem, Cologne, Koblenz, Lorelei Rock, Rüdesheim, Mannheim, Strasbourg and Basel. Included in the price are 2 night’s hotel, 7 nights cruise and an Arnhem city tour and Airborne Museum, Heidelberg city tour and a Strasbourg city tour and canal cruise, as well as 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
Castles and Cathedrals of Germany (SE2)
This 8 day (7 nights) holiday includes a Strasbourg city tour and canal cruise, a trip to Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, and a Cologne walking tour. The cruise will take you from Basel to Breisach, Strasbourg, Speyer, Mannheim, Rüdesheim, Lorelei Rock, Koblenz and Cologne, and includes 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
Legends of Germany with Lucerne (SE7)
While on this 10 day (9 night) holiday, you will travel from Lucerne to Basel, Breisach, Strasbourg, Speyer, Mannheim, Rüdesheim, Lorelei Rock, Koblenz and Cologne. Included are 2 night’s hotel, 7 nights cruise, a Strasbourg city tour and canal cruise, a trip to Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, and a Cologne walking tour. Included are 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
A Grand Rhine Cruise (SER)
This 10 day (9 night) cruise will take you from Cologne to Bonn, Alken, Cochem, Boppard, Lorelei Rock, Rudesheim, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Speyer, Strasbourg, Mainz, Andernach and back to Cologne. Included are an excursion to Heidelberg, a Strasbourg city tour and canal cruise, and a Mainz walking tour, as well as 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners.
A Classical Journey from Cologne to Amsterdam (SR1)
This 12 day (11 night) cruise will take you from Cologne to Lorelei Rock, Rüdesheim, Mannheim, Speyer, Strasbourg, Basel, Breisach, Kehl, Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn, Cologne and then Amsterdam. Included is a full-day excursion to Mount Rigi, an excursion to Colmar and the Alsace, and a trip to Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 11 dinners.
Southern German Romance (SE5)
This 8 day (7 nights) cruise starts in Nuremberg. You then visit Bamberg, Würzburg, Miltenberg, Mainz, Mannheim, Speyer, Strasbourg and Basel. Included excursions are a Bamberg walking tour, Wurzburg Residence Palace and walking tour, and a Strasbourg city tour and canal cruise. The price paid includes 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
A River Odyssey from Amsterdam to Vienna (SE6)
On this holiday you will spend 15 days (14 nights) cruising from Amsterdam to Vienna. On the way you will see Cologne, Koblenz, Cochem, Lorelei Rock, Rüdesheim, Frankfurt, Miltenberg, Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Linz and Melk. Included excursions are a Cologne walking tour, Cochem Castle, a Frankfurt city tour, a Bamberg city tour (including Rose Garden), and Weltenburg Abbey, and you will also enjoy 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 14 dinners.
Grand River Voyage with Budapest (SR2)
This holiday includes 1 night in a hotel and 14 nights cruising. You will travel from Amsterdam to Cologne, Koblenz, Lorelei Rock, Rüdesheim, Frankfurt, Miltenberg, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melk, Vienna, before spending a night in a hotel in Budapest. Included excursions are a Cologne walking tour, Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Frankfurt city tour, Wurzburg Residence Palace and walking tour, Nuremberg city tour, and a Vienna city tour. Also included are 15 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 14 dinners.
A Tale of Three Cities (SR4)
This 8 day (7 nights) river cruise will take you from Vienna to Budapest. Along the way you will see Dürnstein, the Wachau Valley, Melk, Passau, Linz and Bratislava. You will have excursions to Melk Abbey, a Vienna city tour, a Bratislava city tour and train ride, and the Budapest Operetta. Your holiday includes 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
Treasures of the Danube with Salzburg (SE3)
This 10 day (9 nights) holiday consists of a 7 night cruise from Vienna to Salzburg, followed by 2 nights in a Salzburg hotel. While on the cruise you will see Bratislava, Budapest, Esztergom, Vienna, Melk, Linz and Passau. The holiday includes a Budapest city tour and an excursion to Schonbrunn Palace, as well as 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
From Beautiful Budapest to Stunning Vienna (SR3)
This holiday is for 11 days (10 nights) and consists of 1 night hotel in Budapest, a 7 night cruise from Budapest to Vienna, and finally 2 nights hotel in Vienna. While on the cruise you will visit Esztergom, Bratislava, Melk, Passau, Linz, Wachau Valley cruising, and Dürnstein. Included are a Budapest city tour, Budapest Operetta, Bratislava city tour and train ride, Melk Abbey and Vienna city tour. The price of your holiday includes 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
A Journey along the Danube with Prague (SE4)
This 10 day (9 nights) holiday consists of a 7 night river cruise followed by 2 nights in a Prague hotel. You will cruise from Passau, calling at Melk, Vienna, Dürnstein, Linz, Passau, Regensburg, and finally to Nuremberg, where you will transfer to your hotel in Prague. Included is a Vienna city tour, and an excursion to Weltenburg Abbey, and you will enjoy 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners.
Eastern European Odyssey (SR5)
This 17 day (16 nights) cruise will take you from Budapest to Vienna, via see Mohacs, Vukovar, Belgrade, the Iron Gates, Rousse, Cernavoda, Donji Milanovac, Novi Sad, Mohacs, Esztergom, Bratislava, Melk and Weissenkirchen. Included excursions are a Budapest city tour, a Belgrade city tour, a full-day excursion to Constanta, a Bratislava city tour and train ride, and a Vienna city tour. Also included are 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches and 16 dinners.
Christmas on the Rhine (XS4)
This Christmas Themed cruise is for 8 days (7 nights) and takes you from Cologne to Koblenz, Lorelei Rock, Mainz, Speyer, Strasbourg, and Rüdesheim before returning to Cologne. Walking tours of Rüdesheim and Cologne, as well as a visit to Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein fortress are included. The price also includes 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners are included.
Germany & Strasbourg’s Spectacular Christmas Markets (XS5)
Experience some amazing Christmas Markets on this 5 day (4 nights) cruise from Mainz, calling at Mannheim, Strasbourg, Worms and Cologne. As well as enjoying 4 breakfasts 3 lunches and 4 dinners, the price of your holiday also includes a Strasbourg city tour and canal cruise.
Traditional Christmas Markets on the Rhine (XS6)
This 5 day (4 nights) cruise will take you from Cologne to Koblenz, Frankfurt, Mainz, Rüdesheim, back to Cologne. As well as being able to wander around Christmas Markets, you will also have a walking tour of Mainz, and while onboard you will have 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners