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Melodies of the Rhine on Royal Crown

Tues 20 Jun 2017

Our Cruising Specialist, Ann, recently enjoyed an all-inclusive Rhine river cruise on board the Royal Crown. Read her exclusive review:

I had a fabulous few days aboard the Royal Crown, chartered by Hebridean River Cruises. The cruise was titled Melodies of the Rhine and had an onboard lecturer who specialised in the life and works of Beethoven.

I flew from Leeds Bradford airport to Amsterdam and was greeted by my fellow passengers. We travelled by coach to Arnhem, accompanied by staff from Hebridean River Cruises - a lovely touch.

The Royal Crown was completely different to the majority of other river cruise ships both inside and out. She had very traditional decor including teak and brass, as well as blue, red and gold fabrics which gave a warm country house feel. She even had a fireplace in the lounge along with a baby grand piano!

As I checked in at Reception, my luggage was already waiting for me in my cabin. I had a Deluxe cabin which featured two portholes, two single beds, a fitted wardrobe with safe and an ensuite bathroom stocked with Molton Brown toiletries. There was also a hair dryer and magnifying mirror - very handy when you reach a certain age. There was also a list of the names of staff along with the names of fellow guests. The Premium Cabins on board had fixed double beds and portholes, while the Royal Suites featured fixed King size beds, large picture windows and a seating area.

On the first night, I met my fellow travellers in the lounge where we enjoyed Pimms and were introduced to the crew. Dinner was served in the restaurant which operated an open seating policy, ideal for mingling with other guests. The food was amazing. There was six courses, all beautifully cooked and paired with wines that complimented them perfectly. After dinner I was offered a digestif of my choice along with coffee. Later, I adjourned to the bar to get to know some of the guests with the gentle tinkling of the piano in the background.

Royal Crown Relax in the welcoming lounge Lounge The restaurant onboard Royal Crown Enjoy delicious cuisine onboard Cabin on Royal Crown Take in the ever-changing vistas from the Sun Deck Relax on Royal Crown The historic city of Cologne The beautiful town of Boppard Pfalzgrafenstein Castle on the Rhine Admire the scenery along the River Rhine Gutenberg Museum in Mainz

The following day, I enjoyed an afternoon excursion to Bonn which included a visit to the Beethoven House Museum. The ship then sailed to the historic city of Cologne with its impressive Gothic cathedral. Excursions were accompanied by at least three members of staff from Hebridean River Cruises and information about the activity level was always provided to help guests choose which were right for them. Once everyone was back on board, it was time to get ready for the Welcome Dinner hosted by the Captain who was in full Scottish regalia. This was a formal affair with the gentlemen wearing black tie and the ladies cocktail or long dresses. This is quite unusual for river cruises and I have to admit, it was lovely to be able to get dressed up. After dinner, everyone gathered on the Sun Deck to watch the Rhine in Flames, an amazing spectacle. The fireworks opposite the ship were incredible as was the brightly coloured flotilla which sailed past.

The next day, I enjoyed a walking tour of Boppard, before rejoining the ship to set sail for Mainz. The views were incredible as the ship cruised the breathtaking Rhine Gorge, past the famous Lorelei Rock. The 21 castles were wonderful and the Cruise Director gave information on each one as we passed. It was fascinating to see all the other river ships and learn about the traffic light system used to navigate the tightest bend in the river.

On arrival in Mainz, I joined the walking tour to the Gutenberg Museum which had opened especially for us. We saw the early printing presses and rare bibles. Later that day, we travelled by coach to the Klooster Eberbach vineyard for a wine tasting experience. We tasted a selection of wines and learnt about the monastic life of earlier centuries.

Dinner that evening was followed by a fun team quiz in the lounge. It was surprising how competitive some of us got but it was good fun and the winning team were given a bottle of champagne. I had good intentions of going to bed a little earlier as I was leaving the ship the next day but that’s the thing with good intentions, they can go by the wayside when you’re enjoying yourself!

I had a fabulous time on board Royal Crown. The formal nights, complimentary drinks and attentiveness of the crew all added to a fantastic onboard experience. The majority of the guests on board were repeat passengers of Hebridean River Cruises which speaks volume about the company. Given the chance I wouldn’t hesitate to go on the Royal Crown again!

Blue Water Holidays Blog