Book a festive river cruise and win a Christmas hamper


 Plus free excursions available on all bookings


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The River Cruise Line ( is offering agents a chance to win a fabulous Christmas hamper, simply by booking any of its 2015 Christmas markets or Christmas and New Year cruises, throughout the month of August. During the same period, agents will be able to offer their clients free excursions packages on their bookings – including city tours, visits to historic sites and wine tasting evenings.

The incentive applies to bookings on the whole range of festive itineraries, aboard the four star ms Serenity and the three star mps Lady Anne, both chartered exclusively by The River Cruise Line. There is no limit to the number of entries per agent, as each booking confirmed between 1st and 31st August will be entered into the prize draw. To enter, all agents need to do is to e-mail their confirmed booking reference number and contact details to . Entries will close at midnight on 31st August and the winner will be drawn in early September.

Sales and business development manager for the River Cruise Line, Tim Fleming, says: “Last year our Christmas markets and festive breaks were hugely popular. We are really pleased to be able to launch this year’s breaks with opportunities not only for clients to get fantastic deals with free excursion packages, but to reward our agency partners with a chance to win some pre-Christmas goodies to share. Good luck!”

The River Cruise Line’s festive programme features options to visit a number of Christmas markets across Europe, including the four day ‘German Christmas Markets’ itinerary aboard the mps Lady Anne, which departs on a choice of dates in early December, priced from £269 per person; or the four day ‘Strasbourg Christmas Market’ itinerary aboard the ms Serenity, which is priced from £399 per person, departing on 8th, 11th and 14th December.

For those clients keen to sample Christmas with a European flavour, or see in 2016 in one of the most beautiful historic cities on the continent, The River Cruise Line can offer breaks over both Christmas and New Year. For example the seven day Christmas Rhine Cruise departs on 23rd December travelling aboard the mps Lady Anne and is priced from £699 per person, including a German Christmas Eve dinner and British Christmas Day. Alternatively, four star options are available aboard ms Serenity for Christmas or New Year cruises along the Danube, including visits to Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava. The nine day New Year cruise along the Danube is priced from £999 per person and includes New Year’s Eve celebrations in Budapest.

For information visit or call 0844 544 7580.

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Life on board ms Serenity

ms Serenity

Life on board ms Serenity

David and Renee Clark cruised aboard the ms Serenity on our first ever Danube to the Black cruise in 2014. We caught up with David to see what he thought.

This cruise was brand new for 2014 –why did it catch your eye?

We had already been on a couple of river cruises along the Rhine and Moselle and this one really took our fancy. Cruising along the Danube through the various countries, it was complimentary to cruises we had done in previous years.

How did you find the length of this cruise?

My wife and I enjoyed it. To see what we saw, the excursions and the length of the river... if it had been shorter I think it would have been spoiled.

What were your first impressions of the ms Serenity?

I enjoyed it, I thought the food, the staff and the ship itself were all good.

What was your favourite destination?

I thought Budapest from my point of view was pretty fantastic! Pécs was also a lovely place and so were Novi Sad and Bratislava. We enjoyed everywhere; they all had their different characteristics.

What was the highlight of your holiday?

Although we had been on river cruises before, the fact that we went so far down the Danube, all the way to the Black Sea was new to us. Most people onboard had been to Vienna and Budapest and that’s as far as they had gone – we found it all fascinating.

What was your Cruise Manager like?

Alex was a character! He was very attentive.

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15 years with Captain Wido and the mps Lady Anne

Captain Wido

15 years with Captain Wido and the mps Lady Anne

Who’d have thought that 15 years ago we were about to begin a lasting partnership and friendship with Captain Wido and the mps Lady Anne; and in 2016 you can join in the celebrations as we mark this special occasion.

Not only have we introduced two new itineraries, including an exclusive cruise through our Captain’s home country, we have also improved our optional excursions with a host of new trips to enhance your river cruise experience.

Here’s to the next 15 years!

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Spring Time on the Danube

Spring Time on the Danube

Spring Time on the Danube

It began for us on a Friday

That’s the day we came away

A start of our spring time holiday

For a cruise on the ms Serenity.

We left England overnight on the ferry

To arrive in Rotterdam

The crossing it had been uneventful

And the sea itself had been calm.

As we boarded our coach, full of expectations

The weather was sunny and bright.

To travel to our overnight destination

Where we planned to spend our first night.

Tim, our driver, was a hive of information

That he shared as we went on our way He pointed out places of interest

Which helped to shorten the day.

Our hotel that night was in Boppard,

A town on the banks of the Rhine

‘Twas a chance to sit and chill out With a glass of cold beer, or red wine.

Onwards again the next morning

For an appointment, where we would embark

From Passau, down the Danube to Budapest

Our boat was soon off the mark.

We were welcomed aboard by the captain

Who introduced the rest of the crew

We soon settled into our cabins

River cruising was new to a few.

On board were three feisty women

Who were there to inform and to guide

On our daily stops and excursions

They’d hardly come along for the ride.

We stopped once or twice on the journey

To visit a place or two

And passed some stunning scenery

Around each bend was something new.

Budapest was our final destination

Where our boat would then turn around

To take us back down the Danube

On our journey homeward Bound.

We started our journey as strangers

With people we’d not met before

But soon with repeated meetings

Soon became a little bit more.

And so ends our cruise on the Danube Not once did it ever turn blue

But out memories we take home to England

Of the Serenity, and of her crew.

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Group Travel Awards

Group Travel Awards


Group Travel Awards are smooth sailing for the River Cruise Line!

We are delighted to announce that the River Cruise line has won an award at the UK Group Travel Awards for the Best European Riverboat Operator for groups 2015! After being shortlisted alongside 5 other well respected river cruise operators – we were delighted to take the top prize at the ceremony, held on 5th June. The UK Group Travel Awards is an annual event which recognises the best suppliers within the group travel industry as voted by group organisers, and we are proud and excited to have been recognised for our hard work and dedication to providing excellent river cruises for groups. Although such awards are very prestigious, the River Cruise Line was previously awarded the Best Group Tour Operator in 2011 – we thank you for your continued support and we endeavour to keep up the good work!

With over 14 years of experience working with groups, we have formed strong bonds with many clubs and organisations such as Probus, the U3A and the Rotary, and we have arranged holidays for many lesser known clubs – whatever you’re a member of we would love to hear from you. So give Janet a call on 0844 544 6587 and see how we can save you time and money on all your arrangements.

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Group Benefits

With our bespoke Group Travel Service, you can discuss your requirements in person and enjoy many additional benefits such as:
• Free places for the organiser/group
• Tailor made itineraries to suit your group’s requirements
• Free/discounted excursions packages
• Low deposits
• Travel by coach with local departure points
• Travel by air with coach transport to and from the airport
• Travel by rail with regional rail to London St Pancras International
• Drinks packages on board our ships
• No single supplements on selected cruises
• Pre and post presentations with cruise reunion get-together
• Marketing material/flyers can also be provided

29. Delays, missed transport arrangements and other travel information

We cannot accept liability for any delay in your transport to or from the UK where the cancellation or delay is caused by adverse weather conditions, re-scheduling of times by an airline, decisions made by the port/airport authorities and/or the action of air traffic controllers, mechanical breakdown, strike, industrial action or otherwise.


Do you want to work for one of the UK’s leading tour operators – offering an exciting mix of river cruises and rail tours?

If this sounds like you, please see below for our current vacancies. Nothing that suits you but know that you are destined for a great career at Arena Travel? Send your CV to and we could get in contact for anything suitable – your journey could begin right now! 


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Travellers’ Tales


The Group Organiser

Mike Bartram has been a Group Organiser for at least 30 years. He and his wife first cruised with us in 2012 and they have since been three times between them, aboard the mps Lady Anne and the ms Serenity. We spoke to him about his most recent cruise aboard the ms Serenity.

Q  What were your first impressions when you joined the ms Serenity?
Well I had seen it before at the cruise convention in Cologne but all the customers liked it. They were particularly pleased with the cabins: they thought they were spacious for a river cruise vessel and well designed. Even the bottom deck cabins are the same size with the same facilities. Everyone was delighted with it.

Q  What was the food like on board?
The food was amazing, it was fine dining, and the only adverse comment was that there was too much! Every dish was a delight; it was all individually plated up and presented, obviously a talented chef on board! We struck up a rapport with our waiter straight away; he had a good sense of humour and made us laugh. The musician was also very talented; we had one or two serious ballroom dancers in our group and they all said how easy he was to dance to.

Q  What was the best part of the cruise?
The whole cruise experience of going down the river and visiting the cities, particularly Vienna and I thought Bratislava was beautiful as well. We cruised past Bratislava Castle at about 10:30pm; everyone was in the lounge bar so we were able to see it beautifully lit up at night.

Q  Did your group have a favourite destination?
They were all interesting cities but everybody enjoyed Vienna and Budapest. We were berthed in pole position in Budapest right opposite the Parliament Building – it couldn’t have been better.

Q  How would you sum up your cruise?
I thought it was excellent value for money. Everybody enjoyed it. We were blessed with good weather, the scenery was spectacular – it was everything we wanted it to be.

Q  Do you have any tips for anybody wanting to cruise on the Serenity
Go for the Panorama Deck – with the extra large windows it’s worth it for the views.

Q  Where are you off to next?
We’re back on the Rhine with you in August 2015. We’re taking a coach on the one that goes to Switzerland on the ms Serenity and I’ve only two cabins left!


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Life on board ms Serenity

ms Serenity

Hotel Manager Gabriel Illes

We recently caught up with Gabriel Illes to find out more about him and his role on board the ms Serenity...

Q Where did your career start?
I started work in house-keeping on board the ms Excellence in 2007 and slowly progressed to Hotel Manager in 2011. I have worked for eight seasons, on several ships, but the majority of my time has been spent on the ms Serenity.

Q  What is the best thing about working on the ms Serenity?
The best thing about my job is that I know the ship very well having spent so much time on board. Sometimes I feel as though it is my home.! I also love meeting new people and visiting new places – it really is a dynamic job.

Q  How many staff work for you?
I have 32 staff working for me on the ms Serenity and they are a really nice mix of people from all over the world, not just from Europe! Having said that they can all understand and speak English!

Q  Do you have a favourite itinerary?
As I am from Slovakia I live just one hour from the capital city of Slovakia, Bratislava, so I prefer the Danube cruises as it means that my family can visit me at any time.

Q  Do you have a favourite destination?
That is definitely Budapest. I have visited thousands of times but each time I still find something new. I get drawn back again and again – It definitely should be on everyone’s wish list!


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