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Travellers’ Tales


Peter and Anne Hartley’s home overlooks a picturesque canal basin full of brightly painted boats and web-footed creatures, so it’s quite surprising that they have only just discovered the delights of a holiday on the water. We asked them to tell us all about their first foray into the world of river cruising.

Q  What inspired you to give river cruising a go?
We had tried ocean cruising but had been put off by rough weather. Anne suffers with sea sickness so it was not a great experience – personally I like to see a bank on each side of me! But we still wanted to be on the water so we decided to give river cruising a try.

Q  When was your first river cruise and where to?
We took our 1st cruise in 2011, down the Moselle. After the huge anonymous ocean-going liners, the Lady Anne was a revelation. She’s quite a ‘mature’ ship but beautifully maintained – polished brass and wood everywhere – with the most wonderfully approachable captain and crew. The food was brilliant, almost too much and I definitely came back with a few pounds to lose. The scenery was a delight, all day and everyday there was something lovely to look at. We generally cruised in the mornings and took an excursion after lunch. After dinner we could wander off the ship to sample the local wine cellars and hostelries.

Q  Your first cruise was quickly followed by a second – how did they compare?
The following year we went on the Switzerland ll to the Floriade which is the flower expo held every ten years in Holland. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and our pre-cruise tour of the city was a lovely taster and a contrast to all those amazing flowers! The Switzerland ll was extremely good, excellent food and lovely, fun staff; but I think my heart belongs to the cosy Lady Anne.

Q  Do you have any tips for other first time cruisers?
I would wholeheartedly recommend the excursion packages. They are fabulous value for money but pre-book them to make sure you get your place. River cruising is quite relaxed and there’s no need for formal clothes each evening but it’s nice to make a bit of an effort occasionally, so pack a few smart outfits.

Q  You travel a lot. Are you planning any more river cruises?
Both trips were extremely memorable – we are complete converts to river cruising and have recommended it to all our friends.

We fancy either the Dutch Bulbfields in April or the Rhine Cruise & Swiss Delights in June as our next adventure!


Mrs Hartley                 Mr & Mrs Hartley


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