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A Stress-Free Cruising Experience through Europe

David and Susan Rowden have always loved to travel but were worried a cruise would limit their freedom to explore and access authentic experiences. However, on their European River Cruise the Rowden’s consider themselves “cruise converts” having found there is no better or easier way to discover Europe’s hidden gems than on a guided tour.  
What appealed to you about the Travelmarvel European River Cruise?
David: We usually do our own thing when it comes to travelling, hiring our own cars, booking accommodation and planning everything ourselves, but for our first international trip in three years, we thought we would try something different. We saw the itinerary Travelmarvel was offering and thought it would give us a great insight into Europe.  


Sue and Dave Rowden infront of European River
What did you expect from your river cruise before going?
Susan: From what we knew already about the brand we did expect the tour to be luxurious, so we anticipated 15 days of relaxing, sightseeing, and learning a little of the history of the places we visited.  

David: I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought we would struggle with having to follow an itinerary; however, the structured timing was actually a welcome change!  

Did anything on tour surprise you?
Susan: The quality of service from the onboard staff was amazing. The attention to detail was second to none, right down to the placement of the chairs and napkins, everything on the ship was perfect and beautifully presented. The river ship's hotel manager knew every guest by name and was always there to greet us with a smile in the morning. 

I was also impressed by the team’s consideration, one night they arranged for solo travellers to dine together in the restaurant so they could get to know each other, and there were different excursions available depending on your mobility, so nobody had to miss out. 


Sue and Dave Rowden on Kayak
How was the catering onboard?
Susan: We were spoiled! There was a big breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner in the restaurant and finger food at 10pm. You could tell the chefs took pride in their work, everything was fresh and beautifully presented. 

David: I liked how there was always a meal available inspired by the region we were travelling through that day so you could sample local cuisine.  
Did you have a favourite day?
David: It was the private concert in Vienna for me, as it was a once in a lifetime experience.  

Susan: Cesky Krumlov was a standout, the Czech Republic had a different feel to other places we saw and stunning landscape, but all the towns and cities on the tour were very pretty and well chosen.
Sue and Dave Rowden in Germany
How did the cruise compare to independent travel?
David: We did a bit of our own travelling after the tour, and it was then then I really appreciated how organised and easy the tour had been. 

Susan: You miss so much when you are travelling on your own, you waste a lot of time wandering around a new place and end up seeing less. On a tour you have local guides to ensure you get to all the must-see attractions, and to also explain the significance of all the lovely buildings and monuments you see. When travelling alone you just think “that’s a nice place, I wonder what it means” on a guided tour you get to know every town and city better.  

“I never thought we could enjoy a cruise as much as independent travel but consider me converted after this tour! Out trip was a fun, stress-free way to see a beautiful slice of Europe.”

Any advice for first time cruisers?
Susan: Pack light! The climate is consistent across the tour so no need to pack for all-weathers. 

: Arrive a day or two earlier than your cruise departs, Budapest is a beautiful city, so it is worth factoring some extra time to explore.