A couple of weeks ago we sent our lovely Groups Services Team out to the Christmas Markets with some of our fabulous group organisers, for our annual festive familiarisation trip.
The familiarisation trips are a great way for our Groups Services Team to catch up with the group organisers and discuss what they have enjoyed over the last year, and to showcase our new products for the coming year.
Travelling along the river Rhine aboard the MS Princess, they were treated to the sights, sounds and smells of some of Germany’s most festive towns, including Cologne, Rüdesheim and Düsseldorf!
We sat down with Tim, Janet and Jade, after they had returned, and asked them to choose a few of their favourite cruise highlights…
We arrived at our ship, the MS Princess in the evening. It looked truly beautiful and it certainly got us in the Christmas spirit to see all the festive decorations.
The Princess was warm, cosy and most importantly comfortable and we enjoyed a great first night, catching up with all of the group organisers and other passengers on board.
The next morning we set sail and enjoyed some spectacular scenery on route. We passed through the mighty Rhine Gorge, beautiful city of Koblenz and finally the legendary Lorelei Rock, before arriving in Oberwesel.
It was from here that we joined the coach to Rüdesheim, where we partook in a noddy train ride and got acquainted with the town’s main sights, including the famous Drosselgasse.
Situated at the heart of the Old Town, the Drosselgasse is a 144 metre long cobbled street which is comprised of historic buildings, restaurants, bars and cafes.
The Drosselgasse is also where you will find the legendary Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum, where we enjoyed a spectacular guided tour.
After the tour, which left us all feeling a bit nostalgic, we were treated to a complimentary mulled wine and even got to keep the souvenir mugs, making it an experience we wouldn’t forget in a hurry.
After some Christmas shopping at the market stalls, we thought it only right that we head to the International Hotel for a famous Rüdesheimer Kaffee, before we boarded the Princess.
A Rüdesheimer Kaffee contains brandy, sugar cubes and coffee, all served in a pretty ceramic mug and topped with a generous helping of whipped cream and chocolate flakes. If you’re in Rüdesheim you need to try one!
Returning to the ship, we warmed up with a tasty four course dinner and an evening of entertainment.
After a hearty breakfast, we cast off to our first destination, Cologne.
Cruising down the Rhine, we again passed fairytale castles and quaint little villages, such as Ahr and Oberwinter, before arriving in the early afternoon.
Cologne was one of our favourite destinations and seeing the famous cathedral (which is actually the fourth largest cathedral in the world) all lit up, was breathtaking!
Although there are other markets dotted around the city, we spent most of our time near the cathedral in the Roncalliplatz. The square was jam packed with 150 market stalls selling a vast array of different goodies, as tourists flitted from hut to hut and smells of sweet treats wafted through the air – the atmosphere was magical.
Later in the afternoon, we had the opportunity to explore Düsseldorf. The markets here looked magical and wooden stalls boarded with twinkling lights spread across the streets and squares.
It was great to see local craftsmen and women showing off their skills and displaying their merchandise, including nutcrackers and snow globes, to the many tourists.
After even more sightseeing and a cheeky mulled wine or hot chocolate, we headed back to the ship for our final night on board.
Waking up in our cabins after a fun filled night of festivities and another cosy night’s sleep, we tucked into our final breakfast before bidding farewell to the crew.
Heading back to Dover and parting ways with our group organisers, we continued on our journey home with fond memories of a wonderful cruise and excitement about planning more group trips in 2019.
Whether you belong to a work or social club, a sports team, book club or simply a group of friends – we offer a varied selection of river cruises which are easily personalised to suit your group’s interests.
Call us today to see how we can help you provide a group holiday to be remembered.
01858 435 631 We are here Monday to Friday 9:00am – 5:30pm
Alternatively, email us on email@example.com