RIVER CRUISING THE TITAN TRAVEL WAY

P1010582.jpgOver the last few years, the growth in the popularity of river cruising has been nothing short of phenomenal. Companies such as Viking, Uniworld and AMA Waterways have raised the excellence and elegance of the river cruise experience to a level that would have been undreamed of even a decade ago, especially along the waterways of western Europe like the Rhine, Moselle, the Rhone and, of course, the Danube.

In terms of the UK market, there is no doubt in my mind that Titan Travel UK offers the most all inclusive, comprehensive and well thought out packages of any river cruise operator. They literally offer a bespoke, door to door service from first to last that amounts to nothing less than a kind of cocoon, one that smooths all the normal daily irritants of long haul travel neatly out of the way. And, while the overall price that you pay might look high at first glance, the real value becomes clear once broken down into it’s constituent parts.

The route I took was a Danube cruise aboard Uniworld’s stunning River Beatrice, sailing from Budapest to Passau, via a string of amazing stops along that mighty river. To join this cruise meant flying from Heathrow to Budapest, and then flying back from Munich a week later.

Being based in the north east of England, the journey to and from Heathrow usually throws up certain logistical hurdles. Not so with Titan, however.

I was picked up-bang on time- from own own front door by a uniformed driver in a very comfortable vehicle, and taken to Newcastle Airport. There I checked in for a short shuttle flight to London. So far, so good.

Once at Heathrow, uniformed Titan staff showed me to the car that took me to my included, overnight airport hotel. As I had an early flight to Budapest next morning, Titan included the overnight hotel stay too, as well as my hotel to airport transfers in the morning.

On arrival at Budapest, more Titan staff assisted us with our bags and our bearings, ushering us onto a comfortable coach that literally stopped at the gangway of the boat itself, right on the edge of the Danube. The entire boarding procedure took five minutes, from start to finish.

The great thing about the cruise itself is that Titan uses only the best quality river cruisers. They charter a number of the cabins on each of the top notch river cruises, and allocate these to their booked clients. Our sweep down the Danube on the River Beatrice included a choice of two or more free excursions in every port of call, complete with the use of ‘quiet boxes’ and the services of a highly knowledgeable local guide.

Uniworld is a truly all inclusive product, with all food and drink- top quality stuff, too- folded neatly into the fare. Even the breakfast buffet featured inclusive Jacquart champagne for those all important, early morning Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. The level of service, care and attention is easily the level of a highly styled boutique hotel.

At the end of a brilliant week long adventure, we were collected from the boat at Passau for the two hour drive to Munich Airport where, once again, uniformed Titan staff whisked us through the hubbub of one of Europe’s major international airports. Hours later, after I had alighted from my return shuttle flight to Newcastle, my driver was already waiting to take me home. Painless.

What you have in effect here is a stress free product; a kind of magic ‘flying carpet’ that simply delivers you smartly, with a minimum of fuss, into the centre of everything you want to see, and then wafts you home again at the end.

For older people with perhaps limited mobility, or those unsure of the often contradictory procedures involved in international travel, Titan offers a service that is a byword for both quality and, more important, reliability. For many, this kind of calm, personal service is somewhat akin to a comfort blanket. And, for anyone travelling from another continent, this kind of all inclusive service is one that is surely worthy of your consideration.

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