With Global Journeys being an APT VIP Diamond Partner Agency, every couple of years we are invited to their inaugural VIP Diamond Event. For 2016, the invitation was for a European River Cruise onboard the ms Amavenita (one of APT’s newest ships) on a unique itinerary including the Rhine, Moselle and Danube. Having not cruised with APT previously, I thought I should take up this opportunity and get a feel for what many of our clients experience every year on an APT European River cruise.
Our cruise began in Amsterdam where the meet and greet and transfer to the ship port, and to our cabin was seamless. I was assigned a Category P+ cabin which was beautifully appointed, had plenty of room, and included luxury amenities. My home away from home for the next 7 nights – bliss!
If you’ve been to Amsterdam before, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a fantastic city to start your river cruise. Lot’s to see and do. Highlights for me were visiting Anne Frank’s house (straight to the front of the 200m queue) and meandering through Amsterdam’s world renowned red light district in the evening (can’t show you the photos – sorry).
Many of the river cruise companies now offer the use of bikes on their cruises – for those of us that like to work off all the delicious food that is hard to avoid whilst cruising! This is a great way to immerse yourself in the small villages dotted along the rivers edge, and to get some fresh air and daily exercise at the same time.
Yes- that’s me below. All rugged up, as it was freezing! By the end of the ride though I was warm as toast, but definitely needed the jacket along the way.
We all enjoyed the company of Luke Nguyen (one of APT’s ambassador’s) and his beautiful partner who joined us on the cruise. The most delightful couple, so easy going and genuine. Deb Fox (CCO at APT) managed to twist his arm and he did a wonderful cooking demonstration on what to cook with leftover’s in your fridge. I dare any of you to try and come up with meals as sensational as he did (not that many of us would have a duck breast or side of salmon lying around in the fridge).
On one of our final nights we were welcomed into the home of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern at Namedy Castle, by Princess Heide herself (near the Rhine River in Germany). Not something I would usually get too excited about, but this visit was extraordinary. We were allowed up into the attic (see picture below) which was just like walking into a child’s fantasy story!
After exploring the castle, we went through to the ballroom for dinner, accompanied by a classical piano recital. To finish the evening off we moved outside to watch a magnificent firework display just for us. Unfortunately though, the moment was spoilt by a downpour of rain (and hail I’m sure) – in the freezing cold! We ended up having to run for the waiting coach. So not such a glamorous finish!
Our final night onboard the ms Amavenita was a lot of fun – the theme for the evening was ‘1920’s’. With everyone dressing to the occasion it made for a very fun night, with lots of laughs and Champagne consumed.
APT looked after us, their guests, effortlessly. We all enjoyed networking and getting to know other top sellers in our industry and of course the APT team themselves. With time also to relax onboard the ship. and enjoying all river cruising has to offer.
Our week finished in Frankfurt, with everybody transferring to the airport at different times to connect with our onward flights with Qatar Airways. Time then to reminisce on our week filled with so many amazing moments. Thank you APT!