Kathryn’s ‘Last Minute Getaway’ with Cruise and Maritime!

 

Southern Norway Discovery – Onboard MV Columbus

 

I had a week’s holiday to spare and wondered where I could go for a last-minute winter break. This cruise looked ideal – just 6 nights away and the chance to discover beautiful Norway – somewhere we’ve never been before.

We had a shaky start due to the ship being delayed in Amsterdam. Using the Cruise and Maritime car parking facilities at Tilbury we were met by smiley stewards who took our cases from the car with a promise we would see them next outside our cabin.

After a 7-hour delay, we smoothly boarded MV Columbus at 8pm, with a promise of free drinks for everyone (or a refund of the £23 day drinks package) as a gesture of goodwill. First stop (after checking out our cabin) was the bar! The ship was a little chaotic but under the circumstances the staff were coping the best they could with the influx of everyone wanting to make the most of the free drinks. I was slightly worried that this was how the cruise was going to be – waiting longer than necessary for a drink. I needn’t have worried. The next day normal service resumed, and everyone was happy.

Our cabin 6110 was allocated on the Main deck (deck 6). Sold as a single cabin normally, the double bedded outside cabin was more than big enough for my husband and I. Tea and coffee facilities, flat screen TV and a hair dryer available – the cabin suited our needs perfectly and was handily located for entertainment and dining. Our cabin steward was smiley and helpful.

Day 1 was spent at sea, entertainment was scheduled though out the day and because the cruise had a cricketing legends theme we decided to go and listen to Graham Gooch, who gave an interesting talk on his cricketing career. Afternoon game of bingo gave us chance to get talking to our fellow passengers. Fun and relaxation were the mood of the day. The ship was large enough to have lots to do but small enough to feel friendly and easy to get around. We had taken advantage of the £23 per day drinks and tips package which meant we were able to sample all the various bars and entertainment onboard without worrying about any extra costs. That evening everyone dressed up for the Captains Cocktail evening which was fabulous!

Day 2 was in Stavanger, the ship moored within easy walking distance of the city and a good selection of excursions were on offer. A beautiful sunny day. Easy disembarkation allowed us to be quickly on land and exploring this beautiful city. We didn’t take the excursion but were happy to wander around and take in the sights, settling for lunch with a pizza sat outside over-looking the harbour. The dress code was more casual this evening.

Day 3 saw us arrive in Kristiansand; beautiful Norwegian houses lined the approach to the harbour. Again, an easy walk saw us in the town centre. We were lucky to enter the Cathedral as an organ and music recital was just starting.

Day 4 – our last day in a port, visiting the capital city of Oslo. We walked easily into the centre and decided to visit the popular ice bar. A fun bar with ice sculptures, where you dress up in fur hooded ponchos and have a drink from glasses made of ice. We decided to hire a scooter – green transportation used by the locals and rode around the city and back to the ship in style!

Our last day was spent at sea again. We enjoyed another talk and quiz by the cricketers and an informative talk by ex-police commander about an infamous drugs baron and his capture. Arriving in Tilbury the next morning, refreshed and relaxed from our little break away. A break where everything was taken care of for us and all we had to think about was what we would eat or see next.

We would thoroughly recommend this easy-going short cruise and would advise anyone not sure if cruising was for them to try this as a taster cruise. The food, port visits, entertainment, service and friendly other guests made this a cruise to remember.

 

All this is included in the fare –

  • Delicious full board cuisine
  • Afternoon teas and late night snacks
  • Captain’s Cocktail Party (cruises of 6 nights or more)
  • Self service tea & coffee (6am to midnight)
  • Big show entertainment, cabarets and classical interludes
  • Daytime activities and leisure facilities
  • Guest speaker and arts & crafts (cruises of 5 nights or more)
  • Porterage of luggage, port to cabin
  • Port Taxes

And remember…

  • A more traditional and leisurely style cruising experience
  • Smaller sized cruise ships accessible to more ports of call
  • An excellent standard of friendly and attentive service
  • Sterling is the currency on board Columbus, Magellan, Marco Polo and Astoria
  • A choice of eleven convenient UK departure ports
  • A wide choice of wonderful excursions at most ports of call

 

Kathryn Hallam – Travel Consultant

If you would like to ask me any questions about my experience or wish to know more please call me – 01246 555777 or email me – kathryn@chatsworthtravel.co.uk

 

Louise’s ‘River Cruise Adventure’ – Riviera Travel

        23rd October 2019

“So today I have returned from my River Cruise Adventures with Riviera Travel.

We flew from Birmingham airport, taking a flight with Swiss Air. The flight only took 1 hr 20 mins and it was extremely comfortable and relaxing. We were offered light refreshments on board including croissants with tea, coffee or orange juice.

On arrival at Zurich airport, we collected our cases and made our way to meet our Riviera Representative and began the 1 hr 30 min transfer to Basel. We arrived at the ship MS Oscar Wilde and my first sighting of the ship totally exceeded all of my expectations! It looked amazing and I couldn’t wait to get on board to start the journey.

We were met by our Riviera Cruise Director, Leslie, who provided us with information to get the journey off to the best start. We had a light lunch in the lounge and did a little tour of the ship before our cabins were available.

At around 2pm we were shown to our cabins by our cabin steward and our cases were already there waiting to be unpacked. My cabin was a deluxe suite on Ruby Deck and it was immaculate! It came with a French balcony allowing me to take full advantage of the views I was about to see. My cabin came with a very modern bathroom (the rain forest shower was amazing!), full screen flat tv with numerous channels, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle, fridge, huge amount of wardrobe space and a safe (free to use).

We showered and changed and went to dinner in the main restaurant – all I can say is wow! Dinner was a la carte, 5 courses of pure heaven. I have never tasted food like it. We took full advantage of the drinks package we had (£109 pp extra) and were treated to the most professional and attentive service by the staff.

After dinner we spent the evening in the lounge where piano music was played. It was a lovely evening spent getting to know our fellow guests.

The next morning we awoke all fresh and ready to take on the day. Breakfast was served in the restaurant and was buffet service. There was everything available that you could possibly think of! Cereals, continental breakfast, full English breakfast, jams and marmalades, lots of different juices, teas and coffees, toast, fruit loaf and lots more. If you fancied an omelette you could order one from the waiter and even freshly made poached eggs. What ever you wanted – it was there.

Later that morning we began our first excursion which came free as part of the Riviera package. We boarded the coach for our trip to Lucerne in Switzerland. What an amazing town with the most beautiful views. It also has THE best chocolate shop in the whole of Switzerland! Not so good for the waistline or the pocket. The Kapellbrucke (chapel bridge) is one of the iconic sites in Lucerne and probably the most photographed! It’s the oldest covered bridge in Europe and is 204m(669ft) long. Under the roof are original paintings dating back to 1333 showing the history of Switzerland and Lucerne.

We then continued our journey to the Bernese Oberland to board the village train at Wilderswil taking us to the Shynige Platte. If taking in fantastic views is your thing then this excursion most definitely is not to be missed. The train journey to the top was a little scary for me as I am frightened of heights but it really had to be done and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was totally breathtaking and left me having ‘a moment’. We could literally see for miles around, we could see the lakes below and the snow capped mountains all around. It really was stunning. We enjoyed our packed lunch here that was provided by Riviera as we missed lunch on board.

That evening we left Basel and set sail for our next destination – Breisach. After breakfast we took advantage of the free time to explore this beautiful little German town before boarding the coach after lunch to travel through the Black Forest arriving at Lake Titisee. It is in this area that the cuckoo clock was first made and we were invited to join a cuckoo clock demonstration and taste the original black forest gateau.

We arrived back at the ship around 6pm which gave us time to shower and change before enjoying the ‘Welcome Cocktail Party’ hosted by the captain. Dinner followed which again was an absolute culinary delight!

Day 4 saw us arrive in France! After breakfast we were taken to Strasbourg and invited to take part in a walking tour. The guide was full of knowledge and I absolutely fell in love with this place. The cathedral was a sight to behold. We were back on board the ship for lunch so we visited The Bistro rather than the main restaurant. The Bistro only has 28 seats and has a more intimate dining feel. This restaurant is included in the price but you do have to book beforehand. The menu was different here, with options such as fish and chips, burgers and pasta. We had some free time to unwind and watch the world go by as we cruised to our next destination Speyer back in Germany.

On day 5 we had free time in the morning to visit the medieval town of Speyer before sailing in the afternoon through one of the largest nature reserves in the country.

We arrived at our next destination Rudesheim later that evening where we moored overnight. After dinner we took a short walk into town and found a local bar playing traditional music and serving local beer. It was a wonderful evening full of local culture.

Day 6 gave us free time in the morning to explore Rudesheim. This is a lovely town which has a cable car ride over the Rhine. Elvis Presley filmed GI Blues here and some of the girls were lucky enough to travel in car 76 – the car Elvis sat in! We sampled the local Rudesheim coffee, made with 3 cubes of sugar, hot coffee and the local brandy Asbach topped with fresh cream and chocolate shavings. The walk back the ship was interesting…

During lunch the ship sailed through the Rhine Gorge. We saw spectacular scenery of this world heritage site whilst sat on the sun deck enjoying ice cream. We were given the full history of this amazing place and had so many interest areas pointed out to us during the trip.

Later that day we arrived in Koblenz – where the rivers Rhine and Moselle meet, and took advantage of the free time to tour this lovely city. Again, you could take advantage of a cable car ride here which I kindly declined! Instead I opted to take a tour of the city and the shopping it had to offer before joining the ship again for dinner. After another fantastic meal we joined the other guests in the lounge and took part in Leslie’s music quiz. Everyone enjoyed this as it was so much fun – even though it did get a little competitive between Team A and the actual winners Team B (my team of course) with the official announcement that it was a draw! Again we danced the night away with our fellow guests.

Early in the morning we set sail from Koblenz and cruised through the forested Siebengebirge (seven mountains) and past the pretty riverside towns on our way to our last stop, Bonn. I sat in my cabin with a cup of tea and watched the world sail by as we left Koblenz. It was so quiet and peaceful – a beautiful experience sailing down this magnificent river at dawn.

Arriving in Bonn, we took the coach to Cologne and had free time to see what this City had to offer. The cathedral here physically took my breath away! I haven’t seen anything like it before! We had a little tour inside and then carried on with our tour of this very cosmopolitan city.

Our last night on board was completed by the Captains Farewell Dinner. Cocktails in the lounge following by the most amazing meal and a parade of the baked Alaska to finish!! We said our goodbyes to the friends we made on board and I have to say I did feel emotional – I didn’t want this experience to end.

We flew home from Dusseldorf which only took a little more than an hour and arrived back into Birmingham to say our final farewells.

It was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget.”

If you would like to know anything at all about my experience or river cruise’s in general; please do call me – 01246 555777 or pop me over an email – louise@chatsworthtravel.co.uk  and I will be more than happy to help! Thank you for reading about my adventure.

Saga: Spirit of Discovery “Were we Wow’d?” by Kathryn & Joanne

After a very straight forward journey, Kathryn & I arrived at the newly refurbished Cruise Terminal at Dover to be greeted with a warm welcome from the Saga team (photo below).  The check in process was smooth, luggage was swiftly tagged and taken to our cabin and refreshments were available while we waited in the departure lounge.

However, within a speedy 30 minutes (much quicker than any airport & no luggage restrictions!!), we were stepping on board Saga’s BRAND NEW flagship, the Spirit of Discovery. To say we were excited was an understatement – everything was brand spanking new and Saga really wanted to impress the press, journalists, cruise critics and trade partners so that we could recommend it,  and talk about it, with confidence.  The pressure was well and truly on Saga to deliver the goods.

We already knew the key features of Saga’s newest cruise ship (see list below)  that we had read in the brochure but we wanted to delve behind the brochures glamourous photographs and meet the staff, talk to them, challenge them, and be wowed by them.  We were no pushovers….we wanted to be Wow’d!

Key points of Saga’s Cruises & Spirit of Discovery:

Smaller ship means a maximum 999 clients onboard; Chauffeur driven VIP pick up from home & return; All cabins with a balcony; Speciality Restaurant dining at no extra cost; Gratuities included; Shuttle buses in most ports; Free Wi fi & All Inclusive from 2020

So, stepping onboard Spirit of Discovery and our first impressions of the grand entrance and wonderful staircase, gave us our 1st WOW moment!

Subtle music from the grand piano, wonderful artworks dotted around (all by UK artists) and an ambiance of a boutique country house hotel all added to the atmosphere (see photo below).  Totally aimed at the UK No-fly cruise market and based out of Dover and Southampton… so far, so good! It had been slick, smooth and professional as we stepped into the grand entrance.

We headed straight to the Spa, located on the Main deck towards the front, to book a Spa session for the following day. Here we had our 2nd WOW moment! 

We had heard that the spa is extremely popular, and treatments get booked up early – and we could see why! The Spa was an amazing retreat from the troubles of everyday life – very attentive and friendly staff, wonderful facilities ranking with top Spa hotels, a fully functioning hair salon with nail bar, an amazing hydrotherapy pool (below) surrounded by loungers,  thoughtfully decorated his & hers changing rooms and a whole host of treatments available to while away a few hours on a sea day…..this was going to be fun!After the Spa, we went to explore & what really struck Kathryn & I was the tasteful décor and attention to detail.  The relaxing lounge area on Main deck was a favourite of ours.  It’s a lovely bar/coffee shop called “The Living Room” was a super place to sit, relax and chat with friends and had a nice selection of cakes & pastries if you were tempted. Shades of blue, brown & beige all complemented each other all around the ship with splashes of vibrant yellow and neutral creams adding to the feeling of upmarket, yet understated elegance. Quality soft furnishings, curtains, carpets and blinds added finishing touches in the public areas but also the cabins had the same attention to detail. (see below)

And now onto our cabin, which was a Standard Twin with Balcony (Grade H No. B549) located on B deck towards the rear. And here we had another WOW moment!

Our spacious cabin had 2 generously sized single beds & 2 easy chairs. (The beds proved very comfortable!)  The room had the benefit of air conditioning, a roomy wardrobe (containing Olympus binoculars, hairdryer, safe, bathrobes & slippers) and then onto the lovely (if a little compact balcony but OK for 2!) with modern Raffia chairs and throw cushions.  The shower room was a great size too and the cubicle was generous in size (one of my pet hates is a tiny shower cubicle!) but no worries here, plus the full-size toiletries,  as standard,  really were top quality and would be wonderful on a longer cruise, to make full use of.

 

 

 

After the muster station – one of the quickest I have ever done I have to say (maybe because its an adult only ship so no children to muster?!)  –  we were off to lunch!

So Where to try??

Maybe “The Grill”, the fabulous high-quality buffet restaurant up on Lido deck, or the main restaurant fittingly called the “The Dining Room” for a waiter served lunch option, but we opted for the outdoor “Veranda” bar & casual dining buffet, serving hot dogs & fries, fish & chips and completed with a fresh salad bar.  We made the most of the sunshine and dined al-fresco with wine included,  at lunch & dinner,  from very attentive waiters.  For 2020, all Saga cruises become All Inclusive so no problems having an alternative drink with your meal – or maybe try a cocktail?

The lively Sailaway Party is one of my favourite things about cruising from the UK – I have always been fortunate enough to have great weather which certainly helps.  The music was playing from a nice chap playing the keyboards; the drinks were flowing as staff walked around with trays of prosecco or juice and the Saga Entertainments Team had us all in the party mood.

I have to add that the entertainment staff were mingling and chatting with us all and asking us about our first impressions of the ship. I didn’t hear any negative comments at all.  Also, a special note to the waiters and waitresses, who all worked incredibly hard right through the cruise and always had a smile on their faces.  The service was exemplary! Another Wow to the team onboard!

Moving into early evening and, after a quick shower & change, we decided to have some pre-dinner drinks in the stunning Britannia Lounge (see above), which is one of focus points of your evenings onboard.  The floor to ceiling window on the front of the ship is quite breath-taking – and the mellow sounds from a jazz singer, (plus the wide selection of gins!) made it a great spot for a drink either before or after dinner.

The choice to eat in the main dining restaurant (no reservation required) OR the more casual open-dining Grill buffet OR one of the 3 speciality restaurants (reservations required) was a tricky one – but we had earlier decided on the Coast-to-Coast seafood restaurant and had made a reservation in advance, which I strongly recommend.

The 3 speciality restaurants are altogether on Promenade deck, with a beautiful wine bar “South Cape” adjoining – and all included the price and the choice is wide!! If you like fine dining, this is the cruise for you.

“The Club by Jools”, is a traditional dining venue with a twist! Our favourite dishes with added live music. In case you need reminding, Jools Holland is the ships godfather and his influence in this bar/restaurant/club is plain to see – it’s a hootenanny at sea! Early booking here is highly recommended as it was booked solid for both nights.

The “East to West”, an Asian inspired restaurant, received rave reviews from everyone we spoke to who had been lucky enough to get a table here.

Finally, “Coast to Coast”, which we agreed was simply exquisite seafood and this restaurant became our instant favourite.  The décor was light, bright and inspired by New England seaside chic.  My scallops,  served on a cauliflower & pea puree,  was top-hotel standard and Kathryn’s Lobster Thermador looked like a work of art.  The food just kept coming at the very high standard and the most amazing cheese trolley I have ever seen! (see below)

 

 

 

 

After a long day, and such a great meal, we rounded the evening off with a show in the ships wonderful theatre “The Playhouse” and saw the Saga Entertainment team really come into their own, with a fabulous show full of West End and Broadway Shows (below).  Their singing and dancing were super and the quite rightly, received a huge standing ovation and our hands ached with applause! We retired for bed not long after a nightcap and looking forward to a good nights sleep.

The next day, after a great sleep, we were peckish for breakfast!!

The choice at breakfast was either the main dining room on the main deck or the casual Grill buffet up on Lido – we decided on the main dining room and we were so pleased. It was quiet, relaxed, no crowding around the toaster and the benefit of a huge continental buffet was heaving with fresh fruit, juices, pastries and cereals. It was wonderful!

Then the waiter served us our hot selection choice to our table – Kathryn said her Eggs Benedict, served on a toasted muffin, with a thick piece of ham,  was delicious but my scrambled eggs were not to my taste – I mentioned this to the waiter who immediately swapped them for me, no problem & no fuss whatsoever.

Following a hearty breakfast, we made our way to the spa for our treatments – we both opted for an Indian Head Massage – and, as this was a ‘taster’,  was only 20mins long although it was so good, I would have stayed longer. The spa girls were all very friendly and chatty and put us at ease as we were taken to one the many treatment rooms, situated on a long corridor of  doors.

A good quality Spa at sea is an absolute must these days in the luxury cruise market.  I didn’t get to see the menu of treatments available as this was still being finalised, but the staff did tell us about various massages, facials, manicures & pedicures plus other more specific treatments that they will eventually offer. Pricewise, I am not sure how it stacks up against the UKs top spa’s,  such as Ragdale Hall or Champneys, but from what we saw & experienced, this was the type of clientele they were aiming for.

Don’t worry though, if you don’t usually visit spa’s – This would be excellent as a one-off treat on a sea day, or having your hair or nails done for Captains Cocktail Party night –  this spa would be great to give a try!

As it was a sea day, Kathryn & I planned our day with military precision! I wanted to do the Promenade Deck Walk (namely 3.9 laps = 1 mile) and I really wanted to walk off last night’s dessert & cheese board.  The Gym & Fitness Centre up on the Sun deck were well equipped and offered a selection of Yoga, Pilates and Aerobics classes plus a Stretch & Tone that looked appealing, but I stuck with my walk.  Kathryn opted for the Craft Class, which seems to run daily, and she was thrilled at also exploring the ships cabins more thoroughly – especially the wonderful suites!

After we had spent a morning being active, we met up on Lido Deck for a couple of hours of pure relaxation on sunbeds – most people’s favourite spot was the Sun Deck or Lido Deck, with a nice supply of comfy loungers and towels – and yet again, attentive staff offering waiter service drinks. (See below the Veranda outdoor casual dining, the promenade during my walk & me up on Sun deck.)

 

 

 

 

After a light lunch at the Veranda, I decided to visit the suites that had been made available to view and I got my next WOW moment here!

The simply beautiful Hebrides Suite (Grade CC) located at the rear of A Deck was pure understated elegance, homely and comfortable but its quality shone out (see below).  And it was certainly roomy, with a vast walk in wardrobe, full bathroom with Jack & Jill doors to the WC, bathtub & separate large shower, a wet bar area, and in-room dining available. A selection of wines & spirits (to your taste) are placed in your suite, plus coffee machine and wrap around balcony – another WoW!

 

 

 

 

So, as I was also representing my very popular group ‘Chatsworth Solo Travellers’ I had to seek out the single cabins. They have 4 differing categories of single cabin – Standard; Superior; Deluxe & Suite – which were all roomy and all have double beds as standard – a great bonus for the sole traveller! The one below is a superior single, but I also saw a standard single and this was fairly similar just a tad smaller.  Finally, no more poky broom cupboards, at a high supplements,  for single cruisers.  Saga have really listened to the Solo Cruiser market and delivered the goods – my next Wow moment!

And so, after another busy day at sea, it was the final evening and THE event of the cruise – the Captains Cocktail Party! Time to get dolled up & put my posh frock on.

For those cruisers who don’t participate in the cocktail evenings, no problem!  I did see several journalists/press walking around in smart casual wear and they decided to eat in The Grill – which we did go to visit and the food was exactly the same menu as the main dining room, just self-service.   I do know some people prefer to do this, rather than the formality of the main dining venues:  wherever you eat & whatever you wear, the choice is there at the same price – Our next Wow!

After preening and pampering,  the time had come and we met a friend that we had made earlier in the day, at the Grand Staircase (see above)  which offered a wonderful chance for photos in our posh frocks.

We chatted about our day and the evening ahead over pre-dinner drinks at the Living Room bar nearby.  It was a lovely evening, giving us a nice reason to dress up, have some delicious wine, amazing food then chance to have a boogie on the dancefloor to the live band! I cant remember the exact time we went to bed (was it getting light!!??) but it was a fabulous evening, great company and really sealed the deal that I have caught the cruising bug!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In conclusion, Saga really had ‘pushed the boat out’ during the whole cruise, to give us the customer experience, so that we can recommend their cruises with the utmost confidence.  We truly had been spoilt – from the waiters smiling faces,  where nothing was too much trouble, to the girls in the Spa who put us at ease, and even Captain Julian, who had kept us well informed throughout the cruise and was a jovial and friendly host, making himself visible – even on the dancefloor!

After another great night’s sleep, a hearty breakfast and final bit of packing, it was time to disembark from Spirit of Discovery – we were both a little sad and emotional to be leaving.

It had been wonderful from start to finish and we could not have wished for more!

And I think you may know the answer to this………… we were both Wow’d!!

 Joanne Hallett & Kathryn Hallam – Chatsworth Travel, Chesterfield

Cruise & Maritime MS Magellan – Client Blog

I thought the Magellan was a very smooth and quiet ship at night, although I was told by a previous traveller that it was a “clangy” ship! – certainly not my experience! My cabin was excellent, perhaps in a good part of the ship, away from the fans which did seem to be rather noisy in some areas.

The crew on the ship as a whole were very good, I was very impressed with the cleanliness.

The variety of food offered in the buffet was very good, and as a vegetarian, I had plenty of choice, but I mainly enjoyed the salads.

Although we did not see the shows many nights, I thought the orchestra, the entertainment team and the costumes were very good, more professional than I had previously experienced onboard the Marco Polo.

The ship itself, whilst only small at the side of the huge cruise ships, was a little bit too big for our taste, but that is just my preference.

Overall an enjoyable cruise, though the River Cruises are definitely my favourite and I am very much looking forward to cruising down the Douro very soon!

Mrs W, Chesterfield – Travelled in May 2019

Lake Garda, Italy – Client Blog

I wanted to let you know how we have got on, and to thank you for your assistance in arranging our holiday to Lake Garda.

Myself, my 90 year old Mother, and my sister who is in a wheelchair all had a lovely time! – The choices of Malcesine, along with the Excelsior Bay Hotel were excellent.

The resort was easy to get around and there were plenty of seats on the promenade. On one of the days, we walked the 3 or 4 kilometres to Cassone to see ‘the shortest river in the world’, it took us a couple of hours to get there, but we made it and it was well worth seeing. We also used the ferries, and visited the resorts of Limone and Riva. Both of these towns were flat and easy to get around, although Limone was rather crowded.

The Excelsior Bay Hotel is well kept and the staff were always very friendly & helpful. It was lovely to sit on the terrace, look at the lake and watch people walk by. The only downside to the hotel, in my opinion, was that the quality of food could have been better.

Mrs A, Chesterfield – June 2019

The Golden Triangle, India – Client Blog

On arrival in New Delhi, bearing in mind that I was there in January, it can get into the low-mid seventies during the day, but the temperature does drop quite a bit at night – so it is well worth packing some warmer clothes for the journey. The mosques and Sikh temples are well worth a visit and the main attraction is certainly the Taj Mahal.

The best time to visit the Taj is early morning at around 9am, as it gets very busy from 11am onwards – it can get very polluted in New Delhi with a heat haze and smog, making the morning the best time to get the best view of the Taj with the blue sky behind it! The Agra Fort is another sight to see and the Jantar Mantar which is the World’s largest marble observatory.

About a 2 to 3 hour train journey away is the national park of Ranthambore, where the tiger can be seen (I didn’t spot one myself, but I did see plenty of other wildlife). On the safari it can be cold in the morning and night…..and when it rains….it rains!

Jaipur (the pink city) was my favourite place to visit, with the Jaigarth Fort, Amber Fort & Hawa Mahal (the Palace of the Winds). Jaipur is the pick of the cities and is nowhere near as polluted.

The people of India are very friendly & polite, and the country is very popular with tourists. Flying with Virgin from London Heathrow to New Delhi was a good experience, and I would certainly use them again. A few pointers for India: only drink bottled water, only eat fruit that can be peeled, don’t have ice cubes in your drinks, and make sure you only eat food that is hot and properly cooked!

India is certainly worth the trip. They are very keen on security so there are a few searches at the airport and when entering the hotels, make sure to keep your e-tickets handy. Applying for an Indian visa online can be slightly difficult, so it is worth paying a little bit extra for a company called CIBT to do it all for you!

My parting memory of India is that is completely different to the UK, there is a lot to see there, and the older buildings and monuments are all in great condition.

Mr P – Chesterfield

EXCLUSIVE Regent Seven Seas Cruise, The Orient Express, Monte Carlo & Venice – Roundtrip UK

Take the opportunity to explore a beautiful part of the world, in the most luxurious way….

Your unforgettable 6-star journey begins on 30th August 2020, when you embark in Southampton, and spend 15 nights onboard , with only two sea days, and two overnights onboard in the ports of Bordeaux & Monte Carlo. Onboard Regent Seven Seas stunning ‘Splendor’  on her inaugural season – where you can take full advantage of Regent’s truly All Inclusive experience, which includes unlimited shore excursions, exquisite fine dining, unlimited drinks including Fine Wines & Spiritsrefined service, pre-paid gratuities, and much, much more. Two nights at the Sina Palazzo Sant’ Angelo in Venice on a Bed & Breakfast basis, with private water transfers.

Before disembarking, you will then enjoy 1 night onboard, in the wealthiest spot in Monaco… Monte Carlo. Known as the International Capital of Luxury, Monte Carlo is an enchanting place – not only for the celebrity-sightings, casinos and nightlife, but for it’s architecture, art and rich history.

The next exciting leg of your journey sees you bidding farewell to ‘Splendor’ and being transferred to the train station in Monte Carlo, from which you will travel First-Class to Venice, where you will enjoy your two-night stay.

And now for the Grand Finale – you will be transferred from your hotel to Venice Santa Lucia Train Station, where you will board the most magnificent train in Europe… the Orient Express. You will be whisked away to a world of timeless indulgence for your unforgettable two-day journey across Europe in impeccable style, arriving into London on 17th September 2020.

That’s 18 nights of ultra luxury, from £11,998.00 per person.

Contact our friendly & professional team to secure your place on this luxurious adventure. Call us on 01246 555777 or pop in and see us at 358 Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield, S40 2BY.

Kathryn & Gail’s Afternoon with Regent Seven Seas Cruises – 22nd March 2019

Last week Regent Seven Seas Cruises kindly gave Chatsworth Travel the opportunity to host an afternoon tea event at the Casa Hotel in Chesterfield, which myself (Kathryn) and Chatsworth Travel‘s company director, Gail, were thrilled to be a part of!

Valued customers old and new were invited to an intimate presentation by Eric of Regent Seven Seas, who helped them to immerse themselves in the pleasures of discovering the world with the ‘Regent Experience’

Regent offer the chance to explore new and fascinating ports, visiting places you’ve never been before, with exciting shore excursions whilst experiencing the most enriching and luxurious of journey on the seven seas.

The delightful afternoon started with tea and coffee and a short film show presentation. Afterwards afternoon tea was served whilst we mingled with the guests and looked at the fabulous cruising experience Regent have to offer.

On first impressions the cruises look vastly overpriced in comparison to their competitors but after further investigation it became clear that not only would you be buying an exclusive 6 star luxury cruise (all suites being outside and a crew to guest ratio of just 1 – 1.5) but one which offers far, far more for that all-inclusive price.

  • FREE return transfer and flights on every cruise
  • FREE unlimited shore excursions
  • FREE unlimited drinks, including fine wines and spirits. Plus, mini bar replenished in your suite every day
  • FREE pre-paid gratuities
  • FREE unlimited Wi-fi

These are just a few of the FREE items included on these unrivalled cruises of a life time. The cruise may cost more to purchase up-front but the actual spend once the cruise is completed compares much more favourably.

A relaxing and interesting afternoon was had by all.

If you think a Regent Seven Seas Cruise could be for you, give our friendly & professional team a call on 01246 555777 and we will be more than happy to help you find your dream cruise on one (or more!) of the seven seas!

Thank you for reading,

Kathryn Hallam – Chatsworth Travel

Jayne’s jaunt to Majorca! – 24th-28th March 2019

After having recently returned from a 4 night break in Majorca, I wanted to share my experience with you all!

Following a smooth flight of only a couple of hours, and a short transfer of less than 10 minutes, we checked into a lovely 3-star hotel – the Illusion Calma & Spa in the resort of C’an Pastilla! – perfect for a short break, early or late season!

The resort is in an ideal location, approximately 5 miles from the city of Palma, easily accessible by the frequent local bus service, taxi….. or, for the more energetic, a lovely walk or even cycle!

Palma itself is beautiful and steeped in history, yet over the years has become a modern, cosmopolitan city, offering a rich variety of activities and guided tours. There are plenty of museums, art galleries and churches to keep you occupied, plus you can “shop ’til you drop” in the numerous traditional shops, and not forgetting the designer ones too!

A trip here would not be complete without a visit to the ‘Catedral de Mallorca’, the crowning architectural jewel of the island!

After a full day of sightseeing, it was a pleasure to relax and make use of the hotel’s spa facilities – a lovely sauna, an invigorating jacuzzi and a plunge into the small heated, indoor pool, all included in the price!

Day 2 took us on a leisurely walk of over 3 miles in the opposite direction (and back again!!) along the seafront promenade towards the resort of Arenal, passing numerous hotels, eateries and souvenir shops along the way. The fine, white sand beach stretches almost 6 kilometres and has been granted the ‘Blue Flag’ status. There is also a tourist train which runs at regular intervals along the route for those with tired legs!

Our final day was dedicated to relaxation, soaking up the warm Mediterranean sun – which was a comfortable 22-23 degrees by early afternoon….. and we’re only in March!!

All in all a perfect break, offering the best of everything – highly recommended by Chatsworth Travelso if you’re looking to jet off to sunny Majorca like myself, give us a call on 01246 555777!

Thank you for taking the time to read,

Jayne Hardy – Chatsworth Travel

Amy & Kathryn’s Overnight Stay onboard Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ‘Boudicca’ – 8th-9th March 2019

Myself & Kathryn were lucky enough to be invited to Dover, to spend the night onboard Boudicca, to celebrate Fred Olsen launching their exciting, new 2020/21 itineraries!

Having never been onboard a Fred Olsen ship, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew that Boudicca (along with the rest of the Fred Olsen fleet) had recently undergone a huge refurbishment so I was excited to see how the staterooms and other areas of the ship had been transformed! Boudicca is the 2nd smallest of the Fred Olsen fleet, with 462 staterooms and she can accommodate 881 passengers!

From the minute we boarded, my first thoughts were how cosy the ship felt and how friendly the crew were! There were 5-6 crew members stood waiting for us all to arrive, with huge smiles on their faces, showing us where to find our staterooms!

My stateroom was a Superior Ocean View on Deck 5. All of the staterooms have tea & coffee making facilities, a fridge, a phone and a Smart TV.

We also had a look at a couple of other grades of staterooms on our deck, which included an M Grade Single Interior stateroom, a JS Grade Junior Suite and a K Grade Single Ocean View stateroom. (left to right: Single Interior, Single Ocean View & Junior Suite).

We were then met with a very warm welcome at the Four Seasons restaurant, where we enjoyed Afternoon Tea, which included a lovely selection of finger sandwiches, pastries, warm scones with jam & cream, and a choice from a selection of premium teas in porcelain teapots – all served by white-gloved waiters! There are 4 other restaurants onboard, including Tintagel, an A La Carte restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely meal that evening!

Once you’ve enjoyed a delicious five-course meal at Tintagel, Four Seasons or any of the other fantastic restaurants, make yourself comfortable in the Neptune Lounge! – Boudicca’s main entertainment venue! By day, the lounge is the place to be if lectures, port talks and presentations are of interest….. and by night, you can enjoy entertainment from a wide range of performers – from music & dance to comedy! The shows are performed after each dinner sitting, so you won’t miss out!

Overall, we had a very enjoyable time! – and since Fred Olsen’s main client market is the over 55’s, I would urge any of our more mature clientele to give Fred Olsen a try! See some of our snaps below!

Thank you for reading,

Amy