Charli May shares all from her time at this year's CLIA River Cruise Convention.
This weekend I travelled to Amsterdam with several of my colleagues, for two nights, to attend the annual CLIA River Cruise Convention. Participating in the convention was a fantastic opportunity to meet with industry colleagues; find out about the latest innovations, launches and promotions from each operator; and to visit some of the stunning vessels cruising Europe’s rivers.
The first night was spent in the impressive Movenpick Hotel, which is situated right along the river bank and is the ideal location from which to join a river cruise without having to go right into the busy city centre. The Movenpick was also our host for day one of the conference, involving several insightful panel talks from the top cruise operators and presentation detailing the latest vessels. Our second night was spent on board Emerald Dawn, part of Emerald Waterways' star fleet and launched back in 2015. Emerald Dawn was a wonderful host, featuring a beautifully decorated interior with a contemporary feel, relaxing staterooms including the innovative ‘indoor balcony’ and a unique feature consisting of an infinity pool which turns into an intimate cinema by night.
During day two of the conference, we were able to visit the six other incredible ships which were docked in Amsterdam. Starting with Uniworld's opulent Antoinette, which featured luxury soft furnishings, spacious public rooms and a regency style throughout, we then visited CroisiEurope's Lafayette. Though Lafayette carries a much smaller number of passengers, the feeling on board was very light and spacious, with modern design features throughout and every facility imaginable. Shearing’s Da Vinci and Riviera Travel’s MS William Shakespeare, both represented classic and relaxed style with dark wood interiors, elegant glass chandeliers and traditionally decorated staterooms. Da Vinci even showcased the use of murphy beds in their staterooms, as a way to maximise space.
We next stepped on board Tauck's Grace, one the company’s newest vessels in their Inspiration class. Grace is an incredibly elegant and luxurious vessel, with high-quality interiors throughout, immaculate attention to detail, and beautifully designed cabins. These included two-storey staterooms on the lower deck that make room for extra-large windows from which to view the stunning scenery. Finally, we boarded the stunning Amadeus Silver III, the newest addition to the Amadeus fleet and a showcase of understated elegance. The vessel boasted a fantastic range of amenities and arguably the most generous stateroom sizes across all decks, with every grade enjoying the same facilities and quality furnishings.
Though in style and presentation each vessel was unique, the size and onboard facilities were all very much on a par, with just a few added touches and inclusions making the difference between 3 and 5* vessels.
This trip gave me an amazing insight into the world of river cruising and the variety of companies and vessels which are available, each offering a unique experience, fantastic range of itineraries and catering to every imaginable need and taste.