Originally booked in 2020 this river cruise should have gone from Budapest to Cologne but was cancelled and then offered as Cologne to Budapest in 2021, cancelled, and the 2022. Shortly before setting out I was informed that because of low water in the Rhine the start point would be Mainz not Cologne. That was not a problem but getting there was as I had chosen Eurostar. We got as far as Brussels and then found that further travel would be a problem because the train we were due to catch had broken down. Darren and Julie, the cruise managers were brilliant and got us on a coach that was bringing some other passengers out from the UK. Arrival at the ship in Mainz was 10.00pm. Temperature was 36 degrees.
Eventually cabins were located and whilst we had dinner luggage was dropped off in the cabins, or not. One piece of luggage went missing and was finally found 40 minutes later. The cabin was adequate but not 4 star as claimed by Arena. The tap in the bathroom needed to be fixed (and needed fixing again by the end of my cruise) and the bed had a mattress that resembled a palliasse rather than what what was shown in brochure. The room also lacked anywhere to sit except the bed. Definitely not 4 star. The staff cleaning and preparing the rooms were brilliant, friendly and did their jobs well.
Meals were adequate and provided a good variety. Breakfast was typically European with meats, cheese and fruit, as well as normal British faire. Ordering the evening meal at lunch time was fine, if you got what you ordered and on many occasions I didn't. I didn't expect to be waiting 40 to 45 minutes between courses either. Two of the people serving the meals, two young ladies, knew what they were doing and served the meals correctly. The other staff were absolutely abysmal, serving over the top of people eating and placing thumbs inside glass dishes, which had stems on for serving. The staff need proper training.