Travel Service - Tour Operator/Travel Provider
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Saga really do take care of you
53 people found this review helpful
I was planning a trip to the Dutch bulb fields over Easter and looking at the different itineraries on offer on the internet. Springtime in Holland with Saga was the one that appealed to me most. This was a river cruise with a full day at Keukenhof Gardens. There was time to explore Amsterdam as well as time in small towns like Hoorn and Enkhuisen. There were also optional visits to Zannse Schans open air museum with its old windmills as well as a reconstruction of a C16th Dutch East India ship. It offered flights from several different local airports as well as the Channel tunnel or ferry.
I like to book direct over the phone as I always have a series of questions to ask before booking and find the way a company responds is a good indication of how good they are.
Saga has a free phone number, although if they are very busy there can be quite a long wait listening to rather irritating music. My first contact was with Rebecca, who was very helpful and and took me clearly through the booking procedure and explained what happened. All my questions were answered and we discussed the different cabins. I was wanting to book a cabin on the passenger deck and she made sure I was aware that there was no lift to cabins on the lower deck and I didn’t have problems with mobility. We also discussed dress code aboard the ship. I went ahead and booked, with a flight from Manchester. Email confirmation was sent out that day with printed documents being sent out by post. I had a two week ‘cooling off period’ before the final confirmation, during which I could make any changes without additional administration fees.
Saga kept in touch with me about any changes to the itinerary and I was also sent details of optional excursions which could either be booked before the holiday or on board the ship. I booked by telephone as I had a few questions about the amount of walking involved. Again Saga were knowledgeable and gave detailed and accurate advice.
The final documents were sent out three weeks before the holiday.
I flew from Manchester Airport. Although there was no Saga rep at the airport, I had a direct phone contact to a Saga rep if needed. There were two reps waiting for us at Amsterdam Airport and we were taken to a seating area to wait for travellers flying in from other local airports. As we had several hours before we could board the ship, Saga had arranged to drive us through the bulb fields to the popular small seaside town of Noordwijk.
Saga use the Rex Rheni for this holiday and it is just used for Saga. Embarkation was quick and efficient and suitcases were quickly delivered to our cabins. The ship was refurbished in 2015 and a small chair lift has been fitted giving access to some of the cabins on the passenger deck. Cabins were comfortable although not particularly large. Food on board was excellent, especially breakfast and dinner. Drinks were also included at lunch and dinner and free tea or coffee were available throughout the day from the bar area.
We had three Saga reps on board plus the entertainer. As Saga caters for the 50+ market, the reps really do know how to look after people. They were all excellent; helpful and approachable. They provided a daily briefing sheet and there was always someone available to answer questions or deal with problems. We were given an information sheet and maps for all the places were berthed. The maps were excellent, much better than I had found on the internet, which meant I could wander by myself without fear of getting lost. There was also at least one rep on each coach during excursions. Obviously people walk at different rates but this was managed carefully with a sweeper up at the back of the group who made sure no one got lost or left behind. This was done very sensitively so you weren’t made to feel embarrassed and the rest of the group weren’t aware of it happening.
Clear instructions were given and they made sure everyone knew where the meeting points were and what time they had to meet. If the coach was a short walk, there was always a rep to make sure we found it safely.
The entertainer provided music after dinner as well as providing a daily quiz sheet. He also arranged a deck quoits competition one afternoon, but there were few takers for this. We also had a talk about tulips and a live music evening with the Shanty Men.
We were accompanied by a Saga rep on the way back to Schiphol Airport. KLM no longer has check in desks but automatic self service machines, so her help with these was much appreciated.
It was a good cruise with an interesting itinerary. There were just over 100 passengers which was a manageable number for someone who dislikes the large boat cruises. I was thankful I had flown as those who had used the ferry or channel tunnel had found it a long day travelling and didn’t arrive at the boat until turned 7pm.
This is the first time I’ve used Saga and they really do take good care of you.
My detailed description with all my photographs is here.
53 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Saga Holidays