We have been most fortunate in acquiring one of the best vessels afloat in Europe today. Built in 2004 and refurbished in 2011, the four star MS Johann Strauss is a 90 cabin vessel built to the highest specifications. Although the vessel can carry up to 180 passengers, we limit passenger numbers to 160 to maximise your space onboard. The vessel receives constant praise from passengers and an above average repeat passenger ratio.
One of the many fine features of the vessel are the number of French balcony cabins. There are over 60 such cabins with a sliding glass door. From these cabins, which are located on the Opera and Waltz decks, the views are spectacular and for many the opportunity to open the door to fresh air is a great bonus.
All cabins are large, being 170 square feet of space, comparing favourably with hotel rooms or the better cabins on large ships. They are well planned and smartly furnished in light woods and restful colours. Facilities include individually controlled heating and air conditioning, television, telephone, minibar, safe, hairdryer, radio and a well appointed bathroom with shower and toilet.
A well designed feature of the MS Johann Strauss is the positioning of the restaurant, lounge, bar and café on the top deck. These public areas have floor to ceiling windows, affording excellent views as you dine or relax. On board there is also a fitness centre with a sauna, whirlpool and gymnasium equipment. When cruising the spacious sun deck is a perfect place to relax onboard and watch daily life on the banks of the river. There is also a small library onboard. In addition Wi-Fi will be available from 2013 for which a voucher can be purchased onboard.
A Unique Atmosphere Onboard
The atmosphere onboard is friendly and informal and within days you will have made new friends in the open-seating restaurant, on the shore excursions or whilst relaxing in the comfortable public areas onboard. You will find yourself amongst like-minded people in an English speaking environment, but still always free to explore at your own pace. Meticulously organised excursions make the most of the fascinating places you have come to see and for those who seek peace and quiet, there will always be the opportunity to find a secluded spot on the sun deck or simply rest in your well-appointed cabin. In addition to the performances by London Festival Opera, a pianist will play periodically in the lounge on some evenings and our guest speaker will provide a series of interesting talks. Cruise Director Cesar Perez will oversee the day to day organisation and he will host informative port briefings. After a day exploring ashore, you will return to the comfort and peace of a well run and exceedingly comfortable vessel.
All cruises include full board in the single sitting restaurant. Breakfast is provided buffet style, a splendid choice of breads, pastries, cereals, yoghurts together with the Full English selection. For early risers, tea, coffee and pastries are available from 06.30 hours. Lunch is a mix of buffet and served dishes. Afternoon tea is also provided daily with a choice of cakes. Dinner is a four course affair with a varied selection of starters, main dishes, cheese plate and desserts. Coffee and tea are provided after lunch and dinner. To finish the day, snacks are available in the café in the late evening.
Drinks with Dinner
In order to make our pricing as comprehensive as possible, we include house wine, beer or soft drinks with your evening meal. This is another special arrangement to make your trip all the more enjoyable. Even with such extra inclusions our prices still compare favourably to other companies and when you consider that in addition our trips also include a guest speaker who will provide informative talks, shore excursions and all gratuities we believe our prices, like our trips are second to none.
Comparing Prices – Inclusion of Gratuities
On most other river vessels, gratuities are not included and the recommended daily level is €10 per person per day. However, aboard the MS Johann Strauss you do not have to worry about tips as we have included them in the price of your holiday. So, for instance on a 14 night cruise the usual tips will amount to approximately £250 per couple. In addition we tip all our guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some Euro small change with you. Most other companies expect you to tip on each excursion as you go along.
The Noble Caledonia Difference
The majority of vessels on European Rivers are sold in international markets with most owners and operators being based in America, Australia or Continental Europe, many of whom have only recently entered the river cruising market. Their onboard service, cuisine and shore excursions are therefore designed to have a broad appeal to a diverse mix of nationalities.
Established in 1991, Noble Caledonia is fully bonded, family owned and British based. We only market our trips in the UK and our itineraries, shore excursions, food and service are therefore specifically designed for our own market. So, unlike many other vessels, English is the only language used on board and ashore. In addition, the shore programmes and guest speaker presentations are designed to have particular appeal for our travellers, offering a more in-depth and relevant perspective than is possible when the audience is a mix of nationalities brought together on a river vessel.
VALUE FOR MONEY Guests in our category A cabins on the Waltz deck benefit from the following:
When you book a river cruise with Noble Caledonia, you can be assured of value for money with all this included in your cruise price:
— Reservations handled by an experienced, professional travel consultant with first-hand knowledge of the vessel
— Economy class scheduled air travel from London (or the option of train travel or regional airports for some itineraries)
— Airport assistance at check-in (London airports only)
— Accommodation aboard the first-class MS Johann Strauss in a comfortable well-appointed cabin with outside view and en-suite facilities
— All meals aboard the vessel including:
- Early riser pastries
- English buffet breakfast
- Lunch consisting of buffet and served dishes
- Afternoon tea
- Late evening snacks
- Four course dinner with house wine, beer or soft drinks
- Complimentary tea and coffee throughout the day
— Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinner
— Shore excursions including entrance fees and tips to guides and drivers
— English-speaking local guides
— Services of a Cruise Director and efficient onboard staff
— Guest speaker(s)
— Detailed pre-departure information
— All gratuities
— Port taxes
— Airport taxes
— The use of ”Quietvox” earphones on shore excursions
— Fresh fruit plate on arrival
— Free laundry/Press service (up to 3 items per cabin per day)
— Daily cabin service for Continental Breakfast
— Cabin slippers and selection of exclusive toiletries
Our onboard staff
While on board you will be looked after by our team of experienced staff including our Cruise Director, Cesar Perez and our Tour Manager Rodica Ghiserel, both of whom have worked with us for many years. Cesar and Rodica are in daily contact with our London office and the onboard programme is in their capable hands. A daily briefing by the Cruise Director will give you information on the next day’s activities and expert, English-speaking local guides provide insider insights into local culture, architecture, history and traditions. And unlike many other operators, each of our river cruises is accompanied by a guest speaker to help you make the most of it all. Our guest speakers provide entertaining and informative talks as you sail along. They will be constantly available for informal chats, sharing their expertise and anecdotes, as well as accompanying you on shore.
Ever since we chartered the MS Johann Strauss in 2007 we have been fortunate to have the invaluable cooperation of one of the most experienced and friendly Captains sailing the European waterways today. Without compromising the safety of his passengers and his crew, Captain Vasily Mariceanu is well known for boldly going where no other captain has gone before. Master of the MS Johann Strauss since she was commissioned in 2004, Vasily’s training dates back more than thirty years when he started his career in the former USSR’s Navy. Born in the Danube Delta region, he developed a strong relationship with his surrounding natural world from an early age so it wasn’t surprising that after 3 years in the Navy he couldn’t resist the ‘call of the Danube’, where he has been sailing since 1978. His passion for navigation is not limited to the Danube and his knowledge on the Rhine, Main and RMD Canal made him the ideal Captain for our itineraries which stretch from the North Sea to the Black Sea.