We arrived in Copenhagen ready for our 3-night stay visiting cruise ships and the delights of this dynamic and metropolitan City. Norwegian airlines were our chosen carrier and we enjoyed a pleasant, no frills flight. On arrival, we caught the train to Copenhagen Central straight from the airport. The rail system was easy to navigate and ran on time, which was refreshing!
We stayed for three nights at the Tivoli Hotel and conference centre, which was a short walk from the railway station. We found the accommodation pricey and although the standard of the rooms adequate, there were no luxuries and bedrooms were small.
On our first evening, we took advice from our concierge and walked to the meat packing district nearby and enjoyed a delicious Thai meal. There was a good choice of restaurants and bars but they carried a high price tag. Alcoholic drinks averaged £7-15 pounds depending on your tipple and location of bar, and food was similarly priced. We found some places were double the cost we would expect to pay in the UK.
Saturday morning arrived with heavy rain but undeterred we set off for our first ship visit to see the Regal Princess. Princess Cruises welcomed us with a ship tour of all their many lounges and entertainment venues. Highlights were the Sanctuary, an exclusive spa area for adults with a luxurious Retreat Pool filled with Jacuzzis and heated beds (chargeable) and then Princess Cruises’ Sea Walk, where you step out with glass below your feet and of course the wonderful concept of Movies under the Stars.
Conferencing began with a welcome from CLIA and then some interesting and engaging lectures from the vice president of Princess Cruises and the CEO of Celestyal Cruises identifying and highlighting the importance of destination and current trends.
An enjoyable lunch followed in the Allegro Restaurant before debarking for our tour at Visit Carlsberg. Unfortunately, the weather was against us and we were greeted by the Carlsberg Team with ponchos to keep us dry. The tour covers the history of the beer, the working processes, you visit the stables but most importantly sample the world–famous Danish beer!
Our day concluded with an evening in Tivoli Gardens, we were welcomed with a drinks reception before being shown into the park. We had a wonderful evening enjoying the fairground rides, watching and listening to the local entertainment whilst wandering through the lush gardens. There are lots of restaurants and bars to lose yourself in and soak up the friendly atmosphere. Saturday evenings conclude with a fantastic firework display at around 2300hrs.
On day 3 we re-joined our travel colleagues for a visit aboard NCL's Norwegian Getaway. We received a very warm welcome from the team at NCL before stepping aboard this Superliner. NCL grade their ships as premium all-inclusive, so once UK guests embark, all drinks (including premium brands), bottled water and tips are included in their cruise holiday. The ship offers over 25 dining options, some chargeable, an open-air promenade, water slides, a huge casino and Broadway musical productions. Once embarked we were treated to a sample show called ‘Burn the Floor ' which was fantastic! The dancers are all champions in their countries and the show was one of the best I've ever seen at sea.
Our conference today was again about destination knowledge and highlighted the importance of this when selling a cruise holiday. A highlight for me was a lecture from Robin West, representing Seabourn cruises. He has been running their Expedition sailings for over 10 years and his imagery and knowledge was second to none for those wanting to visit Alaska or Antarctica.
Lunch was held in the main restaurant and I was lucky enough to be seated with Robin and listen to more of his travel tales and experiences. Antarctica has always interested me with its vast collection of penguins and spectacular scenery but now I am determined to get there.
I was pleasantly surprised by the ship and the service we received on board. She carries just under 4,000 passengers and she's very well suited to the family market and her facilities easily rival her competitors in this area. The inclusivity of the ship represents fantastic value for passengers, particularly families and there is endless entertainment to keep everyone occupied.
In the late afternoon, we enjoyed a Copenhagen Canal Tour with guide. The sun came out and we experienced the highlights Copenhagen offers. We saw the Opera House, Christiansburg Palace and of course, the Little Mermaid, sat on her rock surrounded by tourists.
Our stay concluded with a Gala Dinner at Copenhagen City Hall, more recently used by tv shows for filming. As one of Copenhagen’s highest buildings dating back to 1892, we felt privileged to be invited by our hosts and enjoyed local music and food and drinks.
Our last day was filled with trade fairs, where we could meet other travel suppliers and cruise lines to further improve our knowledge. Copenhagen’s best attractions were on hand to further entice visitors to their cosmopolitan city and showcase what was on offer.
After a busy few days we headed home. Our short flight (1hr 40 mins) took us to London Gatwick and we now look forward to sharing our experiences with our clients.
Written by Alison Waterfield-Jones, Sussex Cruise Club
Contact Alison on 01243 871663
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