In APT Travelmarvel, News

Earlier this week I was invited by APT, for the VIP pre-night of the CLIA Riverview conference in Amsterdam onboard their ship, the Travelmarvel Polaris.

APT (short for Australian Pacific Touring) is owned by an Australian family, and onboard you can understand with the small touches that you would only find in a family business.


TravelMarvel Polaris

TravelMarvel Polaris

First impressions count, and through the mistiness of a March day in Amsterdam, the Polaris looked excellent from the river bank, with dark tinted windows and line of electric bikes outside. Once onboard, like many other river ships, you’re immediately into the lobby – left being the communal areas, and right being the cabins and suites.

You’ll be really happy with the cabins, I certainly was. My cabin was 204 on the middle deck, just two down from reception which meant a short walk to the lounge and restaurant (Constellations). It was a really decent size, with plenty of room to walk around the bed, and two seats next to floor to ceiling window.


Polaris - French Balcony 2024 (middle deck)

Polaris – French Balcony, Middle Deck

There was quite a lot of discussion during the morning as to what to call them. It’s essentially a split window, where the top part slides down to give you the feeling of a balcony, without it being an extra space and taking space out of the room. They wanted to call it a ‘French Balcony’, but apparently, it’s not French!

There are all the inclusions you would normally find on a modern ship. After all, the Polaris (and its sister ships) are only a couple of years old. There is free wifi throughout the ship, which I can attest is reasonably fast (although the ship was half full, it was fast enough to stream video). One of my bugbears when going to hotels is not having enough plug sockets (or even worse plug sockets you can’t find) or not being able to turn all the lights off. Not a problem here, everything is logical and compact, and easy to find. For those who are concerned about storage, there was a reasonable-sized wardrobe and plenty of drawers.

The bathroom is small but has everything you would expect, including some very nice toiletries, a decent shower and a hairdryer.


TravelMarvel Polaris, Bathroom

TravelMarvel, Bathroom


Another point we hear regularly is whether cabins can be noisy. I was just two away from reception, with a live band still playing in the lounge, and I couldn’t hear them. We were also docked right next to a main road in Amsterdam, and I couldn’t hear that during the night either, so I think it would be absolutely fine, even for the lightest of sleepers.

Joining for a special VIP night, I had the opportunity to experience the Captain’s welcome dinner, a five-course menu with a choice of starter, main course and dessert. The food was excellent, and not what you would have expected of a 4* ship. (The same could be said about breakfast, with a decent-sized buffet, and ample tea or coffee).


Captain’s Dinner - Sea Bass Main

Captain’s Dinner – Sea Bass Main


The lounge upstairs has lots of comfy seating and sofas surrounding a bar and dancefloor. It’s an excellent multipurpose room, and great for observing the countryside if the weather isn’t great like a grey day in Amsterdam. In front of the bar is another smaller lounge with sofas, and a stairwell onto the deck, and another outside seating area at the front. At the back is McGeary’s Bar, an English pub concept, which also does pub-style meals.


Polaris - Lounge

Polaris – Lounge

APT has two river cruise brands. Travelmarvel is 4* premium, and APT is 5*. The biggest difference between the two is the inclusions, with APT being more hand-held, over Travelmarvel’s flexibility, rather than the standard of the ship. No more is this evident than on the Douro, where its ship will have both Travelmarvel and APT departures. For next year, there are also going to be dedicated UK & Ireland departures, and entertainment tweaked to our tastes. The Highlights of the Danube cruise have new stops at Passau and Bratislava.

Currently, APT uses AMA Waterways ships on the European rivers, which will change in 2025 with their own newly-built and configured 5* ships – the Ostara and Solara. Each will carry 154 passengers and 60 crew with an onboard spa, gym and e-bikes.

For next year (2025) there are some excellent early booking offers on Travelmarvel. There is free business class for all Travelmarvel guests, free onboard drinks package – all with a £99 per person deposit. This with savings of up to £1000.

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