Mystery Shopper: Cruise specialists

Wanted: A couple are looking to try a river cruise for the first time, somewhere warm in October, for between seven and 10 days.

Budget: £6,500 but flexible

The website homepage wasn’t very exciting, but it was incredibly quick to find information.

My call was answered relatively quickly and the agent was extremely friendly and enthusiastic. She asked detailed questions and drew on personal experience and sent details on email. Scenic’s 10-day Jewels of Europe cruise was £9,680, which was well overbudget.

The second option was the line’s 11-day Gems of the Danube, with a Prague extension, costing £6,718. While both exceeded my budget I would have booked the second option.

I would recommend this service as I felt the agent was truly eager to findme the best cruise.

Addison Cruises

I wasn’t able to get any information about river cruises from the website but my call was answered immediately.

The friendly agent took time to explain everything. I was sent two options on email. A 10-night trip with Scenic included a stay in Prague and a seven-night cruise to Budapest for £6,938.

The second trip, with Uniworld on the Danube, also included a stay in Prague and cost £7,458. Both were overbudget.

The Cruise Specialists

On this site I was directed to fill out a form to get prices.

A friendly agent picked up after two rings and sent me an email with two options: a Danube cruise on Viking Prestige for seven nights at £5,690 and a 14-night Danube cruise with AmaWaterways for £10,972.

I wasn’t given any recommendations during the call. While polite, the agent didn’t seem enthusiastic and appeared to be in a hurry to get off the phone.


The specialists struggled to find an appropriate cruise within the budget, but the top two agents gave great service and the winner drew on personal experience.

Winning Agent

Lyndsay Patterson, travel consultant
“I have worked in travel most of my life and two years ago my boss introduced me to river cruising with Tauck and I have never looked back. The training through Clia and river fam trips are essential, and river cruising is just an amazing holiday. My customers love the river experience and trust my recommendations.”

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