If your group is tired of travelling by road, why not take to the water or tracks instead? Here are some great options for making the journey part of the experience.

The River Cruise Line offers festive voyages.

THE RIVER CRUISE LINE

Specialising in European river cruises, The River Cruise Line is constantly updating and adding to its programme of four star river trips. This year, with the launch of its new vessel the MS Switzerland II, four new festive breaks have been added to their itineraries – it may seem far ahead, but now is the time to book for group Christmas getaways! These cruises feature the world-renowned German Christmas markets as well as general Christmas and New Year sightseeing trips. Prices start from £429 per person for a four night ‘Rhine Valley Christmas Markets’ trip, departing from Bonn on 6th December. The itinerary includes visits to the walled city of Koblenz as well as Cologne, home to no fewer than five fabulous Christmas markets, each with a different atmosphere. The five day ‘Rhine and Moselle Christmas Markets’ itinerary is priced from £579 per person and includes visits to Bernkastel, a beautiful town on the Moselle River, and the former capital of Germany, Bonn. An eight day ‘Christmas Rhine Cruise’ will cost from £995 per person, cruising from Holland to Germany through the Rhine Gorge and with plenty of festive fun and entertainment on board.

All prices include full board accommodation on board the MS Switzerland II, return ferry crossing, transportation from a number of regional joining points nationwide, and services of a cruise manager. The dedicated groups’ team ensures an excellent level of service and bespoke arrangements for groups.

Telephone: 0844 544 6587

Website: www.rivercruiseline.co.uk

WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY

West Somerset

The railway has got the year off to a great start, opening for February half-term week and seeing their Valentine’s Day package fully sell out, and carrying trains loaded with passengers every weekend. West Somerset Railway packs the year with a wonderful programme of events to make the most of their beautiful surroundings and trains; the Spring Steam Gala runs from March 16th – 24th and will see plenty of guest steam trains running alongside the railway’s own. Following the success of the last Peppa Pig Day, she will be returning four more times in 2013. After listening to customer feedback, West Somerset Railway has even invited her little brother George along this time too! Fireman Sam will be appearing on 4th May and Scooby Doo at Halloween.

The WSR is England’s longest heritage railway. They run steam trains, and some vintage diesel trains, between Bishops Lydeard (four miles from Taunton) and Minehead. Along the way the trains pass through the Quantock Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and between Exmoor and the Bristol Channel. There are ten stations along the route serving a variety of destinations and offering a choice of things to do when passengers alight. Services run most months and daily from late May to the start of October. They welcome groups, and special packages can be arranged including lunch at the Yarn Market Hotel in Dunster, which will open its restaurant specially, giving exclusive use.

Telephone: 01643 700384

Website: www.west-somersetrailway.co.uk

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is offering GTOs the chance to look round their
ships.

FRED OLSEN CRUISE LINES

If your group is interested in heading out to open water, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has just announced some exclusive GTO ship visits for 2013. These special events offer Group Travel Organisers a unique opportunity to see, at first hand, what the award-winning cruise line has to offer its group guests. The first visit is to the Black Watch in Harwich on May 29th, followed by Boudicca in Liverpool on 6th June, and finally Balmoral in Southampton on 2nd July. Each full day visit includes a ‘Welcome Aboard’ Champagne reception, followed by a sales presentation from the experienced Group Sales Team. Guests then enjoy a full tour of the ship, followed by lunch in one of the onboard restaurants with wine, soft drinks, tea and coffee all included.

Ellie Fulcher, Group Sales Manager for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, says: ‘This is an ideal opportunity for GTOs to visit a Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ship in person, and to experience what we have to offer groups at first hand. Our team will be happy to answer any questions they may have and advise on the best option for their specific needs.’

Fred. Olsen has an excellent reputation for group trips; the cruise line was voted ‘Best Cruise Line for Groups’ for three years running and was also the ‘Best Cruise Operator for Groups’ in the Group Travel Awards.

Telephone: 01473 746164

Email: cruise.sales@fredolsen.co.uk

Website: www.fredolsencruises.com