Travelmarvel Diamond is aimed at the laidback traveller who doesn't want to pay extra for luxuries such as butlers and unlimited drinks. But don't let the price or classic design suggest this is anything but a premium experience. The crew, food and itineraries are of a similar standard to other cruise lines, delivering remarkable value by comparison.
Refurbished in 2018, the entire ship received new carpet and other subtle enhancements. New block-out curtains were hung in all cabins and suites, while the furniture in the lounge was reupholstered. Dominated by darker shades of brown and blue, the decor is not very modern, but it's in excellent condition.
The onboard atmosphere is casual and friendly; a solo traveller would have no trouble meeting people. Evenings are lively, with most passengers going to the bar to dance or socialise, largely thanks to the generous refilling of free wine at dinner. On the downside, there's nowhere quiet to relax or chat at night as the ship lacks a second bar and the sun deck is often closed to allow safe passing under Europe's low bridges.
There is only one restaurant, which gets noisy, but the dining is superb and offers a choice of dishes for each course. Passengers can opt to eat in the lounge, where a self-serve buffet offers a smaller selection, and conversations are easily heard; however, you'll miss the amusing antics of the waiters, who are a highlight of the trip.
Cabins are comfortable, if a little tight, with most featuring floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors known as French balconies. There are no step-out balconies on the ship, which may be a dealbreaker for some, but the deck at the bow and the sun deck on the roof have plenty of seating for panoramic views of the European scenery in fresh air.
Travelmarvel Diamond does not have an elevator so it is unsuitable for people with mobility issues.
As an Australian company, Travelmarvel attracts a lot of Australians and a few New Zealanders. However, it's also marketed in the United Kingdom, so 20 to 30 percent of passengers are British; sometimes more in the off-peak season. The cruise line caters to English-speaking passengers over 60 -- mostly retired couples -- along with solo travellers and groups of friends. Younger people could also enjoy the sociable days and lively vibe at night. Australians tend to book the 14-night European Gems itinerary, sailing on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, while some Brits just do a seven-night sector from Amsterdam to Nuremberg, or Nuremberg to Budapest (or reverse). There is no elevator so guests need to be capable of walking up and down stairs.
Daytime: Casual and comfortable is the norm during the day, with good walking shoes, hat, sunglasses and possibly a poncho or raincoat. A small backpack is recommended for carrying water, cameras, phones and other necessities.
Evening: There is no strict dress code but most people change into something 'smart casual'. Women tend to wear a nice dress or pants and dressy top; men wear good trousers and collared shirts but a nice T-shirt is fine. Jackets and ties are rarely seen, except some make an extra effort for the captain's welcome and farewell evenings. The cruise has no formal nights or theme nights.
Not permitted: Shorts and swimwear are not permitted at dinner.
The 170-passenger Travelmarvel Jewel offers a comfortable, value-for-money cruising experience that includes some tours and select alcoholic beverages at lunch and dinner, among other perks.
The 170-passenger Travelmarvel Diamond offers a comfortable, value-for-money cruising experience that includes some tours and select alcoholic beverages at lunch and dinner, among other perks.