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5 Budapest Riviera Travel Charles Dickens Cruise Reviews

Friends had already booked and we had always wanted to try a river cruise (have done many ocean cruises) but wanted to be part of a group of friends so joined up as itinerary sounded an interesting one which it was. Budapest - Estergom - ... Read More
Friends had already booked and we had always wanted to try a river cruise (have done many ocean cruises) but wanted to be part of a group of friends so joined up as itinerary sounded an interesting one which it was. Budapest - Estergom - Bratislava - Durnstein-Melk- Linz (for Salzburg) - Vienna- Budapest. All interesting. NB its an hour and a half coach trip each way to get to Salzburg from Linz. Thought much of the daytime river scenery apart from the Wachau Valley element was a bit boring - mainly loads of trees on both banks! Other parts were done at night so its more about the stops rather than the cruising. Embarking was hopeless as Riviera UK had given us the wrong pier address and as we were on a cruise only package we then had to phone the UK to find out where it actually was moored and they said the wrong place again. When we phoned the emergency ship number we were told it was about 5k away in the other direction so incurred extra taxi costs. The ship is only chartered by Riviera Travel and is operated by Select voyages so crew are not Riviera staff just the cruise Director and Tour Manger. The navigation crew generally looked a bit scruffy with jeans and Tshirts most of the time, though they were all friendly. Only saw the captain in uniform t the safety briefing and welcome dinners. The ship is only two years old so in good condition and with an excellent housekeeping team always seemed spotlessly clean. Hotel Manager was very friendly. Staff ensured all pax always used hand sanitisers so felt health safety was being well controlled. Rooms were actually bigger than I had imagined so they exceeded our expectations. Enough hanging space for a week. Plenty of shelving (with a safe on one) plus a few drawers. Empty Suitcases fit under beds. Flat screen TV. Compact bathroom with shower only but big enough again for a week for sure. The two Riviera Staff on board the cruise Director and Tour manager were friendly and engaging but on the whole always looked a bit scruffy. Shirt hanging out etc...? Food and beverage was a bit hit and miss though. The bar staff always seemed a bit stretched and apart from one waitress who was very pleasant were a bit surly and miserable. They were expected to help in the restaurant during meal services so couldn't understand why the restaurant staff couldn't help the they were busy pre meals?? Breakfast buffet was excellent with plenty of choice plus an excellent egg station. Lunch was again buffet style and generally OK. Dinner varied from fairly good on the welcome dinner and final captains dinners to fairly average the other other nights. The "Fine Dining" experience in the rear "Marley's Bar" was not bad but the room itself had big aircon problems that evening and was just incredibly hot which rather spoilt it and generally everyone only gets one chance per cruise to try this as the room is pretty small. To be fair the hotel manager comped a couple of the service staff came across as a bit surly though once you got to know them they were much better. The menus on normal nights seemed to be somewhat basic and restricted based on a fairly tight budget allowance I would think. Marley Bar never operated as a Bar and is just really a tea coffee / water station all day with some fruit and cookies (though once these ran out that was it they were not replenished). The Welcome drink at the two special evenings was a half glass of sparkling wine. A top up would have been nice! Same app;lied to late night snacks if you didnt get in quickly they soon disappeared. Bar prices generally seemed pretty fair and the house wine at euro 19 per litre was fair value. Our drinks bill for the week came to c euro 250 per cabin sticking with the house wine. Most other wines were around euro 28 per 75cl bottle. Having done a number of upmarket ocean cruises with Silversea maybe I was expecting too much. The cost worked out at about £300 per day per person so similar to a repositioning silversea voyage. Afraid no contest! Riviera Travel staff guest ratio is nowhere near an ocean cruise. they also do a lot of coach party touring and it felt a bit like that on this river cruise. Afraid we all felt we wouldn't bother doing another with Riviera Travel again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We were well taken care of from start to finish. The ship was only 10 months old, spotlessly clean and comfortable. Food was beautifully presented with plenty of choice. Service was good. However, my friend was vegetarian. The company was ... Read More
We were well taken care of from start to finish. The ship was only 10 months old, spotlessly clean and comfortable. Food was beautifully presented with plenty of choice. Service was good. However, my friend was vegetarian. The company was informed of this at the time of booking. There was no choice on offer and only one vegetarian main dish on the menu at dinner. If you didn't like it you were stuffed. The head chef was very apologetic and offered to cook anything she fancied, and he did. He told us the company decided the menus. The highlight of the entertainment was the string quartet that came on-board one evening. All excursions are included in the price and were excellent. The guides, crew and Riviera hosts could not be faulted. They even checked us in the day before for our flight home. I would have given Riviera 5 stars if it hadn't been for the hassle in the dining room my friend had.. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first experience of a river cruise, having previously undertaken 2 ocean cruises (Western Med + Baltic & St Petersburg). We travelled on the Danube and visited some beautiful cities on the cruise, including Vienna, ... Read More
This was our first experience of a river cruise, having previously undertaken 2 ocean cruises (Western Med + Baltic & St Petersburg). We travelled on the Danube and visited some beautiful cities on the cruise, including Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Chose Riviera as we have had positive experience of their city breaks. However, we were surprised (sorry if this causes offence) to find the average age of our fellow travellers to be around mid-70's, and some of the older travellers in their 80's limited to some extent with mobility problems. If you are around retirement age or under, it may be worth considering the companies with a higher ratio of US travellers as we noticed on neighbouring boats their average age appeared 50-60. Having dealt with that bit of ageism, I have to say there were many positives about this trip. Here are some of my thoughts about the differences on a river cruise to an ocean cruise; + More closely connected to passing scenery + Berths more likely to be right in the heart of a city for easy walking access + Much smaller vessel, so very easy to orient oneself to - Limited range of onboard activities - Smaller cabin size, although comfortable and well designed - Limited lounge facilities The dining standard was very good, but then our experience of ocean cruises dining was also excellent, and with more variety in terms of options. Hope that's of some use to anyone considering a river cruise, and apologies if it appears overly discriminatory to our more mature fellow passengers :-( Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
All I can say, is what a wonderful holiday .. a river cruise on the Danube. Our ship, the Charles Dickens was on its 7th trip. With just 140 passengers, there was a main dining room and a small dining room at the stern (back) of the ship, ... Read More
All I can say, is what a wonderful holiday .. a river cruise on the Danube. Our ship, the Charles Dickens was on its 7th trip. With just 140 passengers, there was a main dining room and a small dining room at the stern (back) of the ship, where we could have had a fine-dining experience. This was the place where complimentary tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits could be had 24/7. Also where an early breakfast could be had. The dining room was very well set out, with tables of varying sizes. People could sit wherever they liked and with whoever they liked. And no evening dress either, just smart/casual, which suited us down to the ground. Dinner was served at the tables, whilst lunch and breakfast were buffet style. Excellent choice in all cases. The lounge was very comfortable, with its bar and pianist, and plenty of room for all the passengers for the tour guide talks. Our cabin was on the top deck with adequate space, and we loved our Juliet balcony. Tea, coffee and water were always available in the cabins. There were different types of chairs available on the sun deck, with large canopies for those that don't like sitting in the sun. The chairs were placed in twos and fours not long lines like we saw on some other ships. At some of the mooring places, ships were two and sometimes three deep. This meant that we had to walk through their 'hallways' to disembark. We didn't see another ship that we liked better. All the staff were professional and courteous, from the captain right down to the cabin staff. Our tour guides were excellent. All trips off the boat were well organised, with packed lunch thrown in if necessary. As for Riviera Travel .. an excellent company, organising everything to the last detail. We loved our cruise so much, we've already booked another with the same company in April 2016, to Bruges, Medieval Flanders and the bulb fields. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Have just returned from a Danube river cruise on Riviera Travel's Charles Dickens. The whole holiday was wonderful - the ship is beautiful and the places we visited were interesting and varied. The ship is very well planned, ... Read More
Have just returned from a Danube river cruise on Riviera Travel's Charles Dickens. The whole holiday was wonderful - the ship is beautiful and the places we visited were interesting and varied. The ship is very well planned, beautifully appointed and spotless throughout. Staff were always pleasant and helpful and we were thoroughly pampered. The food was of a very high standard and whilst drinks aren't included in the price of the cruise the bar prices were competitive. Coffee/tea making facilities and fresh water were both in our cabin and available in the smaller of the two dining areas 24 hours a day (along with biscuits!) - and chilled water was welcome during the very hot days - it was also nice to be able to fill our water bottles before leaving on excursions instead of being sold water as so many companies do! Fine dining in the smaller restaurant was available at no extra charge but we didn't eat there as the food and service in the dining room was so good. The Riviera staff of Mandy and Cassie were superb - nothing was too much trouble and everything was highly organised and they were unfailingly professional and very friendly. Gratuities for the ship staff (entirely optional of course) are left in an envelope at reception at the end of the cruise and divided equally amongst the staff, an idea which we liked. Would highly recommend this holiday - we enjoyed it thoroughly from start to finish. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Charles Dickens Ratings
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