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3 Cologne Riviera Travel Charles Dickens Cruise Reviews

We had previously cruised with Viking, Riviera comes nowhere near. The ship is clean, modern and everything works but sadly both the ship's owners and Riviera just don't seem to know the difference between fair and excellent. ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Viking, Riviera comes nowhere near. The ship is clean, modern and everything works but sadly both the ship's owners and Riviera just don't seem to know the difference between fair and excellent. Let's start with the dining room - we were a party of 4, unless we arrived promptly, and I mean when the barrier was removed, we didn't couldn't have sat together. There is an open seating policy which is great for those who wish to meet people, but what happens is couples come in and each bags a window table (which are for 4 or 6) ignoring the tables for 2 which aren't by the Windows, thus splitting up later arriving groups. Common sense says groups of 4 or more should be able to reserve tables but this is forbidden. Then the Wine, we each paid £100 for the wine with meals package, we didn't expect fine wines but certainly expected better than we were given. We also expected to be shown a list of wines in our package that we could choose from, not so, the choice was red, white or rose. Also the wine service was poor as the only wine waiter seemed to concentrate on selling wine to those not on the package rather than giving it to those who had already paid for it. Compare this with Viking where the wines are free for everyone, chosen to match the menus, change on a daily basis and are of a far better standard. Now the food, not bad but certainly never even nearly gourmet, the waiters all work hard but there is a total lack of organisation. Each waiter takes orders for all the tables in their section before handing them all in at once, then the food is plated up and all of one choice delivered, then the next choice, consequently even though we were generally sat together we were rarely ever served together. Oh and you have to order your desert at the outset along with your starter and main. Apart from the ship's pianist there was a total lack of evening entertainment, not even a quiz. We'd expected local musicians and performers to come onboard, other ships had them but not us. The programme gave us 3 days with no organised excursions but we were surprised to find there were no optional ones on these days either apart from a ride on a petit-train to avoid the long walk in to one town we stopped at. For the organised excursions we were split into 3 groups, now it's not rocket science to realise that some river cruise guests will have mobility issues, therefore have one group following a lighter schedule - again Viking do this. Riviera take no prisoners here and each group had half a dozen poor souls huffing and puffing at the back desperately trying to keep up. Most river cruise ships seem to cruise through the night and arrive around breakfast time, we tended to set sail around 4am and arrive after lunch, thus cutting short our time in the towns we visited, also we always seemed to have the worst moorings. In Basel we spent 2 nights on an industrial estate next to a container terminal, I took a taxi in to the centre and there were 16 Swiss franks on the meter as we drove past lots of other cruise ships parked within walking distance of the town. Why? Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We had never been on a river cruise and Riveria Cruises were recommended to us. The Charles Dickens was very clean, tidy, cabin was fine and the crew and staff very friendly and helpful. The food was varied with always a meat, fish and ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise and Riveria Cruises were recommended to us. The Charles Dickens was very clean, tidy, cabin was fine and the crew and staff very friendly and helpful. The food was varied with always a meat, fish and vegetarian option. Cold starters, soup and various cold meats and cheeses along with fruit and yoghurt for breakfast. The full English breakfast was catered for too. We did the fine dining one evening and were suitably impressed with the 8 courses. There was plenty of room in the dining room, lounge and on the sun deck for everyone. We found it very relaxing sitting on deck watching the world go by and enjoyed the many different scenes along the Rhine from Cologne to Basel. We had the opportunity to visit the Captain on the bridge who explained why the bridge had to be able to go up and down when encountering low bridges. We would definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Starting with the positives - the ship was lovely and the itinerary was great. We really enjoyed the ports of call. The cruise director was excellent and the on-board pianist/musician & bar staff did a really good job. ... Read More
Starting with the positives - the ship was lovely and the itinerary was great. We really enjoyed the ports of call. The cruise director was excellent and the on-board pianist/musician & bar staff did a really good job. Unfortunately, the dining experience was not very good (with 3 exceptions) and was more 'school dinners' rather than the 5-star fine dining we were looking forward to. The exceptions were: the fine dining experience in Marley's Bar (could only really book this once on the trip), the Captain's dinner and the Chef's dinner. The breakfasts were acceptable although there was a lack of non-sugary unadulterated cereals. There perhaps could also have been a bit more imagination and variation in the buffet offerings. The lunches were very variable in quality. The evening meals were mostly poor - sometimes rehashed lunch items done a 'different way'. We felt sorry for the waiting staff who obviously had not been properly trained in how to take orders, clear the tables between courses and the general etiquette in serving. There was no obvious leadership from the maitre 'd. We have always loved Riviera holidays and have also had a really good river cruise experience with another company. So, based on this latest cruise we won't be recommending Riviera river cruises to our friends and family until we have evidence that the company they have sub-contracted the on-board services to have radically improved. To be fair to Rivienra they have responded positively to the email I sent them and so I hope they act on my feedback. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Charles Dickens Ratings
Category Editor Member

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