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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Our family decided to take a Christmas Market cruise but wanted to spend time in London. We selected ARosa because of their selection of 4-day itineraries and their moderate pricing . We had no doubts about the ports of call but were ... Read More
Our family decided to take a Christmas Market cruise but wanted to spend time in London. We selected ARosa because of their selection of 4-day itineraries and their moderate pricing . We had no doubts about the ports of call but were somewhat concerned about the communication and food offerings on a german-based cruise line. Once on-board what we found was a beautiful, spotless boat, an amazing crew and a surprising variety of food offerings. There were only a few Americans on board but the crew went out of our their way to make us feel welcome. From the welcome talk to the pre port presentations, all were givenfirst in German and then in English despite only a few Americans on board. All US booking are all-inclusive with a full drink package. The only thing not offered are guided tours in English but we did not find that a problem as good information was offer for each stop. We booked a Jr Suite which proved to be a good value as among other perks, free laundry service and a stocked mini bar was included. The dress was casual and the atmosphere was relaxed at all times. We opted to upgrade our final nights dinner to wine pairing dining event, which proved to be a fun and elegant evening. Everyone in our party agreed that we would recommend Arosa to anyone. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this Christmas Markets tour because it included cities we know and love: Aachen, Cologne, Rudisheim, Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Strassburg and Colmar. Although cruising the Rhine became problematic after a year of historic heat and ... Read More
We chose this Christmas Markets tour because it included cities we know and love: Aachen, Cologne, Rudisheim, Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Strassburg and Colmar. Although cruising the Rhine became problematic after a year of historic heat and low river levels, Tauck found a way to make it all work seamlessly, instituting a "ship swap" half way through. Yes, it is inconvenient to have to pack up and unpack again, but Tauck saw to it that it was a minor inconvenience. Our bags were left packed in our room, and when we got to our new ship and almost identical room, there were our bags. We give them a lot of credit for insuring we got to the places we wanted to see and minimized the inconvenience. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas; the crew was festive and jovial. The smaller ship made it easy to meet people and share information. Our tour directors were very knowledgeable and our city guides were very good, one, Markus, in Cologne, not only good but very funny. Tauck really has these trips down to a fine art. Transfers are on time, without making you feel rushed. The MS Grace had lovely spaces, a great dining room, a nice alternative casual dining spot, a huge lounge, and a great large walking deck up top with the hottest hot tub I have ever experienced. We felt like cherished guests our entire time on the ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We commenced a 14 day cruise starting from Cologne and due to finish in Budapest. We were oblivious to the low water problems before we left. It was obvious from day 3 that there were serious river level issues. Perfect Recipe for holiday ... Read More
We commenced a 14 day cruise starting from Cologne and due to finish in Budapest. We were oblivious to the low water problems before we left. It was obvious from day 3 that there were serious river level issues. Perfect Recipe for holiday stress. We received conflicting updates , missed 2 itinerary stops , had the Nuremberg visit seriously shortened and then didn’t cruise any further from day 7 being moored near Straubing. We were taken on some time filling bus trips until finally the axe fell and we were told by the cruise manager that the trip was being curtailed and we would be flown home from Munich. We were duly despatched from the ship at 4 30am We never got to see Vienna or Budapest. This trip should never have been allowed to commence with such uncertainty and by running it and ruining it we won’t get the opportunity again to visit those special cities. This was the most expensive holiday we have ever booked and was a total and absolute calamity. We were the victims of indecision and procrastination for had the trip been cancelled at least we would have had the opportunity to re book . Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Traveled before with Riviera. Wanted to try a river cruise as the advertising and hype suggested it would be a wonderful 5* holiday and worth the expense. Can't fault the ship. Clean and well maintained. Cabin and bathroom ... Read More
Traveled before with Riviera. Wanted to try a river cruise as the advertising and hype suggested it would be a wonderful 5* holiday and worth the expense. Can't fault the ship. Clean and well maintained. Cabin and bathroom decent size. A fridge is needed though. Ice was NOT always available as advertised. Food extremely good but no choice of wine other than red, white or rose on the drinks package. The staff were friendly and efficient but short on the ground in the dining room and it was a free for all when it came to finding a dining table. Painist very competent but the lack of evening entertainment really needs addressed. Captain's night was decent. Great food but the entertainment was provided by way of a crew show. Seemed like cheap entertainment to us. Some moorings were anything but scenic. Ship often docked at lunchtime losing part of some days to go ashore. Tours itinerary good but some trips far too rushed. We enjoyed the cruise. It promised a lot, but overall was somewhat disappointing. Riviera need to address certain aspects of their river cruises if they really want to provide the 5* they promised. We will return to sea cruising. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We booked the cruise to celebrate 30 years together, it’s hard to believe how much things have changed for same sex couples over those years! Once we were through security, we booked into the Number 1 lounge at Birmingham Airport, ... Read More
We booked the cruise to celebrate 30 years together, it’s hard to believe how much things have changed for same sex couples over those years! Once we were through security, we booked into the Number 1 lounge at Birmingham Airport, and after the family with the horrible toddler who for some reason had been given a whistle had left, we relaxed until our flight which was a nice start to the holiday. We seemed to attract families with noisy children as opposite us, there were two more noisy children, but to be fair, their parents tried their best to settle them down. Well, the mother did, and told the father off just as much as the kids! Bonus number one of a river cruise. No kids! We arrived in Dusseldorf at around 5.30pm, had collected our luggage and were on the coach by 6pm. However, getting to the ship in Bonn, (our revised departure port), was delayed due to roadworks and an accident. We got to the ship just before 8pm. On the way, our tour guide, Barbara, introduced herself and briefly went through what would happen. She kept mentioning the “beautiful” Jane Austen – surely it’s for us to work that out for ourselves? (Turns out she was right, it is a very beautiful ship!) To be fair, that was really the only annoying “American” thing we noticed, there were certainly no endless art auctions, photographers, over enthusiastic staff, etc, and with a kettle in our cabin, it was easy to feel at home straightaway! On arrival, before we could give our names, we were given our keys and shown to our cabin! It was lovely to be called Mr & Mr – we’ve been on holidays (even our honeymoon) to find our booking is under Mr & Mrs! The cabin is compact, but certainly well laid out, and I was delighted to find that my request for non-feather bedding had been sorted. Two bottles of water are offered each day, but the tap water is perfectly drinkable. As it was getting late, we went straight to dinner and sat with two other couples, who became firm friends, along with lots of other passengers! The food was excellent – served to the table rather than buffet style – and took advantage of our pre-booked wine package – I’m not sure we got our money’s worth, to be honest, but it’s nice not to have any nasty surprises at the end of the holiday. The food was delicious throughout the cruise – I can honestly say that there was nothing we didn’t like for the whole duration. Portions were adequate, and you could chop and change items, and have double portions without any problems. Dietary requirements were well catered for. At the end of the meal, we had an unexpected surprise from our cruise.co.uk travel agent – a cake with a huge sparkler to wish us happy anniversary, which was a lovely and unexpected touch. After dinner, we quickly unpacked – there was more than enough space for everything, and plenty of good quality wooden hangers (the normal ones which also let you hang them over the shower, rather the fiddly ones some places use). There were electricity sockets by both beds, making charging easy, however, they are two pin rather than three pin, so an adaptor is necessary. The cabin included an umbrella along with tea/coffee/milk for the kettle. Other sorts of teas and infusions were available for free in the Lido on the top deck, which doubles as a separate restaurant. For this cruise, it turned out that the menu was Indian – coming from Birmingham, we thought we’d rather eat in the main restaurant as we found the variety and company of other guests excellent. Had the menu been an Indonesian “Rijsttafel” (commonly found in the Netherlands), we would have been very tempted – after all, the head Chef was Indonesian and the captain was Dutch… Once we’d unpacked, we decided to have a short stroll around Bonn – that’s the beauty of many river cruises, you’re normally docked near enough to walk to somewhere interesting – having been to Cologne in the past, Bonn was an unexpected bonus. With the exception of Strasbourg where we had a coach transfer, all moorings were within 5-10 minutes of the centre, making it easy to have an evening stroll. Day 2 - Koblenz After a night’s sleep (with very fierce but essential air conditioning), we woke up for breakfast. There was plenty of choice, although the hot food/egg station was quite cramped and perhaps the sauces could have been put elsewhere on the main buffet. The safety briefing was done in a professional manner, then there was an orientation talk about Koblenz. One excellent feature was a map of the route along with maps and information on all of the places we were going to visit which had been provided in a folder in the cabin. I do wish sea cruises would follow this example, rather than giving rather limited information late in the night before (if at all, with some cruise lines). For the rest of the morning, we found a shady spot at the front of the ship and very much enjoyed watching the magical castles and towns sail by, chatting to other passengers. All too soon it was lunchtime, which was served buffet style, with the exception of soup. A lighter lunch is also served on the Lido – and on a couple of occasions, I went up to get the hot option which I brought back to the restaurant to join the others. The beef stir fry was particularly nice, but it didn’t stop me having a few things from the restaurant buffet too! After lunch, we were given a short orientation tour of Koblenz, including the Deutches Eck and town centre, then had time for a stroll around and a cuppa before going back to the ship in time to change for the Captain’s welcome reception which was taking place at 6.30pm. Along with the Farewell Gala Dinner, this was the only evening where there was one sitting. I took the Maitre d’s advice and had a double portion of the pork wrapped in bacon, which was delicious. There was always a meat, fish and veggie option on the menu, and although most nights there wasn’t any choice of starter/desserts, well thought out substitutes were made depending on dietary requirements. Later in the evening, we had a stroll back to the Deutsches Eck which took less than five minutes, then around town, stopping for a drink on the way back. Bars seemed to close their outside areas at 11, but we found a lovely place with a good view. Day 3 – Rhine Gorge/Rüdesheim Breakfast was served until 9.30, so there was no rush to get up. The morning was spent cruising down the Rhine Gorge, which really should be called the “Rhine Gorgeous”! Again, the scenery was stunning, and the morning passed very quickly. There was a commentary on deck (perhaps the voxboxes could have been used), then there was an explanatory talk about Rüdesheim. There was an optional extra of the landtrain/mechanical museum visit for €15. The landtrain didn’t take long to get to the Mechanical Museum. It’s an absolute must do – housed in a very old building, the lady taking us round really brought the machines to life in the most magical way. After an icecream sundae we walked around town and ended up back on the ship before we knew it – the mooring was so near the town, we didn’t use the train coming back, although it was useful for people who couldn’t walk very far. After dinner, we somehow missed the organised walk into town, but found a lovely bar on Drosselgasse where there was live music, then a singer – it’s a lovely little street with plenty of evening atmosphere. Day 4 – Speyer Another leisurely morning of breakfast, orientation talk, cruising and lunch seemed to vanish quickly. We had a choice of going to the technical museum or into town. As the weather was exceptionally hot, and the museum was mainly in the open air, we decided to go into town. After a short orientation tour, we went to the Jewish Museum and saw the ancient Mikva (ritual bath) which being below ground, was nice and cool. Speyer has a nice enough high street and we found somewhere for a soft drink to people watch. We’d also been recommended to visit the beer garden of one of the Domhof, which was a really great suggestion. We sat and had another drink, then walked through the park to get back to the ship. That night, there was a staff show which was very entertaining, and included a short pantomime – I’ve no idea what the crew must have thought, but the British crowd understood all of the jokes! Afterwards, people were dancing, but we decided to go to the top deck as there was a little breeze. Day 5 – Strasbourg Perhaps as we were going through some locks, the orientation talk was at 9.30, so we got up a little earlier on this day, even though we weren’t going to get to Strasbourg until after lunch. The scenery was more industrial, but the time seemed to pass quickly yet again. On arrival, we got into coaches and had a tour of Strasbourg which is very pretty. It’s a shame we didn’t have time to go to see the Parliament, and it wasn’t mentioned by the guide. Being exceptionally pro-EU, I bought a lovely EU-flag umbrella and a wind up musical toy that plays the EU anthem (Ode to Joy). Other views were undoubtedly available on the cruise! The previous day, we’d very kindly been sent an invitation to a pre-dinner celebratory drinks reception in the Lido. It wasn’t really surprising that so many people were there as this was a lovely way to celebrate an occasion, and the air conditioning struggled to cope, so most of us went back to the lounge with our celebratory drink. We sat for dinner with our usual friends, most unfortunately one of the waiters was rather rude to one of our party. She simply mentioned that she didn’t have a side plate for her bread, somehow he managed to drop her bread on the floor, then told her that he had other tables to serve! The incident resulted in a bottle of wine being offered. It really was the only unfortunate incident as generally the service was impeccable, especially from Merhan, who helped me learn some Bulgarian as that’s the location for our next trip!! After dinner, there was a fun music quiz in the lounge which made the evening pass quickly. It’s fair to say that there wasn’t much entertainment on the ship, but with the exception of Strasbourg, where we sailed away at 8pm, we were generally docked very close to somewhere if you wanted a stroll, making it a very different holiday to a sea cruise. Day 6 – Titisee / Breisach It was a bit of a shock to have to get to breakfast for 7.30 so we could get to Titisee. Our guide on the coach turned out to be British, making jokes like the roads were designed by “Herr Pinn”. He was quite informative and joked he’d “Brexited” many years ago! The drive, which took about 1h30, was very picturesque. We had a couple of hours in Titisee, which included a short talk about cuckoo clocks, then after a “Black Forest Cake” (or some sausages in my case), we had a look around. We’d left it too late to do a cruise on the lake, but in the full sun it was probably just as well. Most shops sold cuckoo clocks along with the usual tourist stuff. The drive back was less scenic and took about an hour and lunch was waiting for us when we got back at about 13.30. After lunch, I wandered into Breisach, but my husband decided to have a sleep as it was so hot (about 37C). There was a castle up a hill, but at that temperature, I simply had a short walk around town, which was fairly workaday with not too much to see apart from the castle which was perched on a hill, and I didn’t fancy walking that far in the scorching heat. As the next day was going to be very busy, the disembarkation presentation took place this evening. It was followed by a talk about the next day’s tour (including a warning that not everything would be in English when we got to Switzerland – apparently some people had moaned about things being in German in Germany!)! The evening continued with the Captain introducing all the staff and crew before the Farewell Drink and Dinner. Once again, the food was excellent and I had a mixture of both corn-fed chicken and a rösti which was the vegetarian option. Day 7 – Bernese Oberland/Lucerne The last full day was very long and undoubtedly the highlight. Even though Switzerland isn’t in the EU, it is in the Schengen area and a member of the EEA, so there were no passport formalities, which could have made the day even longer. After breakfast we picked up our packed lunch, a sandwich (or gluten free alternative!) along with salad, chocolate biscuits, fruit and juices. Our coach was supposed to leave at 8, but during breakfast it was announced that it would leave at 8.15, only to finally leave at 8.20. So much for Swiss timing! Groups 1 and 2 left 30 minutes earlier than Group 3, as there wasn’t enough room on the train for all of us. Our guide actually lived in Richmond (North Yorkshire) and came over for the summer season. To be honest, we’ve had better guides and he seemed a little confused at times. We arrived at Wilderwil at about 10.30, just enough time to use the facilities (there are none on the train) and caught the old cog railway up the mountain. We sat near the driver, so didn’t have the best view, it’s probably best to be nearer the centre of the train rather than at the front or back. There wasn’t much information about what to do on top, a sign did say Alpine Garden, but I didn’t hear anyone saying they’d been. There is a self-service café at the top where everyone ate their packed lunch (even though the tables advised “no picnics”) –the guide did say they wouldn’t mind. Prices in Switzerland are generally extortionate, and this was certainly no exception! Sitting with a view of snow-capped mountains when the temperatures had been approaching 40C all week was rather magical, to say the least! It was quite a bit cooler, but still in the mid-20s, which was very unusual. At 13.01 (well, 13.02 to be precise), our train departed back down the mountain and then we had an hour-long journey to Lucerne. The guide didn’t seem to want to use the voxbox, so we followed him to the very picturesque wooden bridge then had a wander around ourselves. We only had about an hour, so there wasn’t really enough time to stop for a drink, although we did have an ice cream while walking round. The drive back to the ship took about an hour, and we arrived at about 18.00. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time in Lucerne, but getting back gave us enough time to shower and do the majority of our packing. It had been a long day, so after dinner, we went to the top deck and sat chatting with other passengers – we had been going to have a stroll into Basel, but thought we’d leave it until the next morning, when we had spare time after breakfast. Day 8 – Basel and goodbye We had use of the cabin until 9.00, so after breakfast we sorted everything out and left our hand luggage in the shop, heading off for a walk around Basel. In the very immediate vicinity of the ship, it’s very workaday and rather grim, not at all what we expected for Switzerland. However, a short walk over the bridge leads you into the Old Town, which is very nice. We then came back over another bridge and found the Minster, the Old University and the Rathaus, which is exceptionally pretty (and has a free toilet). Rather than spend a fortune on a drink, we went back to the ship, where tea/coffee was being served in the lounge, unfortunately in paper cups, rather spoiling the decadence of the ship. A light lunch was served from 13.00, comprising goulash soup (surprisingly no veggie option was available), open top sandwiches and fruit. Our coach was to leave at 13.30, and we were called at 13.20. We got onto the coach and started on our way. The road access to the river is very limited, and then we heard a bump, the driver had hit something. The police seemed to arrive in seconds, then Barbara came onto the coach and said that the person who should have accompanied us to the airport had been delayed, so hopefully we could sort ourselves out at the airport. With an average age of well above 18, we decided we knew how to use an airport and off we went at about 14.00. The driver was quite chatty, saying he was German, but works a lot in Switzerland as wages are about double those of Germany. On the way, we were very surprised when his phone rang and he answered it, holding the phone while he drove! However, we did get to the airport safely and to the correct terminal. We had a lovely, if extortionately priced tea/coffee in Sprüngli which cost nearly £10. My husband managed to leave his jacket there and because the UK isn’t part of the Schengen agreement couldn’t retrieve it as we’d passed through another passport control, making it an even more expensive cuppa! Our flight back was with Helvetic Air (seemingly part of SwissAir), which was very enjoyable, with a drink (alcoholic or non), chicken or cheese sandwich and a chocolate before landing. It was one of the nicest flights we’d had in a while and a lovely way to end our holiday! All in all, we were delighted by the holiday and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them and would definitely go on another Riviera holiday in future. It’s certainly not a bargain break, but there again, you do get value for money and it’s a wonderful way to celebrate something special. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our second cruise with Riviera and we weren’t disappointed. The journey was breathtaking at times, Emily Bronte is luxurious, the staff seemed to go out of their way to make the experience enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Riviera and we weren’t disappointed. The journey was breathtaking at times, Emily Bronte is luxurious, the staff seemed to go out of their way to make the experience enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. I was glad we’d started the cruise in Cologne because as we sailed down the Rhine the scenery became more beautiful. Both Cologne and Koblenz were pretty enough but nothing compared to the treats that were to come. I loved sailing through the picturesque Rhine Valley, Rudesheim was a delight, made even better by the coffee, Titisee was also a delight and we enjoyed our slice of Black Forest gateaux sitting by the lake. All of those trips seemed relaxed and well organised. Most, but not all, were in the afternoon so that meant that after breakfast we could listen to Barbara’s information about the next place we were going to visit. However, nothing prepared us for the amazing visit to Schynige Platte. You need to see it to believe it. We ate our packed lunches in certainly the most beautiful place I have ever eaten lunch and arguably the most beautiful place on Earth. It was truly wonderful. I do have a gripe about this trip though. We could have done without the long journey afterwards to Lucerne before heading back on another long journey to the ship. We arrived there late on Sunday afternoon so shops were closed and the few which were still open were packed with other tourists. We were only there for about an hour, and when we arrived it was pouring with rain. All we managed to do was grab a cup of tea in a cafe which was closing and visit the loo. We saw very little of Lucerne except on the walk back to the coach. One of the coaches should have gone to Lucerne for the whole day - it’s certainly worth seeing, but instead we were all a bit grumpy about it. I hope they get that sorted because it spoiled our last day a little bit when we could have gone back to the ship and enjoyed our last afternoon and night on board. Instead we had a late dinner, and then had to pack so it was all a bit of a rush. We were given envelopes and a suggestion that we should tip in the region of €8-11 per person per day. I wish they would just charge us extra for the holiday and pay the staff a decent wage without the need for tips. Any cruise line which does this will get our business in future as I consider asking for money distasteful and demeaning to the staff. It was also hinted that the cruise director Jane and Barbara weren’t included. I wouldn’t go on that cruise again as I’ve seen it, but I’d highly recommend it. I’d certainly go on another river cruise especially one which charges more and doesn’t expect tips. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
After several ocean cruises, we decided to take a river cruise and chose the Oscar Wilde from Riviera Travel including the Rhine gorge, finishing in Basel. We took the Eurostar from St. Pancras, London, to Cologne to board. This proved ... Read More
After several ocean cruises, we decided to take a river cruise and chose the Oscar Wilde from Riviera Travel including the Rhine gorge, finishing in Basel. We took the Eurostar from St. Pancras, London, to Cologne to board. This proved to be a marathon journey starting with very tight security in St Pancras station which does not seem to have the space for all who are waiting to board the train. Upon arrival in Brussels we were transferred to a coach which then took three & a half hours to reach the boat. An experience not to be repeated. The cabin was 212 on Ruby deck with a French balcony. We had requested twin beds prior to our arrival but found instead two beds pushed together with a soft topper. We asked for separate beds which were dealt with promptly but why was our original request not complied with? It added to the frustration of the day. We had also requested particular pillows but they weren’t available. The bathroom was well appointed with a rain shower head but also a smaller shower head which is useful. The bathroom is extremely small though. The shaving mirror is very cheap and does not reflect well. Apart from that we managed in what are very small cabins. Two small bottles of water are left in the mini fridge every day which was welcome. The dining room was an area of contention as there are only 4 tables for two, so sharing is necessary. We found the food to be mediocre and the complementary wine undrinkable. There is better wine available to buy. There are tables for two available in the other smaller restaurant but the menu doesn’t alter much. The staff in both restaurants are very good and cheerful. There is one large lounge/bar but no other public rooms. Once again, the staff are good There is very little entertainment but we found the resident pianist to be very talented. There was one evening with what was billed as a Music Quiz which turned out to be hilarious and was the best evening we had. Excursions are included but honestly, we weren’t impressed. One day we were coached around the Black Forest for a couple of hours ending up at Lake Titisee for about 45 mins. We passed on the Bernese Oberland tour as sitting on another coach for 7 hours didn’t appeal. Our journey home started OK with the TGV to Paris which is fast and comfortable. We were then told it would take around 40 mins to transfer from Gare de Lyon to Gare du Nord for the Eurostar back but unfortunately the coach driver had no idea where he was going. We drove round and round in circles along crowded streets for close on 2 hours, at one point the driver couldn’t negotiate a corner so he reversed into the car behind but then carried on! By this time we were all getting concerned about catching the train in time so the Riviera representative stopped the coach, we all got off and walked to rest of the way to the Gare du Nord. It seems that Riviera are trying to cut corners in lots of areas. Quality of food being the main one, and also the excursions. We have been on several luxury cruises, e.g., Silver Seas, Seabourn, Regent, Cunard, but this cruise was not in the same class. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because it was less expensive than others and the itinerary was perfect for us. From the moment we boarded everything was perfect. A very comfortable top deck cabin, with a huge glass sliding door to open and admire ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was less expensive than others and the itinerary was perfect for us. From the moment we boarded everything was perfect. A very comfortable top deck cabin, with a huge glass sliding door to open and admire the amazing view. Embarkation was smooth, in fact we arrived early and were able to take our luggage on board and go for a walk in Cologne. The ship isn’t only 4 years old and very comfortable. While there is not entertainment as on big cruise ships, Peter played Piano every afternoon and again played and sang at night. In Vienna we were entertained by a string quartet, 4 ladies who were amazing. Also the ships hotel manager sang and played guitar on two occasions and the crew put on a comedy show one night, all very good. I felt that there’s so much to look at day and night on the river, that was entertaining enough. We didn’t have one bad meal, breakfast buffet and lunch but with extra menu offerings and dinner was always a choice of three entrees, two soups and three main courses. Also there was also a chicken dish and salmon dish every night apart from the main course offerings. Dessert was either something delicious or a cheese platter. Coffee and tea were always available and afternoon tea always offered a great selection of cakes. We didn’t take up the drinks package as it didn’t include drinks other than lunch and dinner. We believe the prices were comparable to what we pay in Australia and not big drinkers so were happy with having a glass of the very good house wine with dinner for around 4-5 euro. The two cruise directors, Veronica and Peter were excellent, knowledgeable and very patient with the mostly over 65 year old passengers. Peter gave a talk every night about our next port, which was very informative. The included tours were mostly great and varying difficulty to accommodate slower passengers, the crew, mostly Eastern European, were outstanding and very friendly. Yes, there was about six days when we couldn’t use the top viewing deck because of low bridges but there were plenty of other vantage points and we were able to use it going through the Rhine gorge which is probabaly the most spectacular part of the river. My only negative is the suggested tipping, which as an Australian, we found a little excessive and preferred to single out those crew that we felt went that extra bit, we did also leave general tip for the crew. I would definitely use Riviera again, I fact, we started planning another trip while on board. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The southern Rhine Christmas market theme cruise. Taking in Mannheim , Heidelberg, Strasbourg and Mainz. The excursions where add ons and needed to be booked as in most cases except for Strasbourg your where moored to far away and ... Read More
The southern Rhine Christmas market theme cruise. Taking in Mannheim , Heidelberg, Strasbourg and Mainz. The excursions where add ons and needed to be booked as in most cases except for Strasbourg your where moored to far away and all on the German side of the river. The excursion was not a guided one as all it was , was a transfer to a market with set time of collection. No guide no info no nothing. Unlike other cruise lines who try to get as close as possible to the centre town. Thus limiting your own access to the area. I expected it to be European but was totally German. No safety announcements even in English . Thank heavens for a Maître de and F&B manager who spoke English, in fact the crew where only to happy to speak English to us the only two English speaking on board a full cruise. The F&B manager went out of his way to ensure the daily info sheet left in the cabin was in English for us The Maître De even translated the menu ( again in German as well as our night at the chefs table which was fantastic and money well spent.) The entertainment was a disaster , with a themed cruise it would be more appropriate to have carols or pleasant Christmas songs in many languages and not some very tired aged singer from central Germany trying to do Robbie Williams each and every night. Hence the lounge did not see many people but the bar did. ( maybe that's the business plan all along) Sail aways where non existent and the Captain never hosted a table at all during the entire cruise or even a welcome or farewell party. Service in the dining room was excellent ( all Russian with a clear dominant older Russian in charge one way or no way attitude) I believe now with a British company taking over the line and some ships being made " international " hence English being spoken this could help but I think it is a long road ahead to catch up to the likes of AMAWaterways or Crystal . Will give the Arosa brand a wide berth for a few more years hopefully it improves. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
If you are used to the fine food that is served in the main restaurants aboard cruise ships or even river cruises such as on the Douro or Nile then you could be in for a nasty surprise with A-Rosa. It is not much above that of motorway ... Read More
If you are used to the fine food that is served in the main restaurants aboard cruise ships or even river cruises such as on the Douro or Nile then you could be in for a nasty surprise with A-Rosa. It is not much above that of motorway services or cross channel ferry fare. On our last night it did improve markedly but up till then it was very basic. The house wine is awful plonk reminiscent of the kind of stuff British pubs used to sell many years ago before the customers demanded something better. Breakfast was also uninspiring Germanic fare i.e. cold meats & cheese, with very little hot food unless you were prepared to wait for a small omelette. On a cold winter sailing like this a hot breakfast would have been nice. On the plus side, the staff are very good, very friendly and very efficient. Cabins are quite nice with a lovely shower. However I would not have wanted be be on the lowest deck where your window is only just above the water line. Excursions to the Christmas markets were very expensive and if this in indicative of their typical excursion prices then [apart from the poor food] I would not want to do a summer cruise with them. If you are looking for a Rhine cruise then I would suggest you check out other operators. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
I went on this cruise with my family who are former Viking cruise-goers. My first impression of the ship was that it was very nice and well maintained. You could tell the staff cared about the ship's presentation. There was a smoker a ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my family who are former Viking cruise-goers. My first impression of the ship was that it was very nice and well maintained. You could tell the staff cared about the ship's presentation. There was a smoker a few balconies down, and staff promptly handled the situation so I was able to enjoy my balcony the rest of the trip. The cabin was very nice, and surprisingly big for what I was expecting on a boat. The food was great, and I enjoyed the Chef's recommendations each night. I appreciated the variety of foods to choose from each night, from Thanksgiving themed dinner to Asian-inspired meals. Our cruise had to be altered at the last minute due to weather flooding the river, but Viking continued to arrange buses to the nearby cities so we could keep our planned excursions (which were good) as well as add other last minute options taking into consideration the inconvenience of being stuck. As part of the weather accommodations, they arranged a local river boat to take us up the scenic part of the river to view castles, as well as getting to go back to nearby towns that we had limited time at originally. Most of the excursions were good, but the walking tours were disappointing because some of the sites we didn't go in, simply stood out front and saw them while the tour guide talked about what we'd see on the inside if we did go on, which we didn't. I'd go around the city on my own instead of a walking tour, but they don't tell you the meeting place for the buses until the end of the tour, which seems like an easy enough fix with advanced planning. The trip was supposed to be Christmas themed, but we were a few days too early for the fist cities so their Christmas markets weren't open. However, they sell the same types of items in the rest of the cities so I didn't mind but if you want to full Christmas week then I'd suggest a later time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We selected this cruise because the date was right. We selected this cruise, as well, based upon our tourism company´s recommendation. It was a relaxing and quite nice cruise up the Rhine. Included some cities we had visited by car as ... Read More
We selected this cruise because the date was right. We selected this cruise, as well, based upon our tourism company´s recommendation. It was a relaxing and quite nice cruise up the Rhine. Included some cities we had visited by car as well as other locations we had not been to. The room service was quite wonderful. The fellow who had been assigned to our section of rooms spoke far better English than German. Being an American expat and my partner, a native German, is bi-lingual and we both could talk to this fellow. We have been told than in 2018 The Aqua is becoming International with English being the second but equal language with German. From my perspective, it has begun. The food service was varied and quite fine. The waiter in our section is Hungarian and having heard me speaking in English began our week with English dining room service. Being a smoker, I totally appreciate the back of the ship´s area for smokers. We, had a great deal of rain the last 2 days and the upper deck was not conducive to being there. Would go on another A Rosa Cruise. Plan on a short stay in 2018 at a resort of A Rosa. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We landed in Cologne on Sunday afternoon and were met by a UniWorld representative. There were about 20 of us (mostly senior citizens). We were told to follow her carrying/pushing our own luggage and carry-ones. The walk turned out to ... Read More
We landed in Cologne on Sunday afternoon and were met by a UniWorld representative. There were about 20 of us (mostly senior citizens). We were told to follow her carrying/pushing our own luggage and carry-ones. The walk turned out to be from one end of the terminal to the next, and then outside a few blocks to a waiting bus! If I ever take another uniworld cruise, I will arrange to take a cab (which were lined up right outside the area where we met the uniworld rep) to the ship. We chose this cruise because of the Jewish Heritage component. We got on the ship in Cologne on Sunday afternoon, and hoped to visit the Ludwig Museum on Monday, but all museums are closed on Mondays. The rest of the cruise was good, for the most part. We would have liked more time to explore on our own, but we were on a tight schedule. The food was excellent, and the wait staff were very professional and friendly. One of the nicest touches was the Friday night Shabbat candle lighting ceremony held outside on the sun deck. After the cruise, they took us to a nice hotel for our post cruise days. The last day they took us into Munich to see a synagogue and Jewish Museum - but it was Monday, and they were CLOSED! So the guide told us about them while we stood outside in the rain! The activites on Sunday and Monday could have been switched. The state rooms were very small, but clean. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We choose this cruise specifically because of the excursion to castle Neuschwanstein, the Bavarian castle which Disney modeled Cinderella's castle. The castle was great and beautiful in every way. I was disappointed that we felt so ... Read More
We choose this cruise specifically because of the excursion to castle Neuschwanstein, the Bavarian castle which Disney modeled Cinderella's castle. The castle was great and beautiful in every way. I was disappointed that we felt so rushed the whole day both getting there and the amount of time spent there. I would have liked to spend more time at the castle and then the village below. I came so far just to see this as the highlight of our trip, only to be rushed through. I don't understand why they couldn't have extended the time, its not like we had to be home at a certain time. It was a 2 hour bus ride there and back. After the tour we had to make a choice to eat lunch at one of the very quaint restaurants or go shopping. I chose the shopping and not eat. Also disappointing was we were supposed to visit King Ludwig's museum, only to find out all museums are closed on Mondays, the day we were there. Couldn't they have planned that better? Especially knowing its listed in the catalog as a stop we were to make. My husband and I have traveled before on river cruises. This cabin was by far the smallest, but we didn't really have a choice since this was the size of the ship's cabins. I felt like I was sleeping in a closet. The ship only has french balconies, no outside balconies, another feature I would normally prefer. The staff was very accommodating and friendly. The service was excellent and the food was also excellent and gave you a variety of selections, as well as wines and beers, all included. The cruise director was rather "flat", not much personality and I felt other than his talks in the lounge, didn't inform us on a day to day basis of the schedule. Yes, we received a program each night in the room, but there were still always unanswered questions which guests were always asking each other for the answers. Although the tours were interesting and informative, I felt the tour guides did a much better job on previous ships we have been on. We did really enjoy the two different occasions for just cruising and relaxing on board. They could have done a better job with entertainment, which was really non existent, except for a keyboard player each night. We would have really enjoyed some local authentic entertainment in some of the ports, or bring us to restaurants with entertainment. That was another disappointment for us. Again, there was good and bad, but all in all it was a memorable trip. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
After a few ocean cruises it was time to try something different. Riviera was a local company so wishing to support a local business, a cruise Rhine Danube cruise on 'Emily Bronte' was chosen. The original booking was made in ... Read More
After a few ocean cruises it was time to try something different. Riviera was a local company so wishing to support a local business, a cruise Rhine Danube cruise on 'Emily Bronte' was chosen. The original booking was made in 2015, but due to health problems was not able to travel in 2016. Unfortunately lost fare, but rebooked and repaid to travel this year. So you probably can guess how much the anticipation for this holiday. Flight to Frankfurt and drive to Cologne went smoothly, as did boarding, then things started to go wrong. While exploring on deck tripped on the top step on one of the staircases. A short while later the same thing happened on a different staircase. In all this happened four times. On investigated it was noticed that staircase descending from the deck had 'astroturf' going right to the edge of the steps, hiding the top step, all other steps had a very clear metal edges. Later while sitting on the forward part of the deck, to watch the departure from Cologne, we were choaked by exhaust fumes coming from a black hole on the top of the mast at the front of the boat, just level with the seating area. It transpired that there was an engine below which powered the bow propeller. I seems that the same funnel also extracted fumes from the kitchen below. I shared my concerns with the young lady 'hotel manager' who said she would pass my comments on to the captain.. The problem with the exhaust continued throughout the cruise, so the same report was made to the male Riviera rep who advised to write to head office. I did take some photographs of the sooty, oily deposits that came from that exhaust. I must have been seen with my camera because over the next two days some crew were scrubbing away. Another thing about the deck. Either the boat was too high, or the bridges were too low, because all chairs, tables, screens, even the funnels were removed from the deck, which was out of bounds while sailing. But, it was a novelty to watch the ships bridge while going under a road bridge. The bridge was lowered on hydraulic and disappeared, leaving just the drivers head showing. The other major, I think, issue was that the ship did not belong to Riviera but to Schilla, a Swiss company I was told. All the crew were employed by Schilla, many from Indonesia. In fact there were no native English speakers on board, except the passengers, which made communicating with staff a bit difficult on occasions. A few words about food. Not what I was expecting (for the price), one day cows cheek, another raw meat balls, Soup portions barely cover the bottom of the bowls. Dessert spoons were really teaspoons, but matched the portions size of some of the desserts. No beef wellington, but we did get baked Alaska. Entertainment: A resident pianist, crew show and a string quartet in Vienna. Tours: Appeared to consist of driving through heavy traffic round town and walking tours which seemed to get jumbled up with groups from the several other boat moored nearby. Disembarkation: please read review on Wizz Air To be fair I did enjoy the sailing part, the 66 locks we passed through, the scenery, and the majority of the other passengers. Would I do another river cruise? Well having done the Amazon and the Nile, probably not. Comparing costs would be the decider, and with sea cruises considerably cheaper, and offering a lot more are a much more attractive alternative Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise initially for its its itinerary, as we have never visited any of the towns or cities along the route. The ship is new for the 2017 season, operated by Scylla of Switzerland with 2 Riviera reps on board - Leslie and ... Read More
We chose this cruise initially for its its itinerary, as we have never visited any of the towns or cities along the route. The ship is new for the 2017 season, operated by Scylla of Switzerland with 2 Riviera reps on board - Leslie and Inken who were excellent. We traveled to the ship via Eurostar from St Pancras to Brussels and were then taken by coach to the ship moored in Cologne. We did not have time to visit Cologne. At St Pancras we were able to deposit our luggage and not have to deal with it again until our arrival in Brussels. We then took the the bags out to the waiting coach where they were loaded by the driver and guide and then delivered to our cabin door on arrival. The food at all meals is excellent, couldn't fault it at all. The head chef did an amazing job creating 15 different evening menus (a choice of meat, fish or veggie + chicken or salmon if you didn't fancy the dishes of the day). There was a hot buffet at lunch time but I can't comment on this as I stuck to salads (and a dessert). The breakfast buffet was very comprehensive. The wines and beer were not over priced but of good quality. You could also book the evening bistro on the top deck, which accommodates 24, at no extra cost, for a quiet meal; at lunch time the bistro offers pizza and posh burger type meals. All the staff are well trained and friendly. Not much evening entertainment - a pianist in the lounge. The Riviera reps organised a quiz night and the crew entertained us one night. We also had a string quartet performance on our night in Vienna which was very good. The ship has a large deck area with ample seating and sun cover but part of it was closed for part of the journey, due to low bridges (and maybe high water levels). You do go through 66 locks on this cruise but we never found it a problem. We visited a number of small towns down the Rhine, Main & Danube, where we were moored close to the town centres. If we had to moor further away, in the larger towns/cities, transport was available. Whenever we had a guided tour the guides were well informed and interesting. The cruise finished in Budapest. Our flight was quite late so we were able to do more sightseeing in the morning and the ship provided the late departers with a light lunch. With hindsight we would have skipped the Eurostar as it is more convenient to have left your car at your return airport and more connections from the North of England would be good. Finally, we have already booked the Danube to the Black Sea cruise for 2018, so that says it all really Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Having done numerous Ocean Cruises we decided to try a River Cruise, we booked this through our travel agent who recommended Riviera Travel.. Our expectations were high therefore we were very disappointed with several things regarding ... Read More
Having done numerous Ocean Cruises we decided to try a River Cruise, we booked this through our travel agent who recommended Riviera Travel.. Our expectations were high therefore we were very disappointed with several things regarding this cruise so I will start with the Pros., please bear in mind this is our personal opinion and what suits one traveler doesn't suit another.. Pros: The organisation by Riviera was excellent, the transfer from airport to the dock in Cologne and the return journey was well organised and the fact that there was a representative from Riviera Travel on the coach and throughout the airport check-in was very good especially for some passengers who may be unsure of the airport procedures.. Check-in at the boat was quick and efficient and we were in our cabin very quickly, cases were delivered within 15 mins of being on board.. We had a cabin on Diamond Deck with a Juliette balcony, unfortunately we had a lot of rain so we didn't get a chance to use this..The cabin was excellent, well appointed and beautifully decorated, the bed and pillows were comfortable and there was mini bar/fridge, large TV (we never had this on so can't comment on it), hairdryer, nespresso coffee machine and a kettle, wardrobe and drawer space was adequate for 7 nights..The bathroom was also very nice with a great shower, plenty of hot water and toiletries from Crabtree & Evelyn..The cabins were cleaned in the morning and there was a turn down service in the evening.. Open seating for breakfast which was between 7:30 - 9 am, lunch 12:30 - 2 pm and dinner 6 pm - 8 pm, there were a few tables for 2 but in the main it was bigger tables, there was also a small bistro that took approx 20 covers and was open for lunch and dinner but you had to reserve a table for dinner so this was always very busy.. The restaurant was very nice, tables were always beautifully set with high quality cutlery and linen napkins..Thanks to Panji who served us in the restaurant, this was his first contract and he was always smiling and helpful.. The bar staff lead by George the bar manager, Valentin and Gabriel gave excellent service and were very friendly and efficient, the bar prices were also very reasonable.. The shore excursions which were included were in general good however somewhat rushed on some days, especially if there was one in the morning and another in the afternoon..We did see some lovely place, especially Colmar and Rudesheim and some of the scenery when we were sailing was beautiful.. Cons.. We didn't realise this was the inaugural cruise and also the average age was 73 but not a young 73 so this had a very different slant on the cruise..The crew also seemed to be very disorganised.. Sarah and Tim were the hosts, Sarah was very irritating, Tim was a gentleman and completely domineered by the over powering Sarah.. Restricted meal times for breakfast, this finished by 9 am so no chance of a lie-in and no food until lunch..If you weren't getting off the boat to do a trip or something on your own as some elderly passengers didn't, there was no food other than coffee and biscuits..I feel the bistro should be open in the morning, just serving croissants and toast between 9 am and 10:30 so that passengers have a choice, there was room service available for continental breakfast however if you were still in your cabin after 9 am the cabin steward was knocking on the door asking you if you wanted your cabin serviced so we felt pressured into leaving the cabin..The food in restaurant was mediocre at best and service was slow, although there were 5 courses in the evening the choices were limited and on a couple of occasions my husband couldn't find anything he liked at lunch time, the soup was always tasty, however if you had a bigger appetite then the portions would not have been sufficient.. Entertainment was provided by a talented and very nice Gentleman named Peter who sang and played the piano/organ..Although he was very good and entertained us it was the same format every night as there was only the one lounge and no where else to go..I did expect some local entertainment on the nights when we had a late departure but this didn't happen.. I also had a romantic notion of river cruising and each day we would be docked in beautiful little towns and villages however this wasn't the case, being a river boat I was unaware of how low down they sat in the river, so it was very disappointing when some days our view was of a brick wall or docked in some industrial area, I didn't expect this at all.. Would we book another one, never say never but we can cross this of our bucket list..It was thanks to the company of two like minded couples also doing a river cruise for the first time and having a good laugh together that actually made the cruise and it would definitely have been a very different trip if we hadn't met them, they also said they wouldn't repeat a river cruise.. Again this is our experience and views but from now on we will stick to Ocean cruising as its a better fit for us.. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My wife and I have been on a river cruise with this operator before.The fact that we chose them again crosses the first hurdle. This time we went on their Rhine cruise.Not only is the ship new this year but it was the maiden voyage. That ... Read More
My wife and I have been on a river cruise with this operator before.The fact that we chose them again crosses the first hurdle. This time we went on their Rhine cruise.Not only is the ship new this year but it was the maiden voyage. That would explain the minor niggles. Lets get the out the way first .The TV's have approximately 23 channels. The majority of which were news channels. No English speaking entertainment channels. There were two film channels neither of which could be accessed. Come on people all you customers are English. The only other observation I would make is that the menu in the the Bistro at lunch time needs to change every day or at least 2 or 3 times during the week. And please get the young lady who does the cooking (or is it Chefing) some help at lunch time.The ship itself is great . All sparkling and new. The food was very well cooked and presented. Peter the ships piano playing evening entertainer was very talented.George in the bar may well twist your brain by setting your little brain teasers ... which he will ,probably, not give you the answer to until you are about to leave. Young Bianca on reception as well as being so funny is most helpful. Tim and Sara were our host's. And do A fine job as well. Poor old Tim is totally dominated by Sarah but they make a good team. When we went the weather was not good but it did not diminish our enjoyment of the tours and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would say that on the last day I would suggest you just do your own thing. Don't join the tour. There is not that much to see. One last gripe .It is suggested that you tip 5 to 10 Euros per day per person. Your having a laugh. That's about £98 per pair for a 7day holiday Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We were a family of six non-German speakers including two kids who had a very relaxing time on this trip. The itinerary was supposed to be south to Switzerland but when we boarded we found out, because of water levels, the boat would ... Read More
We were a family of six non-German speakers including two kids who had a very relaxing time on this trip. The itinerary was supposed to be south to Switzerland but when we boarded we found out, because of water levels, the boat would be going north. This was disappointing as members of our party had recently been to the cities to the north and we had specifically wanted to see the Alps and that was why we picked this trip, but we ended up having a much more easy trip as we only spent about two days in port, therefore giving us lots of relaxing boat and family time. Also, we got a 50 euro credit per adult to use on board so we all had massages. We had booked this trip via the North American offices and got mostly great service but also some wrong information (e.g. about disembarkation, facilities). The information on the boat via the loudspeakers was exclusively in German. We sometimes asked the cruise manager to tell us what an announcement had said. We did get lots of information in English in our cabins. We didn't do any excursions because they were all in German only. The signs were only in German as well so we may have broken a few. But if we asked for help we always got it. The staff were lovely. Some were clearly not comfortable with English but the ones that were seemed to go out of their way to make us feel welcome. The hot tub outside was nice and not too many people used it due to the cold temperatures in January. The sauna we never quite got up the courage to go in as it was nude and for both sexes. The gym didn't have too much (it is not a big boat) but was fine. The boat spent a lot of time docked right beside another A-Rosa ship, meaning that for long portions of the trip half the boat had no view, which was too bad as we had paid extra to have rooms with Juliet balconies. The food was really great with lots of options vegetarian and otherwise. We loved all the virgin cocktails. Only two beers were part of the all-inclusive but they were good. Our large party sometimes couldn't sit exactly together at meals if we didn't get there on the early side but mostly it was fine. Mealtimes were not too chaotic and it was a pretty elegant but not stiff atmosphere. The ship was very clean and nicely decorated. Our cabins were well-designed with lots of nice storage. Two of us did feel ill the last night (and one was ill for a few days after that) so we don't know if it was something we ate or something else like a virus. Everybody else was fine. There were no specific activities for kids and just a handful of kids on the boat but we played games and did the hot tub and socialised. The staff were kind to the kids. In summary, this is a very German cruise line good for a relaxing time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Christmas Markets and specifically because we had travelled with UniWorld on 5 previous cruises. We chose this particular cruise date because it coincided with our 45th Wedding Anniversary. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Christmas Markets and specifically because we had travelled with UniWorld on 5 previous cruises. We chose this particular cruise date because it coincided with our 45th Wedding Anniversary. UniWorld decorated our state room with "candles", rose petals and a bottle of champagne. We did explore Cologne for two days prior to embarkation. Embarkation was effortless; as we arrived the ship's crew brought our bags immediately onboard. The SS Antoinette was magnificent: marble was tastefully incorporated throughout the entire ship; the draperies were exceptionally well color-coordinated to pieces of furniture; the chandelier in the main reception area was simply gorgeous; and the cuisine was 5-Star quality! Service was up to the standards that we had experienced on previous cruises. All of the staff attended to our requested and anticipated needs. The excursions were well-integrated with the Christmas Markets and the city tours. Superb guides, one of whom we had on a previous cruise. The musicians in the lounge added a very nice touch creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The swimming pool was excellent. The resistance jets added a wonderful challenge to our morning swim. The disembarkation was handled as smoothly as our arrival. The post-cruise extension at Les Trois Rois was of the same caliber of service as being onboard the SS Antoinette...including a view of the Rhine River from our room. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
For years I have wanted to see the German Christmas Markets. My husband finally decided to make his first trip abroad to make me happy. Now he is ready to do it again someday. The trip was everything we hoped for and more. The extra ... Read More
For years I have wanted to see the German Christmas Markets. My husband finally decided to make his first trip abroad to make me happy. Now he is ready to do it again someday. The trip was everything we hoped for and more. The extra was visiting Strasbourg, France and Basel, Switzerland. The walking tours the ship offered were great and the vinegar estate tour was wonderful. We chose a suite and our room was as good as any luxury hotel - huge shower, 3 tvs including one on patio, good bed, quiet, all amenities and butler service. The meals were great and the servers so accommodating. All of the staff was very friendly and helpful. We were sorry we didn't bring our swimsuits after we saw the beautiful indoor pool area! We met new friends at meal times - open seating. We have heard from one couple via email already and they want us to visit them someday. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Went on the cruise because it fit our timeframe and part of group had free cruise because last years cruise couldn't move because of high water and they were given another cruise for free. Only two groups of Americans on the cruise ... Read More
Went on the cruise because it fit our timeframe and part of group had free cruise because last years cruise couldn't move because of high water and they were given another cruise for free. Only two groups of Americans on the cruise 11 people--they are not prepared for English speakers very well at all. We had to ask for all news and daily stops and maps in English. They were not automatically given to us til the week was half over. We received no info prior to the cruise. No info on excursions, no luggage tags, absolutely nothing! Food just average or less. But plenty of it at meal time. Lounge/bar musical entertainer very good--spoke no English but could sing American songs. Wait staff was all EXCELLENT. One staff person assigned to help Americans and she got some info when we asked, but wasn't prepared for us and didn't know the answers herself. She was very nice though. Just don't think they are ready for non-German speaking customers. No excursions with English guide unless all 11 would sign up for the tour. No time to look at excursions to decide if we wanted to take them. Had to sign up with no detailed info about the excursion also. This is my fifth river cruise and this one was not up to par. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Riviera travel Rhine Cruise to Switzerland 15 June to 22 June 2016 We started our holiday in St Pancras Station on 15 June and before starting our journey we left our Cases at the drop off point for luggage which we were having ... Read More
Riviera travel Rhine Cruise to Switzerland 15 June to 22 June 2016 We started our holiday in St Pancras Station on 15 June and before starting our journey we left our Cases at the drop off point for luggage which we were having transported to the Cruise ship as part of the Cruise, the next time we would see these was outside our Cabin ,This went so very smoothly without any causes for concern. We then went to the Eurostar check in followed by our Eurostar journey to Brussels again this went so extremely smoothly without any complications, We were met by our cruise manager Christine who gave full details of the procedure at Brussels and our onward journey by Coach to Cologne The Journey to Cologne by coach was fine and took about 3 ½ hours which included a toilet and refreshment break before finally arriving in Cologne and ready to board our Ship the Jane Austin Riviera cruises are all booked by passengers from the UK which made integrating with other passengers so easy, On boarding the cruise ship the expectations we had were surpassed ,the Captain and crew were there to welcome us aboard and on seeing the reception area for the first time was stunning, a crew member showed us to our cabin and once again we were blown away with the size and luxury feel to it, the sliding patio doors were the full width of the cabin and the shower room was cosy but complete, cases can be stored under the bed , bottles of water are replenished free every day , the cabin is serviced every morning including towel replacement and the beds are turned down each evening and chocolates are placed on each pillow. We then went to explore the whole ship, firstly having a look at the lounge ( WOW ) we were amazed at the size and spaciousness and luxury seating ( Amazing ), following this we looked at the Dining room and once again we were blown away with the size and quality of the table settings just like a 5 star hotel, we the explored some more and found the Lido bar at the rear of the ship which had an outside seating area. From here we went to the top deck where there was loads of table and chairs set out or for those who wanted to laze away the days there were about 40 sunbeds with canopy’s above to shade the hot sun, to the front the seating again was tables and chairs and surrounded by a glass screen to shelter from any breeze there may be, A luxurious seating was at the very front of the ship with loads of outdoor wicker settees ( wonderful ) We went for dinner at 7pm which was amazing with 5 courses you couldn’t expect more, The food was of superior quality and cooked to perfection, this was to be the standard of food for the entire cruise ( excellent )The cost of drinks is very reasonable Beer 2.50 euro for beer, 2.50 euros for Coke etc and 5 euros for glass wine, full bottle wine is 18.50 euros. Tea, Coffee, jugs of Cold Water and cookies are available free of charge all day. Breakfast is buffet style and has an amazing choice, this is followed by a buffet lunch which is then followed by afternoon tea and cakes before finally having the 5 course evening meal ( 7 courses on the night of the captains dinner ) no formal dress is required for dinner just smart casual is fine, jackets not required unless you wish to do so. We set sail at about 10pm and watched Cologne slip away into the distance, The speed being about 10 miles per hour and our first part of the cruise was about 11 hours arriving at Koblenz about 10 am the following morning, as the ship cruises there is absolutely no feeling of any movement, The cruise followed the complete itinerary as detailed in the brochure and over the next couple of days the scenery was superb, the Rhine Gorge being the highlight ( Stunning ) We were amazed by the number of business ships on the Rhine ie tankers, container ships etc carrying all types of goods along this amazing river, at some points the river must be about a mile wide. We called at Rudesheim where the ship moored at the centre of this amazing town definitely a tourist town but full of character and shops and bars and restaurants. Other ports of call were Speyer, Strasbourg, Breisach, and Basel. At some of the moorings we were slightly away from the towns and coaches were provide to transport passengers to the town centres, also at a couple of moorings we were moored along side another cruise ship, this did not cause any problems at all other than our cabin looking directly into theirs, this was generally only for a few hours before ships moved on. Leaving the cruise ship through other ships was also not a problem. And the gangways to land were very easy to negotiate even for passengers with a small degree of walking difficulty. At certain stops we decided not to take the coaches or walking tours and instead stay on board which was absolutely no problem, being the only couple to stay on board the entire ship was ours for the day ( peaceful !!! ) and the crew laid on Lunch for just the 2 of us which again was outstanding. On the final day we were transferred by coach to Basel train station for our TGV journey back to Paris , and then crossed Paris by coach to catch the Eurostar back to London, all transfers are included and full guidance was given all the way by Sarah the tour Manager who accompanied us all the way back to London. The entire crew including the tour manager Sarah and Christine are to be congratulated for their kindness, friendliness, professionalism and attention to the passengers, The whole cruise was above excellent , however it leaves you wanting to do more River Cruises and especially with Riviera Travel, we may also book a tour holiday with them as there is a wide choice for holidays by rail if you don’t want to fly. Read Less

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