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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Our first river cruise after over 20+ sea cruises. What a HUGE disappointment. Not much to shout about here, small cabins (no fridge even), average food (except last night gala dinner), non existent entertainment, very few tours ... Read More
Our first river cruise after over 20+ sea cruises. What a HUGE disappointment. Not much to shout about here, small cabins (no fridge even), average food (except last night gala dinner), non existent entertainment, very few tours included, indifferent cruise director. We were hoping to be "wowed" when we got on, but no, not so much as a welcome drink. It seems Riviera just cut every corner they can making for a very poor experience and DEFINITELY not worth the money they charged. We wish we had stuck to a sea cruise. At least we had gone with some good friends so we could all laugh about it all. Basel mooring was in an industrial area - how nice!! Drink prices were not too bad although we had paid the £99 drinks with meals package and made sure we got our moneys worth. If you are considering this cruise, don't wast your money, spend a bit more and go with another more upmarket company or stick to the sea. They also expected a 7-12€/person/day tip - plus tips for the Cruise Director - in your dreams!!! Read Less
4 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I wanted to visit this part of Germany. The description of the various places was quite attractive. However we spent most of the time on board (Swiss Tiara, this name is not mentioned on the list) and had little time to visit the ... Read More
I wanted to visit this part of Germany. The description of the various places was quite attractive. However we spent most of the time on board (Swiss Tiara, this name is not mentioned on the list) and had little time to visit the sights. As it was a river cruise, I did not expect to stay on the ship that long and was disappointed. The first 3 days, we only had the morning to visit Regensburg, Nuremberg and Bamberg. 3 hours in each city! We had a little more time at the end of the week but again we needed to hurry all the time. I saved my euros as there was little time to buy souvenirs! The ship Swiss Tiara was comfortable, the food was good and the service too. If you are not very mobile, want to socialise and are not bothered about the sights, this is the right holiday for you. But I am afraid, I need more stimulation. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
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
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
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
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
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
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
The food was, even by cruise standards, outstanding. Do try the Fine dining at no extra cost. Service in dining room was efficient but not sincere. Cabins spotless and staff friendly The evening entertainment was disappointing except for ... Read More
The food was, even by cruise standards, outstanding. Do try the Fine dining at no extra cost. Service in dining room was efficient but not sincere. Cabins spotless and staff friendly The evening entertainment was disappointing except for an excellent string quartet. The Itinerary up/down Danube was good and with one exception the guides first class. The tour manager and resident guide were acceptable but not brilliant nor very friendly. The ship was only 1 year old so was in very good condition. A lot of travelling on the way back had to be at night. We have cruised the River Rhine previously and found it much more interesting. The first few days have a preponderance of trees lining the banks so a bit boring. excursions were well chosen and the walking tours to Bratislavia,Melk Abbey, Saltzburg, and Vienna particularly interesting. Unfortunately we feel should not be necessary like many cruise lines we were expected to tip the crew which we feel should not be necessary. Do choose a cabin midships as those near the stern suffer from vibration (all decks). Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I chose this cruise as I wanted to see Vienna. My wife was cautious as she thought it might be too slow way of travelling, and compared to big ship cruises, a bit more expensive. We had a lovely week. It seemed much longer, which was ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I wanted to see Vienna. My wife was cautious as she thought it might be too slow way of travelling, and compared to big ship cruises, a bit more expensive. We had a lovely week. It seemed much longer, which was good. Weather was great all week and the places visited were very nice. We had visited Budapest before, but seeing it from the river, so much better. The cabin, though a bit smaller than on a cruise liner, was very comfortable and well laid out. A big picture window which could be opened was a treat. There was ample space on deck or in the lounge to relax between ports.( There a a LOT OF TREES on the Danube. Lots. The food was really excellent, even a free try of fine dining (limited to 20 people per night) which was a nice thing to do. There was an adequate choice of food, and people with dietary needs were catered for, The ships staff were all brilliant and the cruise managers, Andras and Stewart worked very hard to keep things smooth. These are not for the younger ages, but are brilliant for the young in heart/ The ages seem to range from about 40 to 90 plus, with some of the older ones the liveliest. Evening entertainment included a Viennese string quartet ( a Danube cruise) which was OK. Entertainment was not a big requirement, which allowed those on board to converse more, which seemed preferable. A very good cruise indeed and my wife was delighted with it. 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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
13 Helpful Votes
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
Charles Dickens Ratings
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