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5 Riviera Travel Thomas Hardy Cruise Reviews

Travelled previously with riviera and been impressed with their reliability and service. Ship was spotless loved our cabin on Diamond deck which had a fully retracting sliding window so you can watch the scenery glide past from the ... Read More
Travelled previously with riviera and been impressed with their reliability and service. Ship was spotless loved our cabin on Diamond deck which had a fully retracting sliding window so you can watch the scenery glide past from the comfort of your own cabin. Plenty of storage space, cases fitted under the bed, there was a kettle for making tea, a Nespresso machine and a small fridge and safe. The bathroom was modern and well fitted out. There is a lift for all floors other than the Sun Deck. This had a small splash pool and putting green and masses of seating. Staff were excellent and friendly, all seemed to do at leats two jobs. The food really good, there is a bistro open lunchtimes and bookable (but free) for evenings. Main dining room buffet breakfast & lunch served in the evening. The tours were informative and well managed.Used a "voice box" on all the tours which is really helpful. Entertainment was on a par with other river cruises, a couple of local folkloric groups, quizzes, a crew show and a pianist . Ports were interesting we sailed from Budapest down through the Danube Delta to the Black Sea & back. Lots of old Soviet bloc countries with really interesting histories. It was fascinating to hear our guides varying views on the same events in relatively recent history. The value for money with riviera is much better than on many of their competitors and food etc is on a par, and the cabin layout to our preference. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Cruise number 52 Riviera Cruises - MS Thomas Hardy 6th December - 11th December 2018 Cabin number : 218.- midship , Deck 2 - Balcony Cabin Total pax : 169 , Crew : 44: Decks :5 Cruise for 5 nights - Christmas Market cruise ... Read More
Cruise number 52 Riviera Cruises - MS Thomas Hardy 6th December - 11th December 2018 Cabin number : 218.- midship , Deck 2 - Balcony Cabin Total pax : 169 , Crew : 44: Decks :5 Cruise for 5 nights - Christmas Market cruise Budapest / overnight Budapest / Bratislava / Vienna / Vienna overnight / at sea / Budapest overnight Checking in was fast and expiditied perfectly , From arrival on river side/ check in then to cabin was 30 minutes. On board, housekeeping , room service ,main dining room service and food all of a very good standard. The Bistro restuarant which is booking only can not be compared to any of the chefs table rstaurants on similar star rating ships this is due to it not being any differant from the main restuarant except for menu. No differant silver service ( in fact our table felt we had better service in the main restaurant), no variety of wines per course as expected and local foods as would be the norm. The included excursions all of a good standard , with the guide in Budapest on day one Uri being so non PC its great to hear and excellent at his guiding. The oriantation tour around Bratislava with Alta was first class again so non PC its refreshing . Tour around Vienna was basic and pedestrian . We did our market route and spent many wonderful hours using our own apps. The Ars Mundi string quartet was a nice touch as entertainment in Vienna on board after dinner. No form of sail away , however found the departures times to early as you miss the impact of the christmas lighting after dark. Postpone by 2 hours and all would be fie on this point However the total lack of any entertainment besides our loan pianist who tried his best does drop the overall rating somewhat along with the very pedestrian cruise director , the tour manager tried his hardest to bridge the gap but to no avail. This meant long dinners and more bar time . Overall a good product with a few tweeks and upliftments , the Housekeeping, Bar and main dining room along with the ship crew carry the product for sure 2018 star grading - 4 Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
First time river cruisers, noticed advert innnewspaper so started to do a bit of investigating. 5* rating good online reviews and prices that were substantially less than other brands hmmmm what’s the catch. Seamless booking ... Read More
First time river cruisers, noticed advert innnewspaper so started to do a bit of investigating. 5* rating good online reviews and prices that were substantially less than other brands hmmmm what’s the catch. Seamless booking procedure on line. Contacted airline direct to reserve seats as we were travelling with my parents. Jet 2 no problems out of Edinburgh. Pity about some fellow passengers but that’s another story rise above. Met at Budapest Airport by Andresh tour manager from the boat. He is from Budapest and is a vast vessel of knowledge and passionate about his home city, rotten jokes ! Transfer to boat on lovely coach, met at boat with a glass of fizz and a friendly welcome. Late evening dinner served in restaurant and in the more intimate brasserie at the rear of the boat. Diamond deck suite 310 lovely room with floor to ceiling opening windows, large flat screen tv unfortunately only seemed to cater for German guests which there were none !! Very comfortable bed and plenty of storage. Evening sail away through the stunning city of Budapest amazing. Dining. Meals were served in the main restaurant part buffet part a la carte. Breakfast standard stuff, order eggs from menu all fresh and plentiful. Lunch was again buffet and menu and always served as a three course lunch if you want. Dinner was al a carte and always a good choice and 4-5 courses but not over the top, very tasty and well presented. Lovely lounge to the rear of the boat with panoramic views and a heated outdoor area. Top deck was well laid out with plenty of seats and sun beds a hot tub and putting green. Plenty of shade if needed. Staff, if an on board day, would come round with drinks and coffees. Staff. What a great team, from Victoria and Andras from Riviera who’s enthusiastic approach to the whole tour was amazing to all the staff on board professional, polite, friendly helpful. Tours. With Riviera all excursions are included in the price, they were well organised but unfortunately all early starts and quite full on. The tour guides clearly picked for their mass of knowledge and ability to not stop talking, unfortunately to the detriment of the tour as it became info overload. That said you are always told if you wish to peel off from the group no one will be offended. Wish we had done this more often and found these amazing places at our own pace. Conclusion. I said at the start what’s the catch, there isn’t one we had the most amazing experience on this trip and will be booking our next river cruise with Riviera Travel very soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first river cruise altho we are seasoned seagoing cruisers. we were not sure to expect but the thought of a brand new ship visiting places we hadn't been before - Salzburg and Vienna - attracted us. We were not ... Read More
This was our first river cruise altho we are seasoned seagoing cruisers. we were not sure to expect but the thought of a brand new ship visiting places we hadn't been before - Salzburg and Vienna - attracted us. We were not disappointed. The ship is lovely, the interior design was really nice. The staff were very friendly and attentive throughout the cruise. We had booked a cabin with a balcony but if we were to go again, would not pick this option. The balcony was very small and we could get a better view of the scenery from the sun deck. Having said that the cabin itself was excellent and had the best shower of any ship we have ever cruised on. The food was good and the optional dining in the Bistro was wonderful. You have to book the Bistro on an evening as it has limited seating but it is well worth it and there is no extra charge! Lunch in the Bistro was good too no booking required. Entertainment was limited, all done in the lounge area but everyone seemed to enjoy it so no real complaints here. Excursions are included in the price and are optional. A fair amount of walking but as we wanted to see the places we were happy to follow one of the excellent guides. May be a problem for those with limited mobility though, although in the cities, there was a bus tour included. We had a great time and will look forward to booking a trip for next year, perhaps in another of Riviera's new ships. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We did the reverse Heart of Europe cruise, from Budapest to Cologne. This seems to be the preferred direction, giving longer in the ports enroute. We saw lots of other ships on our cruise, and, frankly, didn't see anything to ... Read More
We did the reverse Heart of Europe cruise, from Budapest to Cologne. This seems to be the preferred direction, giving longer in the ports enroute. We saw lots of other ships on our cruise, and, frankly, didn't see anything to compare with the Thomas Hardy (incidentally, we were also moored alongside the William Shakespeare one day and it is looking very old fashioned and outdated, despite only being 3 or 4 years old. The Thomas Hardy is in a different class). The ship is excellent, and the cabins ("suites"), whilst small, are brilliantly designed. The French balcony design works particularly well, transforming your cabin into a large balcony when the triple sliding doors are fully slid back. The room aircon is excellent. Only gripes, the TV is rubbish - a few news channels, a couple of local stations and bizarrely, 2 "God" channels, and the wifi is pretty poor; patchy and barely usable when we did have internet connection. The cabin was kept spotlessly clean by the staff, who did a great job. The sun deck is really nice when it is open, which unfortunately, due to low bridges, is for a very short part of the cruise, the first 3 days or so and the last 1 or 2. However, the forward deck is kept open throughout, which is a decent sitting area at least. The staff are excellent; helpful, friendly and efficient. Meals were generally good, particularly breakfast and lunch, but dinners were very hit and miss: strange food combinations (Chicken, chips and Brussels Sprouts anyone - in June?!?!) and small portions meant we ended up treating lunch as our main meal of the day. Afternoon tea was disappointing: the same cakes (they are actually frozen gateaux style cakes, not "proper" ones) every day for 2 weeks. Bar service is generally good, and prices are reasonable, helped by a limited choice bar list during Happy Hour. The choice of wines is reasonable, with prices typically between about €20 - 25 per bottle. The best sections of cruising are between Budapest and Bratislava; the Main river and the Rhine Gorge. Not keen on the Main-Danube canal section, which is a bit boring. Excursions and walking tours were well organised, BUT, the quality of local tour guides was variable. Expect to be doing lots of walking if you're going on the tours. For people with limited mobility this could be a challenge. However, there is always the option to either stay on the ship, or to do limited parts of the tours. There's not a lot to do on board, given it is a river ship, so take books. Great bird watching between Budapest and Bratislava, so also take binoculars.The gym was disappointing, only had 2 treadmills and 2 bikes. No weights, no rowing machines. As the sun deck is mainly closed, can't even do laps of the deck, so if you're keen on exercise to keep the weight down, you'll need to do lots of walking on the excursions/ tours. Evening entertainment is pretty amateurish (the crew try their best to put something on), but at least the on board pianist was very good. Things to be aware of: 1. We had to miss Passau because of low river levels on the Straubing section, and were lucky to get through. The ship has a draft of 1.56m, and the river was below 1.5m, so they had to drain the pool (it is actually hot tub size, only big enough for 2 or 3 people to sit in it), offload grey water etc. to lighten the ship. So if you are cruising the Danube, be aware that it is prone to low river levels. Other ships were off-loading passengers at Nuremberg, so at least we made it. 2. The sun deck and pool are closed for most of the cruise because of low bridges. 3. Don't expect lots of sleep. I didn't get a single decent night's sleep in 2 weeks, mainly because of the ship bouncing around in locks during the night passages. All in all, great ship, and despite a few disappointments, would go again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Thomas Hardy Ratings
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