William Shakespeare Cruise Review by Roger Hardy
On 5th May 2016, we flew from Birmingham airport to Dusseldorf, Germany. We were met at the airport by a representative of Riviera Travel. We were then escorted from the airport to a waiting area at the front of the building where we boarded a first class coach. Already on the coach were a number of travellers who had flown into Dusseldorf from Manchester Airport. We then travelled in the coach to Cologne where we met by another Riviera representative who in company with the coach driver removed our cases from the vehicle and together with staff from MS William Shakespeare conveyed our cases onto the ship and delivered them to our cabins. We had reserved cabin 305 on Hamlet deck. The cabin was spacious and well decorated. The bathroom contained a shower cubicle and the water was pumped under pressure via the shower head, the temperatures were adequate. The bathroom contained a lighting system under the cupboards which was excellent when using the toilet in the night. The beds were two single beds joined together and were comfortable. The room contained a settee and a chair together with a functional large screen television. MS William Shakespeare was built in 2014 and still looks very new. She can carry 152 passengers and 40 crew. The crew were very attentive and smartly dressed. One quote I heard from fellow passengers about the crew was, "nothing is too much trouble for them". I agree with this statement and feel it is a true reflection of the whole crew. The dining is free seating and the food can only be described as exceptional!! We also enjoyed a fine dining experience at the rear of the ship at no extra cost. A nice gesture by Riviera travel. There was no entertainment has such, although a young man played the piano in the lounge after dinner. On one evening the tour guides organised a general knowledge quiz which went down very well with the guests. In fairness I feel that Riviera have got the whole river cruise experience exactly right. We booked with Riviera after reading a review on river cruise ships in the 'WHICH' magazine. Riviera travel came out on top. We are regular ocean cruisers this was our first experience on a river cruise. The Rhine Gorge was the highlight of the cruise and the descriptions of the various locations by the tour guides was excellent. The Cruise terminated in Basle, and on the sixth day we had an excursion to Lucerne and the Alps, where a trip on a cog railway was also included. The cruise was excellent, but I do want to make special mention of tour guides Jane Mannering and Edward they really were the best!! To conclude we left MS William Shakespeare on 12th May and where conveyed by a first class coach to Zurich Airport, where we were met by Anna (Riviera Travel representative). She literally arranged everything from getting our flight tickets, checking us in and arranging the transfer of our luggage. Riviera Travel have got it exactly right. There were no children on the cruise and I would estimate the average age of the passengers at approximately 45 years. I will definitely cruise with Riviera again, the Danube is calling!!!!
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