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?
No problems here