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15 Riviera Travel Cruise Reviews

We had high hopes of this cruise with previous experience of the company and fairly good reviews. The flight to Lyon was fine but had to wait nearly 30 minutes for one of our party in a wheelchair who seemed to have very little assistance ... Read More
We had high hopes of this cruise with previous experience of the company and fairly good reviews. The flight to Lyon was fine but had to wait nearly 30 minutes for one of our party in a wheelchair who seemed to have very little assistance which I was promised also but didn’t get. To get to the coach with was parked some 10 minutes walk away across roads up and down pavements hauling all your luggage was a mission for me with breathing difficulties. I was promised assistance but got none. Arrived at ship 1.5 hrs later. The M S Lord Byron is a nice ship with reasonable sized cabins and nice bathrooms. We had booked the top deck. Food was cold on Ist night and they didn’t have half of the wines available from their wine list. Said they had sold out on last trip. Didn’t bother to restock. Food improved during the week but still poor at times. Service was average due to inexperienced staff most of whom were training. Some bar staff didn’t know all the drinks and one didn’t know what soda water was. The egg station at breakfast was a joke as the chef there hadn’t a clue how to cook eggs and omelettes and when asked for a Spanish omelette the customer had to tell him how to make it. Lots of coach travel for excursions but overall they were very good. The two hosts on board for the week did very little other than enjoy themselves. Return journey to Marseille Airport was another 1.5 hrs and another hike to the Terminal with no assistance. Flight home uneventful except for a 15 minutes disembark problem at Heathrow. To sum up there were a lot of issues with service and food and drink and generally very unprofessional for is a very expensive weeks cruise. Won’t use this company again as they weren’t forthcoming with the assistance and information about travelling to and from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Just returned from a 7 night cruise to Provence on the river Rhône from Lyons to Avignon. The ship is classed as 5 star, but I would take issue with that. What we found disappointing, was the way the cruise was structured. We ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise to Provence on the river Rhône from Lyons to Avignon. The ship is classed as 5 star, but I would take issue with that. What we found disappointing, was the way the cruise was structured. We started the cruise at Lyons, then sailed upriver to Chalon sur Soane for Beaune, we had a pleasant excursion to Beaune, after which we sailed slowly back down the river past Lyons again. We then made our way down river to Vienne and then stopped overnight at Tournon. I’ve no idea why we stopped there, I suppose they had to stop somewhere, but we arrived in Tournon at 5pm(ish) on a Sunday night with nothing open and dinner was being served at 7 and we left in the morning at 8am, so although we went for a walk after dinner , it was all pretty pointless. Next morning we continued on to Arles, then sailed back upriver to Avignon. Now the point I’m trying to make is that there are a great many locks on the river, but these would have been significantly less if the cruise had been structured to start in Beaune and end in Arles. I presume they want to start and end the cruise in places of more interest, but passing up and down through more locks than was truly necessary was pretty wearing and frustrating. The staff were friendly and hard working. The hotel manager Veronica was everywhere keeping an eye on things. The food was usually excellent, although there was a problem with timing during the welcome aboard dinner. It took 3 hours to serve. We had both ordered beef for mains which when eventually served was very rare. I like my beef at the very least medium, but we’d waited so long for it to be served we ate it anyway. I will say the rest of the dinners were much better. Breakfast was good, although slightly eccentric. Sausages should be beef or pork, never chicken! There was a chef making omelettes and fried eggs. Boiled eggs could be ordered which my companion did one day and it was excellent. We always ate lunch in the Lido bar at the back of the ship, which served a light lunch and this was always nice. The coffee machine was also situated here, however that broke several times, but was fairly promptly repaired. The panoramic lounge is pretty bog standard, club chairs with some longer couch type seating, the seating was disappointingly not overly comfortable. On this cruise we had quite a lot of time to watch the world go by as we sailed slowly down the river, but the chairs weren’t really comfortable enough to allow you to lounge for any length of time. I expected squashy sofa type seating for comfort, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. The reception area is very attractive and the reception staff were helpful. All in all I enjoyed the holiday, but it wasn’t the 5 star experience I was expecting. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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
Sail Date August 2018
We booked a cruise with Riviera Cruise on the 25th August 2017 and flew out on the 21st June 2018 for 7 days. After some research and watching your virtual tour of the ship; we chose this holiday with you company. I think it’s only ... Read More
We booked a cruise with Riviera Cruise on the 25th August 2017 and flew out on the 21st June 2018 for 7 days. After some research and watching your virtual tour of the ship; we chose this holiday with you company. I think it’s only fair to give the positive feedback first: We found the front of house staff excellent and very helpful We found the cabin staff that looked after housekeeping very good and friendly The young girl who did my hair was wonderful (it's a pity that the people who have such skills as hair dressing would not be considered to work in front of house on reception rather that cleaning toilets and bedrooms!!) Fresh fruit served at breakfast So to continue with the rest of the feedback: Our cabin: On arrival to our cabin we had 1 case between us, we were rather shocked at the size of the cabin; my husband had to climb over the bed to get to the other side, we had to unpack our case at 02.030 in order to make room for us to go to bed. I refer to your description of the ship as 5 star, - there was nothing 5 star about the pillows (I have attached a picture, they are stuffed with some sort of foam, and left me with pain in my neck) we had to endure this for the 6 nights we stayed, nor was the bed linen 5 stars!! I also attach a picture of the table in our room, which had stains and looked very shabby. The smell of cooking was so bad in our cabin, it was making us nauseous, this smell was in our cabin for the 6 nights, I spoke to the manager in relation to this and she assured me it was not coming from the kitchen! The lounge area for lounging in: The colour of brown and orange is so outdated in the lounge it was not at all pleasant to lounge in. The entertainment at night was so awful that people were in bed by 10.00; you should really consider rethinking the on -board entertainment! You advertise the following top liners: “State-of-the-art, five-star MS William Shakespeare” the “luxurious cabins and excellent facilities are undoubtedly the very best on cruise ships today”. This is not true. ‘Fine Culinary Experiences’: ‘Quality dining is an integral part of your river cruise experience – our ships take this to the highest five-star levels with superb cuisine prepared by a dedicated brigade of chefs.’ We had no fresh vegetables at all during our trip, At lunch one day they had frozen breaded schnitzel , The salad counter had the same processed meat and cabbage salad for the 6 days; - a deli counter in a petrol station would have a better selection. We were also served frozen wedge potatoes and frozen hash browns The soup that was served at lunch and dinner was so bad; it was warm water with a vegetable stock and pickled with salt, ( I did offer to give the chef a recipe for soup, but the waiter just ignored me), and in case you are wondering why I say there was no fresh vegetables on board the ship; on our last day minestrone soup was on the menu and it was very clear it had frozen vegetables ‘Start the morning with a delicious breakfast’. Take a stroll on the Sun Deck and enjoy early risers’ tea or coffee with your freshly baked pastries.- This was not on offer on board ‘Don’t forget to leave some room for afternoon tea and the chef’s special patisserie’ – it’s just too tempting to even attempt to ignore. This was not on offer, there was a coffee and tea machine in the lounge with shop cookies on offer, and each day there was chaos around the coffee machine with people in a queue. Overall the MS William Sheakspear ship needs a complete make over and Riviera Travel needs to give the customer what you are advertising; you are not delivering a 5 star experience To say the least we are not happy with our holiday; we spent €4,636.00 plus €365.00 on board the ship. We purchased our holiday based on the advertisement , marketing and the virtual tours we took on line. We did not have a 5 star experience because there was no 5 star and Riviera are falsely advertising and on this bases we asked for a refund. Our travel agency compensated us with 300 euro which is not even what we spent on board during this ordeal. Overall I would not recommend travelling with Riviera Travel. Read Less
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
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
Sail Date June 2018
My wife and I with two friends have just returned from the Riviera Five Star River Douro Cruise from Porto, Portugal on the Riviera Douro Elegance boat. The Riviera Representative met us at the airport on arrival and after a little ... Read More
My wife and I with two friends have just returned from the Riviera Five Star River Douro Cruise from Porto, Portugal on the Riviera Douro Elegance boat. The Riviera Representative met us at the airport on arrival and after a little delay we boarded the coach and the transfer to Porto was about 45 minutes. The staff on board were very helpful and friendly as expected. The quality of the boat was beautiful having been brought into service in April of this year. We had a Balcony Suite, although the balconies have been amended to large sliding windows. The cabins are well appointed and the balcony/window modification worked well. The new boat in itself certainly deserved the 5 star rating. I must say that the scenery on the Douro is quite breathtaking and we would really recommend the Douro for it’s beauty and tranquillity. Sadly though, we have a number of observations and complaints which certainly marred our trip. We and a number of other passengers were extremely disappointed with the food served on board mainly during the evening restaurant service. Firstly the actual menus themselves were presented on flimsy paper which looked like they had been run off on photo copy paper. Zero for presentation. The soups tasted like packet soup and possibly were not freshly made. The menu on most evenings consisted of strange combinations of ingredients and on the whole fairly tasteless and lacking in seasoning and always tepid. We found many of the dishes or accompanying sauces contained bacon, pork, lamb or sea food leaving my wife and I very little or in some cases no choice of menu as we are non meat/chicken eaters although we do eat fish. With that in mind the fish dishes available were nearly always Sea Bream again lacking in seasoning. On one evening the menu consisted of Sea Bream with Tomato Rice. As an alternative, Mango Risotto with Salted Olives. It’s rice all round! Cheap and easy! Also a lack of accompanying fresh vegetables. There are a number of issues with the food including the food was always tepid when served and in some cases almost cold. We sent food back at times because of this. Other areas of concern. On a number of occasions at breakfast we had to clear used crockery and tableware from tables ourselves as the staff had not cleared and reset available tables. The breakfast buffet was a “bum fight” each morning particularly when an early excursion was planned. The so called hot food in the chafing dishes was always either cold or just tepid. Same at lunch time. There was always a lack of prepared fresh fruit choice. Strips of water melon, slices of orange was more or less the choice. There was however a bowl with some apples in it that did look a bit past their sell by date. There are two help yourself coffee machines available 24 hours a day. The coffee produced from these machines is again tepid and is only just recognisable as coffee. Being a coffee drinker it would seem that the beans are of poor quality. Just my opinion! The coffee served in the restaurant is the same. Couldn’t wait to get a decent cup of coffee on shore! There was no service at all on the sun deck. If you wanted a drink or whatever, you had to go below to the bar and bring it up to the sun deck yourself. Certainly not five star service. On our departure day, due to the flight time being later in the day and after vacating the cabins at 9.00am, absolutely no refreshments were made available to late departing guests despite my enquiring. I have to say that the member of staff with whom I spoke clearly indicated “cost cutting”! It was as if “we’ve got your money and you’re on your own now”. I do recall on previous river cruises a light lunch was made available for late departing guests. Not on this one! There were about 25 passengers on the late departure timed for 2.45 from the boat. Amazingly the boat had provided one toilet only for all of those passengers and was located in the lower lobby area. The Urinals for men had a ‘Not In Use’ notice leaving one WC only to be available for all of those people. When I enquired as to another toilet facility I was told this was the only one. People were queuing to use it. On previous cruises the boat has put aside a couple of cabins for toilet use. In addition to the passengers waiting to leave, early arriving guests whose cabins were not at the time ready, were also using the same toilet. This was an absolute disgrace. All in all I regret to say that we were very disappointed with Riviera and this was certainly not a five star cruise. The boat in itself was five star but the food and general service was no more than three star. We feel badly let down by Riviera and shall now give Riviera a miss for future cruising. Currently awaiting Riviera's response ! Read Less
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date September 2017
My husband chose this cruise to celebrate his 70th birthday. We have done many ocean cruises on various cruise lines and one river cruise - the Mekong. I had done a considerable amount of research into all the cruise companies who ... Read More
My husband chose this cruise to celebrate his 70th birthday. We have done many ocean cruises on various cruise lines and one river cruise - the Mekong. I had done a considerable amount of research into all the cruise companies who offered cruises on the River Douro and chose Riviera Travel because of its reputation in the UK and the fact that the Douro Elegance was a new ship. The lauded five star experience was also a big draw. The cruise is a return trip from Porto on the Portuguese coast as far as the Spanish border where the Douro is no longer navigable by large river cruise ships.. There were good and bad points to this cruise and overall we had an enjoyable time but our main disappointment was with the food which we regard as an important part of any cruise holiday. I completely agree with raymond4868's comments about the food and the service associated with the dining experience. It is by no means a five star experience. Food was mostly luke warm, no thought seems to have been given to the accompanying sauces with the meat although we did like the fish. Soups were tasteless and often cabbage based, salads were unimaginative. No ice cream was ever available, desserts were a joke and every day radioactive looking jelly was an option for dessert at lunch. I like to have fresh fruit at breakfast and on our cruise the selection wasn't bad but it was sliced so thinly you could see through it. Cook to order service at breakfast was very slow. We did talk to the Maitre D of our concerns about food and service early on in the cruise but it didn't improve. Our best meals by far were lunch on our day trip to Salamanca and the evening meal at Quinta de Pancheca (thank goodness, this was on my husband's birthday!). The ship certainly had the wow factor on boarding. It looks very modern and stylish. The sun deck is lovely and all the furnishings and bed linen were excellent quality. However, after a while we came to realise that something didn't seem quite right and made it seem a bit dowdy. The colour scheme is centred on brown and there are very few other colours injected into the decor. Portugal has some wonderful colourful ceramics but the ceramics on display in the dining room are brown mounted on a brown wall. The 'net' curtains in the lounge area are also light brown. Our cabin, whilst fairly compact, was adequate for a 7 night cruise but the bathroom definitely needs more shelving. I was concerned that our cabin entry cards had the cabin number on them which meant that if you did mislay your card, anyone would have access to your cabin. I did point this out to the deputy hotel manager and hopefully this matter will be addressed. We were encouraged to use the safe in the room but it has been placed high up in the wardrobe and I needed to stand on a chair to access it. Apart from the waiters in the dining room, the staff provided excellent service. Douro Azul is the managing company for all the cruise ships on the Douro and it is their policy to charge for water ordered in the bar despite the fact that bottled water is freely available in the cabins. We found this out when we returned after a long day sightseeing and went to the bar to order a pre-dinner drink and my husband was refused a glass of tap water whilst we waited for our drinks to arrive. The organisation of the holiday was very good from the time we were picked up at the airport and transported to the ship to our journey home. All the tours off the ship were in brand new air-conditioned coaches (thanks to Pedro, our brilliant tour guide) and the maps and information provided were good. Vox boxes are used on the tours. At present, the itinerary includes a trip by coach to Salamanca (a two hour drive) which is a beautiful university city in Spain but unfortunately it is on a Monday when all the museums are closed which was disappointing. The scenery along the Douro is wonderful and the lovely weather showed it off well. We thoroughly enjoyed going through the locks which was an amazing experience and certainly required a good deal of precision from the Captain manoeuvring the ship into position. In our opinion, the scenery travelling along the majestic Douro and the included excursions made this holiday. Riviera Travel has taken note of my feedback and has promised to pass on our comments about the dining experience to Douro Azul. I only hope that there is a definite improvement in the food and service because this would then truly make this holiday a Five Star experience. Read Less
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
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
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date June 2017
The ship is actually very nice: modern, bright, clean and with lovely full height/width fully opening windows in the cabins. The staff are generally extremely pleasant and helpful. The itinerary was interesting and it was pleasing to have ... Read More
The ship is actually very nice: modern, bright, clean and with lovely full height/width fully opening windows in the cabins. The staff are generally extremely pleasant and helpful. The itinerary was interesting and it was pleasing to have a decent amount of daytime cruising to enjoy the scenery. However, our flight arrangements were unsatisfactory, with our three seats being totally separated . Help from BA staff sorted it out but it was stressful and Riviera are just not interested. The food was the biggest disappointment. It was ordinary at best with watery, over salted soups, uninteresting salads, overlooked and dry fish and generally dreadful deserts. The " fine dining " was nothing of the sort. To be fair, breakfasts were fine. We suspect our principal tour manager divided opinion. He worked hard but his manner was over the top and he didn't know when to stop talking. There was far too much stress on tipping generously at the end of the cruise. Overall we were underwhelmed by the experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Cruise the Heart of Europe This was our second river cruise with Rivera Travel, we thought the itinerary was fairly comprehensive and interesting, but 14 days on a river boat might seem too long for some people. The boat looked new, ... Read More
Cruise the Heart of Europe This was our second river cruise with Rivera Travel, we thought the itinerary was fairly comprehensive and interesting, but 14 days on a river boat might seem too long for some people. The boat looked new, only about a year or so old, we thought the decor was a little bland, plain white ceilings in the dining room, dull brown staircase handrails. It did not give an impression of a 4 or 5 star boat. Our other cruise with Riviera Travel was on the 'Swiss Coroner' we thought that boat had vastly superior interior decor. The food was inferior to that served on the Swiss Coroner, the so-called cream soups were more like consommé, overall the food was only 2 star. The wait staff were a very mixed bag, from very good to rather poor. Sometimes salt and pepper pots were missing or empty, you had to ask for the odd missing item of cutlery. Three good points about the William Shakespeare were the excellent tour managers, reception and bar staff. We had a suite, the layout could have been much better designed, the space between the bed and the exterior balcony doors was far too tight. We believe the William Shakespeare might have been chartered by Rivera Travel from a company named 'Select Voyagers' and the Swiss Coroner was charted from a different company. We would be very happy to go on another Riviera Travel river cruise but would probably avoid ‘Select Voyagers’ boats. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date July 2015
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