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30 Riviera Travel Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise on the river Danube as we wanted a relaxing break but especially wanted to see the Christmas Markets in Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna and we weren’t disappointed, (Vienna especially is a must). Everything went ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the river Danube as we wanted a relaxing break but especially wanted to see the Christmas Markets in Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna and we weren’t disappointed, (Vienna especially is a must). Everything went smoothly from the booking to landing back in Bristol airport. The Robert Burns is definitely a 5 star ship and was decorated beautifully throughout for the festive season and kept in pristine condition for the entire trip The food was top class and the crew were amazing! They were friendly, helpful and also very professional. We also loved that there was tea/coffee/hot chocolate/biscuits on tap in the reception area 24/7 We loved this trip so much that we will definitely be booking another one in the very near future. Thank you to Riviera Travel and all the staff who helped to make our pre Christmas break everything we’d hoped for and more xx Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my first river cruise and a solos cruise with 64 singles, although some friends booked together. The boat was stunning and lower cabin was very comfortable and quiet. L'Ocitane toiletries, towelling robe and slippers, ... Read More
This was my first river cruise and a solos cruise with 64 singles, although some friends booked together. The boat was stunning and lower cabin was very comfortable and quiet. L'Ocitane toiletries, towelling robe and slippers, satellite tv and double bed to myself. Of course, no time spent in the cabin because fellow travellers and the rest of the ship is so inviting. Big windows, lovely lounge and well stocked bar made the communal areas easy to spend time in. It rained all week but didn't stop the fun. The cruise goes through many locks which are staggering and the river meanders through picturesque scenery. Sun deck has a small pool and about 3 of us managed a dip in November! There is also a small exercise room with treadmill, weights and a bike. Spa was virtually fully booked with amazing massages. Highlights were definitely the excursions, very different visits and the spectacular visit to Salamanca. Always enough time to see things with very well organised and friendly tour guides and free time to wander. Joined the cruise at Oporto which is a fascinating place to see. Of course, lots of Port wine and tastings. The food on board was delicious, varied and to a very high standard. Too many good dishes to mention and wine and drinks very reasonable. I'm glad I didn't book the drinks package because from what I understood, it was only available at meal times and not in the bar. Lighter lunch is served in the lounge and tea and coffee available from the hot drinks station all day. Water bottles provided and fountain to top up. I was so relaxed the minute I got on board. The crew were brilliant and the advice and information from the cruise director was just enough and not boring. This was one of the best holidays I've had and other passengers, some elderly were up and dancing most nights, no shortage of good company. It was my birthday on the trip and a bottle of Prosseco in my cabin with a card made it special. Can't fault this cruise and I am very fussy. I took a book to read and never opened it. If I had one minor suggestion, it would be that the gift shop on the ship is very limited to fairly expensive buys rather than useful things. Take comfortable walking shoes and in autumn, raincoat and don't forget the swimsuit! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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
Detailed review and long……. JOINING With our past experiences of joining cruises in Europe the most important factor was flying direct from our local airport (BHX) with no connections at other hubs. Rushing between gates at ... Read More
Detailed review and long……. JOINING With our past experiences of joining cruises in Europe the most important factor was flying direct from our local airport (BHX) with no connections at other hubs. Rushing between gates at Frankfurt or Schiphol is not for us, and from many others we have met who have had horror stories of missed connections and lost luggage. Our flight to Lyon was slightly delayed but on arrival we, and 10 others, were met by a Riviera representative and after only a 75yds walk we were in our luxury minibuses and on our way to our ship, a short 30 min drive. As soon as we boarded at 3pm we, and our luggage, were escorted to our cabin - super, no waiting. Many other passengers did not join till much later either with flights to other airports or the TGV from London via Paris THE SHIP As the Riviera price for the same itinerary on Emerald was at least £1000 per couple cheaper, our expectations were not high but we were delighted with the MS William Shakespeare which we found much more comfortable and welcoming than the Emerald Star ship, which is all chandeliers, chrome and glass. The deck layout is very similar but we found the lounge, with its sofas and comfortable chairs, and the dining room layout and furniture, to be far more welcoming and relaxing. As is normal on European rivers, the staff are mainly from Eastern Europe, and we found them all to be engaging, with good English and striving to give the best of service In the lounge there is a 24-hour tea, coffee and water station, together with complimentary cookies and fresh fruit. The sun deck has really comfortable deck furniture and ample shade, unlike some other cruise ships we came across on the Rhone which were baking in the 30C++ heat. Only on a few occasions were the shades lowered for low bridges or locks. F&B Surprisingly, we found the choice and quality of the food better than Emerald with some dishes, in presentation and taste, up to top restaurant quality. The superb beef wellington and an excellent sole meunière stood out amongst many fine dishes. Breakfast was either Continental at the bar, or a Buffet with a good choice of hot food, including an egg station, in the Restaurant. The only minor gripe-their supplier had let them down with English breakfast sausage so only frankfurters were on offer-uhg Lunches are buffet style, with three hot choices, and a good choice of salads, a soup and always cold cuts and smoked salmon or gravlax. The pastry chef had some style and passion with a choice every day-and of course French cheeses. There were two Gala nights with a stylish menu but on all other evenings there was a table d'hôte menu but if you wanted something different there was always grilled chicken breast or grilled salmon. Service was first class in every way from the waiters, both for ordering, service and drinks. One was never left with an empty glass. We were exceptionally lucky in having George and Aussie Zoe look after us. They shone in every way, are a credit to Riviera and they could walk into a job in any top restaurant in the World We took the pre-booked drinks package at €109pp which worked out just about right. The wines on offer changed most nights but all were very acceptable especially the Merlot, the Beaujolais and a very quaffable Rosé. The draft Warsteiner was excellent. On Gala nights there was complimentary sparkling wine in the bar as a pre-dinner drink, on other nights there was a Happy Hour with special discounts on certain drinks-€3.25 for sparkling wine, €1.75 for beer and €4.50 for a G&T. Drinks prices, overall, were sensibly price and cheaper than pub prices back home. ENTERTAINMENT There was pianist for pre-dinner cocktails and after dinner drinks in the Lounge and on two nights a rather fun quiz. On the Gala dinner nights there was a reception to introduce the Captain and the Hotel Manager Bruno together with all the crew. On the last night we were treated to a farewell serenade by all the crew and staff-not at all cheesy but really good fun… EXCURSIONS All are included in the price and there is a morning or afternoon excursion most days with cruising in between. We loved the day cruising watching the countryside changing from Burgundy to deep Provence. A full briefing was given before each trip and we all had audio boxes and ear pieces which were so useful in crowded places. I must mention the quality of the guides-all had perfect English and were gifted and enthusiastic in every way. Four of the trips were by coach and the one through the Burgundy vineyards during the vendage was exceptional and culminated in a tutored tasting at La Cellier de la Cabiote-the highlight of our day. Free time in Beaune old town followed by shopping , it was market day, and then back to Chalon for lunch and an afternoon cruise through the Côte Chalonnaise and Beaujolais countryside. The trip around old Lyon was also very enjoyable and the view over old Lyon from basilica Notre-Dame of Fourvière is a must, as are the wall murals in the old town. The other coach trips were to visit the Ardeche Gorges but as we had driven through these on previous visits so gave this a miss and stayed on the top deck, in glorious warm sun, whilst the ship repositioned to Viviers where the passengers re-joined the ship. All seemed to enjoy the coach trip, for us 3 hours on windy roads would have been too much. At Vienne we had a free morning to explore this old Roman town on foot with the option of joining the “little train” Other highlights included market day in Arles and after our guided walk round the Roman ruins we had free time to shop and sightsee before returning to the ship for lunch. The market was a delight and our star buy were bunches of dried lavender @€4 to replenish the ones we bought so many years ago. We did not take the afternoon coach tour to the Pont du Gard (done that) so we took the opportunity to take another walk around town before relaxing on the sun deck, under the velum sheltering from the hot Provence sun (32C) We sailed early evening to Avignon where we moored adjacent to the city walls very near the famous bridge. On our last day our walking tour started at 9.30 in the morning with a visit the remains of the ancient bridge followed by an extensive, and very interesting tour of the Popes Palace-again given an hour afterwards to explore on our own before making our way back to the ship. FELLOW GUESTS Other than a couple from the US and another couple from down under it was all British and Irish. Ages went from 50’s to 80’s with the average in the high 60’s. But age does not matter, some of the oldest were the spriteliest and put the youngest to shame. Most very mobile with the occasional stick and one wheelchair. LEAVING As there was no direct flight from Marseille to Birmingham the only option was a 3-hour coach trip back North to Lyon airport, to which we were not looking forward. We departed at 9.30 and how wrong we were. A smooth and comfortable journey on the A7 with glimpses of the Rhone, the ever-changing countryside and views, which I, as the driver on many of our previous trips to the South of France had never had the chance of experiencing. Our guide obtained trollies for us and escorted all the way to the check in desks-superb service from start to finish WIFI Non existing. It is NOFI Riviera staff were full of apologies, even they and the Reception suffered. Apparently, it is an ongoing problem with this boat which is hoped will be rectified when it is laid up at Chalon during the winter. A new antenna and routers are to be fitted. The lack of WiFi was only disappointment with this cruise and with Riviera. Luckily, we had a strong 4G signal on our mobiles so we were not completely out of touch. RIVIERA STAFF Absolutely superb-could not have been bettered. Certainly, the pair are the best we have come across on any of our cruises. Mandy the Cruise Director, assisted by Sarah her Riviera Concierge, are at the top of their game and are a credit to Riviera. TIPPING Guides and Drivers are not expecting tips but for exceptional service the guide lines of €2 for guides and €1 for drivers Gratuities are not included in the price but guidelines from Riviera are a crew shared €10pp per day. We also looked after those who were exceptional, including Sarah and Mandy. SUMMING UP If you have got this far, well done and I hope there are some useful nuggets in here. We were well impressed with Riviera who gave tremendous value for money for a truly 5 Star cruise—we hope to sail with them again, perhaps on a boat with WiFi not NoFi SS and do please ignore the photos of stained tables. When new the furniture had not been sealed and after the first cruise the water stains could not be removed, They are cleaned and polished daily. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The Robert Burns is a new ship, not too big, beautifully appointed and spotlessly clean. Cabins are obviously not large, but comfortable and have everything you need. The bathroom was quite elegant and the shower a pleasant surprise - ... Read More
The Robert Burns is a new ship, not too big, beautifully appointed and spotlessly clean. Cabins are obviously not large, but comfortable and have everything you need. The bathroom was quite elegant and the shower a pleasant surprise - better than the ones we have found in many hotels. The food was excellent and there was the option of dining in the bistro rather than the main dining room if you wanted to. The crew were all charming and couldn't do enough to help. Entertainment was sparse - one quiz night, one visit by a string quartet who were excellent, and one evening of Hungarian folk dances, which was fun. Each day there was an included shore excursion - mostly close to the Danube - with a local guide. Bratislava in Slovakia was a particular surprise - it's a delightful place. We also visited other towns and villages, including Salzburg (which did require a two hour coach journey, but we could have chosen to stay and take a guided tour of Linz instead), Vienna and Budapest, which was a fascinating mix of new and old and probably my favourite. My only criticism was that the cost could have included wine or beer with meals. The drinks package available was quite expensive, especially given that drinks costs from the bar were reasonable. This was our first European river cruise, and admittedly we were lucky with the weather - blue skies and sunshine all week. All in all a very enjoyable holiday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our first venture into river cruising, and we were not disappointed. We enjoy wine and looked forward to learning more about Port and seeing some amazing scenery. The itinerary looked fairly daunting and full on, it was! ... Read More
This was our first venture into river cruising, and we were not disappointed. We enjoy wine and looked forward to learning more about Port and seeing some amazing scenery. The itinerary looked fairly daunting and full on, it was! Embarkation/Disembarkation We were met at Oporto airport by one of the tour escorts, and after a short wait taken to a coach. Then a 20 minute transfer to Villa Nova de Gaia, where MS Douro Elegance was birthed. To get to our ship we had to cross another ship, this appears to be quite normal for river cruising. Once on board we were taken to the bar/lounge for tea and cakes, and our cruise director Carmen and hotel manager Roseline. We then received our cabin keys/cruise card, our cabin was not difficult to find and our cases were already inside. Disembarkation is equally efficient. Luggage tags were provided the day before disembarkation, cases needed to be outside the cabin by 09:00. We were not due to leave for the airport until 14:00; this left us with a full morning to explore Gaia and Porto. We had lunch off the ship although a light lunch was provided in the bar. If you needed to freshen up two cabins were available on request. When you did board the coach for the airport you did need to see that your luggage had been loaded. Dining The restaurant is open seating with a fixed meal time in the evening. A light breakfast was available at the coffee station or a full buffet in the restaurant. Alight lunch was available in the bar or a full buffet in the restaurant. Some of the choices at dinner were a little ‘unusual’ particularly the starters. In general the food was to a good standard, although choice was limited. Vegetarians did struggle, and risotto appeared regularly. The wine in the restaurant was very good and locally produced, most evenings the recommend wines were €16 to €18 which was very reasonable and drinkable. The coffee station was a bit of a disappointment, whatever you selected from the machine it was too sweet for our taste, we are not great coffee drinkers and there was a good selection of teas. Bar The bar/lounge was spacious and comfortable. Pedro the bar manager was not only highly skilled but also very amusing. There was a good selection of drinks at reasonable prices. White port and tonic became our favourite pre-dinner tipple. The drinks package changed after we had booked and it only provided drinks with meals which seemed a bit restrictive (though people found ways round this!) They need to make this a simple package that covers all drinks and limit the price per drink. Cabin Our cabin was starboard middle on deck 2 (209), the cabin is a reasonable size, with a large opening windows, though half the evenings we were against another ship or a wall, the half we had very pleasant views. There was a large LED TV, two USB charging sockets, a proper hair drier, a small fridge, two small bottles of water that were replaced daily and a kettle for tea and coffee making. There is plenty of space under the bed to hide your luggage. The safe on the top shelf of the wardrobe is awkward to say the least, and I’m average height. The bathroom is very good and there was always plenty of hot water, it just lacked storage space. Most mornings we were woken when the ships engines were started at 06:30, but it wasn’t particularly load and there was no vibration. The information pack in the room was excellent, a detailed map of the Douro was provided along with maps of all the places we were to visit. There were also two wireless headsets for use on the trips. Entertainment This took place in the bar on three nights, a quiz, the port ceremony where Pedro opened a bottle of vintage port using port tongs and a Portuguese folk music evening. If you wanted to avoid these, you could take a drink up to the sun deck which was very peaceful. Photography There wasn’t any! How nice not to have photographers trying to snap you. Gym This was a token gesture comprising a treadmill and an exercise bike. Excursions The organisation of the trips was very good, at the beginning of the cruise you picked your bus number (1,2 or 3), and that was your bus with the same escort for the whole cruise. The pre-cruise itinerary covers all the trips in some depth, here are my thoughts on some of them: Sandeman: This seemed a bit light weight; you are taken round a visitor centre with a quick tasting afterwards, and a retail opportunity. The view of the Douro from the terrace is spectacular. But it takes nearly as long for the coach to get up to the quinta as the actual visit; those of a nervous disposition should not look out of the coach windows! Salamanca: A long day with a good if chaotic lunch and some large flamenco dancers. The city is quite compact, and we were easily able to do the cathedral ourselves, and then take the organised tour in the afternoon. Quinta da Pacheca: This was a dinner at a quinta that included a brief tour of the winery. The food was very good with plenty of local wine, and live music. Mateus Place: Famous for featuring on all those bottles of rosé! Beautiful gardens, and well worth taking the time to walk round. The visit does not include going inside the palace. Calem: Just a short walk down the picturesque Gaia quayside and a tour of this port lodge with a tasting and another retail opportunity. Well worth seeing if just to get an idea of the scale of port production. Anything Else? The five locks that we pass through are very impressive and worth seeing. There are also some very low bridges that the ship can only just squeeze under, the sun deck has to be cleared for these. The sun deck is a great place to sit and watch the scenery go by, but it could use a bar service up there and some way of listening to a commentary. Also, beware of the static electric sock you might get when going down the stairs! There was a very good atmosphere on the ship, the crew all got on very well together and nothing was too much trouble for them. With only 120 passengers it was more like a large house party, and by the end of the cruise you had probably spoken to everyone else. And finally, Carmen our cruise director did a fantastic job of making sure everything happened when it was supposed to. Carmen is very hands on, she give the talks in the morning about what we are doing that day, goes on the trips and is dancing in the bar at night! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We booked the cruise to celebrate 30 years together, it’s hard to believe how much things have changed for same sex couples over those years! Once we were through security, we booked into the Number 1 lounge at Birmingham Airport, ... Read More
We booked the cruise to celebrate 30 years together, it’s hard to believe how much things have changed for same sex couples over those years! Once we were through security, we booked into the Number 1 lounge at Birmingham Airport, and after the family with the horrible toddler who for some reason had been given a whistle had left, we relaxed until our flight which was a nice start to the holiday. We seemed to attract families with noisy children as opposite us, there were two more noisy children, but to be fair, their parents tried their best to settle them down. Well, the mother did, and told the father off just as much as the kids! Bonus number one of a river cruise. No kids! We arrived in Dusseldorf at around 5.30pm, had collected our luggage and were on the coach by 6pm. However, getting to the ship in Bonn, (our revised departure port), was delayed due to roadworks and an accident. We got to the ship just before 8pm. On the way, our tour guide, Barbara, introduced herself and briefly went through what would happen. She kept mentioning the “beautiful” Jane Austen – surely it’s for us to work that out for ourselves? (Turns out she was right, it is a very beautiful ship!) To be fair, that was really the only annoying “American” thing we noticed, there were certainly no endless art auctions, photographers, over enthusiastic staff, etc, and with a kettle in our cabin, it was easy to feel at home straightaway! On arrival, before we could give our names, we were given our keys and shown to our cabin! It was lovely to be called Mr & Mr – we’ve been on holidays (even our honeymoon) to find our booking is under Mr & Mrs! The cabin is compact, but certainly well laid out, and I was delighted to find that my request for non-feather bedding had been sorted. Two bottles of water are offered each day, but the tap water is perfectly drinkable. As it was getting late, we went straight to dinner and sat with two other couples, who became firm friends, along with lots of other passengers! The food was excellent – served to the table rather than buffet style – and took advantage of our pre-booked wine package – I’m not sure we got our money’s worth, to be honest, but it’s nice not to have any nasty surprises at the end of the holiday. The food was delicious throughout the cruise – I can honestly say that there was nothing we didn’t like for the whole duration. Portions were adequate, and you could chop and change items, and have double portions without any problems. Dietary requirements were well catered for. At the end of the meal, we had an unexpected surprise from our cruise.co.uk travel agent – a cake with a huge sparkler to wish us happy anniversary, which was a lovely and unexpected touch. After dinner, we quickly unpacked – there was more than enough space for everything, and plenty of good quality wooden hangers (the normal ones which also let you hang them over the shower, rather the fiddly ones some places use). There were electricity sockets by both beds, making charging easy, however, they are two pin rather than three pin, so an adaptor is necessary. The cabin included an umbrella along with tea/coffee/milk for the kettle. Other sorts of teas and infusions were available for free in the Lido on the top deck, which doubles as a separate restaurant. For this cruise, it turned out that the menu was Indian – coming from Birmingham, we thought we’d rather eat in the main restaurant as we found the variety and company of other guests excellent. Had the menu been an Indonesian “Rijsttafel” (commonly found in the Netherlands), we would have been very tempted – after all, the head Chef was Indonesian and the captain was Dutch… Once we’d unpacked, we decided to have a short stroll around Bonn – that’s the beauty of many river cruises, you’re normally docked near enough to walk to somewhere interesting – having been to Cologne in the past, Bonn was an unexpected bonus. With the exception of Strasbourg where we had a coach transfer, all moorings were within 5-10 minutes of the centre, making it easy to have an evening stroll. Day 2 - Koblenz After a night’s sleep (with very fierce but essential air conditioning), we woke up for breakfast. There was plenty of choice, although the hot food/egg station was quite cramped and perhaps the sauces could have been put elsewhere on the main buffet. The safety briefing was done in a professional manner, then there was an orientation talk about Koblenz. One excellent feature was a map of the route along with maps and information on all of the places we were going to visit which had been provided in a folder in the cabin. I do wish sea cruises would follow this example, rather than giving rather limited information late in the night before (if at all, with some cruise lines). For the rest of the morning, we found a shady spot at the front of the ship and very much enjoyed watching the magical castles and towns sail by, chatting to other passengers. All too soon it was lunchtime, which was served buffet style, with the exception of soup. A lighter lunch is also served on the Lido – and on a couple of occasions, I went up to get the hot option which I brought back to the restaurant to join the others. The beef stir fry was particularly nice, but it didn’t stop me having a few things from the restaurant buffet too! After lunch, we were given a short orientation tour of Koblenz, including the Deutches Eck and town centre, then had time for a stroll around and a cuppa before going back to the ship in time to change for the Captain’s welcome reception which was taking place at 6.30pm. Along with the Farewell Gala Dinner, this was the only evening where there was one sitting. I took the Maitre d’s advice and had a double portion of the pork wrapped in bacon, which was delicious. There was always a meat, fish and veggie option on the menu, and although most nights there wasn’t any choice of starter/desserts, well thought out substitutes were made depending on dietary requirements. Later in the evening, we had a stroll back to the Deutsches Eck which took less than five minutes, then around town, stopping for a drink on the way back. Bars seemed to close their outside areas at 11, but we found a lovely place with a good view. Day 3 – Rhine Gorge/Rüdesheim Breakfast was served until 9.30, so there was no rush to get up. The morning was spent cruising down the Rhine Gorge, which really should be called the “Rhine Gorgeous”! Again, the scenery was stunning, and the morning passed very quickly. There was a commentary on deck (perhaps the voxboxes could have been used), then there was an explanatory talk about Rüdesheim. There was an optional extra of the landtrain/mechanical museum visit for €15. The landtrain didn’t take long to get to the Mechanical Museum. It’s an absolute must do – housed in a very old building, the lady taking us round really brought the machines to life in the most magical way. After an icecream sundae we walked around town and ended up back on the ship before we knew it – the mooring was so near the town, we didn’t use the train coming back, although it was useful for people who couldn’t walk very far. After dinner, we somehow missed the organised walk into town, but found a lovely bar on Drosselgasse where there was live music, then a singer – it’s a lovely little street with plenty of evening atmosphere. Day 4 – Speyer Another leisurely morning of breakfast, orientation talk, cruising and lunch seemed to vanish quickly. We had a choice of going to the technical museum or into town. As the weather was exceptionally hot, and the museum was mainly in the open air, we decided to go into town. After a short orientation tour, we went to the Jewish Museum and saw the ancient Mikva (ritual bath) which being below ground, was nice and cool. Speyer has a nice enough high street and we found somewhere for a soft drink to people watch. We’d also been recommended to visit the beer garden of one of the Domhof, which was a really great suggestion. We sat and had another drink, then walked through the park to get back to the ship. That night, there was a staff show which was very entertaining, and included a short pantomime – I’ve no idea what the crew must have thought, but the British crowd understood all of the jokes! Afterwards, people were dancing, but we decided to go to the top deck as there was a little breeze. Day 5 – Strasbourg Perhaps as we were going through some locks, the orientation talk was at 9.30, so we got up a little earlier on this day, even though we weren’t going to get to Strasbourg until after lunch. The scenery was more industrial, but the time seemed to pass quickly yet again. On arrival, we got into coaches and had a tour of Strasbourg which is very pretty. It’s a shame we didn’t have time to go to see the Parliament, and it wasn’t mentioned by the guide. Being exceptionally pro-EU, I bought a lovely EU-flag umbrella and a wind up musical toy that plays the EU anthem (Ode to Joy). Other views were undoubtedly available on the cruise! The previous day, we’d very kindly been sent an invitation to a pre-dinner celebratory drinks reception in the Lido. It wasn’t really surprising that so many people were there as this was a lovely way to celebrate an occasion, and the air conditioning struggled to cope, so most of us went back to the lounge with our celebratory drink. We sat for dinner with our usual friends, most unfortunately one of the waiters was rather rude to one of our party. She simply mentioned that she didn’t have a side plate for her bread, somehow he managed to drop her bread on the floor, then told her that he had other tables to serve! The incident resulted in a bottle of wine being offered. It really was the only unfortunate incident as generally the service was impeccable, especially from Merhan, who helped me learn some Bulgarian as that’s the location for our next trip!! After dinner, there was a fun music quiz in the lounge which made the evening pass quickly. It’s fair to say that there wasn’t much entertainment on the ship, but with the exception of Strasbourg, where we sailed away at 8pm, we were generally docked very close to somewhere if you wanted a stroll, making it a very different holiday to a sea cruise. Day 6 – Titisee / Breisach It was a bit of a shock to have to get to breakfast for 7.30 so we could get to Titisee. Our guide on the coach turned out to be British, making jokes like the roads were designed by “Herr Pinn”. He was quite informative and joked he’d “Brexited” many years ago! The drive, which took about 1h30, was very picturesque. We had a couple of hours in Titisee, which included a short talk about cuckoo clocks, then after a “Black Forest Cake” (or some sausages in my case), we had a look around. We’d left it too late to do a cruise on the lake, but in the full sun it was probably just as well. Most shops sold cuckoo clocks along with the usual tourist stuff. The drive back was less scenic and took about an hour and lunch was waiting for us when we got back at about 13.30. After lunch, I wandered into Breisach, but my husband decided to have a sleep as it was so hot (about 37C). There was a castle up a hill, but at that temperature, I simply had a short walk around town, which was fairly workaday with not too much to see apart from the castle which was perched on a hill, and I didn’t fancy walking that far in the scorching heat. As the next day was going to be very busy, the disembarkation presentation took place this evening. It was followed by a talk about the next day’s tour (including a warning that not everything would be in English when we got to Switzerland – apparently some people had moaned about things being in German in Germany!)! The evening continued with the Captain introducing all the staff and crew before the Farewell Drink and Dinner. Once again, the food was excellent and I had a mixture of both corn-fed chicken and a rösti which was the vegetarian option. Day 7 – Bernese Oberland/Lucerne The last full day was very long and undoubtedly the highlight. Even though Switzerland isn’t in the EU, it is in the Schengen area and a member of the EEA, so there were no passport formalities, which could have made the day even longer. After breakfast we picked up our packed lunch, a sandwich (or gluten free alternative!) along with salad, chocolate biscuits, fruit and juices. Our coach was supposed to leave at 8, but during breakfast it was announced that it would leave at 8.15, only to finally leave at 8.20. So much for Swiss timing! Groups 1 and 2 left 30 minutes earlier than Group 3, as there wasn’t enough room on the train for all of us. Our guide actually lived in Richmond (North Yorkshire) and came over for the summer season. To be honest, we’ve had better guides and he seemed a little confused at times. We arrived at Wilderwil at about 10.30, just enough time to use the facilities (there are none on the train) and caught the old cog railway up the mountain. We sat near the driver, so didn’t have the best view, it’s probably best to be nearer the centre of the train rather than at the front or back. There wasn’t much information about what to do on top, a sign did say Alpine Garden, but I didn’t hear anyone saying they’d been. There is a self-service café at the top where everyone ate their packed lunch (even though the tables advised “no picnics”) –the guide did say they wouldn’t mind. Prices in Switzerland are generally extortionate, and this was certainly no exception! Sitting with a view of snow-capped mountains when the temperatures had been approaching 40C all week was rather magical, to say the least! It was quite a bit cooler, but still in the mid-20s, which was very unusual. At 13.01 (well, 13.02 to be precise), our train departed back down the mountain and then we had an hour-long journey to Lucerne. The guide didn’t seem to want to use the voxbox, so we followed him to the very picturesque wooden bridge then had a wander around ourselves. We only had about an hour, so there wasn’t really enough time to stop for a drink, although we did have an ice cream while walking round. The drive back to the ship took about an hour, and we arrived at about 18.00. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time in Lucerne, but getting back gave us enough time to shower and do the majority of our packing. It had been a long day, so after dinner, we went to the top deck and sat chatting with other passengers – we had been going to have a stroll into Basel, but thought we’d leave it until the next morning, when we had spare time after breakfast. Day 8 – Basel and goodbye We had use of the cabin until 9.00, so after breakfast we sorted everything out and left our hand luggage in the shop, heading off for a walk around Basel. In the very immediate vicinity of the ship, it’s very workaday and rather grim, not at all what we expected for Switzerland. However, a short walk over the bridge leads you into the Old Town, which is very nice. We then came back over another bridge and found the Minster, the Old University and the Rathaus, which is exceptionally pretty (and has a free toilet). Rather than spend a fortune on a drink, we went back to the ship, where tea/coffee was being served in the lounge, unfortunately in paper cups, rather spoiling the decadence of the ship. A light lunch was served from 13.00, comprising goulash soup (surprisingly no veggie option was available), open top sandwiches and fruit. Our coach was to leave at 13.30, and we were called at 13.20. We got onto the coach and started on our way. The road access to the river is very limited, and then we heard a bump, the driver had hit something. The police seemed to arrive in seconds, then Barbara came onto the coach and said that the person who should have accompanied us to the airport had been delayed, so hopefully we could sort ourselves out at the airport. With an average age of well above 18, we decided we knew how to use an airport and off we went at about 14.00. The driver was quite chatty, saying he was German, but works a lot in Switzerland as wages are about double those of Germany. On the way, we were very surprised when his phone rang and he answered it, holding the phone while he drove! However, we did get to the airport safely and to the correct terminal. We had a lovely, if extortionately priced tea/coffee in Sprüngli which cost nearly £10. My husband managed to leave his jacket there and because the UK isn’t part of the Schengen agreement couldn’t retrieve it as we’d passed through another passport control, making it an even more expensive cuppa! Our flight back was with Helvetic Air (seemingly part of SwissAir), which was very enjoyable, with a drink (alcoholic or non), chicken or cheese sandwich and a chocolate before landing. It was one of the nicest flights we’d had in a while and a lovely way to end our holiday! All in all, we were delighted by the holiday and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them and would definitely go on another Riviera holiday in future. It’s certainly not a bargain break, but there again, you do get value for money and it’s a wonderful way to celebrate something special. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our second cruise with Riviera and we weren’t disappointed. The journey was breathtaking at times, Emily Bronte is luxurious, the staff seemed to go out of their way to make the experience enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Riviera and we weren’t disappointed. The journey was breathtaking at times, Emily Bronte is luxurious, the staff seemed to go out of their way to make the experience enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. I was glad we’d started the cruise in Cologne because as we sailed down the Rhine the scenery became more beautiful. Both Cologne and Koblenz were pretty enough but nothing compared to the treats that were to come. I loved sailing through the picturesque Rhine Valley, Rudesheim was a delight, made even better by the coffee, Titisee was also a delight and we enjoyed our slice of Black Forest gateaux sitting by the lake. All of those trips seemed relaxed and well organised. Most, but not all, were in the afternoon so that meant that after breakfast we could listen to Barbara’s information about the next place we were going to visit. However, nothing prepared us for the amazing visit to Schynige Platte. You need to see it to believe it. We ate our packed lunches in certainly the most beautiful place I have ever eaten lunch and arguably the most beautiful place on Earth. It was truly wonderful. I do have a gripe about this trip though. We could have done without the long journey afterwards to Lucerne before heading back on another long journey to the ship. We arrived there late on Sunday afternoon so shops were closed and the few which were still open were packed with other tourists. We were only there for about an hour, and when we arrived it was pouring with rain. All we managed to do was grab a cup of tea in a cafe which was closing and visit the loo. We saw very little of Lucerne except on the walk back to the coach. One of the coaches should have gone to Lucerne for the whole day - it’s certainly worth seeing, but instead we were all a bit grumpy about it. I hope they get that sorted because it spoiled our last day a little bit when we could have gone back to the ship and enjoyed our last afternoon and night on board. Instead we had a late dinner, and then had to pack so it was all a bit of a rush. We were given envelopes and a suggestion that we should tip in the region of €8-11 per person per day. I wish they would just charge us extra for the holiday and pay the staff a decent wage without the need for tips. Any cruise line which does this will get our business in future as I consider asking for money distasteful and demeaning to the staff. It was also hinted that the cruise director Jane and Barbara weren’t included. I wouldn’t go on that cruise again as I’ve seen it, but I’d highly recommend it. I’d certainly go on another river cruise especially one which charges more and doesn’t expect tips. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our first river cruise and we were not disappointed in the least. Robert Burns is a beautiful brand new ship and it could not be faulted. The staff had all come from other ships so were excellent at their jobs,all of them. As ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we were not disappointed in the least. Robert Burns is a beautiful brand new ship and it could not be faulted. The staff had all come from other ships so were excellent at their jobs,all of them. As there are only 44 staff, they all have to multitask, especially when supplies are being loaded. They never seemed to get any rest at all. Food and drinks were to a 5 star standard, could not be faulted in any way, always something to take your fancy at every meal. Entertainment is low key, as you would expect although sometimes they did try to beef it up with games nights and they could get a bit hectic. Captains farewell dinner dress code was a bit mixed, some made the effort, some did not but it was an excellent last night before embarkation. The ports of call on this Budapest to the Black Sea and back again were OK, some like Bucharest were interesting but some of the old Soviet towns had not much to offer and some of the trips entailed 2 to 3 hour bus journeys to see a very insignificant place or venue. Overall, Riviera Travel put on a great show and we will definitely be back, Read Less
Sail Date June 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
Sail Date May 2018
My wife and I have never fancied an ocean cruise but saw an advert for the Burgundy, River Rhone and Provence cruise which took our fancy as we had several French holidays with our children many years ago. The cruise was everything we ... Read More
My wife and I have never fancied an ocean cruise but saw an advert for the Burgundy, River Rhone and Provence cruise which took our fancy as we had several French holidays with our children many years ago. The cruise was everything we hoped for despite the poor weather. We booked a deluxe suite on Diamond deck and this was as large as many of the hotel rooms we have had over the years. The only drawback, if there was one, was that no suite/cabin on Lord Byron has a full balcony, but our suite had a full-size sliding door which we could open and enjoy the views. The reception area was excellent as were the lounge, restaurant and lido bar/restaurant. There was also a small boutique, steam room, sauna and hairdresser's. The sun deck had plenty of loungers, a giant chess board, a putting green and small splash pool/Jacuzzi. Breakfasts were buffets (hot and cold) with plenty of choices plus waiter service full English, smoked salmon with scrambled eggs etc. Lunches were also buffets with once again plenty of choices. Dinners were waiter service 4 courses (6 on the gala night). All of the food was first rate. The crew were all polite, friendly but professional and all of them seemed to have a great sense of humour. They put on a show one night and every passenger thoroughly enjoyed it. On all other nights, a pianist entertained. The tour director and tour manager were both very good and the arranged tours (with professional local guides) also very good. Highlights of the tours were Avignon, Pont du Gard, Ardeche gorges, Beaune (and the Burgundy vineyards) and Vieux Lyon. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, couldn't fault anything and will certainly think about another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because it was less expensive than others and the itinerary was perfect for us. From the moment we boarded everything was perfect. A very comfortable top deck cabin, with a huge glass sliding door to open and admire ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was less expensive than others and the itinerary was perfect for us. From the moment we boarded everything was perfect. A very comfortable top deck cabin, with a huge glass sliding door to open and admire the amazing view. Embarkation was smooth, in fact we arrived early and were able to take our luggage on board and go for a walk in Cologne. The ship isn’t only 4 years old and very comfortable. While there is not entertainment as on big cruise ships, Peter played Piano every afternoon and again played and sang at night. In Vienna we were entertained by a string quartet, 4 ladies who were amazing. Also the ships hotel manager sang and played guitar on two occasions and the crew put on a comedy show one night, all very good. I felt that there’s so much to look at day and night on the river, that was entertaining enough. We didn’t have one bad meal, breakfast buffet and lunch but with extra menu offerings and dinner was always a choice of three entrees, two soups and three main courses. Also there was also a chicken dish and salmon dish every night apart from the main course offerings. Dessert was either something delicious or a cheese platter. Coffee and tea were always available and afternoon tea always offered a great selection of cakes. We didn’t take up the drinks package as it didn’t include drinks other than lunch and dinner. We believe the prices were comparable to what we pay in Australia and not big drinkers so were happy with having a glass of the very good house wine with dinner for around 4-5 euro. The two cruise directors, Veronica and Peter were excellent, knowledgeable and very patient with the mostly over 65 year old passengers. Peter gave a talk every night about our next port, which was very informative. The included tours were mostly great and varying difficulty to accommodate slower passengers, the crew, mostly Eastern European, were outstanding and very friendly. Yes, there was about six days when we couldn’t use the top viewing deck because of low bridges but there were plenty of other vantage points and we were able to use it going through the Rhine gorge which is probabaly the most spectacular part of the river. My only negative is the suggested tipping, which as an Australian, we found a little excessive and preferred to single out those crew that we felt went that extra bit, we did also leave general tip for the crew. I would definitely use Riviera again, I fact, we started planning another trip while on board. Read Less
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
Sail Date May 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. My wife and I preferred it to our other Cruise around the Baltic. The ship is brand new, the staff were great. I have read the earlier comments and cannot agree entirely with them. If you opt for a Riviera ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. My wife and I preferred it to our other Cruise around the Baltic. The ship is brand new, the staff were great. I have read the earlier comments and cannot agree entirely with them. If you opt for a Riviera holiday the chances are that most people will be mid sixties plus so it should not be a surprise if the average age is over seventy. We were fortunate and had as our Tour Manager, Daniel and Tour Guide Andras. Both were exceptionally good. Everything was in line with the brochure and it was to be expected that you had some long days, which were wonderful and shorter stops at cities as well as quaint towns. If thinking of going on this cruise then read the brochure well and if you have a flight that arrives late consider going a couple of days before under your own steam. You spend more time in Basel and can join the boat early giving yourself time to settle in before a long days excursion the next day. Many people who travelled to the boat by train found it tiring and declared they would not use this method if travelling again. We were fortunate with the weather so were able to visit all the destinations and still enjoy the top deck of the boat. My wife used the Gym a couple of times. The Bistro was very good and an alternative to the dining room. As a couple we tended not to join others for breakfast and dinner. This never seemed to be a problem but if we had wished to join others then we could have. Only problem is that we had the last suite on the middle floor. Suite 236. Being at the rear of the ship it was noisy. Engine noise 24/7. Reception supplied earplugs to help with sleep. When booking request a suite as near the front as possible although it is only the last few suites from about 230 onwards that were noisy. To summarise, great boat, lovely staff, Riviera staff excellent. Make sure you do all the excursions as there is nothing else to do on the boat other than relax and if, by chance, the weather is not good then you have to stay inside while virtually everyone is on their excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Totally impressed with the service and "natural" friendliness of all the crew - well done to the hotel manager for creating the team. We have stayed at some of the best hotels in UK and this place as regards food beats them ... Read More
Totally impressed with the service and "natural" friendliness of all the crew - well done to the hotel manager for creating the team. We have stayed at some of the best hotels in UK and this place as regards food beats them all - and all from a tiny galley. Cannot compliment enough . Happily surprised with the cruise and everything with it as initially not expecting alot. The whole boat was very well kept and the crew genuinely wanted to be there, which was refreshing Excursions were very good with some amusing (Katriana) and well informed guides and not too long so had time to enjoy the boat etc. Would certainly recommend to others of any age - we are a young 60 and enjoyed every aspect .We were a 4 but to go as a couple would not be a problem as most passengers were there just to have fun and mix "if necessary" - if you don't want to mix then it's not a problem - nobody is pressurising you !! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise initially for its its itinerary, as we have never visited any of the towns or cities along the route. The ship is new for the 2017 season, operated by Scylla of Switzerland with 2 Riviera reps on board - Leslie and ... Read More
We chose this cruise initially for its its itinerary, as we have never visited any of the towns or cities along the route. The ship is new for the 2017 season, operated by Scylla of Switzerland with 2 Riviera reps on board - Leslie and Inken who were excellent. We traveled to the ship via Eurostar from St Pancras to Brussels and were then taken by coach to the ship moored in Cologne. We did not have time to visit Cologne. At St Pancras we were able to deposit our luggage and not have to deal with it again until our arrival in Brussels. We then took the the bags out to the waiting coach where they were loaded by the driver and guide and then delivered to our cabin door on arrival. The food at all meals is excellent, couldn't fault it at all. The head chef did an amazing job creating 15 different evening menus (a choice of meat, fish or veggie + chicken or salmon if you didn't fancy the dishes of the day). There was a hot buffet at lunch time but I can't comment on this as I stuck to salads (and a dessert). The breakfast buffet was very comprehensive. The wines and beer were not over priced but of good quality. You could also book the evening bistro on the top deck, which accommodates 24, at no extra cost, for a quiet meal; at lunch time the bistro offers pizza and posh burger type meals. All the staff are well trained and friendly. Not much evening entertainment - a pianist in the lounge. The Riviera reps organised a quiz night and the crew entertained us one night. We also had a string quartet performance on our night in Vienna which was very good. The ship has a large deck area with ample seating and sun cover but part of it was closed for part of the journey, due to low bridges (and maybe high water levels). You do go through 66 locks on this cruise but we never found it a problem. We visited a number of small towns down the Rhine, Main & Danube, where we were moored close to the town centres. If we had to moor further away, in the larger towns/cities, transport was available. Whenever we had a guided tour the guides were well informed and interesting. The cruise finished in Budapest. Our flight was quite late so we were able to do more sightseeing in the morning and the ship provided the late departers with a light lunch. With hindsight we would have skipped the Eurostar as it is more convenient to have left your car at your return airport and more connections from the North of England would be good. Finally, we have already booked the Danube to the Black Sea cruise for 2018, so that says it all really Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
My wife and I have been on a river cruise with this operator before.The fact that we chose them again crosses the first hurdle. This time we went on their Rhine cruise.Not only is the ship new this year but it was the maiden voyage. That ... Read More
My wife and I have been on a river cruise with this operator before.The fact that we chose them again crosses the first hurdle. This time we went on their Rhine cruise.Not only is the ship new this year but it was the maiden voyage. That would explain the minor niggles. Lets get the out the way first .The TV's have approximately 23 channels. The majority of which were news channels. No English speaking entertainment channels. There were two film channels neither of which could be accessed. Come on people all you customers are English. The only other observation I would make is that the menu in the the Bistro at lunch time needs to change every day or at least 2 or 3 times during the week. And please get the young lady who does the cooking (or is it Chefing) some help at lunch time.The ship itself is great . All sparkling and new. The food was very well cooked and presented. Peter the ships piano playing evening entertainer was very talented.George in the bar may well twist your brain by setting your little brain teasers ... which he will ,probably, not give you the answer to until you are about to leave. Young Bianca on reception as well as being so funny is most helpful. Tim and Sara were our host's. And do A fine job as well. Poor old Tim is totally dominated by Sarah but they make a good team. When we went the weather was not good but it did not diminish our enjoyment of the tours and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would say that on the last day I would suggest you just do your own thing. Don't join the tour. There is not that much to see. One last gripe .It is suggested that you tip 5 to 10 Euros per day per person. Your having a laugh. That's about £98 per pair for a 7day holiday Read Less
Sail Date August 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
This was our second river cruise with Riviera Travel, and both were excellent. We were so impressed that the staff people knew our names from the first day. (I don't think we were either outstanding or difficult!) We also enjoy the UK ... Read More
This was our second river cruise with Riviera Travel, and both were excellent. We were so impressed that the staff people knew our names from the first day. (I don't think we were either outstanding or difficult!) We also enjoy the UK people on the shop - they know how to converse at mealtime. The Jane Austen is a new ship, and the accommodations have been improved somewhat. The folding shower doors add space to the bathroom when the shower is not in use. Also, on the Jane Austen, the pianist was very entertaining. My wife and I enjoy ballroom dancing, and the music was generally suitable. Also, many more of the guests on this cruise were in the lounge in the evening, making for a quite convivial atmosphere. Meals for both cruises were excellent, with absolutely impeccable service for the evening meals. When a wine bottle is purchased, it is marked with the room number if it is not finished, so it is then available at the next meal. The closing meal was really over the top! We are already planning a river cruise with Riviera Travel next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Riviera travel Rhine Cruise to Switzerland 15 June to 22 June 2016 We started our holiday in St Pancras Station on 15 June and before starting our journey we left our Cases at the drop off point for luggage which we were having ... Read More
Riviera travel Rhine Cruise to Switzerland 15 June to 22 June 2016 We started our holiday in St Pancras Station on 15 June and before starting our journey we left our Cases at the drop off point for luggage which we were having transported to the Cruise ship as part of the Cruise, the next time we would see these was outside our Cabin ,This went so very smoothly without any causes for concern. We then went to the Eurostar check in followed by our Eurostar journey to Brussels again this went so extremely smoothly without any complications, We were met by our cruise manager Christine who gave full details of the procedure at Brussels and our onward journey by Coach to Cologne The Journey to Cologne by coach was fine and took about 3 ½ hours which included a toilet and refreshment break before finally arriving in Cologne and ready to board our Ship the Jane Austin Riviera cruises are all booked by passengers from the UK which made integrating with other passengers so easy, On boarding the cruise ship the expectations we had were surpassed ,the Captain and crew were there to welcome us aboard and on seeing the reception area for the first time was stunning, a crew member showed us to our cabin and once again we were blown away with the size and luxury feel to it, the sliding patio doors were the full width of the cabin and the shower room was cosy but complete, cases can be stored under the bed , bottles of water are replenished free every day , the cabin is serviced every morning including towel replacement and the beds are turned down each evening and chocolates are placed on each pillow. We then went to explore the whole ship, firstly having a look at the lounge ( WOW ) we were amazed at the size and spaciousness and luxury seating ( Amazing ), following this we looked at the Dining room and once again we were blown away with the size and quality of the table settings just like a 5 star hotel, we the explored some more and found the Lido bar at the rear of the ship which had an outside seating area. From here we went to the top deck where there was loads of table and chairs set out or for those who wanted to laze away the days there were about 40 sunbeds with canopy’s above to shade the hot sun, to the front the seating again was tables and chairs and surrounded by a glass screen to shelter from any breeze there may be, A luxurious seating was at the very front of the ship with loads of outdoor wicker settees ( wonderful ) We went for dinner at 7pm which was amazing with 5 courses you couldn’t expect more, The food was of superior quality and cooked to perfection, this was to be the standard of food for the entire cruise ( excellent )The cost of drinks is very reasonable Beer 2.50 euro for beer, 2.50 euros for Coke etc and 5 euros for glass wine, full bottle wine is 18.50 euros. Tea, Coffee, jugs of Cold Water and cookies are available free of charge all day. Breakfast is buffet style and has an amazing choice, this is followed by a buffet lunch which is then followed by afternoon tea and cakes before finally having the 5 course evening meal ( 7 courses on the night of the captains dinner ) no formal dress is required for dinner just smart casual is fine, jackets not required unless you wish to do so. We set sail at about 10pm and watched Cologne slip away into the distance, The speed being about 10 miles per hour and our first part of the cruise was about 11 hours arriving at Koblenz about 10 am the following morning, as the ship cruises there is absolutely no feeling of any movement, The cruise followed the complete itinerary as detailed in the brochure and over the next couple of days the scenery was superb, the Rhine Gorge being the highlight ( Stunning ) We were amazed by the number of business ships on the Rhine ie tankers, container ships etc carrying all types of goods along this amazing river, at some points the river must be about a mile wide. We called at Rudesheim where the ship moored at the centre of this amazing town definitely a tourist town but full of character and shops and bars and restaurants. Other ports of call were Speyer, Strasbourg, Breisach, and Basel. At some of the moorings we were slightly away from the towns and coaches were provide to transport passengers to the town centres, also at a couple of moorings we were moored along side another cruise ship, this did not cause any problems at all other than our cabin looking directly into theirs, this was generally only for a few hours before ships moved on. Leaving the cruise ship through other ships was also not a problem. And the gangways to land were very easy to negotiate even for passengers with a small degree of walking difficulty. At certain stops we decided not to take the coaches or walking tours and instead stay on board which was absolutely no problem, being the only couple to stay on board the entire ship was ours for the day ( peaceful !!! ) and the crew laid on Lunch for just the 2 of us which again was outstanding. On the final day we were transferred by coach to Basel train station for our TGV journey back to Paris , and then crossed Paris by coach to catch the Eurostar back to London, all transfers are included and full guidance was given all the way by Sarah the tour Manager who accompanied us all the way back to London. The entire crew including the tour manager Sarah and Christine are to be congratulated for their kindness, friendliness, professionalism and attention to the passengers, The whole cruise was above excellent , however it leaves you wanting to do more River Cruises and especially with Riviera Travel, we may also book a tour holiday with them as there is a wide choice for holidays by rail if you don’t want to fly. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Our first ever cruise and we weren't disappointed. The ship was first class and so was the service. We opted for a suite but might go for a cabin next time as we were only ever in the suite for sleeping. A bit disappointed that it ... Read More
Our first ever cruise and we weren't disappointed. The ship was first class and so was the service. We opted for a suite but might go for a cabin next time as we were only ever in the suite for sleeping. A bit disappointed that it wasn't possible to sit out on the balconies but it did say this in the brochure. Also a little peeved that when docked, most of the time the view was blocked by either the dock wall or another boat. The restaurant was really good with service alternating between buffets and waiter service. On special nights (gala night and Captain's dinner) everything was silver service. Food about the same as a 4 star restaurant. Wine good too. Didn't have a problem sharing tables some nights as it made for good converstaion each night and by the end of the cruise we knew half the other passengers. Our tour managers were Leslie and Jane and they made a great team. Jane's talks about the respective tours and towns where we stopped were good but could have been arranged better as we seemed to be for ever attending talks or meetings or presentations. Being repeatedly introduced to the entire ship's crew was a bit OTT. The atmosphere on board was definitely friendly and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. Most passengers were elderly which led to a few 'slow' boardings especially onto and off the coaches and I was surprised to see that there were no members of staff helping people at these points. However, when we left on our final day, we put our cases outside our rooms and they were collected by the crew and loaded onto the coaches without us having to touch them - none of the other lines seemed to do this for their passengers. Some of the tours were over hyped but the trip into the mountains on the last day was fantastic. The trip to Titisee was great but we needed more time there. Also, the coach guides did not stop talking for the entire journey - one and half hours of it over the tannoy so we could not even switch them off. However, the scenery was spectacular so did make up for it. The first days on the river were the best with great scenery. The facilities on the decks are really good for just lounging about with waiter service everywhere. Going through the locks was 'interesting'. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who just wants to relax and have everything done for them. I would go again but next time I would be more inclined to skip some of the tours and not pay the extra to have a suite. The boat was spotlessly clean, very well equipped with plenty of good quality food at every opportunity! Anyone with mobility problems should be ware that this is a boat so it has lots of steps however, there were some people in the eighties on board who managed perfectly well. We were met at the airport and never carried our luggage ourselves after that. 8 days of being totally spoilt and looked after! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We have been on several sea cruises but wanted to try something different and we weren't disappointed. Our flight over was on EasyJet and one of our cases got delayed which although it was upsetting and frustrating, didn't ... Read More
We have been on several sea cruises but wanted to try something different and we weren't disappointed. Our flight over was on EasyJet and one of our cases got delayed which although it was upsetting and frustrating, didn't stop us from having a thoroughly good time. Dress seems to be quite casual. The folk on board seemed to be mainly in their 60s or 70s. It is not a suitable cruise for children. The ship was very similar to the many others we saw cruising up and down the Danube (which although I love my husband dearly is definitely not blue but a murky brown). Inside was very nice and tastefully decorated but also very comfortable. The lounge bar was nice, the bar is in the middle of the room and there is a small dance floor just in front of it, which isn't visible if you sit at the front end of the bar, but that didn't bother us. For the most part the boat was very quiet and incredibly smooth but sometimes we could hear the engine and it could be a bit bumpy, but we soon got used to it and hardly noticed after the first couple of days. I tried out the fitness suite, but the sauna and hairdresser didn't seem to be used at all. Everywhere was very clean. The cabins are smaller than cabins on cruise ships but perfectly adequate with enough storage, comfy beds and very nice en-suites. There are kettles in each room. We had a quick peek at the suites in the middle of the ship and they looked quite compact, but very nice. We were on Hamlet deck and had patio doors which we realised needed to have the sheer curtain pulled across as sometimes we found ourselves berthed next to another ship and looking into one of their rooms! Other times, if we were going through a lock - there were 16 on our cruise, our view would be of a concrete wall but mostly the views are of the riverbanks! Tours were interesting and extremely well organised. You have to remember to charge your Vox Box after every walking tour. I would have liked more time in Budapest and less time in Vienna but others might disagree. We saw some beautiful towns - Esztergom, Durnstein and Melk and larger cities like Saltzburg and Bratislava. It was all very interesting and the guides very professional. All the tours were optional but I'm glad we didn't miss any. Talks are given before every visit, but we didn't see the need for these as the tour guides explained everything anyway. We thought the food was lovely with a good choice. We took advantage of fine dining one evening and it was superb. I had Egg Benedict for breakfast every morning and it was always beautifully cooked. They make a good cup of tea on board, but I didn't enjoy the coffee. We enjoyed the entertainment, a quiz organised by the tour reps, a string quartet in Vienna and a Hungarian music and dance troupe, but a pianist played lovely music in the lounge bar during the afternoon and evenings. Service was excellent and the reception staff and Irena, the tour director did their best to locate our luggage which eventually turned up in Vienna on our last but one day. They offered to do our washing too as we had so few clothes which was much appreciated. There is television and wifi on board but signals aren't strong and our mobiles often couldn't get a signal. We found that frustrating at times. We had a really good time and wouldn't hesitate to go again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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 ... Read More
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!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My mum and I travelled with Riviera for a river cruise from Basel to Cologne at the end of September. This was our first river cruise so did not know what to expect. We both had a great holiday mainly due to the terrific staff, who ... Read More
My mum and I travelled with Riviera for a river cruise from Basel to Cologne at the end of September. This was our first river cruise so did not know what to expect. We both had a great holiday mainly due to the terrific staff, who could not do enough for you and the wonderful people we met especially "the boys" and M & K. Everyone on the ship were so friendly and always had time to stop and chat. The cabins were kept spotlessly clean, as were all the other areas around the ship. Some passengers thought that the cabins were small, but compared to the other ships from different companies that were moored alongside us from time to time, they were all about the same size. The food was very good - always something tasty on the menu. We tried the "fine dining" experience which was an intimate dinner for a maximum of 24 guests at the rear of the ship with a wonderful ambiance and wonderful service. The Captain's dinner on our last night was another enjoyable evening. Drinks were reasonably priced. Entertainment on board during the evening was limited but there was music playing and they held a couple of quizzes during the week. I would recommend trying a river cruise as my mum and both really enjoyed it. My only gripe was the wi-fi connection - or lack of it to be precise! I was able to get a connection on the William Shakespeare but could not access the internet or e-mail along with every other passenger on board. I did hear that this is something the ship/company are trying to rectify. I hope they can get it sorted. Thank you Riviera, we had a fantastic time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
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