1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Riviera Travel
  4. Riviera Travel Cruise Reviews

3 Riviera Travel Lyon Cruise Reviews

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
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
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click