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22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Friends had already booked and we had always wanted to try a river cruise (have done many ocean cruises) but wanted to be part of a group of friends so joined up as itinerary sounded an interesting one which it was. Budapest - Estergom - ... Read More
Friends had already booked and we had always wanted to try a river cruise (have done many ocean cruises) but wanted to be part of a group of friends so joined up as itinerary sounded an interesting one which it was. Budapest - Estergom - Bratislava - Durnstein-Melk- Linz (for Salzburg) - Vienna- Budapest. All interesting. NB its an hour and a half coach trip each way to get to Salzburg from Linz. Thought much of the daytime river scenery apart from the Wachau Valley element was a bit boring - mainly loads of trees on both banks! Other parts were done at night so its more about the stops rather than the cruising. Embarking was hopeless as Riviera UK had given us the wrong pier address and as we were on a cruise only package we then had to phone the UK to find out where it actually was moored and they said the wrong place again. When we phoned the emergency ship number we were told it was about 5k away in the other direction so incurred extra taxi costs. The ship is only chartered by Riviera Travel and is operated by Select voyages so crew are not Riviera staff just the cruise Director and Tour Manger. The navigation crew generally looked a bit scruffy with jeans and Tshirts most of the time, though they were all friendly. Only saw the captain in uniform t the safety briefing and welcome dinners. The ship is only two years old so in good condition and with an excellent housekeeping team always seemed spotlessly clean. Hotel Manager was very friendly. Staff ensured all pax always used hand sanitisers so felt health safety was being well controlled. Rooms were actually bigger than I had imagined so they exceeded our expectations. Enough hanging space for a week. Plenty of shelving (with a safe on one) plus a few drawers. Empty Suitcases fit under beds. Flat screen TV. Compact bathroom with shower only but big enough again for a week for sure. The two Riviera Staff on board the cruise Director and Tour manager were friendly and engaging but on the whole always looked a bit scruffy. Shirt hanging out etc...? Food and beverage was a bit hit and miss though. The bar staff always seemed a bit stretched and apart from one waitress who was very pleasant were a bit surly and miserable. They were expected to help in the restaurant during meal services so couldn't understand why the restaurant staff couldn't help the they were busy pre meals?? Breakfast buffet was excellent with plenty of choice plus an excellent egg station. Lunch was again buffet style and generally OK. Dinner varied from fairly good on the welcome dinner and final captains dinners to fairly average the other other nights. The "Fine Dining" experience in the rear "Marley's Bar" was not bad but the room itself had big aircon problems that evening and was just incredibly hot which rather spoilt it and generally everyone only gets one chance per cruise to try this as the room is pretty small. To be fair the hotel manager comped a couple of the service staff came across as a bit surly though once you got to know them they were much better. The menus on normal nights seemed to be somewhat basic and restricted based on a fairly tight budget allowance I would think. Marley Bar never operated as a Bar and is just really a tea coffee / water station all day with some fruit and cookies (though once these ran out that was it they were not replenished). The Welcome drink at the two special evenings was a half glass of sparkling wine. A top up would have been nice! Same app;lied to late night snacks if you didnt get in quickly they soon disappeared. Bar prices generally seemed pretty fair and the house wine at euro 19 per litre was fair value. Our drinks bill for the week came to c euro 250 per cabin sticking with the house wine. Most other wines were around euro 28 per 75cl bottle. Having done a number of upmarket ocean cruises with Silversea maybe I was expecting too much. The cost worked out at about £300 per day per person so similar to a repositioning silversea voyage. Afraid no contest! Riviera Travel staff guest ratio is nowhere near an ocean cruise. they also do a lot of coach party touring and it felt a bit like that on this river cruise. Afraid we all felt we wouldn't bother doing another with Riviera Travel again. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I selected the Rhine/Moselle cruise and were extremely impressed with all aspects of ship and staff. We booked a stern suite which was extremely nice although a little noisy being close to the propellers and engine room. ... Read More
My wife and I selected the Rhine/Moselle cruise and were extremely impressed with all aspects of ship and staff. We booked a stern suite which was extremely nice although a little noisy being close to the propellers and engine room. We would not book this suite again but have booked a suite further forward for our forthcoming river cruise with Riviera. The dining standards were absolutely superb with all meals being even better than we expected and the restaurant staff were very pleasant and efficient . All area's of the ship including cabins were spotlessly clean and the décor was of a very high class. The entertainment was low key each evening with the pianist/vocalist being exceptionally good. One evening the ships crew performed a concert which to our surprise was extremely well presented and enjoyable. All the shore excursions were well organised and very informative and the ship always moored close to town and city centres. Finally, both the embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and quick and the tour manager was always very pleasant and helpful. We would expect to complete many more cruises with Riviera over the coming years as a result of our experience on this cruise. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was only Jane Austen's 2nd voyage - everything was new and clean. We had chosen a cabin on the upper deck and although we paid a little more this was well worth it as we had wonderful open views across the river. The cabins ... Read More
This was only Jane Austen's 2nd voyage - everything was new and clean. We had chosen a cabin on the upper deck and although we paid a little more this was well worth it as we had wonderful open views across the river. The cabins were quite small but had everything we needed although it would have been nice to have more comfortable chairs to relax in. A very large lounge bar area which was underused in the daytime but the staff made excellent use for daily updates on where we were stopping and giving presentations about the town along with really useful maps. The Riveria tour staff were outstanding. We were mis-informed really about the restaurant having plenty of tables for two - there were none and although you could start your meal as a couple nearly every evening someone joined us as the restaurant was busy. This was generally OK but it did make for some awkward moments if a couple joined you who you had nothing in common with. The food was OK - far better in the small restaurant that you had to book. The buffet area for breakfast was far too small and very difficult at times to get round - this was also used on the first night. The upper deck area was well laid out with a small pool, sun beds and lounge areas, there were also available small seating areas outside the bar and bistro rooms. Hot drinks were available at all times - all other drinks had to be paid for. The tours were excellent with one exception where the tour guide was very elderly and seemed to struggle to walk up the slight slope to the castle. Tour guides were very knowledgeable and the tours gave us a good background. Again the Riveria staff organised these very well. A slight mishap as we sailed into Vienna as the ship's steering failed - this was managed very well and we were kept informed - the next day buses were arranged so that our tour in Vienna could take place - the repair to the boat was quick and we were able to board ne at the end of our day. All credit to everyone involved especially the captain who prevented what could have been a nasty incident. Be warned doing this cruise the ship has to go through over 60 locks - something we were not aware of. One area for possible concern - staff numbers seemed to be stretched and not sure whether there was enough time given to doing general cleaning of public areas - I wonder what the cruise ship will look like in a few years time. All in all a very pleasant holiday. Read Less
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