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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
The on-ship survey instrument does not provide for sufficient comments to adequately reflect our experience on our Christmas Market Cruise. The cruise was wonderful and in many respects it was our best experience on Uniworld in our seven ... Read More
The on-ship survey instrument does not provide for sufficient comments to adequately reflect our experience on our Christmas Market Cruise. The cruise was wonderful and in many respects it was our best experience on Uniworld in our seven cruises. Embarkation: I had emailed the ship to find out exactly where the ship would be docked in Cologne. I received a quick response that included a map and directions from the train station. The check-in process went very smoothly and quickly. Our bags were delivered to our room quickly by our Butler. Ship: The ship was wonderful, it is well designed and beautifully decorated. The ship was very clean. We quickly felt right at home. There were a few couches in the lounge that should be replaced. (I understand that the ship was soon going in for some updating and the Hotel Manager was spending a great deal time making notes on anything that needed fixing/replacing - even those items that looked great to us) Stateroom: Suite 404. Our Stateroom was well decorated and of sufficient size. The bed was very comfortable. There was sufficient closet space and our suitcases fit under the bed. The largest complaint regarding the room would be the paper thin walls. We could easily hear the guests in the adjacent room. This was most evident when they would turn on their TV, which was late every night and early each morning (I never had to set an alarm as I could count on their TV to wake us) To make matters worse, the TVs in the rooms have the speakers on the back/bottom of the TV so the majority of the sound goes into the adjoining room. The heater-A/C was efficient and very quiet. We loved the way the window could be lowered on the balcony. Due to the weather we did not use our balcony much during the cruise. There were sufficient 110 volt outlets in the room – a big plus. Bathroom: The bathroom was nicely appointed. The shower had a great shower head, but the water pressure for the hand shower was so poor as to make it useless. The bathroom floor and towel rack could be heated which was very nice for the cold mornings. The toiletries were of very high quality. Dining Room: The dining room was comfortable and nicely decorated. It was well laid out which kept things moving around the buffet. The tables were nicely spaced and we did not feel as closed in as on some other ships. There were also more tables for four and six, which is a big plus, allowing for easier conversations. Dinner was well paced. We had an outstanding server (Vladimir) which made the dining experience even more enjoyable. Food: We felt the food was excellent the entire cruise. The steaks were the best we have had on seven Uniworld cruises. The soups were always delicious, as were the deserts. The wine ranged from very good to outstanding. Excursion: Overall, the included excursions were well planned and executed. The buses were very clean and comfortable. All tour guides spoke very good English. Unfortunately. the Optional tour to Lucerne was terrible. It was nothing like the description. We were advised during the daily talk that we could skip the Chocolate factory tour and stay in town on your own. This was incorrect on two accounts; one was that it wasn't a tour of the chocolate factory, but a cheesy display at the transportation museum. This "tour" wasted over an hour and a half that could have been spent in Lucerne. The second was that if you stayed in town, you would be walking back to the ship as the busses did not return to the same location. This tour was a total waste of time and money. I felt especially bad as we convinced friends to go on the tour as Lucerne is a beautiful town, but we had very little time to enjoy it. Debarkation: The luggage was handled very well and it appeared the bus transfers to the airport were scheduled efficiently. It appeared we were the only ones staying in Basel and we were transferred to the hotel by car. Gift Shop: The gift shop had a nice selection despite the small size. Service/Staff: All of the staff were great. They clearly wanted to make the cruise a wonderful experience. Our butler (Valentin) was outstanding. His service and demeanor were the epitome of a true European Butler. He was quick to make sure all of our needs were met as well as provide the little things that made our cruise extra special. We had a wonderful waiter (Vladamir) in the dining room. While his service was outstanding, he was also very engaging and had a great sense of humor. Breakfast and dinner were entertaining as well as delicious. The front desk staff were friendly and helpful. The senior staff (Captain, First Captain, Cruise Manager, Hotel Manager) on the ship were visible and engaging. We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to booking our next Uniworld river cruise.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
We love to travel and have tried everything, independent, escorted, bus, ships (too many people) but nothing beats our last Vantage World small ship vacations. After over 40 years of traveling we took our first river cruise and this is the ... Read More
We love to travel and have tried everything, independent, escorted, bus, ships (too many people) but nothing beats our last Vantage World small ship vacations. After over 40 years of traveling we took our first river cruise and this is the only way we want to travel again. River cruising with Vantage is amazing, I have never been on a vacation that mostly everyone on board had river cruised several times and those like myself who had never river cruised before and fell in love. From the beginning to the end everything was so well planned, cabins, food was outstanding, shore excursions included, service, embarkation, disembarkation everything was great. We are now spoiled, after talking to other passengers and finding out about their bad experiences with other river cruise lines, we will only travel Vantage. We enjoyed the small crowds, you can make your vacation as active as you want, or just relax. Their prices are the best, considering everything that is included, they also offer single cabins. We are looking forward to our next vacation with Vantage. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Having never been on a river cruise we had the best time of our lives. Took it off our bucket list and celebrated our 51st anniversary.Vantage was recommended by our good friend who has used them many times. The trip started in Amsterdam ... Read More
Having never been on a river cruise we had the best time of our lives. Took it off our bucket list and celebrated our 51st anniversary.Vantage was recommended by our good friend who has used them many times. The trip started in Amsterdam and cruised the Rhine to Budapest. We learned so much about the different countries we visited as Vantage's guides were the best. Ship and its amenities were wonderful. We has a deluxe suite. Of all the things we did and saw the best were the people we met who will remain lifelong friends. As was recommended by another good friend we flew business class. Great Idea, obviously more expensive, but well worth it. Our stay in Amsterdam was 4 nights and what a wonderful city. We had such a great time that we have already booked France and Barcelona for Sept/oct 2015. Also thinking of the one after that. I would leave again tomorrow. I even made a movie of the trip which I will cherish always. I heartily recommend Vantage and any trip you are interested in. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
What more can I say other than the title of this review. This was my first river cruise and though I have been on many large ship cruises this was my first on a small ship and the first on a river. Actually this Grand European River Cruise ... Read More
What more can I say other than the title of this review. This was my first river cruise and though I have been on many large ship cruises this was my first on a small ship and the first on a river. Actually this Grand European River Cruise by Vantage far exceeded my expectations. I thought I would be bored on a small ship without all the facilities of an ocean liner but to my surprise this was one of the best experiences I have had on any ship. Starting with the staff. They were friendly, helpful, and very professional. Every activity was well planned out (both on board and on shore) and for the most part included in the price of the voyage. There were very few "Optional" tours. When we had to tour by bus they were of the highest caliber with local guides that were excellent. The ship with about 130 passengers was just the right size. Our cabin had plenty of closet and drawer space for our clothes. Our cabin, while only 150 square feet, my wife and I never felt cramped. With its low draft, our ship had no trouble making the trip from Cologne to the Black Sea. The larger ships used by Viking were not able to make it to Passau due to low water levels and a deeper draft. We watched as their passengers were loaded onto buses with their luggage to be transferred to ships further down river. The food on the ship was varied and tasteful with a number of menu choices. When we ate on shore during an all day tour, the restaurants they brought us to were very good. While on board the ship every staff member provided excellent service (and they did it with a smile!). The Program Director was excellent (she was even there at 3 AM in the morning to see us off for our flight home making sure our arrangements were okay). Her Port Talks each evening were interesting and informative. She was always available to help if you needed it. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
This was a very enjoyable trip. I had no complaints with Vantage. Everything was smooth sailing. Flights and tours were perfect. Trip started in Cologne and went thru Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Vienna and Hungary. Dress was casual. ... Read More
This was a very enjoyable trip. I had no complaints with Vantage. Everything was smooth sailing. Flights and tours were perfect. Trip started in Cologne and went thru Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Vienna and Hungary. Dress was casual. Weather in November was cool- mid 30's-40"s, a little rainy, but overall, not too bad. Food on the cruise was excellent. The tour guides were knowledgeable and very helpful. Never seen so many cobblestones in all my life. I am 82 and was capable of keeping up on the tours. 3 levels on river boat, but I was upgraded to top level. Top level was very nice. All modern US accommodations for everything in each room(WiFi etc.) plus computers were available in a business center. Entertainment on cruise was good, but not extravagant. Excellent storage in room and climate control also in room. Also, flat screen t.v. This is a new ship built in 2013.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Cruised the River Queen on the Main River December 8-16, 2012, from Frankfurt to Nurnberg stopping along the way at other Christmas markets in Wertheim, Wurzburg, Rothenberg and Bamberg. On arrival from the Frankfurt Airport we were taken ... Read More
Cruised the River Queen on the Main River December 8-16, 2012, from Frankfurt to Nurnberg stopping along the way at other Christmas markets in Wertheim, Wurzburg, Rothenberg and Bamberg. On arrival from the Frankfurt Airport we were taken to the lounge where a light buffet lunch was available and where we waited until mid-afternoon when cabins were ready. At check-in (by category of cabin) our photo was taken (for passenger security we were told) and we got our cabin door card with our name on it. For every excursion we left this card at Reception and picked up our tour group number and audio receiver. Each stop had an included orientation walking tour through the old town center plus additional-charge optional excursions (all well-worth the prices): to an abbey, a brewery, Aschfeld a fortified town and, to Room 600 memorial in Nurnberg's Palace of Justice where WWII war crimes trials were held and to the Nazi party Rally Grounds and Documentation Center (museum). However in four of the six cities visited -- Wurtzburg, Rothenberg, Bamberg, and Nurnberg -- the dock was so far from the old town Christmas Markets that we were shuttled to and fro by bus from the ship. Rothenberg was an included day trip from Kitzingen but, again, a great experience. The Quietvox portable audio headset system was used on all shore excursions so guides did not have to shout and we could all hear what was being said. Orientation walking tours included a "gentle walking" group for those who dislike steep hills, stairs and icy footing. There were guest speakers in the bar/lounge who talked about German Christmas traditions, glass blowing and, special holiday breads/cookies (the latter with samples!). Breakfasts and lunches were buffet with served dinners accompanied by wine/beer. Dinner selections offered both meat and vegetarian choices and my only complaint was there were so few German dishes offered. Oh yes, and that one evening with the chewy braised leg of lamb, which tasted more like athletic aged mutton, was the only culinary mis-step on the trip. The public areas color scheme is primarily blue and white (Delft-like since the ship registry is Dutch with German officers and Eastern European crew). All of whom, BTW, were excellent. Even at the end of the river cruising season, the interior decor still looked fresh and clean. There was an onboard reading/library area, computer/WiFi access, gift shop, exercise machines, two free do-it-yourself front-load washer/dryers (soap pods free at reception), plus irons/ironing boards in the laundry room. The flat screen TV in each cabin had access to the bow cam on the front of the ship so you can see where you are going (or are docked) while sitting up in bed. This beats standing out on the cold deck and is very interesting especially when going thru locks. The cabins also have a safe, umbrella, slippers, bathrobes, L'Occitane en Province lotion/soaps, water bottles, small seating area plus white bed linens and big towels all with the initials "UW" embroidered on them in gray. Guess this cuts down on pilfering (unless your initials are UW). Small gifts were given to everyone on board -- stainless steel water bottles, an agenda and a little packet containing your birthday stone (info from your passport). The River Queen is a smaller boutique ship but it does have an elevator which some of the bigger ships lack. I have taken five previous river cruises with various companies and, all told, I enjoyed this ship and the itinerary. Would I take it again? You betcha! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Twelve days to go from Paris to Prague--the two "Cities of Light". Viking River Cruises provided an outstanding vacation at a very reasonable price. Everything was well planned and presented. The trip started with a city tour ... Read More
Twelve days to go from Paris to Prague--the two "Cities of Light". Viking River Cruises provided an outstanding vacation at a very reasonable price. Everything was well planned and presented. The trip started with a city tour of Paris and ended with a tour of Prague. The hotels at both ends of the trip were excellent. The various guides that were employed in the city tours and on the excursions were very knowledgeable and amiable. Accommodations on the ship were comfortable and well appointed. When rain clouds gathered Viking even offered umbrellas. This was a simple, and yet a very considerate act. Beer and wine were complimentary at meals and were free flowing. The food was excellent and varied. Service was impecible. The days were full. While we took advantage of extra excursions, in hindsight they were perhaps a bit too much. The regular excursions were sufficient in both their diversity and intensity. Viking staff were always around to ensure the stragglers weren't left behind. The Viking Sky had a complimentary sauna and jacuzzi that we utilized frequently. Read Less

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