Charles Dickens Cruise Review by Gastroinn
- Sail Date: June 2017
- Destination: Europe River
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.
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