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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Cruise number 52 Riviera Cruises - MS Thomas Hardy 6th December - 11th December 2018 Cabin number : 218.- midship , Deck 2 - Balcony Cabin Total pax : 169 , Crew : 44: Decks :5 Cruise for 5 nights - Christmas Market cruise ... Read More
Cruise number 52 Riviera Cruises - MS Thomas Hardy 6th December - 11th December 2018 Cabin number : 218.- midship , Deck 2 - Balcony Cabin Total pax : 169 , Crew : 44: Decks :5 Cruise for 5 nights - Christmas Market cruise Budapest / overnight Budapest / Bratislava / Vienna / Vienna overnight / at sea / Budapest overnight Checking in was fast and expiditied perfectly , From arrival on river side/ check in then to cabin was 30 minutes. On board, housekeeping , room service ,main dining room service and food all of a very good standard. The Bistro restuarant which is booking only can not be compared to any of the chefs table rstaurants on similar star rating ships this is due to it not being any differant from the main restuarant except for menu. No differant silver service ( in fact our table felt we had better service in the main restaurant), no variety of wines per course as expected and local foods as would be the norm. The included excursions all of a good standard , with the guide in Budapest on day one Uri being so non PC its great to hear and excellent at his guiding. The oriantation tour around Bratislava with Alta was first class again so non PC its refreshing . Tour around Vienna was basic and pedestrian . We did our market route and spent many wonderful hours using our own apps. The Ars Mundi string quartet was a nice touch as entertainment in Vienna on board after dinner. No form of sail away , however found the departures times to early as you miss the impact of the christmas lighting after dark. Postpone by 2 hours and all would be fie on this point However the total lack of any entertainment besides our loan pianist who tried his best does drop the overall rating somewhat along with the very pedestrian cruise director , the tour manager tried his hardest to bridge the gap but to no avail. This meant long dinners and more bar time . Overall a good product with a few tweeks and upliftments , the Housekeeping, Bar and main dining room along with the ship crew carry the product for sure 2018 star grading - 4 Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Riviera Cruises ( a UK cruise line) just began to market in the United States and their ships and itineraries looked very nice. A few days before our cruise we heard the water level on the Danube was low and river boats were unable to ... Read More
Riviera Cruises ( a UK cruise line) just began to market in the United States and their ships and itineraries looked very nice. A few days before our cruise we heard the water level on the Danube was low and river boats were unable to sail. ( Some cruise lines cancelled their cruises.) We called Riviera and were told there was no problem. When changing planes in Philadelphia, we heard from other passengers that all the cruises out of Budapest were disrupted. We attempted to reach Riviera on their "24 hour hotline" but could only leave a recorded message. Upon landing in Budapest 9 hours later, there was still no response from Riviera. We finally heard from them around 3 pm Budapest time - approximately 24 hours before our ship was to sail. We were told we needed to take a bus to another city ( their bus) for embarkation and that this would be the only inconvenience. Much more could be said concerning the non-existent cruise ( majority of the "cruise" was on a bus) but there are more issues to share. Upon arrival to the ship, we found it to be very modern and seemed quite new. The décor was lovely. The dining area was spacious and the dinner menus were varied. The foods were fresh and service was good. Entertainment was space - a quartet one night and a few talks other nights about the places we were to visit. The ports we visited were what you would find on a Blue Danube cruise - Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest, etc. Tours were fine - compromised though, due to the water level and subsequent bus transportation. Each cruise guest was told on the last night that there would be compensation for the "cruise" and that it would be equal. Upon arriving home, we were told that the American cruise passengers ( or at least us) needed to sign a non-disclosure agreement ( UNLIKE the UK passengers). Our new UK friends shared their reimbursement amount which was much greater than we were offered. We refused to sign the non-disclosure agreement which would have prohibited our ability to share this review on Cruise Critic. As a result, Riviera has refused to reimburse us. So, be forewarned. Choose your cruise line carefully. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We booked a cruise with Riviera Cruise on the 25th August 2017 and flew out on the 21st June 2018 for 7 days. After some research and watching your virtual tour of the ship; we chose this holiday with you company. I think it’s only ... Read More
We booked a cruise with Riviera Cruise on the 25th August 2017 and flew out on the 21st June 2018 for 7 days. After some research and watching your virtual tour of the ship; we chose this holiday with you company. I think it’s only fair to give the positive feedback first: We found the front of house staff excellent and very helpful We found the cabin staff that looked after housekeeping very good and friendly The young girl who did my hair was wonderful (it's a pity that the people who have such skills as hair dressing would not be considered to work in front of house on reception rather that cleaning toilets and bedrooms!!) Fresh fruit served at breakfast So to continue with the rest of the feedback: Our cabin: On arrival to our cabin we had 1 case between us, we were rather shocked at the size of the cabin; my husband had to climb over the bed to get to the other side, we had to unpack our case at 02.030 in order to make room for us to go to bed. I refer to your description of the ship as 5 star, - there was nothing 5 star about the pillows (I have attached a picture, they are stuffed with some sort of foam, and left me with pain in my neck) we had to endure this for the 6 nights we stayed, nor was the bed linen 5 stars!! I also attach a picture of the table in our room, which had stains and looked very shabby. The smell of cooking was so bad in our cabin, it was making us nauseous, this smell was in our cabin for the 6 nights, I spoke to the manager in relation to this and she assured me it was not coming from the kitchen! The lounge area for lounging in: The colour of brown and orange is so outdated in the lounge it was not at all pleasant to lounge in. The entertainment at night was so awful that people were in bed by 10.00; you should really consider rethinking the on -board entertainment! You advertise the following top liners: “State-of-the-art, five-star MS William Shakespeare” the “luxurious cabins and excellent facilities are undoubtedly the very best on cruise ships today”. This is not true. ‘Fine Culinary Experiences’: ‘Quality dining is an integral part of your river cruise experience – our ships take this to the highest five-star levels with superb cuisine prepared by a dedicated brigade of chefs.’ We had no fresh vegetables at all during our trip, At lunch one day they had frozen breaded schnitzel , The salad counter had the same processed meat and cabbage salad for the 6 days; - a deli counter in a petrol station would have a better selection. We were also served frozen wedge potatoes and frozen hash browns The soup that was served at lunch and dinner was so bad; it was warm water with a vegetable stock and pickled with salt, ( I did offer to give the chef a recipe for soup, but the waiter just ignored me), and in case you are wondering why I say there was no fresh vegetables on board the ship; on our last day minestrone soup was on the menu and it was very clear it had frozen vegetables ‘Start the morning with a delicious breakfast’. Take a stroll on the Sun Deck and enjoy early risers’ tea or coffee with your freshly baked pastries.- This was not on offer on board ‘Don’t forget to leave some room for afternoon tea and the chef’s special patisserie’ – it’s just too tempting to even attempt to ignore. This was not on offer, there was a coffee and tea machine in the lounge with shop cookies on offer, and each day there was chaos around the coffee machine with people in a queue. Overall the MS William Sheakspear ship needs a complete make over and Riviera Travel needs to give the customer what you are advertising; you are not delivering a 5 star experience To say the least we are not happy with our holiday; we spent €4,636.00 plus €365.00 on board the ship. We purchased our holiday based on the advertisement , marketing and the virtual tours we took on line. We did not have a 5 star experience because there was no 5 star and Riviera are falsely advertising and on this bases we asked for a refund. Our travel agency compensated us with 300 euro which is not even what we spent on board during this ordeal. Overall I would not recommend travelling with Riviera Travel. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
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
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We did the reverse Heart of Europe cruise, from Budapest to Cologne. This seems to be the preferred direction, giving longer in the ports enroute. We saw lots of other ships on our cruise, and, frankly, didn't see anything to ... Read More
We did the reverse Heart of Europe cruise, from Budapest to Cologne. This seems to be the preferred direction, giving longer in the ports enroute. We saw lots of other ships on our cruise, and, frankly, didn't see anything to compare with the Thomas Hardy (incidentally, we were also moored alongside the William Shakespeare one day and it is looking very old fashioned and outdated, despite only being 3 or 4 years old. The Thomas Hardy is in a different class). The ship is excellent, and the cabins ("suites"), whilst small, are brilliantly designed. The French balcony design works particularly well, transforming your cabin into a large balcony when the triple sliding doors are fully slid back. The room aircon is excellent. Only gripes, the TV is rubbish - a few news channels, a couple of local stations and bizarrely, 2 "God" channels, and the wifi is pretty poor; patchy and barely usable when we did have internet connection. The cabin was kept spotlessly clean by the staff, who did a great job. The sun deck is really nice when it is open, which unfortunately, due to low bridges, is for a very short part of the cruise, the first 3 days or so and the last 1 or 2. However, the forward deck is kept open throughout, which is a decent sitting area at least. The staff are excellent; helpful, friendly and efficient. Meals were generally good, particularly breakfast and lunch, but dinners were very hit and miss: strange food combinations (Chicken, chips and Brussels Sprouts anyone - in June?!?!) and small portions meant we ended up treating lunch as our main meal of the day. Afternoon tea was disappointing: the same cakes (they are actually frozen gateaux style cakes, not "proper" ones) every day for 2 weeks. Bar service is generally good, and prices are reasonable, helped by a limited choice bar list during Happy Hour. The choice of wines is reasonable, with prices typically between about €20 - 25 per bottle. The best sections of cruising are between Budapest and Bratislava; the Main river and the Rhine Gorge. Not keen on the Main-Danube canal section, which is a bit boring. Excursions and walking tours were well organised, BUT, the quality of local tour guides was variable. Expect to be doing lots of walking if you're going on the tours. For people with limited mobility this could be a challenge. However, there is always the option to either stay on the ship, or to do limited parts of the tours. There's not a lot to do on board, given it is a river ship, so take books. Great bird watching between Budapest and Bratislava, so also take binoculars.The gym was disappointing, only had 2 treadmills and 2 bikes. No weights, no rowing machines. As the sun deck is mainly closed, can't even do laps of the deck, so if you're keen on exercise to keep the weight down, you'll need to do lots of walking on the excursions/ tours. Evening entertainment is pretty amateurish (the crew try their best to put something on), but at least the on board pianist was very good. Things to be aware of: 1. We had to miss Passau because of low river levels on the Straubing section, and were lucky to get through. The ship has a draft of 1.56m, and the river was below 1.5m, so they had to drain the pool (it is actually hot tub size, only big enough for 2 or 3 people to sit in it), offload grey water etc. to lighten the ship. So if you are cruising the Danube, be aware that it is prone to low river levels. Other ships were off-loading passengers at Nuremberg, so at least we made it. 2. The sun deck and pool are closed for most of the cruise because of low bridges. 3. Don't expect lots of sleep. I didn't get a single decent night's sleep in 2 weeks, mainly because of the ship bouncing around in locks during the night passages. All in all, great ship, and despite a few disappointments, would go again. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The ship is actually very nice: modern, bright, clean and with lovely full height/width fully opening windows in the cabins. The staff are generally extremely pleasant and helpful. The itinerary was interesting and it was pleasing to have ... Read More
The ship is actually very nice: modern, bright, clean and with lovely full height/width fully opening windows in the cabins. The staff are generally extremely pleasant and helpful. The itinerary was interesting and it was pleasing to have a decent amount of daytime cruising to enjoy the scenery. However, our flight arrangements were unsatisfactory, with our three seats being totally separated . Help from BA staff sorted it out but it was stressful and Riviera are just not interested. The food was the biggest disappointment. It was ordinary at best with watery, over salted soups, uninteresting salads, overlooked and dry fish and generally dreadful deserts. The " fine dining " was nothing of the sort. To be fair, breakfasts were fine. We suspect our principal tour manager divided opinion. He worked hard but his manner was over the top and he didn't know when to stop talking. There was far too much stress on tipping generously at the end of the cruise. Overall we were underwhelmed by the experience. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We were well taken care of from start to finish. The ship was only 10 months old, spotlessly clean and comfortable. Food was beautifully presented with plenty of choice. Service was good. However, my friend was vegetarian. The company was ... Read More
We were well taken care of from start to finish. The ship was only 10 months old, spotlessly clean and comfortable. Food was beautifully presented with plenty of choice. Service was good. However, my friend was vegetarian. The company was informed of this at the time of booking. There was no choice on offer and only one vegetarian main dish on the menu at dinner. If you didn't like it you were stuffed. The head chef was very apologetic and offered to cook anything she fancied, and he did. He told us the company decided the menus. The highlight of the entertainment was the string quartet that came on-board one evening. All excursions are included in the price and were excellent. The guides, crew and Riviera hosts could not be faulted. They even checked us in the day before for our flight home. I would have given Riviera 5 stars if it hadn't been for the hassle in the dining room my friend had.. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our first experience of a river cruise, having previously undertaken 2 ocean cruises (Western Med + Baltic & St Petersburg). We travelled on the Danube and visited some beautiful cities on the cruise, including Vienna, ... Read More
This was our first experience of a river cruise, having previously undertaken 2 ocean cruises (Western Med + Baltic & St Petersburg). We travelled on the Danube and visited some beautiful cities on the cruise, including Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Chose Riviera as we have had positive experience of their city breaks. However, we were surprised (sorry if this causes offence) to find the average age of our fellow travellers to be around mid-70's, and some of the older travellers in their 80's limited to some extent with mobility problems. If you are around retirement age or under, it may be worth considering the companies with a higher ratio of US travellers as we noticed on neighbouring boats their average age appeared 50-60. Having dealt with that bit of ageism, I have to say there were many positives about this trip. Here are some of my thoughts about the differences on a river cruise to an ocean cruise; + More closely connected to passing scenery + Berths more likely to be right in the heart of a city for easy walking access + Much smaller vessel, so very easy to orient oneself to - Limited range of onboard activities - Smaller cabin size, although comfortable and well designed - Limited lounge facilities The dining standard was very good, but then our experience of ocean cruises dining was also excellent, and with more variety in terms of options. Hope that's of some use to anyone considering a river cruise, and apologies if it appears overly discriminatory to our more mature fellow passengers :-( Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Cruise the Heart of Europe This was our second river cruise with Rivera Travel, we thought the itinerary was fairly comprehensive and interesting, but 14 days on a river boat might seem too long for some people. The boat looked new, ... Read More
Cruise the Heart of Europe This was our second river cruise with Rivera Travel, we thought the itinerary was fairly comprehensive and interesting, but 14 days on a river boat might seem too long for some people. The boat looked new, only about a year or so old, we thought the decor was a little bland, plain white ceilings in the dining room, dull brown staircase handrails. It did not give an impression of a 4 or 5 star boat. Our other cruise with Riviera Travel was on the 'Swiss Coroner' we thought that boat had vastly superior interior decor. The food was inferior to that served on the Swiss Coroner, the so-called cream soups were more like consommé, overall the food was only 2 star. The wait staff were a very mixed bag, from very good to rather poor. Sometimes salt and pepper pots were missing or empty, you had to ask for the odd missing item of cutlery. Three good points about the William Shakespeare were the excellent tour managers, reception and bar staff. We had a suite, the layout could have been much better designed, the space between the bed and the exterior balcony doors was far too tight. We believe the William Shakespeare might have been chartered by Rivera Travel from a company named 'Select Voyagers' and the Swiss Coroner was charted from a different company. We would be very happy to go on another Riviera Travel river cruise but would probably avoid ‘Select Voyagers’ boats. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
All I can say, is what a wonderful holiday .. a river cruise on the Danube. Our ship, the Charles Dickens was on its 7th trip. With just 140 passengers, there was a main dining room and a small dining room at the stern (back) of the ship, ... Read More
All I can say, is what a wonderful holiday .. a river cruise on the Danube. Our ship, the Charles Dickens was on its 7th trip. With just 140 passengers, there was a main dining room and a small dining room at the stern (back) of the ship, where we could have had a fine-dining experience. This was the place where complimentary tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits could be had 24/7. Also where an early breakfast could be had. The dining room was very well set out, with tables of varying sizes. People could sit wherever they liked and with whoever they liked. And no evening dress either, just smart/casual, which suited us down to the ground. Dinner was served at the tables, whilst lunch and breakfast were buffet style. Excellent choice in all cases. The lounge was very comfortable, with its bar and pianist, and plenty of room for all the passengers for the tour guide talks. Our cabin was on the top deck with adequate space, and we loved our Juliet balcony. Tea, coffee and water were always available in the cabins. There were different types of chairs available on the sun deck, with large canopies for those that don't like sitting in the sun. The chairs were placed in twos and fours not long lines like we saw on some other ships. At some of the mooring places, ships were two and sometimes three deep. This meant that we had to walk through their 'hallways' to disembark. We didn't see another ship that we liked better. All the staff were professional and courteous, from the captain right down to the cabin staff. Our tour guides were excellent. All trips off the boat were well organised, with packed lunch thrown in if necessary. As for Riviera Travel .. an excellent company, organising everything to the last detail. We loved our cruise so much, we've already booked another with the same company in April 2016, to Bruges, Medieval Flanders and the bulb fields. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Have just returned from a Danube river cruise on Riviera Travel's Charles Dickens. The whole holiday was wonderful - the ship is beautiful and the places we visited were interesting and varied. The ship is very well planned, ... Read More
Have just returned from a Danube river cruise on Riviera Travel's Charles Dickens. The whole holiday was wonderful - the ship is beautiful and the places we visited were interesting and varied. The ship is very well planned, beautifully appointed and spotless throughout. Staff were always pleasant and helpful and we were thoroughly pampered. The food was of a very high standard and whilst drinks aren't included in the price of the cruise the bar prices were competitive. Coffee/tea making facilities and fresh water were both in our cabin and available in the smaller of the two dining areas 24 hours a day (along with biscuits!) - and chilled water was welcome during the very hot days - it was also nice to be able to fill our water bottles before leaving on excursions instead of being sold water as so many companies do! Fine dining in the smaller restaurant was available at no extra charge but we didn't eat there as the food and service in the dining room was so good. The Riviera staff of Mandy and Cassie were superb - nothing was too much trouble and everything was highly organised and they were unfailingly professional and very friendly. Gratuities for the ship staff (entirely optional of course) are left in an envelope at reception at the end of the cruise and divided equally amongst the staff, an idea which we liked. Would highly recommend this holiday - we enjoyed it thoroughly from start to finish. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Had a wonderful week on board Jane Austin. Hats off to Riviera Travel who collected us from the airport, organised every trip and returned us to the airport in time for our flight home at the appropriate time ( no throwing you off the ship ... Read More
Had a wonderful week on board Jane Austin. Hats off to Riviera Travel who collected us from the airport, organised every trip and returned us to the airport in time for our flight home at the appropriate time ( no throwing you off the ship by 9am) crew on board were superb and couldn't be faulted. Meals served in the dining room were always hot and well presented. Perhaps not the choice of an ocean cruise ship, but everything we had was of a high standard. Cabins spacious and bright with high quality air conditioning. First time with this compAny, but it won't be the last! Read Less
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