Riviera River Cruises (2019 Update)
History of Riviera River Cruises
Founded more than 30 years ago in the UK as Riviera Travel, Riviera River Cruises has recently started targeting English-speaking guests from the United States and Canada for its value-priced river cruise offerings in Europe.
The company has a fleet of 12 vessels on the rivers of Europe, with more on the way. Unlike other river cruise lines, Riviera offers a price-point that is substantially lower than most of its competitors. It does this by “unbundling” some features, like inclusive drinks. You’ll pay extra for things like bottled water and beer, wine and spirits, but Riviera believes the overall cost savings justify the add-on charges by making river cruising accessible to a wider swath of people who might be put off by the multi-thousand-dollar-fares charged by other lines.
For those who want to add a touch of all-inclusivity to their Riviera experience, the company is offering drink packages for its 2019 river cruises that start at roughly $159 per person for an average weeklong voyage, and $299 for longer voyages. This adds draft and non-alcoholic beer, red and white house wine, bottled water, soft drinks, and juices on a complimentary basis to lunches and dinners served onboard. Spirits, or drinks purchased outside mealtime, come at an additional but reasonable cost.
For those who don’t imbibe – and who don’t wish to pay for an inclusion they won’t make use of – Riviera’s bare-bones pricing structure makes a lot of sense.
What Riviera has going for it is its three decades worth of experience as a tour operator, and the rave accolades its UK-based guests have given its river cruise product. Ships carry between 126 and 169 guests apiece, and are elegantly decorated, with plenty of fine woodworking, brass fixtures, and modern décor.
Riviera also offers some unique extras aboard its ships, including two dining venues aboard most ships, luxury toiletries from Crabtree & Evelyn, L’Occitane or Rituals (depending on the ship), onboard fitness centers, and even steam rooms and saunas aboard select vessels. Other niceties – like the tea and coffee-making facilities included in every cabin – reveal the line’s British heritage.
Perhaps one Riviera’s strongest features, however, is just how solo-traveller-friendly the line is. Every ship in the fleet offers cabins that can be booked, depending on availability, for little to no solo traveller supplement.
Riviera’s river cruises offer plenty of value, with luxurious accommodations and ships operating fascinating and engaging itineraries throughout Europe. With a new office in the United States and bookings available in U.S. Dollars, getting onboard a Riviera ship has never been easier.
It is important to note that Riviera’s offerings in North America may differ from what the company provides to its UK-based guests. Unless otherwise noted, details in this overview and the fleet profiles refer to itineraries, sailings and amenities offered to North American-based guests as outlined in the company’s 2018 river cruising brochure, and on its dedicated website.
The Riviera River Cruises Fleet
The Riviera River Cruises fleet is primarily made up of newer river cruise vessels carrying between 126 and 169 guests. Most of these ships were launched in 2017, and the company is expecting additional vessels in 2018.
All Riviera River Cruises vessels have a certain number of staterooms that are available to solo travellers with no single supplement, subject to availability. These are usually a lower-category stateroom, but the removal of the single supplement is a huge bonus to travellers wishing to take a solo river cruise journey.
Staterooms and Suites are stocked with luxury toiletries, and all rooms have beds that can be set up as either two twins or one queen. Owing to Riviera’s English origins, tea and coffee-making facilities are present in all accommodations across the fleet.
While there are some differences between the ships of the Riviera fleet in terms of size and layout, all feature classic, elegant décor; 24-hour tea and coffee stations; spacious sun decks; and two dining venues: a traditional restaurant and a more casual, stern-facing bistro that serves up light fare throughout the day.
Riviera River Cruises - Fleet
|Ship Profile||Voyage Report|
Riviera River Cruises Destinations & Itineraries
Currently, Riviera River Cruises offers river journeys through Europe on the Danube, Douro, Main, Moselle, Rhine and Rhone rivers.
The shortest itinerary offered by Riviera River Cruises is the five-day “Amsterdam, Kinderdijk & the Dutch Bulbfields” voyages in April, while the longest itinerary currently on offer is the 15-day “Cruise the Heart of Europe” voyage from Vienna to Budapest. Another 15-day itinerary, “Gems of Eastern Europe”, sails roundtrip from Budapest, Hungary to the Black Sea and the Lower Danube.
Currently, the line does not offer Christmas Markets river cruises to North American guests, though “short-break” holiday cruises are marketed to the company’s UK-based guests.
See Ralph Grizzle’s voyage report, Seven Ways Riviera Seeks To Stand Out