Riviera River Cruises launched its first river cruise product in 2009. Just eight years later, Riviera has 12 ships, five of them launched in just the past 15 months. Known in the U.K. as Riviera Travel, their Riviera River Cruises division, is now available to the American market. Riviera cruises along the nine major waterways and rivers in Europe, with the exception of the Seine river in France. Unlike almost every other river cruise company, Riviera does not offer complimentary wine and beer at mealtime. In an effort to control costs, and not have guests who don’t imbibe pay for those who do, drink packages are available for purchase.
Drink package prices are very reasonable and costs varies by cruise itinerary. Included in the package price and offered with lunch and dinner are: draft beer, non-alcoholic beer, soft drinks, juices, red, white and rosé house wines and wine recommendations from the menu. Prices for the beverage packages range from $79 per person on their five-day Holland cruise, to $129 for 8-day cruises and $259 on the 15-day river cruises. Bottled water is complimentary and replenished each day.
How Many Passengers: From 126 – 169 passengers.
Personality: Modern but home-like. The ships have less passengers than most vessels of similar size, which means that public areas feel especially spacious and meal times are quieter with less of a crowd.
Fellow Passengers: Most guests are from the UK, though there are a good number of Americans and Australians who enjoy traveling with Riviera. Many are repeat guests that are loyal to the line and tend to be 50 and older. Children must be 12 years or older to sail on Riviera, and you generally won’t see many onboard.Deluxe Suite on the Lord Byron.
Cabins: Middle and upper deck cabins feature sliding doors with a Juliet balcony, and are around 161 square feet. For more space and a full balcony, there are also suites available to guests. Complimentary tea, coffee and wifi are provided in every cabin.
Dining: Pastries, coffee, and a full breakfast buffet are offered in the morning. Guests can also choose to order a continental breakfast and enjoy it from their stateroom with room service. Lunch is a buffet, and dinner is an elegant four-course affair served in the dining room. Towards the end of the cruise, there is also a Captain’s Gala dinner, where guests are invited to dress up and enjoy a six-course meal.
Amenities: River ships are equipped with a sun deck, splash pool, putting green, hair salon, a sauna, steam room, fitness equipment, a giant chess board on the sun deck, gift shop, and laundry service.
Best For: Older couples, English-speaking guests, and travelers who are destination-focused.
Included Alcohol: Alcohol is not included, but drinks are reasonably priced and there are beverage packages available (which are much cheaper than you’ll find on an ocean cruise).
Where They Go: Danube, Douro, Holland waterways, Main, Main-Danube Canal, Moselle, Rhine, Rhône, Saône rivers in Europe.