Frequently Asked Questions

 

Are there any additional passport requirements if I am travelling to the USA?

British passport holders do not require a visa under the US Visa Waiver Programme. Your passport must be machine readable (i.e. a red passport with two lines of letters, numbers and ‘>>>>’ at the foot of your personal details page). All British passport holders qualifying for the Visa Waiver Programme must now apply online for authorisation to enter the USA. This is done by going to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and registering at least 72 hours before travelling. Without authorisation prior to travel, admission to the USA may be denied at the Port of Entry. Non-British passport holders should contact the American Embassy for more information. Further details can be found at https://uk.usembassy.gov/.

Can I pre-book my seat?

Requests to pre-book your seat are subject to the airlines conditions. If you would like to pre-book seats please contact our Reservations Team, we will be able to provide further information regarding the possibility and also the cost.

If your booking includes rail travel our Reservations Team will be able to add seat requests to your booking. These requests cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability.

Our Reservations Team can be contacted either by telephone on 01283 742 300 or by email at [email protected]

Do I need a passport?

It is essential for British citizens to possess a full ten year passport, valid for at least six months beyond the return date for all holidays abroad. For details on how to obtain a passport log onto https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-passport-office or enquire at your nearest Post Office.

Do I require travel insurance?

It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance – we offer a competitive policy that will be offered when booking your holiday.

European River Cruise FAQ’s

Have questions about life on board a Riviera Travel river cruise? We’ve answered some common questions people have when booking and travelling with us.

Air conditioning

Our ships are fully air-conditioned throughout. Each cabin has individual air-conditioning and heating controls.

Children

Due to the nature of our cruises, we do not maintain specific facilities or services for children aboard cruise vessels. On all cruises children (being those under the age of 18) must be accompanied by and share a cabin with a parent, legal guardian or other responsible adult over the age of 21. We regret that we are unable to accommodate children under the age of 12 on river cruises and reserve the right to limit the number of children on board any particular vessel. 

Cruise director

On board, our Cruise Director will look after you and advise on food and drink, local customs and events and any other information concerning your holiday.

Daily Programme

A daily programme is produced on board and delivered to your cabin each evening, detailing the following day’s activities.

Dining

In the morning a full buffet breakfast is served. Lunch also usually consists of a buffet, with an extensive selection of hot and cold food.

Dinner is generally served at a single sitting. Times may vary according to the itinerary and daily excursions, but will be indicated on the daily programme, which is delivered to your cabin each evening.

There is no requirement to bring formal dress; smart/casual is acceptable for both day and evening as there is no dress code enforced. Men may wish to wear a jacket and tie for dinner. The Captain’s Dinner offers the opportunity, should you wish, for more special attire.

Electricity

Virtually all of Europe is served with 220 volts, which is almost the same as the UK at 240 volts. This means that English appliances will work perfectly well albeit slightly slower. However, the sockets are different and you will need an appropriate adaptor, which can be purchased from stores such as Boots and Duty Free shops at airports.

The electrical sockets on board are all 220 volts except for the shaver sockets (if available) in the bathroom, which are both 120 and 230 volts (this socket should be used exclusively for electrical razors).

Excursions

On the excursions we will visit many old towns, some of which are built on uneven ground. All sightseeing tours involve some walking.

Gift Shop

There is a gift shop on board.

Going Ashore

You are free to go ashore at your leisure when the ship is moored.

Gratuities

It is customary aboard all cruise ships worldwide to give a gratuity at the end of a cruise, providing, of course, you have received good service. We would emphasise that the amount you give is entirely discretionary, and is then divided equally among the crew on board. We are often asked for guidance on the amount, and suggest between €5 and €10 per person per day.

Again at your discretion we recommend tipping your local guides and drivers at the end of each tour, for which you can use the following guidelines:

Local guides €2 per person, per day
Drivers €1 per person, per day

Should you also wish to give a gratuity to your Riviera Cruise Director and Tour Manager, this is also at your discretion.

Hairdressing Services

The Lord Byron, Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare are all able to offer a hairdressing service.

Health Concerns

If you have any concerns about your health whilst on tour please see your Cruise Director or Tour Manager. They will be able to advise you about chemists and availability of doctors, etc. In an emergency you could always phone our emergency number as issued on your itinerary.

Whilst there is no on-board medical personnel, the ship can stop at any time to transfer any passenger requiring emergency medical attention to local medical facilities.

Itineraries

Some of our itineraries we operate in a reverse order, and the sailing schedule is designed to offer you the same tours and visits as on the brochured itinerary.

Water levels on rivers can fluctuate on a daily basis; and in serious cases it is possible that the itinerary can be affected with little or no warning. Should the ship be unable to follow the planned itinerary, we will do all we can to ensure all places are visited by alternative means, usually by coach.

Laundry

A limited laundry service is available on board, except for the day of disembarkation.

A dry cleaning service is not available.

Luggage

Please bear in mind that there will be occasions when you will need to carry your own luggage. (Please also see section on Porterage). Unfortunately we are unable to include porterage for routes through Paris or Lille so you will need to be able to lift your own case on to and off trains, and on to and off luggage racks within trains. You may also need to carry it some distance between platforms/stations. Please also note that there is limited storage space on Eurostar and Thalys/TGV trains. If travelling by air, a luggage weight allowance will apply depending on which airline you are flying with; you will need to be able to handle your own luggage at check-in and retrieve it from baggage reclaim after the flight and make sure that it is loaded on to the coach where required.

With all this in mind, we recommend that you take one small suitcase and one piece of hand luggage per person. Please note that your Tour Manager cannot provide individual assistance with boarding trains or coaches, or carrying your luggage.

There are companies which can arrange transport of your luggage from your home to your destination. A leaflet with details of one of these independent companies will be included in your travel documents. This company is not affiliated to Riviera Travel.

Library

There is a small library on board with a selection of books, games and puzzles.

Lifts

On the Emily Brontë, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy and Douro Elegance there is a lift between all three main decks but not the Sun Deck.  All other ships, with the exception of the Swiss Ruby, have lifts, but these do not operate to all decks. In general lifts don’t serve the sun deck and the lower cabin deck.  

Mini-bar

Cabins on board all ships, with the exception of the William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, the Douro Spirit and Douro Elegance, are equipped with a mini-bar. Whilst fridges are not always available in the cabins, the crew will be happy to supply ice on request.

Mobility

Whilst most of our ships have a lift on board, it will not operate to all decks. At some mooring places, or where our ship is moored alongside another vessel, access to the ship may be via the sun deck and require the navigation of steps. Additionally, our ships are not adapted for wheelchair access; if you are intending to take a wheelchair with you please contact us.

River cruises operate with a smaller crew than ocean cruises and do not have the crew available to personally attend to passengers with reduced mobility; therefore a travelling companion would need to be able to help with any physical needs. The itineraries we have created for our river cruises involve shore excursions to places with cobbled streets which may be on an incline and difficult for some clients with reduced mobility.

River cruising on European rivers offers the opportunity to take in the scenery from the comfort of the ship. If you are unable to do some of the shore excursions, your river cruise can still be enjoyable and worthwhile, so please contact us with any concerns you may have.

Please also read more on our Health page.

Money

Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted on all ships. EC Card is also accepted on the MS Lord Byron, MS Jane Austen, MS Swiss Tiara, MS Swiss Sapphire and the MS Swiss Corona. American Express and Diners Club are also accepted on the MS William Shakespeare. Please note debit cards may not be accepted.

The currency on the ship is the Euro. There are no exchange facilities on the ship, however you will be able to change money on shore during your free time. Personal cheques are not accepted on board.

At the start of your cruise, an account will be opened for your cabin number, and all extras such as bar bills, drinks with dinner, laundry costs, etc. will be added to this.

Your account can be settled at the end of the cruise. Should you wish to check your account at any time, please feel free to do so with the staff at the front desk.

Optional Tours

A feature of our holidays is that, with a couple of exceptions, visits to places of interest are organised for most days of your holiday, but, entrance fees to museums, etc, are usually not included in the price of your holiday. However, it should be noted that it is not compulsory that you go on all the tours that have been arranged. 

Porterage

Porterage is included on Eurostar routes to and from Brussels, and at the ship. This is for one piece of checked in luggage per person only. Please bear this in mind when packing your luggage.

Unfortunately we are unable to include porterage for routes through Paris or Lille. There are companies that can arrange a collection and delivery service within Europe for a fee. A leaflet for one of these independent companies will be included in your documents.

River Locks

During the course of the cruise, your ship has to negotiate a number of locks. Heavy traffic on the rivers sometimes causes unavoidable delays, which may affect your itinerary. Your captain will take every step to avoid this wherever possible.

Safety on board

A safety briefing will take place at the beginning of your cruise. All guests must attend this compulsory and important demonstration.

Security

Each cabin is equipped with a safety deposit box that is free of charge to use. These are operated with personal PIN codes. We strongly recommend that you use the facilities available and take advice from your Tour Manager. It is also a good idea to carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Ship Berthing

On river cruises it is quite usual for two or more ships to moor alongside each other at a berth, particularly in busy ports where mooring spaces are at a premium. We cannot tell in advance when this will occur, and this situation is outside our control.

On occasions, your cruise ship may be moored alongside others for several hours at a time, and you will need to walk through other vessels when embarking or disembarking. The view from your cabin window may also be blocked when there is another ship alongside.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted on board except for the outside decks.

More and more countries in Europe are adopting a stricter legislation on smoking in public places. Smoking is not allowed on any transport and there may be other restrictions on hotels, bars and restaurants.

Special requests

If you have made a special request, we will do our utmost to see that your wishes are carried out. However, we cannot guarantee that your requests will be met.

Tea and Coffee Making Facilities

All ships, with the exception of the Swiss Sapphire, Douro Elegance & the Douro Spirit, have tea & coffee-making facilities in the cabins. On all ships, there is also a machine in the public areas where hot drinks are available 24 hours a day.

Telephone

All cabins have a telephone for calling cabin to cabin or off the ship. Please note that telephone reception is by satellite and will therefore be more expensive than using a landline.

There is limited internet access on board the ships and additional charges may apply.

Visitors

Usually, when a ship is moored, you are welcome to receive visitors. However, for security reasons, you must request permission from your Cruise Director in advance.

You are kindly asked to ensure that visitors leave the ship at least 30 minutes before departure or when the bar closes.

Water

The water from the taps in your cabin is safe to drink.

Group Reservations

Click here for more information about Group Reservations.

Why choose Riviera Travel for your Group Holiday Plans?

  • Established over 30 years ago and offering a wide range of quality European and worldwide fully escorted tours.
  • Members of ABTA, ATOL and IATA so you can rest assured that both you, your group and their money are all in safe hands.
  • We guarantee not to levy any additional charges– even if fuel and currency fluctuations are excessive –the price we quote when your group book is the price you will pay.
  • Easy payments – Group members can make their payments together or as individuals, and the balance can be paid in instalments, whichever is better for your group, as long as it is fully paid on/before 8 weeks prior to departure.
  • A programme of fascinating excursions is included in the price – making it easier for your group to budget for their trip
  • A friendly, professional tour manager will be on hand throughout your tour

Depending on the size of your group, there are a number of options to consider:-

  • Smaller groups could travel as a shared tour, where we would also have other individual like-minded Riviera Travel passengers on board. This would in no way detract from the quality or content of the programme and your group would still travel and stay together throughout, but it would mean you would not have to reach a minimum number of people for the tour to operate, thus taking away the risk factor sometimes associated with group travel planning.
  • If a larger number of people are travelling together, on most occasions we could operate your chosen brochure tour as a private group.
  • Finally there is the option of a tailor made tour, following your own itinerary or allowing us to tailor one to suit your particular interests. 

Whatever you decide, whether to travel by air or Eurostar, on a touring holiday or single/multi-centred break, all of our tours are fully escorted throughout, and with low deposits starting at just £50 per person to secure places, there has never been a better time to book a group holiday.

To start planning your next group adventure, or to request a brochure, visit www.groupsriviera.co.uk , email [email protected] or call 01283 742322 - don’t forget to mention your group name!

How are coach seats allocated?

On most holidays we operate a seat rotation system. For some shorter tours, a free-seating policy is in operation.

How can I pay for my booking?

All payments must be made in Pound/Sterling.

Payments can be made by either bank transfer, cheque or debit/credit card. Please note that we charge a 2% fee for payments made by any credit card and for debit cards issued overseas - there is no charge for using a UK issued debit card.

Due to arrangements with our bank and card handling companies bank transfers from non-British accounts must be made in Sterling and a charge of £10 per transaction must be added, please note this may also incur charges from your bank.

How do I cancel my booking?

How do I make a booking?

You can make a booking on our website – simply select the tour you wish to book and click 'Book Now'. On some holidays we need to request flight seats – these are also bookable on-line but we will not take any payment from your card or confirm your booking until we have secured your flights. We will send you confirmation once this has been done. Alternatively, simply telephone our Reservations Team on 01283 742 300 -  Opening hours are 9.00am to 7.00pm, Monday to Friday and 10:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday and Sunday.

How do I make a change to my booking?

If you wish to amend your booking, simply call us on 01283 742 300 . Alternatively you can contact us in writing to Riviera Travel, New Manor, 328 Wetmore Road, Burton on Trent, DE14 1SP or by e-mail to [email protected]. Please note that an amendment fee of £15 per passenger will be added to your booking, plus any additional fees levied by our suppliers.

I have chosen connecting rail with my Eurostar tour with you, but why aren’t the times shown?

The rail companies do not provide these details until close to departure. We will give you specific times for your connecting rail on your final travel documents, which you will receive approximately 7 days prior to departure. Please note these times are non-flexible.

Is my money protected?

We are fully bonded with the CAA and ABTA so you can rest assured that your money is safe in any eventuality.

What documentation will I receive after making my booking?

When booking online you will receive an email immediately following confirmation of your payment. We will then send you a copy of this confirmation by post, which you will receive within 10 days. For bookings by telephone you will receive a confirmation within 10 days of your booking having been processed. Along with your confirmation, in the post you will receive a passenger information form, which contains all the information that you have provided about each passenger at the time of the booking, as well as space to provide additional information such as passport details. It is important that you carefully check the information on this form and return the form with any missing information completed. You can also provide this information on-line by clicking 'My Booking' from the homepage.

What is my baggage allowance?

You will receive details of your baggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 7 days prior to your date of departure. Alternatively, please call our reservation team on 01283 742 300  for further details. For Eurostar, only 2 pieces of luggage are permitted per person, though please be aware that porterage may not be available on the station platform.

What is my check-in time?

Travelling by Air: For European holidays the check-in time is 2 hours before your flight, for Long Haul destinations you should allow 3 hours for check-in. Travelling by Eurostar: Check-in time is 45 minutes before departure.

What should I do if I don’t receive my tickets?

If you haven’t received your tickets 3 days before you are due to travel, please telephone our Reservations team on 01283 742 300 . Opening hours are 9.00am to 7.00pm, Monday to Friday and 10:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday and Sunday.

What should I do if I lose my tickets?

You must contact us as soon as possible on 01283 742 300  and we will provide replacements or advise on what to do.

What’s included on my holiday?

Our fully comprehensive itineraries include all of the ‘must see’ sights and experiences your selected destination offers. Many operators sell these as ‘options’ – but on a Riviera holiday you will miss nothing of importance. We do not sell you lots of additional excursions that just add to your overall costs. For specific details of what is included, please see the relevant tour page.

When can I expect to receive my tickets?

Your tickets and final travel documentation will be sent to you approximately 7 days prior to your departure date. Please make sure that you check the details on your tickets and advise us immediately of any errors.

When should I pay my balance?

If you are booking your holiday to travel within eight weeks of departure, payment is required in full at the time of booking.If booking prior to this, your balance is due eight weeks before the date you travel. You can pay your balance either on our website by clicking My Booking, by sending a cheque or calling our Reservations team on 01283 742 300 to pay by card. Please note that there is a 2% fee for any payment made by credit card or international debit card – no charge is made for payments by UK issued debit card.

When will my flight times be confirmed?

Departure times will be indicated on your confirmation invoice (with the exception of Eurostar using a connecting rail service – see below). From time to time airlines/Eurostar change timings; where this is the case we will notify you as soon as possible.

Where can I find booking conditions?

Our Booking Conditions can be found in your Brochure or Dates & Prices booklet. Alternatively click here to see them. Please note that the bookings conditions form the basis of your contract with Riviera Travel. We strongly recommend that you take time to read these Booking Conditions.

Will I require a Visa?

Visas are required by UK Passport holders to enter a number of countries that we operate to and may incur an additional charge. Details about visas can be found on each holiday featured. Please check carefully if you need a visa as we cannot accept responsibility for the cancellation of a holiday due to the non-granting of a visa. If you are unsure whether you require a visa please contact our Reservations Team on 01283 742 300 .

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