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What to Expect on-board a European River Cruise

  • What to expect on your River Cruise in Europe
  • From tours to tips, dining to dress code
  • Get helpful advice before you travel

If you’re new to river cruising; you might be feeling unsure about making your first booking. Hopefully you’ll find this guide of what to expect on-board one of our cruises a reassuring read – and helpful in preparing for what might be your first, but is unlikely to be your last, river cruise with Riviera Travel.

1. Atmosphere

At Riviera Travel we’re passionate about quality, which means that our guests are able to relax with the expectation that every aspect of their river cruise has been carefully considered to uphold the highest standards. There’s a definite focus on destinations on our river cruises, and we love helping our guests experience the very heart of a place, through expertly guided tours and itineraries that include everything of importance along the way. The atmosphere on-board our small ships is relaxed and friendly, and as many customers book with us time and time again, it’s not unusual to come across the same faces – hopefully the faces of newfound friends!

2. Ships

Expect luxury all the way on a Riviera Travel ship. We pay careful attention to detail across our entire fleet of four and five star ships, ensuring that the elegant design is both luxurious and comfortable. For example, we’ve designed our corridors wide enough to allow people to pass one another – a seemingly small detail that can actually make a big difference to your experience on-board. We don’t go for stark minimalism or trendy fad
s on Riviera Travel ships. Instead we focus on maximising light and using the finest materials – polished marble, sparkling glass, sumptuous soft furnishings and warm wood – to create a classy but cosy boutique hotel feel. And with five brand new ships for 2017, our fleet is looking better than ever.

3. Cabins

Our cabins all have that luxury hotel feel, while also boasting all the comforts of home – including tea and coffee facilities from well-loved brands. Whether you want to enjoy a coffee from the Nespresso machine as you look out over the river, or you’d like to kick back on your full-sized bed to watch the flat screen TV, our cabins have been designed to make the time you spend in them as pleasurable and comfortable as possible. We even offer individually controlled air-conditioning or heating, so you can set the temperature to your exact preference, and complimentary Wi-Fi as standard.

We’re also proud of the generous dimensions of our cabins – we prefer not to cram guests onto our ships like sardines! For example, suites on our new all-suite ships start at 17 square metres, placing them amongst the largest on any European river cruiser. Add gleaming marble bathrooms with fluffy towels and luxury toiletries, crisp cotton bed linen with your choice of pillows, and beautifully designed décor, and you’ve got cabins that you’ll almost hate to leave!

4. Food and Drink

You can expect five-star dining, but without any stuffiness. Our guests choose where they sit and with whom – we don’t enforce seating policies, although the helpful Maître D’ will assist you with seating if you wish. Early risers on- board can start their day with tea or coffee and freshly baked pastries on the Sun Deck, with a full breakfast buffet, including more than 60 hot and cold options, served a little later. Or you can choose to take a continental breakfast in the comfort of your cabin at no extra cost. The lunch buffet, afternoon tea and chef’s special patisserie ensure you’re kept fully sustained until the culinary highlight of the day – the delicious four course dinner served in our elegant dining room. Drinks are not included on a Riviera Travel cruise as we’ve found that many of our guests prefer to simply pay as they go.

5. Entertainment

Entertainment is kept low-key on our cruises, as many guests are happy with good conversation in the comfortable lounge and bar areas, or like to retire early to rest for the sightseeing adventures ahead. However, the welcome reception and dinner at the start of every cruise, and the six course Captain’s gala dinner towards the end, are always thoroughly enjoyed. We also have a musician providing subtle entertainment, and will often invite local musicians on-board to entertain you with performances traditional to the place we’re sailing through.

6. Facilities

Although our focus is on spending as much time as possible exploring the beautiful places we sail to, we also ensure that our ships have all the facilities you need to enjoy your time on-board. Our Sun Decks are the perfect place to watch the scenery pass by from a comfy chair or lounger, and some ships boast splash pools and putting greens too. On-board hairdressing salons and wellness areas offer the opportunity to relax and be pampered, and a giant chess set will pass the time with some friendly competition. All ships also have air conditioning, Wi-Fi and a small library, and a tea and coffee station for you to help yourself whenever you fancy.

7. Dress Code

We don’t enforce a formal dress code on our cruises, as we want our guests to wear what they feel comfortable in. During meal times we suggest smart casual attire, with no dinner jackets or ties required – however some guests do like to dress up formally for the welcome and gala dinners.

8. Service and Gratuities

With a crew to guest ratio of 1:4, we’re confident in our ability to provide exceptional levels of service on all our river cruises. Especially as all our staff are trained in-house to ensure they meet those exacting five-star service standards. All ships have a reception area that’s manned 24/7, so whatever time of day or night, there’s always someone available to meet whatever need you might have. You’ll also be escorted on your river cruise by a helpful tour manager.

Although we pride ourselves on excellent service as standard, we also firmly believe that tipping should be at the discretion of the guest – therefore we don’t include tips in the price of our cruises, nor do we add a daily gratuity to your bill. If you do wish to tip, an envelope will be left in your cabin on the final evening for your convenience.

9. Tours and Trips

At Riviera Travel we take an all-inclusive approach to tours and trips, ensuring that everything that makes up the essence of your destination is included in the up-front cost of your river cruise. That usually means tours expertly led by a local guide, admission to the main sights, landmarks and attractions, and transfers to any out of the way attractions that we wouldn’t want you to miss. We also carefully plan our itineraries so that there’s plenty of time built in for you to explore under your own steam. And, of course, there’s absolutely no pressure to join any of the planned tours or trips on the itinerary. It’s your holiday, so you choose exactly how you wish to spend your time!

10. Value for Money

Fair and honest pricing is one of our key values at Riviera Travel, and we operate a no surcharge guarantee as part of our price promise. This means you can rest assured that the price you see is the price you pay. We also refuse to artificially inflate our prices, just so that we can offer impressive discounts at other times. Quite simply, you won’t find our cruises fluctuating in price, so you can book with confidence. Another of our key values is quality. We don’t focus on ‘cheap’. Instead, we bring you the very best quality luxury river cruises at fantastic ‘no hidden extras’ prices.

We hope this has inspired you to try a river cruise for yourself! We have a wide range of river cruises in Europe to explore, as well as further details about life onboard the ship. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

16 Responses
  • Smith
    September 7, 2017

    We tripped on the Yangtse a couple of years ago in an upper deck cabin, and were constantly bothered by the noise of people tramping on the open deck above. Are Riviera boats susceptible to this?

    • Riviera Travel
      September 11, 2017

      Hi there,

      Though there may always be noise on these kind of boats, due to the close proximity of other rooms and floors above and below, we try to minimise the noise as much as possible. Our European river cruise ships are designed specifically with our clients in mind, and whilst we have aimed to design cabins with minimun noise we can’t guarantee you won’t experience noise coming from other areas of the ship. Please contact our Reservations Team if you wish to discuss in further detail.

      Kind regards,

      The Riviera Travel Team.