Today marks International Women’s Day, a celebration of social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, an annual event since 1911. At Riviera, we are marking the day by celebrating women at Riviera who inspire us, as well as hosting workshops and shining a light on women who are “amazing just for being themselves”. We thought it would be a fitting change for you to meet some of the wonderful women behind Riviera with five fantastic tour managers and cruise directors – you may even spot a familiar face from our holidays.
Sylvia is an absolute bundle of fun – but highly organised with it. Hailing from Glasgow, she came from a medical background and has worked around the world in that field, as well as doing volunteer work. She currently leads our South Africa, Sri Lanka and Deep South tours and will be leading our new Scottish Highlands tour.
“I have always had travel in my blood – and my early years were filled with dreams of travel and learning about different cultures and countries, I wanted to be that Caledonian girl and fly around the world! At the grand old age of 59 I find that enthusiasm has not dimmed.
“I literally cannot wait to welcome groups again – from seeing the joy on people’s faces as they do their first safari in South Africa, the excitement and anticipation of seeing Dolly at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the fun and laughter of face painting and drumming lessons at a cultural evening in Cape Town or simply just appreciating being on the road again and seeing the smiling faces of our local guides and drivers.”
Karen is just amazing! She came to us 14 years ago and you’d be hard pushed to find a better tour manager anywhere! Karen also spent some time leading our French river cruises, but she’s most at home in Africa, where she leads our South Africa, Botswana and Namibia tours, as well as Costa Rica and our Royal Clipper. She speaks a handful of European languages and is the absolute embodiment of what a Riviera Tour Manager should be!
“Whether on a jeep on safari in the incredible Kruger park, on a wine farm in the stunning Cape Winelands, being blown around the spectacular Cape of Good Hope or at the top of Table Mountain, or getting soaked at the incomparable Victoria Falls, I never tire of sharing this beautiful part of the world.
“Work aside, my greatest passion is fundraising for things I believe in. I have participated twice in the Put Foot Rally: driving 9,000 km in 19 days from Cape Town to Mozambique, and also for a women’s charity in Barcelona, AADAD. Over the last 3 years we have raised over €25,000 for these causes and are continuing to do so – albeit virtually.”
Hanna has boundless enthusiasm and always goes ‘above and beyond’ on tour. As well as leading our river cruises, Hanna is also a TM on our Peru tour and used to lead the Australia tour before it was rested. One of our youngest tour managers at 34, Hanna is the daughter of Mike Cole, who has himself been working for Riviera for the last 22 years and counting – sometimes working alongside makes for a real ‘family feel’ dynamic on board!
“I’m Hanna from Nottingham and I have had the pleasure of working for Riviera in various roles since 2012. I am a fabulous mix of English (Dad) and German (Mama), and I was brought up bilingual with a love of travelling and exploring the world. I have been lucky enough to live in Australia, Peru and Germany as well as sunny Nottingham.
“My first cruise as tour manager was working alongside my dad who has worked for Riviera for as long as I can remember! My favourite cruise is a difficult choice between the Rhine and Moselle, and the Blue Danube, as both are very different yet so interesting and enjoyable. My favourite place I have ever visited is Vietnam, followed by Peru and Fiji. The people, food, sights and magical vibes in these countries have ensured they are in my top 3. I love sharing my knowledge and passion with Riviera guests and hope to welcome back new and old faces very soon!”
Anette is one of our Senior Cruise Directors but is hugely experience on both land and water, also leading tours in Germany, Belgium and Portugal. She’s Canadian, speaks 5 languages and has a wicked sense of humour!
“I have been working with Riviera Travel for over 20 years in the position of Senior Cruise Director and Tour Manager. My favourite Riviera cruise is the Rhine and Moselle. Both rivers have much to offer a visitor and the itinerary manages to hit the hot spots as well as the soft spots, a great combination of the well-known “must-see” places and the low key “why-have-I-not-been-here-before” visits. I can’t wait to pull up the anchor and setting sail again.”
Whether in popular culture or someone you know, who is a woman that inspires you the most?