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Useful Tips for Life On Board a River Cruise Ship

If you’re seriously contemplating a river cruise – and even if you’re just browsing our website or brochures for ideas, we’d like to think our varied and wonderful itineraries and glossy images of our elegant fleet of vessels provide plenty of inspiration for the most superb holiday along Europe’s most iconic rivers.

There’s no doubt that river cruising is one of the most relaxing ways to holiday and if you’ve never considered it, there might be a few things you didn’t know about life on board our ships that’ll tempt you to try it. In fact, you might find like so many of our river cruising fans who are already working their way through our collection, once you discover the secret, you’re hooked for life!

Wonderfully light and spacious cabins

If you’re imaging your accommodation on board to be something akin to the experience you once had on a car ferry to northern Spain, think again. When we say our ships are five-star, we mean exactly that – and that includes your luxurious cabin. No matter which cabin type or deck you go for, we have no inside cabins and every single one has a window – in fact those on higher decks have full length floor to ceiling sliding glass doors to maximise the natural light as well as the exceptional views. First-timers are often surprised by how spacious the accommodation is; in fact our cabins are some of the largest you’ll find on any European river cruise ships, so if you’ve got pre-conceptions about feeling cramped and compromised, it’s definitely time to cast them aside.

You’re sure to be blown away by the elegance and space of the public areas, beautiful lighting and sparkling surfaces, immaculate, spacious cabins, sumptuously furnished and stylishly appointed with pristine gleaming en-suite facilities with high-quality fittings. With all the style and glamour of a larger cruise ship but all the social intimacy and personal service of a much smaller and more exclusive vessel, it really is no understatement to compare our ships to floating boutique hotels. Now who doesn’t fancy a touch of that on holiday?

Costs less than you think

When we say five-star, your budget alarm bells might start ringing. But with all meals included, plus afternoon tea and complimentary tea, coffee and water always available, plus a fascinating visit or guided tour with a knowledgeable local expert each day, you might find a river cruise costs less than you think. And to ensure there’s one less thing to worry about whilst you’re away, Riviera now also offer the useful option to purchase on-board credit before you travel – for use to buy drinks in the bar and restaurant at any time, or in the spa or ship’s boutique. You can purchase on-board credit in denominations of €50 so you can choose exactly the amount to suit your budget.

Great ways to spend your on-board credit

The ship’s boutique is a useful spot to find some last-minute gifts to take home. You’ll find a good selection of products on sale: elegant scarves, gilets, stylish jewellery and bags, attractive souvenirs such as hand-painted ceramic tiles (Douro ships) plus a simple selection of toiletries you might have forgotten or run out of whilst away.

If you’re planning to treat yourself to a treatment or two in the ship’s spa, on-board credit covers this too; let your cares drift away with a divine aromatherapy or hot stone massage, or enjoy a glamorous manicure before the Captain’s Dinner. Ladies might opt for a quick pick-me-up wash and blow dry in the hairdresser’s whilst wet and dry cuts for gents are also available.

Use your on-board credit to sample carefully selected world wines from the ship’s extensive list; there’ll always be advice and recommendations on hand from the knowledgeable restaurant crew. Enjoy a zesty local Riesling, full-bodied red Portuguese red or an exquisitely chilled dry French Chardonnay up on the sun deck perhaps or indeed work your way through the delicious cocktail menu – professionally shaken or stirred of course!

Convenient drinks packages

This pre-paid option could be perfect for you if you intend spending lots of time ashore and just plan to purchase your drinks with meals only. Enjoy a selection of drinks in the restaurant served during lunch and dinner; there’s a good range of draught and non-alcoholic beers available, soft drinks, juices and thoughtful wine recommendations – all by the glass.

Push the boat out with Riviera Plus

Holidays are all about spoiling yourself after all, so if a river cruise has long been dreamt of and planned for, to mark a special anniversary or just because you deserve a treat, when you upgrade to an upper deck cabin or any of the superior or deluxe suites, you’ll also enjoy Riviera Plus – a range of extra special touches to enhance your stay on board and ashore.

As you settle into your sumptuous cabin you’ll be welcomed by a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, and luxurious L’Occitane en Provence toiletries in your sparkling bathroom.  A smart handset with maps, currency convertor and translator is a handy companion when you’re out and about, plus unlimited calls, text messages and internet usage – both whilst you’re relaxing on board and ashore – is useful for staying in touch. There’ll be a fresh seasonal fruit platter to enjoy in your cabin during the cruise too, and every evening, an aperitif in the convivial bar before dinner can be a perfect way to chat with your fellow cruisers and make new friends.

Feeling inspired? Why not browse our superb collection of river cruises here.