I am just writing to tell you what a wonderful holiday I had recently. It was the first time I had travelled either Solo, or with Riviera, so I was doubly impressed by the itinerary, organisation, class of hotels and great mix of cultural/social/historical activities offered in the itinerary. All of the hotels lived up to their star ratings - the breakfasts were without exception, excellent, and the staff accommodated our early starts on a number of occasions.
However, the person who absolutely made it all so great, was our tour guide, Michele. She had such a wide range of skills. She clearly had twice the work with a solo group - all those individual rooms etc., but was the most unflappable person I’ve ever met. She was so friendly and approachable - on duty 24/7 - always had a smile and some interesting tips to tell us. Her local knowledge was really excellent, and very much helped to ease our paths when arriving in a new city. She had favourite restaurants/bars to tell us about, and personally made bookings for us several times. I would never have found out about some of her suggestions, from the restaurant in Ho Chi Minh where the street boys and girls are being trained, to the Saigon bar, where Graham Greene drank. We also went to a lovely French/Asian fusion restaurant in Hue at her suggestion, and she knew all the best market stalls for purchasing goods in Siem Reap etc. Her knowledge of Hanoi was also excellent, guiding us towards the right areas to purchase various presents such as silk items.
Thanks again for the brilliant organisation.
Review by: Linda Kitchin on 15/01/2019
I just have to let you know that we returned from the trip of a lifetime last month, having had the most wonderful time in Andalucia, ably escorted by Diane, Manuel, the coach driver and Diane's team of knowledgeable local guides.
Truly nothing was too much trouble for her and she looked after us really well.
This was our first tour without having arranged everything ourselves, and we were impressed that so much could be packed into each day, without being rushed, while the guides made sure that timetabled entry requirements etc. need never interrupt our enjoyment of the amazing sites - which we've wanted to see for years!
Everything was so beautiful and done with such relaxed good nature (even where there were problems - nothing to do with Riviera) that we couldn't have asked for any better treatment.
Thank you so much for a wonderful holiday - we will certainly be booking with you again in future. The whole experience was very good value for money and we have taken fantastic memories home to last a lifetime!
Review by: Hazel and Paul Lamb on 06/03/2019
We have just returned from our first river cruise and were delighted with the whole experience. The excursions were excellent, the Jane Austen was a splendid vessel. Our Riviera guides, Hannah and Raoul were wonderful...nothing was too much trouble for them, both were very professional with a great sense of humour. Our only concern is where to go next!!
Review by: Andrew and Mary Wakeman on 11/04/2019
We've just come back from a fantastic trip to India. From when we were met at the airport by Inken (our tour manager) & Dilip (our local guide) the trip went from one highlight to the next. The organisation was superb with the coach team getting us places and keeping us topped up with refreshments, Inken ensuring we were where we had to be and at what time and Dilip was the absolute font of all knowledge and provided informative and appropriate briefings at each site before allowing us some free time to explore. The hotels were lovely ranging from westernised 5 star chains to beautiful heritage palaces. The biggest memory for me will be our trip to the Ranthambore National Park where we encountered four tigers lazing around in the morning sun. To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect before the trip but I have come away with a new found interest in the country and its people. Thank you Inken & Dilip
Review by: James Matthews on 07/03/2019
We both really enjoyed this short break to Bruges. Riviera's organisation was excellent, no detail overlooked. Walking tour of the City was very well thought out. Chris our tour guide knew her subject exceedingly well. The headset receivers used worked very well indeed. Giving one a bit of freedom to take photos etc., yet still hearing what Chris was telling us. Day to Ypres/Passchendaele/Flanders was very thought provoking. And the artisan chocolate shop tour was great. What a character he is! The last day probably highlighted why we use Riviera. French Immigration staff were taking industrial action. There was a risk we'd get delayed departing Lille. Riviera were monitoring the situation & seamlessly switched our Eurostar departure to Brussels. No delays, no issues at all. We'd like to say a big thank you to Chris our guide who is wonderful. And to Riviera for your unique customer service.
Review by: Mr & Mrs McJannet on 24/03/2019
We cannot add much to fellow traveller Mike's excellent and comprehensive review except to echo our own enjoyment of this tour. It was so different from the well known magnificence of the north so many of us had also experienced with Riviera - in many ways more relaxing with the added interest of frequent visits and brief stops at places en route. The spontaneous photo stop for a tree covered in fruit bats and another to buy freshly roasted cashew nuts by the roadside come to mind - small moments but will not be forgotten. Great variety of interest all round.
The accommodation in small units among trees at several hotels gave a relaxed atmosphere and all were well fitted out.
Riviera tour managers are always of an exceptionally high standard - but Matt was above even that. He impressed us with his obvious huge respect for the local people, their lives and their culture - visits to small craft co-operatives, a laundry and a village school (not to mention the blessing of our coach so appreciated by our driver and assistant), clearly showed this.
We had total confidence in driver Gokul. Thanks also to Suresh, the local assistant for ensuring the coach was spotless - as were we with all the hand sanitising on re-entering it! Alex, the local guide was a joy - his local knowledge and views made a good balance with those of Matt. Thanks all round to the team - Riviera should be rightly very proud of all of you.
Review by: Sue and John Green on 28/02/2019
Just returned from this tour and yet again Riviera have delivered. Our tour manager Tony was so on the ball with everything, Kunal the local guide was a fountain of knowledge for the first part of the journey and Sanjay was also brilliant on the Shimla extension. What Riviera are past masters of is thinking of the little things that make for a fantastic trip. Will be using Riviera again for sure. Thank you Tony, Kunal and Sanjay for making this such a special trip. Where to next !
Review by: Trevor & Cheryl Dye on 04/03/2019
Just returned from the most amazing holiday. Cannot fault it in any way. From the very first day when we met our fabulous tour manager, Sarah, until 10 minutes ago when I contacted her for help about something I think we left behind, it was amazing. The driver, Pradeep, the co-worker, Viki, our fantastic Indian guide, Abhi and Sarah all worked like a well oiled machine focused on our comfort, enjoyment and safety. The hotels were brilliant and well out of our normal budget, food good and all the hotel staff so helpful and attentive. The tour itself was so fantastic with the right blend of monuments and free time. We have never been on a Riviera tour before but several people on our tour had. I certainly see why they keep coming back. We will use Riviera again and will feel ourselves really lucky if we have Sarah as our tour manager again. I cannot sing her praises too highly - the right blend of whacky, caring, fun and organised like I've never seen organised. Thank you Riviera and thank you Sarah and Abhi, Bill and Pradeep.
Review by: Karen Legge on 06/03/2019
This was a fantastic holiday, and far exceeded our expectations. Judy our Tour Manager was exceptional, incredibly efficient and organised and great fun. We were also really lucky with our local guide, Bernard, and our driver and assistant. All of them were so happy and welcoming. Sri Lanka is the most beautiful place and the Sri Lankans are amazing. One of the best holidays we have been on, tons to do and see and so much to learn. Can also recommend some of the small trips available from the hotels during free time. We had a lovely hour on the river spotting wildlife in Kandy and a great beach walk in Galle looking at the amazing variety of life there. I would really recommend this trip, it is amazing
Review by: Frances and Neil Redman on 27/02/2019
I’ve just returned from a fantastic holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia, where a very varied itinerary made this a truly unforgettable experience. There were so many highlights, that I find it hard to choose between sailing around the beautiful Halong Bay, visiting the Imperial City in Hue, cruising down the Perfume River in a Dragon boat, the delightful ride in a rowboat down a tributary of the Mekong and the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh!
The visit to the floating village on Tonle Sap Lake was an opportunity to see how “ real” Cambodians live and to see that Cambodia is still emerging from its recent tragic history.
The Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, and the Killing Fields and prison in Cambodia were more sobering experiences but I feel privileged to have been able to learn how both countries have suffered enormously through the effects of human conflict.
Shane, our trusty guide, was excellent in his knowledge, advice and help, at all times. The local guides, and the hotels were also of a great quality.
Thoroughly recommend this tour!
Review by: Jill Agnew on 15/02/2019
I have just returned from a 12 day holiday to Sri Lanka with Riviera (first time to Sri Lanka and first time with Riviera) I would like to say what a fantastic time I had, there were 36 in our group and we all got on so well that we are all in contact after the holiday. The tour rep Sylvia was so lovely, helpful, friendly and fun. The holiday was amazing, every day was different, exciting and so interesting. Would certainly recommend Riviera (and Sylvia) ❤
Review by: Paula Hardisty on 25/01/2019
Costa Rica Paradise
We have just returned from this wonderful holiday. From the moment we all met at the airport till we said our fond farewells there was a real bond between our group. Our Tour Manager John was great and kept us amused/entertained with his joke of the day but his caring manner and his very insightful history of Costa Rica was a joy to hear. Our local guide Mariela was amazing with her keen eye spotting all manner of wildlife as well as her genuine passion, enthusiasm and her pure love of Costa Rica was truly infectious. We must also mention our fab driver Ronald who negotiated all the mountainous roads together with seemingly impassable narrow bridges with expertise and care and always had a smile on his face helping us on and off the coach. The tour took us to Tortuguero only accessible by boat where we stayed in an eco lodge with the daily chorus of birds and monkeys with equally enchanting river canals teeming with wildlife, then on to the fabulous Arenal volcano shrouded by cloud which magically drifted away periodically for a breathtaking view, followed by Monteverde cloud forest for a completely different but unique experience and then finally to the Pacific Coast for relaxation before our homeward journey. All journeys were carefully planned with plenty of rest breaks at well considered locations either with panoramic views, places of interest or with sightings of exotic birds and wildlife. All hotels were of a good standard but a little remote however each had its own breath-taking views. Even though we were a group of 34, Riviera went that extra mile trying to ensure everybody had the best experiences possible and we managed a number of impromptu stops to admire the local wildlife as it spontaneously appeared and even did an unscheduled stop at a local fiesta. This really was a great trip done at a reasonable but comfortable pace and if we could have spent a couple of more days here I would have without hesitation!
Review by: Corinne & Paul Chilton on 08/01/2019
Exceptional service from the outset. Support staff as well as EVERY member on board ship, applied themselves with professionalism seldom seen nowadays. From the beautifully appointed cabins to the dining and lounge areas, we felt treated as special and valued guests on board the Charles Dickens. We are already planning our second river cruise and have recommended your cruises based upon our experience, to our circle of family and friends. Thank you and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019.
Review by: Steven Wortrich and Sue Norgate on 18/12/2018
The Rajasthan, Taj Mahal and Amritsar's Golden Temple tour in November this year was fantastic! The places that we visited, the monuments that we saw and the sights and sounds of India that we experienced, have left memorable and definitely, long lasting impressions. We were lucky to have Paul as our tour manager who was professional in his dealings with everyone and who kept us entertained on the coach with his great sense of humour. We were also lucky to have Abi as our tour guide, who was kind, helpful, very well organised and thoroughly knowledgeable about all the places we went to and the sights that we saw. Our driver and escort also made sure that we got to each place safely and comfortably. It was our first time booking an escorted tour and we would definitely recommend this Rajasthan tour with Riviera!
Review by: Barbara & Charlie on 14/11/2018
Returned from a wonderful tour in Bruges last week. The tour manager, Angus was exceptional. His knowledge and passion for this tour was superb. This tour had been recommended to me and my wife and I finally booked. So glad that I did and we are now looking at booking Paris for the Spring.
Review by: Martin Leach on 25/11/2018
We were all such a happy crew
Us Solos and our servers too
On Lord Byron
Tours? So varied, guided with care,
The plans and maps beyond compare,
Sound system too.
One of the many happy shocks
Was to find we'd fifteen locks
Down South to Arles
Fine food, new friends, way down from Beaune,
An historic time, on the Rhone!
Five star for sure.
Review by: patricia dodd on 06/11/2018
Absolutely fantastic holiday. Our tour leader Jayne was great very friendly and knowledgeable. Also coach driver Clifton was excellent. The whole holiday was amazing with the bonus of great weather too. This was our first holiday with Riviera and we would not hesitate to travel with you again. Again high praise goes to Jayne and Clifton for a smooth and a once in a life time experience. Thank you so much Eian & Lesley Wall.
Review by: Eian Wall on 29/11/2018
Wow! What amazing countries Vietnam and Cambodia are. The people are delightful and will all go out of their way to help. The Riviera itinerary is excellent and the internal flights are a doddle allowing you to experience many different aspects of this corner of Asia.
The travel timings were excellent and Alex ensured we arrived everywhere on time. The local guides added their own flavour and shared the backstory of the countries visited. They were excellent in every location. The highlight has to be Angkor Wat, at 7.30am before anyone else arrives. It is well worth the early start. It is majestic and awesome. A visit not to be forgotten.
The hotels are excellent and the two in Cambodia are perfect to finish what is a tiring and memorial holiday. Do not be afraid to go off the relatively beaten track in the cities as there is always a Tuk Tuk or taxi to get you back to the hotel. The traffic in Saigon (HCMC) is indescribable and has to be experienced.
Recognising what these two countries have experienced, the people are so friendly and working hard to ensure you see their country in a good way.
What a great way to visit two wonderful countries.
Review by: David Bundy on 09/11/2018
This holiday had a very good balance between guided and free time. The tour guide (Frida) had an excellent knowledge of the history of Spain and made it accessible to everyone. She gave us many tips on how to book extra tours on location thanks to her extensive local knowledge. The itinerary was packed but well planned and organising the guided tours early in the day maximised time for exploring alone. The local tour guides were very clear and riveting not only in historical but also in artistic and botanical knowledge. Hotel transfers were comfortable. Friday provided local maps which were very useful. Despite this being the last week of the season, she filled her commentaries with enthusiasm and excitement and looked after the whole group very warmly. We would never have visited so many sites had it not been for the bookings made on our behalf by Riviera, yet we did not feel rushed. We usually go on camping holidays so for us the hotels were very plush but they were central which made exploring on foot or on local transport easy. I had been planning on going on this holiday since 2011 when I first saw it advertised in The Guardian and used it to celebrate my retirement from teaching Spanish. This holiday did not disappoint - quite the contrary. It was really, really super and reminded me that there is still a lot to learn about this fascinating country.
Review by: Diane and Andrew Kitchen on 08/11/2018
A fascinating, mind expanding experience, enhanced by an experienced team of tour managers and guides. An insight into the history and culture of the two countries. Incredible to experience first hand the places we were exposed to during our formative teens and twenties. Visits to the Vietnam/American War sites and the Cambodian Killing Fields were essential to understand what was happening during our youth - particularly when back home we were commemorating the end of WW1. We met so many friendly, hospitable and enthusiastic people. The hotels were out of this world - particularly the two in Cambodia. They capped the holiday for us. The Tour Manager proved her worth at the airport when we were faced with a 'hiccup'. She was wonderful.
Review by: lee puchala on 01/11/2018
An amazing trip led by an excellent and experienced tour guide Matt who was calm, efficient, perceptive and went out of his way to make the holiday a success. This was my ninth holiday with riviera and the most memorable. It is an amazing trip needing stamina ( some long journeys and early mornings). Highlights include a moving experience of sunset and sunrise on the Ganges; the beauty of the Taj Mahal, various palaces and temples; riding an elephant and seeing rhinos in Chitwan national park; early morning flight round Everest and not least sunrise over the Annapurna range.
Review by: Christine bull on 11/11/2018
Wow what a most fabulous trip! I'd highly recommend going. Our tour Manager, Matt, was there from start to finish, which was very comforting. He gave us bags for our mobys as its sandy, notepads for musings & wake up times, very useful. Was there for us from dawn till dark. Our hotels were wonderful. Our tours from Big Daddy Dunes to rock art to Himba culture to vistas to towns that were safe & lovely to safaris that David Attenborough would have been proud of. So much wildlife, Elephant, Giraffe, Eland, Kudu, Warthog, Flamingoes,seals, Rhino, & more. Our Bird Hunting count made 135 species! We had wonderful sundowners & we were aged from 41 to 80 years young. Everyone had a most fabulous time. It's up there as one of the best! Thank you for great organisation Riviera. Thank you Matt, Milos, our guide & Stephen for safe driving & the African massage on the rocky roads. Go see Namibia, it's utterly utterly amazing! Beautiful country!
Review by: Liz Cinnamond on 08/11/2018
Thank you to Gill and Pural, our tour manager and guide on our recent trip. It was a busy trip but fun, we laughed everyday with our fellow travellers, they were a great crowd. India is colourful, very busy and beautiful. Our accommodation and the staff that worked at the hotels were excellent. Everyday I remember something we saw or did and smile. Thank you Riviera for yet another well organised trip, you take the stress out of traveling.
Review by: Julie and brian on 22/10/2018
Have enjoyed many trips in Europe with Riviera over the past ten years, many on my own, but never feeling on my own. So i was very pleased to book a solo trip for this cruise. Excelled again. five-star accommodation, food & staff. Alina kept us in line!! Your reps Nicky & Vicky did their job well. A thoroughly enjoyable experience. Sad to find i am too late for Portugal next year. You have a huge market for folk of all ages on their own for all sorts of reasons.
thank you for another lovely holiday
Review by: margaret forbes on 04/11/2018
What a wonderful holiday. This was from the madness and excitement of Tokyo, to the beauty of Mount Fuji, from the emotion of a visit to the peace park in Hiroshima, to the 'bonkers' railway station and amazing temples of Kyoto - there was never a dull moment! All of this was overseen by our amazing tour manager Paul who kept us all in order with great good humour and whose words of wisdom and laugh we certainly won't forget!
Our local Japanese guides filled us in on the finer points of Japanese lives and etiquette. Special thanks to Eva for her knowledge and particularly the karaoke on the bus!
This is a country of very friendly and hospitable people, very safe and very clean with unexpected quirkiness. You'll never view toilets in the same way again!
Try and take part in everything on offer especially in your free time. I would recommend the ryokan option in Kyoto but don't expect 5 star luxury, that's not what it's about.
Be prepared for a non-stop assault on all your senses which is fascinating and exhausting at the same time. It has made me want to return to Japan, hopefully in the not too distant future.
Review by: Janet on 24/10/2018
We have just returned from the tour and I feel that I need to let you know, what a trip! The weather was wonderful. Both of us are very tired but also very happy that we went. The rep Jane was so good and very knowledgeable. It was a large group but she managed to make each person feel special. The Hotel Villa Maria was so clean and friendly. The food was also very good. The day to Capri was wonderful and the trip on the cable car was scenic right from the top. From Herculaneum to Pompeii it was full of information and history. Especially Vanessa, she was very good; It was a good price for what we saw. The driver on the Amalfi coast was without doubt a hero. This was our fourth holiday with Riviera and it is good value for money. All the hotels are positioned to all the sights. The reps are the best and once again, thank you to Jane, anyone would be pleased to have her as their Rep. The group of people on the trip were also more together at the end with the Hotel giving a Gala night on the last night. Can we both say that a late holiday without the crowds was terrific, it would be nice if they extended in to December as they were getting prepared for the festive season
Thank you to Riviera for a wonderful late holiday.
Mary & George Ferguson
Review by: Mary Ferguson on 09/11/2018
Have just returned from the Jerusalem, Galilee and Dead Sea tour. What a tour! Saw so many sights during the tour and thanks must go to all involved in the planning and execution of the tour. Raya (Israel) and Samir (Bethlehem) were excellent and knowledgeable guides and Val, who came from the UK with us, did a grand job as well. Big thanks must also go to Gadir, our driver, He manoeuvred the coach expertly often in very crowded situations.
We stayed in excellent hotels and had fabulous buffet breakfasts and dinners. The BBQ on the second night was wonderful. The pre-arranged lunch stops were a bonus as well.
A wonderful trip! I have never been on such a tour before and, if it is the last one I ever do, it was a great one to finish on.
Review by: Lynn Finn on 05/11/2018
We have just returned home from the most amazing river cruise holiday on the Danube. The boat was the MS Thomas Hardy (built in 2017) and it was spotless throughout including our excellent cabin that came with air con, safe, large TV and a very comfortable king size bed. Every day there was an included excursion with expert guides and in the evenings there was some superb entertainment. For us, the highlight was the crew - they were simply fantastic, each and every one of them. Really lovely people who were determined to provide the best possible service at every opportunity - simply amazing. Then the food - it was just wonderful - breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner - all were great, not to mention the little extra touches such as canapés with your evening drinks. There is free (nesprezzo) coffee / tea facilities in the cabins and again near reception. The Riviera cruise director (Cassie) and the tour manager (Edward) were equally fantastic and very knowledgable of the countries and cities we visited. Throughout the holiday everything worked like clockwork making it the most memorable holiday, for all the right reasons, we have ever been on. Thank you Riviera and your wonderful team on the MS Thomas Hardy. We shall be back.
Review by: Clive Spiller on 28/10/2018
Just returned from my 5th Riviera tour, this time to Lake Como and yet again we thoroughly enjoyed it. The Grand Hotel Cadenabbia was perfect with comfortable rooms, friendly staff and excellent food. The tour was really well put together and we enjoyed every single day. The highlight for us was the Bernina Express through the Alps to St Moritz, spectacular views and an unforgettable experience. I would definitely recommend this tour, thanks again Riviera Travel for some more wonderful memories.
Review by: Stephanie Valente on 18/10/2018
Just returned from this 5 star journey along the Nile from Cairo to Aswan. It was a wonderful holiday from start to finish. Our boat the Darakum was superb, the staff friendly and helpful, the food excellent and plentiful and our cabin kept spotlessly clean by the cabin staff. The itinerary for the holiday was nicely paced with sightseeing and leisure time in equal measure, there were some early starts but it was all to our benefit in beating the crowds and the midday sun. When visiting these incredible sights along the Nile you need someone with not only a specialist knowledge of Egyptology but also the personality to keep us all interested, we had such a guide/tour manager in Youssef who was the highlight and who went the extra mile to ensure our Egyptian experience was such a success. I would certainly recommend this holiday to others who like us are looking for a first class cruise on the Nile.
Review by: Colin on 09/10/2018
This really was a holiday of a lifetime. I had not really appreciated the size of the country nor its geographical variety. There was just so much to see from the outback, the coral reefs, the Blue mountains, the Great Ocean Road, as well as wonderful cities such as Melbourne and Sydney. I found the Rain forest and Aboriginal experiences superb. While the country can speak for itself, I would like to say that our guide, Hanna was excellent. Her knowledge of the country, together with her personal skills combined to provide us with a wonderful holiday. To be recommended.
Review by: Linda Lowe on 02/10/2018
Amazing trip which more than exceeded our expectations. Matt is a brilliant Tour Guide and we are lucky that this was our second time with him, having travelled to Zambia, Botswana and Cape Town 9 years ago. The Tour was very well organised, the hotels were superb and the food was excellent. Melos, our local guide was a delight. His knowledge and humour was exceptional and how our driver Steven coped with all the driving with mile after mile of dead straight dirt roads was not short of miraculous. The scenery was totally amazing and the people were incredibly friendly. We were a huge group (31), so trying to organise us all with all our luggage was a major undertaking, but Matt managed it with a smile and lots of good humour. So many highlights, climbing Big Daddy in Sossusvlei, taking the Catamaran tour of Walvis Bay with seals scrambling onto the boat to be petted (and fed!), taking the flight over the Namibian desert, climbing up and over the rocky terrain to see the 6000 year old rock engravings and finishing off with Etosha. I had no expectations of seeing anything special there, but a family of lions sheltering under a tree with a cub being playful, a Leopard walking alongside our safari van and then jumping up into a tree, plus Rhinos made it very special. The waterholes were teeming with Elephant, Giraffes, Zebras and Oryx, it was just magical. All in all a wonderful introduction to a beautiful country.
Review by: Diana van Bunnens on 11/10/2018
My second "Solo" holiday and again, extremely well organised. I was particularly impressed by the dedication and total commitment shown by Hugo, our tour manager, who, at very short notice, reorganised two days in Vilnius because of a visit by the Pope.
A thoroughly enjoyable holiday and I now look forward to the next one.
Review by: Naomi Bell on 18/09/2018
This was our first escorted tour holiday and it was a perfect balance between scheduled visits and having time to explore on our own. Our Riviera guide, Sharon, was professional and engaging and organised everything with such a light touch that it was more like travelling with a knowledgeable companion than being on a group tour. The first night was spent near Malaga and we didn't arrive until dusk but Sharon pointed us to a bus-stop and a ten minute bus ride took us up to a delightful hill top village, Mijas, where we spent the evening exploring and having a meal before catching the last bus back down the valley again. This set the pace for the holiday and it seemed like we packed several days into each one. Spanish food was utterly delicious and very reasonably priced - we had gone to see the sights of Classical Spain but the food was an unexpected additional pleasure.
The highlight for me was Alcazar in Seville. We hadn't pre-booked tickets but arrived about half an hour before it opened and were near the front of the queue so we got in as soon as it opened, by this time the end of the queue was out of sight round the corner - so I would strongly recommend visitors without tickets arrive 20-30 minutes before it opens.
Another tip if you are keen on gardens is to extend your visit at Alhambra. We had a local guide (an excellent source of information) who brought us round the entire complex, but at the end of the tour instead of exiting with the rest of the group we stayed in the complex and explored the gardens by ourselves until closing time. You couldn't go back inside the Nasrid Palaces (which were by timed ticket only) but you could explore the rest of the grounds.
All in all - a fantastic taster (in every way) to Classical Spain - thank you.
Review by: Karen Nickell on 16/10/2018
Hanoi, Da Nang, Saigon, names that barely a generation ago were synonymous with the horrors of war are now happily the gateway to Ha Long Bay, water puppet shows and Vietnamese street food; the forbidden city at Hue and the vibrant dynamism of a reinvigorated Saigon in a land where rice paddy fields and water buffalo are still a part of the countryside. Not that reminders of the past wars were that far away with the sobering War Remnants Museum in Saigon or the amazing complex of the Cu Chi tunnels about an hour and a half’s drive from Saigon. For thrill seekers there’s always the challenge of crossing a main street in Saigon: one to make the pulses quicken!
Then on to Cambodia, the Imperial Palace in Phnom Penh and a different nation of people with a different cuisine: suddenly the term Indo-China began to make sense. Again, sadly war reminders were there but the Killing Fields was an optional extra. Finally it was Siem Reap and the truly awe inspiring visit to Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples.
Back a week now and the memories keep flooding back, a trip with just so many sights and experiences, a great group of people to share it with and an excellent tour manager in Shane, who was so helpful and professional. A trip to be recommended to all those with a yearning to visit ‘far away places’.
Review by: Basil and Ching Yee on 02/10/2018
A fantastic holiday with a huge amount packed into a short time. The sunset cruise on the Zambezi was a relaxing way to start the holiday, with sightings of hippos, crocs and elephants. The tour of the falls in the morning – with rainbows – was wonderful: although the water is not at full flood in September, for us it was perfect – otherwise we wouldn’t have seen anything for the spray! The morning game drive in Chobe was chilly, but a nice introduction to the park, including hippos, jackals, hyenas, elephants and lions, and the relaxing boat safari was a great way to get up close and personal with crocs, hippos, water buffalo and elephants. The last part of our holiday in Cape Town was also fabulous: the weather perfect for our visit to Cape Point and Boulders Beach and, although it was a little damp, the winelands tour was lovely too. Disappointingly the tablecloth didn’t lift sufficiently to allow a trip up the cable car, but there was plenty to occupy us at the V&A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch and the hop-on, hop-off bus.
The hotels were great. The Avani, close to the top of the falls was home to monkeys, impala, zebra and giraffe. The Mowana Lodge, although still undergoing a refurb, was also lovely. We had our own mini safari here too: elephants, baboon, warthog, mongoose and hippo on the golf course – so not too much opportunity to play a round! The Waterfront in Cape Town is not at the waterfront; however there is a free shuttle bus which takes you down to the V&A in 10 minutes. The restaurant is good for bar meals.
Our tour manager Janet had good knowledge and was helpful and always available to the group and our drivers and guides were all great. To sum up, a fantastic holiday with many memories.
Review by: Margaret Lovett on 07/09/2018
Our trip to South Africa was spectacular made special by our tour manager Karen and local guide Ian, and the wonderful package put together by Riviera. The pace was non stop but this enabled us to see and experience so much in a short space of time...big five, ostrich, penguins, hippos on the lawn, caves, canyons and Table Mountain, to name a few! We would recommend this tour to anybody who wants to fulfil their sense of adventure but have the support and guidance of the experts. Thank you to everybody involved in creating these memories for us.
Review by: Jane Heath on 05/09/2018
This was our 3rd holiday with Riviera, and the best so far!! Our South African experience was enriched by our guides Nikki and Warwick, and fantastic weather. From booking the trip to getting home Riviera looked after us 100%.We have total confidence in this company, and have recommended to many.
Nikki and Warwick put us all at ease, and we had total confidence in their leadership, professionalism, advice and friendliness. They went above and beyond their remit. Nikki checked the weather for trip to Table Mountain and asked all of us who wanted to go, and arranged a trip for us on the 'good weather ' day before we went on the prearranged included trip. Superb attention.
All aspects of our holiday were brilliant - superb hotels, food, trips and timing. Whoever does the research for your holidays deserves recognition, trips timed to a T, and Mr Google a.k.a. Warwick's knowledge of his country's phenomenal.
We couldn't have asked for better attention, and will definitely be back!!
Thank you for the memories!!
Vera and Richard Walker
Review by: VERA WALKER on 12/09/2018
Returning from my first holiday with Riviera, I must say how excellent it was. From arriving at the airport and throughout the whole trip Riviera staff made sure everything went well and where outstanding. Our tour director Mary was wonderful, her enthusiasm and knowledge of Italy is outstanding and made the location trips ever more interesting. You embark on a solo holiday with a group of strangers, by the end of the holiday you have a group of friends. For anyone considering a solo holiday I would strongly recommend it.
Review by: Keith Avery on 20/09/2018
Seven days, six nights, and you are on the go all the time. Airport security was considerable and there are added checks at all the historic sights. It felt safe. The people are welcoming and the strong £ against the Turkish Lira was helpful. A thriving road building scheme allows smooth coach travel from Izmir during the next three days.
In Ephesus, Pergamon and Troy we walked through history, endlessly counted by Noel our Riviera tour manager; Ahmed, human dynamo and Turkish guide and Mustafa our hard working driver. We were insanely lucky with this particular trio, you all went beyond the call of duty. Good humour, efficiency and knowledge galore. What didn’t we discuss about this country?
Leaving Troy the blue skies turned to gunmetal grey. As we crossed the Dardanelles Strait the weather changed with torrential rain and motorway flooding later in the day. The Gallipoli Peninsula is the scene of one of the most wasteful WW1 campaigns where over 35,000 allies died in nine months. The Lone Pine Memorial and Anzac Cove are particularly poignant and sombre places, embraced by the spoken words of Atatürk on the memorial to the fallen. We shared a tear; it’s that kind of place.
Whatever your expectation of Istanbul the reality of the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and Basilica Cistern is overwhelming. On one level the concrete, traffic and footfall make it any city anywhere, but the moment we were on our much needed sit down and cruise around the Golden Horn and Bosphorus, history and culture all come into place. An evening meal in a local haunt just off Taksim Square offered a different perspective and brought us right up close to the politics and people of this country.
Guys, you were great! Mustafa, may your horn go with you; Ahmed, you made our week; and Noel, live long and sprinkle! A great group of fellow travellers. Riviera, you exceeded our expectations!
Carol & Michael Hallett
Review by: Michael Hallett on 10/09/2018
Washington DC, with its Capitol Building, the White House and many more famous historic monuments is fabulous and nearby George Washington’s home. And Arlington Cemetery; truly moving.
Amtrak to New York and a cacophony of sound and light. We took the open top tour buses to visit many of the tourist sights; the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the south and Central Park in the north. The Empire State building visit is one not to miss. Although it poured for the two days of our visit, the weather couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm to see this wonderful city. We stayed in the Doubletree Times Square West Hotel and as we didn’t have breakfast included, we found a local diner called the Westway Diner. Their menu is extensive and the portions huge; typical New York fare.
Next, Amtrak to Niagara Falls. If we had thought that the sights of the previous two cities were special, this place really blew us away! To see the falls for the first time from the coach as we entered Canada was spectacular! Our hotel, the Sheraton, is situated right across from the American falls and our room overlooking the falls was immense in size with a great view. We arrived on Sept 11th and were privileged to witness a special firework display in honour of the New York fallen; a memory that will not fade… The trip to the falls on the Hornblower boat was really fun. Don’t think they give out waterproof ponchos for no reason! We got soaked, but just burst out laughing!
And then all too soon, it was our last day and we were off to Toronto. The view from the CN Tower on a beautiful day was nothing short of spectacular. My wife and I both had several walks on the glass floor, some 342m above the ground!
Our tour manager, Gill, was nothing short of fantastic from beginning to end! Her calm, professional and organised manner meant we all got the best from the holiday and Gill ensured we got to our appointed locations on time and fuss-free.
This is a brilliant tour. Busy? Yes, but really worth it.
Review by: John Moorfield on 05/09/2018
We have just returned from Riviera's new tour to the cities of Padova, Vicenza and Mantova. Under the excellent guidance of our Tour Manager, Julia, we thoroughly enjoyed our visits to these three beautiful cities and enchanting Bassano del Grappa. Our enjoyment of this holiday was greatly enhanced by the highly knowledgeable and informative leadership of Julia. We were based in the small city of Castelfranco in the excellent Hotel Albergo Roma. We thoroughly recommend this holiday to anyone interested in the art, architecture and culture of wonderful Italy.
Review by: Andrew and Delcia Fussell on 06/09/2018
Today, I met with friends and they all asked about my holiday and as I cycled off to see them, I thought about my holiday memories and came to the conclusion that I couldn’t think of anything about the 6 days that wasn’t positive. The important sites located in the four cities we visited were fabulous; the coach travel between the cities, smooth, punctual and safe; all the guides were polite, knowledgable and humorous; the hotels, quiet, clean and spacious and the food - well, let me tell you, as a long-standing fan of all and every cuisine, I found the food of southern Spain to be excellent - tasty, varied and good value. Regarding the concept of solo travel, a number of folk we encountered seemed very slightly confused between the notion of single and solo travellers, but that distinction was a minor difference and in effect, it held no risk or threat. I joined this tour because I wanted a holiday on my own and liked the idea of somebody else (ie Riviera Travel) making all the necessary arrangements for me to enjoy my trip, alongside a group of like minded folk. That's exactly what happened and I think it worked well. As a solo traveller, travelling with Riviera, you have the best of both worlds - the comfort and security of moving with a small group and a guide, as well as having a room of your own and the facility to choose whether to join in and socialise, or else to remain pretty much in your own company, eating alone and staying in and reading a book each evening. Or to summarise, having your cake and eat it! My group consisted of lovely folk, of all ages and backgrounds, all of whom I was happy to spend time with and the variety genuinely contributed to my enjoying the week away.
To sum up, I very much enjoyed the trip and would happily take a holiday with Riviera Travel, solo, again. Hope that helps.
Review by: Simon on 09/09/2018
If you ever take a notion for a visit to Japan, I’d recommend you seek Michele and Ted, They’re with Riviera Travel and you will become a fan, For as tour guides both are really streets ahead.
They organise their parties with efficiency sublime, With knowledge and good humour by the ton,
And even when we’re naughty and we don’t turn up on time, Their patience just goes on and on and on. So thank you for your expertise, your energy and fun, You’ve really helped us all to understand
And appreciate the beauty of this Land of Rising Sun That’s the people and the culture of Japan.
Review by: Kate McIntosh on 30/05/2018
For Linda & I it is the first holiday with Riviera and it didn't disappoint, packed from start to finish with wonderful experiences.
The Valley of the Temples, the Cathedral at Monreale and my wife particularly loved the boat trip at Siracusa, and my highlight the Villa del Casale.
We would both like to thank all the guides without exception, for their expert knowledge, Claudio, Marilu, & Josie and of course not forgetting the best Tour Manager ever Rosario.
The only problem left is which Riviera tour or cruise to choose in future.
Thanks John Crabtree
Review by: john crabtree on 03/06/2018
Picked this trip as a special holiday for my wife's 50th birthday and wow, what an amazing place. From the first main stay in the rain forest of Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast through to the golden beach of Guanacaste on the Pacific coast, we loved every single minute. Our tour manager John was absolutely brilliant and had us all in stitches with his jokes and anecdotes, but also had us enthralled with some great historical stories about the region. Rogelio, our local guide, was so friendly, energetic and knowledgeable about everything. Both were an absolute joy to spend our holiday with. I've got to say that our favourite place was at the volcano at Arenal. The view was spectacular and I don't think we'll ever forget waking up to the clouds drifting across its peak. The icing on the cake, however, was the group of people on holiday with us. Made some great friends to share the great memories with. Will definitely be booking with Riviera again.
Review by: Andy & Sue Redgate on 05/05/2018
We travelled on the Oscar Wilde and the whole experience was superb - from start to finish. The crew - and by that we mean everybody - were exceptional and frankly, those crew-members that provided the waiter service could show some 'High-End' restaurant waiting staff a thing or two. Our 'special person' for the trip was our Tour Manager - Hannah. Thank you for my new glasses Hannah! We have nothing but praise for everyone involved on this trip and our personal thanks to everyone for making it a trip of a lifetime for us.
Review by: Mike and Linda Otley on 17/05/2018
What a great tour! It was exactly what we were hoping for and expecting. Full itinerary which included many of the top sights in Israel, we did so much we had to write down a list of what and where and when. Our fellow travelers were great people. Always felt safe even walking around Jerusalem on our own and Raya and Geoff were terrific guides, so knowledgeable, caring and helpful. Full marks again Riviera.
Review by: Jerry Braker on 21/05/2018
I used to work for a Travel Company, so I was amazed by all that Riviera promised for this tour. I was concerned that perhaps it maybe too good to be true. However, this holiday far exceeded my expectations and the Tour Manager was the perfect person being English and able to explain and describe lots of interesting things, but had also lived in the area for long enough to be treated like one of the locals who could translate everything and deal with complex problems. My only advice though is that if you are under 50, you may want wait a few years, save up lots of money and have an even more perfect holiday with Riviera when you are ready!
Review by: Peter Comaish on 18/05/2018
A highly enjoyable tour around the Baltic. Three very interesting cities and a well organised tour. Alex was a super tour manager and Raoul (the Estonian City Guide) gave an hilarious and informative tour. He should do stand-up! Marvellous all round.
Review by: Dave on 18/05/2018
Riviera At Their Best
This is a varied, interesting and well balanced holiday. The tour manager, Jesse, was excellent as was our local guide, Ireni in Knossos and then in the archaeological museum in Heraklion, superb knowledge and so enthusiastic. It is hard to find a highlight there are so many but along with our day in Knossos I have to mention the Botanical Park, the Imbros Gorge and the family run Kamihis Farm. However you need to be aware that the botanical park has a fair amount of up and down walking and whilst the gorge is downhill it is very rocky underfoot and not to be taken lightly. The farm is such good fun, making pies and milking goats guided by such friendly people. The hotels we couldn’t fault. The Eleftheria was very comfortable and modern and where Alex the barman is second to none. The Idi Hotel is still enjoyable in lovely surroundings just, shall we say, more Greek! Well done Riviera this holiday is a gem.
Review by: Mr & Mrs Bowden on 15/05/2018
We had a wonderful time. The ship was great, very clean, catered for all our needs. Food was amazing chef Slob and his sous chef did wonders in such a small kitchen. Waiter Nino and the rest of the crew were fantastic. Our tour manager Helene was lovely, she made a good holiday great. We have travelled with Riveria on 3 occasions now and have never been disappointed. Would highly recommend travelling with Riveria Travel, Thank you
Review by: Susan and David Stafford on 15/05/2018
I have just returned from the 7 night Dalmatian Coast cruise on the MV Corona and have nothing but praise for the ship, its crew, Martina (the excellent Cruise Director), the on board catering arrangements, the itinerary and Riviera's choice and organisation of all these things. Everything went like clockwork from start to finish and I cannot think of a single aspect that could be improved. Thank you.
Review by: David on 13/05/2018
Absolutely loved our 8 days in Sicily! Our tour guide, Lillijana was excellent. Her extensive knowledge of the history and people of the island was second to none. Best bits were the Temples near Agrigento, trip to Roman Villa, visiting Mount Etna, lovely towns of Palermo, Taormina and - best of all - Syracuse. Really enjoyed the 'Godfather' trip too! Scenery was stunning (we had perfect weather) and a unique chance to wander the streets of traditional Sicilian villages. Mid-afternoon cheese, ham and bruchetta snacks - plus glass of wine - was an extra bonus! Our fellow travellers were really good company too. We'll be booking another Riviera trip for next year!
Review by: Fran and John Goodwin on 09/05/2018
An amazing 4 day break to Bruges and Ypres. From our being met by Annette on the Eurostar to our departure 4 days later everything was perfect. Annette was so friendly, professional and knowledgeable, it made the holiday even more perfect for myself and twin sister who were celebrating our 60th birthday. Lovely also to meet new friends on the coach journey from Lille to Bruges and also when we were out and about. Bruno our driver also deserves a mention, great driving. The Hotel, Martin's Bruges could not have been more central just behind the belfry and square. Modern rooms, fantastic breakfast, bar and reception area. First evening time to unpack and find somewhere to eat. Plenty of eating places in and around the square. On day 2 the walking tour excellent. Annette showed us so many wonderful and interesting places in the 2 hour tour. Pointing out places for us to go back and see in our own time. Highly recommended was the chocolate shop/café for the best hot chocolate ever. The boat trip on the canal fabulous. Beer wall, museums, churches and café/restaurants great. Day 3 a lovely early walk to the coach and then off to Tyne Cot Cemetery. A must especially as we arrived early and the atmosphere is very special. On to Ypres. Another emotive place. From the Menin Gate to the Silk Hall. A light lunch before back on the coach to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum. What an amazing tour through the trenches and museum and gardens. After a wonderful day a great drive back to Bruges and again time to ourselves. On our final day the trip to the Chocolate demonstration brilliant ending with a tasting and time to buy. Back to the hotel to finish packing before a final look round the centre of Bruges, lunch and on to the coach for our trip back to Lille. All we can say is fabulous time and would definitely recommend it.
Review by: Dawn Devitt on 25/04/2018
This was our first occasion to use Riviera Travel. We were most impressed with everything from your website, communication and the tour itself. Our tour manager, Karolyna, was excellent and nothing was too much trouble. The Novotel hotel was in a brilliant location and the staff and food could not be faulted. Krakow is a beautiful city and we saw in glorious sunshine too. This experience has just made us want to choose another tour.
Review by: Helen Heron on 12/05/2018
We have just returned from our 6 day tour to Moscow & Saint Petersburg and it has been a wonderful experience. We were not sure what to expect from either city given the current political situation. Both cities were beautiful in their own way, filled with treasures and history, very clean and safe to walk round any time of day or night. Our guide Bernie was extremely knowledgeable and had everything well organised. This is about the 10th trip we have taken with riviera and they have all been excellent. Please do not be put off going to Russia because of the inconvenience of getting your visa, the visit more than made up for this. Thankyou Riviera and see you in Switzerland in August.
Review by: Jean Sutcliffe on 08/05/2018
This was our second trip, with Riviera Travel. Yet again we found everything very well organised, making for a stress free and very enjoyable holiday. We stayed at the Hotel Caesar Augusta which was just a short stroll from the centre, very clean room, meals excellent and staff very helpful - we were very pleased with our choice. The Star of the week was Linda our tour guide - what a Gem! Nothing was too much trouble, we’ll organised, always patient and pleasant and very knowledgeable about the area . We are looking forward to another Rivera holiday soon!
Review by: Helen Macdonald on 04/05/2018
We had waited for over a year to visit Japan with Riviera and we can honestly say that we were not disappointed. Japan is a beautiful, clean country and the people are so friendly, gracious and welcoming. We were amazed at the patience of the Japanese people and their orderly way of life. Our flights with ANA were lovely, all of our hotels comfortable and well located and our tour manager, Paul, an absolute star! Paul, typical of Riviera tour managers, was welcoming, organised and made everyone feel special and he has a wicked sense of humour! Paul was backed up by local guides, all of whom were knowledgeable, approachable and more than happy to assist the clients.
We missed the cherry blossom, it being extremely early this year. This was made up for by the most glorious weather on nearly every day and when we visited Mount Fuji, we had the most beautiful and clear views anyone could have asked for! Needless to say, the cameras were working overtime!
We had a fantastic time eating the local food and learning to use chopsticks properly! Our guide had us eating M&Ms with chopsticks on the coach, as practice! We tried various restaurants, some local and quick, some formal. All of them served beautiful food and most had English menus.
We decided to include the night in the typical Ryokan Inn, along with 12 others from the tour. We had an external room, separated from the main inn by a lovely Japanese garden. We were dressed for dinner in typical attire by one of the staff and served a beautiful Japanese banquet in a private dining room. Although this costs extra, we would recommend this to anyone thinking of this tour.
Pam and I have travelled with Riviera Travel a lot and we can honestly say that this is the most wonderful holiday. Whether you are out to see Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples or just relax and watch the world go by, you will not be disappointed with this tour. Oh, by the way, should you like shopping, Tokyo and Kyoto have the shops for you!
Review by: John & Pam Moorfield on 19/04/2018
We have just returned from this six day tour, which is new to Riviera this year, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The weather was perfect, blue skies and sunshine all the time. Our hotel , The Albergo Roma, was comfortable, clean, the food was great and staff were friendly and helpful. The day tours were all most enjoyable with plenty to see and do at each stop. The canal tour on the Brenta Canal on our first morning was a delightfully serene way to acclimatise and our visits to the towns of Padova, Vicenza and Mantova gave us chance to visit museums, art galleries, take in the amazing architecture or to simply wander the narrow streets and colonnaded arcades and find somewhere to sit and enjoy a cappuccino or gelato. Be aware that if you travel on the Italian bank holiday for Labour Day in May Mantova is very busy. The town of Bassano Del Grappa is, as Riviera puts it so perfectly in its description, enchanting and we felt was one of the highlights of the tour. It’s setting in the foothills of Monte Grappa is breathtaking and the 13th century Ponte Vecchio bridge is a definite ‘Kodak’ moment. The afternoon visit to the Villa Sandi was most enjoyable. The villa is set in lovely grounds, the tour interesting and the visit finishes with very generous tastings of some of their best Prosecco.
The final comment for the tour has to be to say thank you to Matt, our tour guide. He was witty, knowledgeable, full of interesting information about Italian history, politics, schooling, family life and he made the whole experience really good fun. I never closed my eyes once during his commentary!!
I would definitely recommend this tour.
Sent from my iPad
Review by: Joy And Bob Smith on 26/04/2018
This was my first Solo travel. I was extremely nervous but found everyone so friendly. Franni our coach driver was very experienced and got us round some awkward hairpin bends safely. I cannot speak too highly of Suzanne our tour Manager, she was so helpful and worked hard to make sure everything ran smoothly, nothing was too much trouble. The tour itself was amazing and the hotel and food great, a lovely holiday and good value. I would certainly travel Solo with Riviera again.
Review by: Betty Cheesman on 21/04/2018
This is our first holiday with Riviera Travel. I must say it was a great experience.
The itinerary was excellent, well paced, with sufficient time left to individually explore the different locations. The hotel Villa Maria was lovely and its location meant that we were able to explore Sorrento easily.
The quality of all the staff was outstanding.
The professionalism and knowledge of the guides was very good. Our tour manager, Diana, was brilliant. She worked very hard to ensure that all her guests were happy with the daily activities. She is a very funny lady who gave us a great insight into daily Italian life, delivered with humour and great anecdotal stories.
Thank you Riviera for organizing such a great holiday.
Review by: Roger Foster on 20/04/2018
Just got back from an amazing tour of Rajasthan, The Taj Mahal, & Amritsar's Golden Temple with Riviera Travel. It was a fantastic tour and we saw and did so much in the two weeks! There were too many highlights to list and even though I'd read the itinerary carefully was still amazed at how much was crammed in. I would add that Gill (Tour Manager) and Kunal (Tour Guide) were both excellent.
They were helpful and knowledgeable and, when situations and plans can change at the drop of a turban, were calm, organised and professional.
The tour was full on from day one but got a little easier towards the end - and the two night stays were very welcome.
I would thoroughly recommend Riviera Travel and look forward to future trips with them.
Review by: Andy Quickenden-Smith on 07/02/2018