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Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

This was our fourth European River cruise and our first with Riviera - and it was exceptionally good. I did my homework comparing this trip with other companies and I have no doubt that Riviera has the best itinerary, best value for money and best boat - Lord Byron, built in 2017. We always opt for the cheapest cabins as we spend as much time as possible on deck and we were lucky with exceptionally good weather. We made the most of the included excursions which usually gave us enough free time to explore on our own. The local guides were very good and the coaches exceptional. We'd have preferred more time in Vukovar and if we'd had more time we'd have made use of the bicycles. This was a great way to experience countries that would take several weeks to explore independently. We'll certainly return to Bucharest. We enjoyed the company of our fellow passengers though at 65 we were one of the youngest couples on this trip. Bar prices were so good that our drinks package only just about paid for itself but our friendly waiter always ensured we had a glass of wine we could take up to the lounge with us to enjoy the evening's entertainment. The 2 evenings with local Hungarian dance companies were exceptional - I was "dragged" onstage to learn/demonstrate a number of the "stick" dances. Our Hungarian cruise director, Daniel and his able assistant, Panka, were two of the best I've encountered. Embarkation and our trip home were well organised although our Ryanair flight was 90 mins late on our return. Since returning we've booked the Rhone cruise with Riviera and there are at least 4 other European rivers we want to explore in years to come.

Review by: David Slater on 17/06/2019

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

1st class ship, 1st class crew, 1st class Riviera team!

Could not fault anything. Food and service is outstanding.

P.S. both my wife and I have put on weight despite the walking on the sightseeing tours.

Thank you all for a wonderful holiday

Review by: david maunder on 13/05/2019

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

We had a wonderful, enlightening, historic and picturesque cruise on the very clean, comfortable, beautiful Thomas Hardy and the bonus of brilliant weather. We have taken many ocean cruises and this was our first river cruise. The food was excellent and plentiful. Our dietary requirements were well catered for. We also ate dinner and lunch twice in the Bistro. Evening Entertainment: We had one cruise show - very funny and entertaining, evening quizzes, a Bulgarian Folklore Show and a surprise Hungarian Folklore Show. A film was shown every afternoon and evening on the cabin TV. The crew were friendly and helpful at all times. A big thanks to our Cruise Director Edward and Tour Manager Sorina and Alina the hotel manager - all had a fantastic sense of humour. Our local tour guides in the main were very informative and the Vox boxes make it so easy to hear what they were saying. We loved the way we kept the same coach number throughout the cruise excursions so you always knew who was in your coach group numbered 1-4. Our captain was brilliant, negotiating the ship through the low level waters of the Danube and the transfer from Mohacs to the sister ship the Oscar Wilde in Budapest on the day before we flew back to the UK was smooth and extremely well organised. My husband even received a small delicious decorated birthday cake along with a paper scroll to mark his 70th birthday this was much appreciated, and shared with our dining companions that evening. We only wish we would have had 2 days in Budapest to see in depth this wonderful city, so a perfect excuse to visit again.

Review by: Helen Birns on 30/09/2018

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

We had a wonderful, enlightening, historic and picturesque cruise on the very clean, comfortable, beautiful Thomas Hardy and the bonus of brilliant weather. We have taken many ocean cruises and this was our first river cruise. The food was excellent and plentiful. Our dietary requirements were well catered for. We also ate dinner and lunch twice in the Bistro. Evening Entertainment: We had one cruise show - very funny and entertaining, evening quizzes, a Bulgarian Folklore Show and a surprise Hungarian Folklore Show. A film was shown every afternoon and evening on the cabin TV. The crew were friendly and helpful at all times. A big thanks to our Cruise Director Edward and Tour Manager Sorina and Alina the hotel manager - all had a fantastic sense of humour. Our local tour guides in the main were very informative and the Vox boxes made it so easy to hear what they were saying. We loved the way we kept the same coach number throughout the cruise excursions so you always knew who was in your coach group numbered 1-4. Our captain was brilliant, negotiating the ship through the abnormally low level waters of the Danube and the coach transfer from Mohacs to the sister ship the Oscar Wilde in Budapest on the day before we flew back to the UK was smooth and extremely well organised. My husband even received a small delicious decorated birthday cake along with a paper scroll to mark his 70th birthday this was much appreciated, and shared with our dining companions that evening. We only wish we would have had 2 days in Budapest to see in depth this wonderful city, so a perfect excuse to visit again.

Review by: Helen Binrs on 30/09/2018

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

Just back from this wonderful cruise on the gorgeous Thomas Hardy. The weather was gorgeous but this contributed to the low water level on the Danube. This has been a concern all summer for all cruise companies. We had the most honest Riviera team - Edward and Sorena - and the fabulous Alina (hotel manager) as well as an amazing Captain. We were kept informed right from the get go that there could be problems. Well we got to the Black Sea and back to a 3 hour drive from Budapest before the situation became impossible. So on the second last day we were bused to Budapest for an overnight on a sister ship - Oscar Wilde.

Our cruise from start to finish was amazing - interesting excursions, mostly good local guides, really good food and lots of it. I did not have the drinks package and drink prices on board were very reasonable. No need to change currency for me - Irish and use the euro - as most of the places we stopped at would accept the euro. Where they did not I used my credit card.

This was my 3rd Riviera river cruise and I have two more booked for next year. The ships are great, the staff and crew cannot do enough to make your holiday enjoyable and Riviera provides a quality product.

Review by: Marie Kennedy on 30/09/2018

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

I fully agree with Susan Newton's positive review of the Budapest to Black sea Danube river cruise commencing on 27/05/2018. We enjoyed the same cruise and we were hugely impressed by the positive, helpful and friendly attitude of all staff. They were constantly ready to spring into action if they detected assistance would be useful. This staff attitude was infectious and it helped to build a friendly and relaxed atmosphere amongst us passengers.

Thanks in particular to Nicki, Sorena and the formidable and brilliant Alina.

We heartily recommend this imformative and hugely enjoyable cruise.

Barrie and Anne Spooner

Review by: barrie spooner on 27/05/2018

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

Have recently returned from this cruise and find it difficult to say just how good it was and how much we enjoyed it from beginning to end. The Thomas Hardy is a beautiful ship, well appointed and immaculately kept. The crew were fantastic, nothing too much trouble, ever. The excursions were well thought out and interesting, you have to bear in mind some days were quite long but this is the nature of this cruise, to see locations you may not otherwise visit. Would I go again? In a heart beat. Would I recommend, yes, if you want to explore areas that are now beginning to develop.

Review by: Susan Newton on 27/05/2018

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

What a brilliant cruise! The ship, the staff and the weather could not have been better. Accommodation, even on the bottom decks was comfortable, clean and luxurious. Food was excellent and a wide choice of dishes always available. Guests could choose to go on the included excursions or to stay on the ship. Everything was aimed at making the holiday fit everyone's individual needs. We loved it!

Remember to take sun tan cream and good mosquito repellent. Not a constant problem but they were certainly around at times!

Review by: Carol Smart on 27/04/2018

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

Excellent, in spite of being guinea pigs!! Priviledged to be on a new ship, MS Robert Burns.

Lesley and Tim did all that was possible to make the trip 5*****. All the crew played their part to the utmost, especially Arif, Dicky, Mirko, Patric and Ilian; difficult not to mention them all, and the service they gave us.

My comment which is not meant to be negative; Lesley and Tim tried to fill each day with many visits by coach, once in port, little time to explore on our own.

I sensed that they cared for each one of us, tall order when we were 158 guests!!

Review by: Dorothy M. Qurashi on 27/04/2018

Budapest to The Black Sea River Cruise

I loved the ship, the Thomas Hardy.

It was comfortable, stylish, extremely well run and equipped.

The staff were delightful and efficient.

Our tour manager was top notch.

Shore trips were varied. Guides were mostly excellent, occasionally less experienced

Some trips were just orienting, others were in depth and took us to wonderful sights and destinations, and tailored to the guests abilities.

The Danube may not be blue but it is magical

Review by: Moya Moffat on 29/04/2018

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