Luxury on the Rivers of Europe
Riviera River Cruises continues to expand with more new river ships along with growing its name recognition and awareness within the U.S. market. Starting in the UK in 1984 as Riviera Travel, the company offered tours to over 46 different countries. It began offering river cruises over 10 years ago and in 2017 began marketing efforts as Riviera River Cruises in the U.S.
The company continues to grow. Early this spring, Riviera River Cruises launched two new river cruise line ships, including the MS George Eliot in April. She offers guests more luxury and modern options for cruising Europe’s rivers.
More about the MS George Eliot
Named after one of the leading English novelists in the 19th century, the 361-foot MS George Eliot has 70 luxury suites and cabins, accommodating 132 guests with 36 crew members. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available onboard, and the MS George Eliot has a lift (elevator) that serves all decks. There are tours and excursions included for guests, along with alternate tours available at an additional cost.
The MS George Eliot was purposely built to be a bit smaller than Riviera River Cruises’ other long ships; this makes it ideal for possible charter groups.
The Deluxe Balcony Suites on Diamond Deck feature floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as sliding glass doors that open up to a small private balcony. And the Rudy and Diamond Deck suites and cabins have a French balcony inside that provides wonderful views from the floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass windows. All of the 70 suites and cabins feature individually controlled air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, minibar, an en suite bathroom with shower, safe, hairdryer, telephone and facilities for making coffee and tea.
The spacious main restaurant, located on Ruby Deck, features tables set up for up to six guests. The main restaurant serves buffet breakfast, a buffet lunch as well as dinner. There is informal free seating, and guests can enjoy a sumptuous four-course dinner. Also, the Bistro on Diamond Deck, which has al fresco seating, serves an early-bird breakfast, lunch and dinner. It provides a more intimate dining experience, and in the evening the chef will present his personal signature dishes to a small number of guests. The menus vary with the seasons. The intimate dining experience at the Bistro, which requires reservations, is available at no extra charge.
The Sun Deck
The Sun Deck is an ideal spot to take in the river views and has a shared seating area with comfortable outdoor chairs and sun loungers. Deck games include giant chess. Guests can also enjoy the splash pool as well as full bar services.
Diamond (Upper) Deck
Located on the Diamond Deck is the lobby, the observation lounge and bar, as well as a bistro and boutique. The bistro, located aft, lets guests escape and enjoy the terrace. As far as the elegant panoramic observation lounge, guests can enjoy beautiful views through the floor-to-ceiling windows, along with drinks. And during the evenings, a ship pianist provides entertainment.
The Emerald Deck, located on the lower deck area, includes the fitness center (Wellness Centre) as well as the hair salon. (There is a small additional fee for salon services.) The fitness center is perfect for working out, along with offering some less strenuous treats, like enjoying a relaxing massage.
Riviera River Cruises’ Diverse Itineraries
Riviera River Cruises has 15 different itineraries on 10 rivers and waterways, including the Danube, Douro, Moselle, Main, Rhone and Rhine. There are single-occupancy cabins with no supplement available on every cruise and also some dedicated solo departures. Itineraries can be tweaked to make them more immersive.
Marilyn Conroy, vice president, sales & marketing, explains, “For instance, instead of sailing Amsterdam to Basel where all you see of Switzerland is the bus ride to the airport (unless you take a post tour, of course), we start our cruise in Cologne. There is nothing to see on the waterways from Amsterdam to Cologne, unless you like factories. And by starting in Cologne, you save a day-and-a-half, enabling us to overnight in Basel and provide our guests with an included tour taking them to Lake Lucerne, where they can see the Alps….Our fleet of 12 ships is the youngest of any river company – no ship is older than six years.”
More about Riviera River Cruises
In 2017 Riviera River Cruises established its North American headquarters in Connecticut. In spring 2020, Riviera River Cruises is launching its newest all-suite ship, the MS Geoffrey Chaucer. The line then will have 13 five-star ships. Known as the UK’s leader in tours as well as river cruises, Riviera River Cruises is focused on its relationships with their guests as well as travel agent professionals. They have transparent pricing, and part of their core value is that clients should only pay for what they need and want. They don’t automatically include drinks or gratuities, so this lets guests make their own choices.
Having single-occupancy cabins with no supplement available on every cruise, along with having some dedicated solo cruises, are areas where Riviera River Cruises does stand out when compared to other river cruises. This provides some new options for you to consider when looking to organize your next river cruise group.