MS William Shakespeare
This state-of-the-art addition to the Riviera Travel fleet of Europe-based river cruise vessels was launched in 2014 as a sister ship to the MS Lord Byron. With acclaimed 5* service and luxury across the decks, it offers a masterclass in providing excellent standard river cruises. This beautiful ship benefits from exacting design specifications and superb attention to detail. From sustainably sourced wood and sound-absorbing paint to innovative safety systems and modern construction, no expense has been spared in the design and interiors of this river cruise ship.
When sailing at maximum capacity, MS William Shakespeare can hold 140 passengers. With 35 crew on board, this means that guests can enjoy a high staff to passenger ratio of 4 to 1, ensuring a quality, personalised service throughout. The relatively small capacity gives guests the chance to mingle with other travellers, without losing the air of intimacy that a small river cruise provides. As a British river cruise operator, Riviera cruises onboard the MS Shakespeare appeal to travellers who are looking to satisfying their cultural and historical curiosities on an adventure across Europe.
The main restaurant can be found on the Othello Deck, and dishes up a range of delightful dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner service. With panoramic views, crisp white table linens and sparkling silverware and glassware, diners can enjoy a fine dining experience very single day. European cuisine is the highlight of every service, from a breakfast buffet that dishes up omelettes, eggs to order, and various English and continental delights, to a lunchtime buffet station laden with salads, soups and hot and cold options. Dinner service is a sit-down silver service affair, which would usually mean formality, but the open-seating and relaxed dress code mean that it’s just as laidback and informal as earlier meals.
Alternatively, diners can reserve their spot in the exclusive Chef’s Restaurant, which can be found in the Midsummer Bar at the back of the ship on the Hamlet Deck. Every evening, the bar turns into a special, intimate space where the chef presents a selection of his signature dishes to 24 guests. Booking is a must!
There is complimentary tea and coffee available 24 hours a day via the self-service station, while various beverage packages are on offer during your voyage on a per cabin basis.
At the front of the ship on the Hamlet Deck, you will find the Globe lounge and bar, where guests can enjoy the views through the fabulous observation windows while sipping on their favourite tipple. The bar offers a wide range of drinks to enjoy, including fine wines and premium spirits. As darkness falls and the lighting dims, this area offers the perfect place to unwind after dinner, with the subtle sounds of the onboard pianist tickling the ivories in the background.
Head to the Sun Deck and take advantage of the selection of deck games, including shuffleboard, giant chess and a putting green. The deck is also home to a number of tables, chairs and loungers so that guests can relax and watch the world go by. Alternatively, pop indoors and enjoy a good book, or a game of chess or bridge, in one of the relaxing lounge or bar areas.
Shore excursions vary, depending on the itinerary you choose, but do tend to take up the majority of your days onboard. All visits and excursions are included in the fare, and can include guided tours of some extraordinary cultural and historical sites, as well as some of the finest and most iconic European cities, including Budapest, Salzburg, Vienna, Cologne and Bratislava.
Regardless of itinerary, there is a dedicated Cruise Director and Tour Manager onboard to help any passengers with their questions, and to offer activity recommendations when required.
All accommodation options, whether it’s a standard cabin or a deluxe suite, are excellently appointed with the very best furnishings and décor. The marble bathrooms are spacious, with WC, shower and washbasin which has plenty of space for toiletries and products. Standard Cabins, situated across Hamlet and Othello decks, are sized at 161 sq. ft., and feature French balconies with doors that slide completely away against the side of the ship, for fantastic panoramic views. Standard Cabins on the Romeo Deck (151 sq. ft.) have fixed windows. There is also the option of sole occupancy cabins on this deck, at no extra charge, so travellers needn’t be penalised for holidaying solo!
All rooms feature hotel-style beds, personal safe, telephone, hairdryer, tea/coffee making facilities, individual climate control, flat-screen TV with satellite channels and ‘view from the bow’, seating area, bathrobes and slippers and the use of complimentary umbrellas for any rainy days. Lighting in the rooms change depending on the time of day, too! Deluxe Suites, found on the Hamlet Deck, boast the same level of top quality amenities, but also have the use of a private balcony and extra space inside (245 sq. ft.).
There is a small fitness centre situated on the Romeo Deck. Guests can also warm up in the onboard sauna, or for an additional fee, get a new hairdo, courtesy of the onboard hairdressing salon. The whirlpool situated on the Sun Deck also offers a refreshing and invigorating experience as European scenes drift by.
The MS William Shakespeare has a number of itineraries on offer, which sail along some of the iconic rivers of Europe including the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle. Whether you choose an eight day Rhine River cruise that takes in the regions of Strasbourg and Heidelberg, or you fancy heading out towards Hungary with a Blue Danube cruise, there’s plenty of choice on offer.
Guests also have opportunities to extend their river cruise adventures, with pre- and post- cruise stays on land, such as a couple of days in the culturally awe-inspiring Budapest, or extra time to enjoy the Glacial Express in Switzerland. Typically, itineraries last between five and 14 days, depending on which one you choose to book.