Riviera Travel

Riviera Travel
  • Overview

Riviera Travel

UK travel company Riviera Travel started as a coach tour operator to Paris 30 years ago, and over the last three decades it’s been creating escorted tours and river cruises where attention to even the smallest detail is paramount. This effort to make sure your river cruise is the best possible experience starts before you embark, as Riviera Travel aims to secure the best possible flight times and stopover hotels for their cruises in Europe and Southeast Asia.

On a Riviera cruise, sightseeing is fun and informative but taken seriously behind the scenes. All tour managers, some of whom have been with the company over 20 years, are extensively trained by Riviera to bring your destinations to life and efficiently take care of any issues or problems.

With a policy of no early or late booking discounts or hidden extras once you get there, Riviera is all about good value for money and making sure its clients’ experience is as pleasant and hassle-free as possible, with huge importance placed on excellent customer service. This is reflected in an average ratio of four passengers to one crew member and a discretionary tipping policy.


Many of Riviera’s 14 ships are named after historic British writers, but these vessels are anything but old relics. The oldest ship in the fleet, the Swiss Corona, was built in 2004, and the Jane Austen is new to 2015, with the William Shakespeare joining the fleet in 2014 and the Lord Byron enjoying her maiden voyage in 2013. A typical European Riviera ship will carry 140 passengers, with the smaller Southeast Asia vessels having capacity for around 64.

All Riviera ships are designed with the comfort of their passengers in mind, and there’s a friendly yet calm atmosphere throughout the sun decks, lounges, bars and restaurants. On the European fleet décor is elegant, yet understated throughout, with lots of marble and wood to create a cosy feel. The ships’ atriums are bathed in natural light and make a great focal point.

In Southeast Asia you can expect an intimate, French colonial-style boutique hotel feel on the three ships that include the luxurious and brand new for 2015 Irrawaddy Explorer. Riviera has also added two new sea-going ships to its fleet. The majestic 42-sail, 1902-built Royal Clipper, and the brand new 38-passenger yacht cruiser, Corona, have both yet to set sail on their maiden Mediterranean voyages.


Riviera Travel attracts a British clientele, and many loyal repeat customers. Riviera customers tend to be very interested in the culture and history of the places on their itinerary, and appreciate the information and assistance given by the knowledgeable and helpful tour guides. Onboard, they enjoy the opportunity to unwind in comfort with the option to meet like-minded people around the ship.


Dining on river cruises is generally a more casual and relaxed affair than at sea, and Riviera is no exception. However, the white linen, polished cutlery and gleaming glassware of the ships’ restaurants does lend a sense of occasion to the delicious four course dinner. But an ‘open dining’ policy means the atmosphere is never too formal. At lunch and breakfast there’s a full buffet in the restaurant, with pastries on the Sun Deck for early risers. Or you can even start the day with breakfast in bed.

As well as tea and coffee being in plentiful supply all day, there’s also a traditional afternoon tea and chef’s special patisserie to tuck into. For something special, don’t miss the chance to dine in the bar, which is turned into the ‘Chef’s Restaurant’ at dinner so that 24 diners can enjoy panoramic views as they eat. This is available on all European ships apart from Swiss Ruby and Douro Spirit.


The ships’ social highlights are the welcome dinner and the Captain’s gala dinner which showcases local delicacies. These meals aren’t formal, but some people do dress up. In the evenings, Riviera guests are generally happy to sip a pre or post dinner drink in the bar, relax in the lounge areas, watch the scenery go by on the Sun Deck or have a game of chess or bridge.


Passengers are kept informed about the next day’s activities and excursions by a daily programme which is delivered to cabins nightly. The expert tour guides make sightseeing easy and hassle free, but you are free to explore on your own too. Most of the European ships have a small library and a splash pool, deck games and a putting green on the Diamond Deck at the top of the ship.


Riviera’s cosy but chic theme continues in the cabins. Suites are available but standard cabins are a good size and include all the comforts you’d expect from a hotel including a safe, flat screen TV, phone, hairdryer, air conditioning, hotel beds, table and at least one chair. Thanks to Riviera’s popularity with the UK market, all cabins also include tea and coffee making facilities and most have a small fridge. Many of the European ships have marble bathrooms and warm-wood furniture that reflects the luxurious feel of the public areas. Most cabins have French balconies that can be opened up to give panoramic views. A limited number of smaller, lower deck double cabins are available to single travellers at no extra supplement.


The Lord Byron and William Shakespeare both have hairdressers, and most ships have a spa with a sauna and steam room which you can even reserve for your own private use. The Sun Deck is plentifully equipped with chairs and sunloungers, and there is also ample space to go for a short stroll.


In Europe, you can cruise the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Main, Elbe, Rhone, Seine and Douro on itineraries ranging from 5 to 11 days, some with the option to extend your holiday on-land with hotel stays. Examples include tours of Medieval Germany, from the Main to the Danube, and a Rhine Cruise to Switzerland with Glacier Express extension. Further afield, you can book a cruise on the Irrawaddy or Mekong rivers on 15-16 day itineraries, knowing that your exotic experience will still include all the comforts of home.

Cruise guides & features

Top Riviera Travel deals 2016, 2017

All Riviera Travel ships

Destinations visited by Riviera Travel