Arrivals & Departures New river cruise option for Aussies on Europe's waterways

Photo of Angie Tomlinson

UK-based Riviera Travel is promising cheaper fares and solo cabins without a single supplement for Australian travellers.

Already well-established in Britain, UK-based Riviera Travel is now targeting Australian travellers with its river cruises in Europe. 

Its points of difference? For starters, the company says that its fares are up to 50 per cent lower than its competitors. 

Furthermore, each of its cruises offers solo cabins with no supplement for single travellers. There are no automatic gratuities, and the company has a no-discounting policy, so guests won’t find fellow passengers have paid less than them for the same cabin class by booking early or late.

Most of the company's ships are named for famous British authors. This year it has added four ships to its fleet — Thomas Hardy, Emily Bronte, Oscar Wilde and Douro Elegance — while new ship Robert Burns will be launched next year. 

In 2018, the expanded 11-ship fleet will offer 300 cruises on nine European rivers and waterways.

Fares on Riviera’s cruises include meals, afternoon teas, late-night snacks, tours and excursions with experienced guides, and wi-fi. 

In good news for teetotallers who'd rather not pay for included drinks that they don't want, Riviera doesn't include alcoholic drinks in its fares. From 2018 it will introduce an optional drinks package for $99 per person for four nights, $169 for seven nights or $329 for 14 nights, covering beverages with lunch and dinner.

Also new are three new cruise itineraries, including Riviera Travel’s first Christmas markets cruise in Germany this December and two new routes for 2018: Budapest to the Black Sea and a Dutch Bulbfields itinerary.

Most of Riviera's ships have two restaurants, and the company lays claim to having the only river vessels in Europe to offer tea and coffee-making facilities in every cabin on almost every ship. 

It offers 12 different itineraries in Europe, on the Rhine, Moselle and Danube rivers, the Main and the Danube Canal, Portugal's Douro River, the Rhone and the Saone in France, and the Dutch waterways.

As another point of difference, instead of cruising the standard Amsterdam to Budapest itinerary, Riviera starts the route in Cologne, which it claims eliminates less scenic landscapes and allows for more time in towns further along the route.

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