Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).
Riviera presents 5-star service and sophisticated amenities without the premium price tag. That’s because it doesn’t include gratuities or alcoholic beverages in the fare — which may be a relief for folks who don’t drink much and who prefer to tip based on their own discretion.
On board, you’ll primarily be in the company of British and Irish travelers, with some US and Aussie passengers too. The majority will be age 50 or older, though this doesn’t lead to a sleepy “seniors” atmosphere. Most are eager to learn and explore.
Riviera River Cruises is best for people who are content with zen entertainment, like solo pianists, local music groups or group trivia competitions. Daily onboard schedules are not designed to keep you occupied at every minute. You’ll have a decent amount of free time to do as you like.
I like that Riviera includes high-quality tours and shore excursions in the price, so you can absorb the rich history of each port stop you visit. Still, these cruises aren’t known for going off the beaten path, so travelers in search of undiscovered gems should look elsewhere.
Riviera river cruise ships
Riviera’s ships each hold fewer than 200 passengers and have expansive sun decks for stretching out and catching rays. Some of its vessels are topped off with pools and hot tubs.
Most of Riviera’s cruise ships are named for writers that hailed from the UK and Ireland — like Jane Austen, Emily Brontë and Oscar Wilde. Accommodations are spacious and elegant, akin to what you’d find in a classy boutique hotel.
Riviera cruises begin in major European river port cities. Here’s where you can kickstart your trip:
Baltimore, Barbados, Barcelona, Bermuda, Charleston, Copenhagen, Dover, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, Honolulu, Jacksonville, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, New York City, Norfolk, Port Canaveral, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Tampa, Tampa/St.Petersburg, Vancouver, Venice
Riviera cruises along the main rivers in Europe, including:
Here’s a quick list of the places it can take you:
Alaska, Bahamas, Baja Mexico, Canada and New England, Eastern Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal, Southern Caribbean, Transatlantic, Western Caribbean
It also has themed Christmas market and New Year’s river cruises along the Rhine and Danube.
What’s included on my Riviera river cruise?
Accommodations, meals and onboard entertainment are all included in your Riviera river cruise fare. It also covers shore excursions, guided tours at each port and Wi-Fi when available.
You’ll pay extra for alcoholic drinks and specialty coffee and tea. Gratuities aren’t included in the fare, though these are at your discretion and won’t be automatically charged to your shipboard account. If you’re happy with the service, Riviera recommends tipping around €5 to €10 per day. You can put the money into an envelope and drop it off at reception before exiting the ship.
How much are drink packages on Riviera river cruises?
If you’d rather pay for drinks up front, you can buy a package that includes your choice of beer and wine with dinner, along with soft drinks and juice. Here’s how much it costs:
5-day cruises: $99 per person
6-day cruises: $109 per person
8-day cruises: $159 per person
15-day cruises: $299 per person
Call the reservation team in advance to add a drink package to your cruise.
Why you should (or shouldn’t) cruise with Riviera river cruises
Riviera River Cruises offers a comfortable and pleasant way to visit multiple cities in Europe. Still, consider the benefits and drawbacks before booking:
Known for top-notch service
Excellent shore excursions
Food is generally delicious, according to online reviews
Comfortable cabins with sophisticated amenities
You can’t book a Riviera cruise online — call to inquire about dates and prices.
Smart casual for both day and night. Some men may choose to wear a jacket and tie for dinner, though this isn’t required.
You may also choose to dress up for the Captain’s Dinner — though again, this isn’t required.
Yes. Smoking is allowed on the outside decks but prohibited in all indoor spaces.
Yes. Each year Riviera designates a handful of itineraries for solo travelers — with no single supplement. Plus, the small ship size and attentive crew lend an atmosphere that’s typically friendly and welcoming to single cruisers.
Latest river cruise deals
Mississippi River cruises starting from $1,395 per person
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