Riviera River Cruises review

Good value, with excellent shore excursions through key European cities.

Riviera offers competitive pricing for a traditional river cruising experience. It’s known for having comprehensive shore excursions, but its entertainment and onboard activities can be lacking.

31 ships

Number of ships



Price matches


Target demographic Seniors, Singles
Number of ships 31 ships
Contact options Phone, Email
Payment options Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Deposit required Deposit at checkout
Deposit required No price matching
Food Food included
Drink Alcohol included
Room service No free room service

Review by

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).

Expert review

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.

Departure ports

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

Rivers cruised

Riviera cruises along the main rivers in Europe, including:

  • Danube
  • Douro
  • Dutch Waterways
  • Main
  • Moselle
  • Rhine
  • Rhône
  • Seine


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.
  • Onboard entertainment can be lacking.
  • Only one seating for dinner service

Still on the fence about Riviera River Cruises? Compare it with Avalon Waterways and Tauck.

Frequently asked questions

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