By Staff Writer
Leading European river cruise company, Riviera Travel, has launched a trio of five-star river ships and released a new brochure for the Australian market, while reporting a doubling in bookings since it first offered cruises to the Australian market in 2016.
Featuring a swimming pool and deluxe cabins with marble bathrooms, the luxurious, 121-guest Douro Splendour launched in Portugal this year, while another two river ships – the 167-passenger William Wordsmith and 132-guest George Eliot – will begin cruising in Europe in 2019, continuing Riviera’s tradition of naming many of its vessels after renowned British authors.
The new ships and an expanded cruise program mean Riviera Travel will carry a record 47,000 passengers on 12 river ships, 327 sailings and 14 exciting itineraries in 2019. Already the biggest river cruise operator in the UK, this year Riviera Travel is attracting 100 per cent more Australian bookings compared to 2017.
Based in England, Riviera Travel offers five-star cruises across Europe at fares up to 50 per cent lower than river companies more established in Australia. Riviera Travel is also renowned for its solo travel offerings, with a selection of supplement-free cabins on every cruise and four sailings in 2019 reserved exclusively for solo travellers with no supplement costs in all cabins.
The growth in demand and product is reflected in Riviera Travel’s recently released 2019 brochure for the Australian market. Priced in Australian dollars, the 108-page brochure includes the four exclusive seven-night solo passenger sailings in March and October 2019 – available from $2769 single sole use – and the most popular itinerary for Australians – the 14-night Heart of Europe sailing from Cologne to Budapest, priced from $3959 per person, twin-share.
The new brochure also includes a 14-night Budapest to Black Sea sailing, priced from $5969 per person, twin-share, which is attracting the highest increase in demand since its introduction in 2017, with Riviera adding more departures in 2019 to meet the demand.
Australian sales manager for Riviera Travel, Thomas Morgan, said the cruise line is quickly becoming more familiar to Australians with all Australian bookings here coming through agents via wholesalers Cruiseco and Cruise Traveller.
“There is strong competition in the river cruise space here, but Australians are increasingly appreciating that we offer something different, including more affordable fares which make the refined pleasures of five-star river cruising in Europe more accessible to more people,” says Morgan.
“We offer complimentary tours or visits in every port and we don’t automatically include gratuities in fares, allowing guests to tip as they like. Although we’ve been operating in the UK since 1984, we’re still fresh here in Australia but brand traction is quickly building.”
One of Riviera Travel’s sailings for 2019 – the seven-night Rhine Cruise to Switzerland – has been packaged for Australians by small ship cruise specialist, Cruise Traveller, in a new 13-night fly, cruise and tour holiday.
The ‘Swiss Stunner’ package includes return flights to Europe from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth, the Rhine cruise from Cologne to Basel, a three-night, post-cruise alpine tour in Switzerland headlined by a trip aboard the famous Glacier Express train from Chur to Zermatt and pre-and-post cruise accommodation in Cologne and Zurich.
Cruise Traveller is also offering a complimentary onboard drinks package with a range of beers and wines with lunch and dinner when you book this package. Departures are available in May, June and August 2019, on two ships, including the new George Eliot.