Louise’s ‘River Cruise Adventure’ – Riviera Travel

        23rd October 2019

“So today I have returned from my River Cruise Adventures with Riviera Travel.

We flew from Birmingham airport, taking a flight with Swiss Air. The flight only took 1 hr 20 mins and it was extremely comfortable and relaxing. We were offered light refreshments on board including croissants with tea, coffee or orange juice.

On arrival at Zurich airport, we collected our cases and made our way to meet our Riviera Representative and began the 1 hr 30 min transfer to Basel. We arrived at the ship MS Oscar Wilde and my first sighting of the ship totally exceeded all of my expectations! It looked amazing and I couldn’t wait to get on board to start the journey.

We were met by our Riviera Cruise Director, Leslie, who provided us with information to get the journey off to the best start. We had a light lunch in the lounge and did a little tour of the ship before our cabins were available.

At around 2pm we were shown to our cabins by our cabin steward and our cases were already there waiting to be unpacked. My cabin was a deluxe suite on Ruby Deck and it was immaculate! It came with a French balcony allowing me to take full advantage of the views I was about to see. My cabin came with a very modern bathroom (the rain forest shower was amazing!), full screen flat tv with numerous channels, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle, fridge, huge amount of wardrobe space and a safe (free to use).

We showered and changed and went to dinner in the main restaurant – all I can say is wow! Dinner was a la carte, 5 courses of pure heaven. I have never tasted food like it. We took full advantage of the drinks package we had (£109 pp extra) and were treated to the most professional and attentive service by the staff.

After dinner we spent the evening in the lounge where piano music was played. It was a lovely evening spent getting to know our fellow guests.

The next morning we awoke all fresh and ready to take on the day. Breakfast was served in the restaurant and was buffet service. There was everything available that you could possibly think of! Cereals, continental breakfast, full English breakfast, jams and marmalades, lots of different juices, teas and coffees, toast, fruit loaf and lots more. If you fancied an omelette you could order one from the waiter and even freshly made poached eggs. What ever you wanted – it was there.

Later that morning we began our first excursion which came free as part of the Riviera package. We boarded the coach for our trip to Lucerne in Switzerland. What an amazing town with the most beautiful views. It also has THE best chocolate shop in the whole of Switzerland! Not so good for the waistline or the pocket. The Kapellbrucke (chapel bridge) is one of the iconic sites in Lucerne and probably the most photographed! It’s the oldest covered bridge in Europe and is 204m(669ft) long. Under the roof are original paintings dating back to 1333 showing the history of Switzerland and Lucerne.

We then continued our journey to the Bernese Oberland to board the village train at Wilderswil taking us to the Shynige Platte. If taking in fantastic views is your thing then this excursion most definitely is not to be missed. The train journey to the top was a little scary for me as I am frightened of heights but it really had to be done and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was totally breathtaking and left me having ‘a moment’. We could literally see for miles around, we could see the lakes below and the snow capped mountains all around. It really was stunning. We enjoyed our packed lunch here that was provided by Riviera as we missed lunch on board.

That evening we left Basel and set sail for our next destination – Breisach. After breakfast we took advantage of the free time to explore this beautiful little German town before boarding the coach after lunch to travel through the Black Forest arriving at Lake Titisee. It is in this area that the cuckoo clock was first made and we were invited to join a cuckoo clock demonstration and taste the original black forest gateau.

We arrived back at the ship around 6pm which gave us time to shower and change before enjoying the ‘Welcome Cocktail Party’ hosted by the captain. Dinner followed which again was an absolute culinary delight!

Day 4 saw us arrive in France! After breakfast we were taken to Strasbourg and invited to take part in a walking tour. The guide was full of knowledge and I absolutely fell in love with this place. The cathedral was a sight to behold. We were back on board the ship for lunch so we visited The Bistro rather than the main restaurant. The Bistro only has 28 seats and has a more intimate dining feel. This restaurant is included in the price but you do have to book beforehand. The menu was different here, with options such as fish and chips, burgers and pasta. We had some free time to unwind and watch the world go by as we cruised to our next destination Speyer back in Germany.

On day 5 we had free time in the morning to visit the medieval town of Speyer before sailing in the afternoon through one of the largest nature reserves in the country.

We arrived at our next destination Rudesheim later that evening where we moored overnight. After dinner we took a short walk into town and found a local bar playing traditional music and serving local beer. It was a wonderful evening full of local culture.

Day 6 gave us free time in the morning to explore Rudesheim. This is a lovely town which has a cable car ride over the Rhine. Elvis Presley filmed GI Blues here and some of the girls were lucky enough to travel in car 76 – the car Elvis sat in! We sampled the local Rudesheim coffee, made with 3 cubes of sugar, hot coffee and the local brandy Asbach topped with fresh cream and chocolate shavings. The walk back the ship was interesting…

During lunch the ship sailed through the Rhine Gorge. We saw spectacular scenery of this world heritage site whilst sat on the sun deck enjoying ice cream. We were given the full history of this amazing place and had so many interest areas pointed out to us during the trip.

Later that day we arrived in Koblenz – where the rivers Rhine and Moselle meet, and took advantage of the free time to tour this lovely city. Again, you could take advantage of a cable car ride here which I kindly declined! Instead I opted to take a tour of the city and the shopping it had to offer before joining the ship again for dinner. After another fantastic meal we joined the other guests in the lounge and took part in Leslie’s music quiz. Everyone enjoyed this as it was so much fun – even though it did get a little competitive between Team A and the actual winners Team B (my team of course) with the official announcement that it was a draw! Again we danced the night away with our fellow guests.

Early in the morning we set sail from Koblenz and cruised through the forested Siebengebirge (seven mountains) and past the pretty riverside towns on our way to our last stop, Bonn. I sat in my cabin with a cup of tea and watched the world sail by as we left Koblenz. It was so quiet and peaceful – a beautiful experience sailing down this magnificent river at dawn.

Arriving in Bonn, we took the coach to Cologne and had free time to see what this City had to offer. The cathedral here physically took my breath away! I haven’t seen anything like it before! We had a little tour inside and then carried on with our tour of this very cosmopolitan city.

Our last night on board was completed by the Captains Farewell Dinner. Cocktails in the lounge following by the most amazing meal and a parade of the baked Alaska to finish!! We said our goodbyes to the friends we made on board and I have to say I did feel emotional – I didn’t want this experience to end.

We flew home from Dusseldorf which only took a little more than an hour and arrived back into Birmingham to say our final farewells.

It was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget.”

If you would like to know anything at all about my experience or river cruise’s in general; please do call me – 01246 555777 or pop me over an email – louise@chatsworthtravel.co.uk  and I will be more than happy to help! Thank you for reading about my adventure.