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Having started in 1984, Riviera Travel has been around for quite some time in the U.K., but its Riviera River Cruises is still a relative newcomer in the U.S. However, that hasn’t stopped it from making a splash in the local market with enticing news, not the least of which is a sales partnership with David Morris International (DMI).
Most exciting for the line and its patrons is the introduction of four new riverboats in 2018 and through 2019, after launching four vessels in 2017 alone. The 167-guest Robert Burns was christened on April 3 by Gloria Bohan, founder of Omega World Travel, as a show of commitment to North American agents. Now, it sails the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers on itineraries such as Budapest to the Black Sea and Enchanting Rhine & Yuletide Markets.
The all-suite Robert Burns isn’t the only news for 2018, though. Douro Splendour is also scheduled to come online this year with vessels William Wordsworth and George Eliot set for 2019. The fleet will consist of a dozen ships by then.
The Douro Splendour will be Riviera’s second riverboat on the Douro River and will accommodate an intimate capacity of 121 passengers. Its suites will feature floor-to-ceiling windows that can open halfway downward. The George Eliot will represent a new smaller class of ships at 361 feet long. It will still showcase a panoramic observation lounge, a main restaurant, a wellness area, a boutique and a sun deck, as well as The Bistro, a casual eatery for alfresco dining.
The major point of differentiation is the value.
As for itineraries, the line is offering a new four-day extension that can be tacked onto the aforementioned George Eliot’s Rhine Cruise to Switzerland route, highlighting the city of Chur and the dramatic Matterhorn’s home of Zermatt. The famed Glacier Express train is the timeless means of transportation between the pair of picturesque towns.
Meanwhile, the Robert Burns itself will host a Masters of Wine theme cruise on Oct. 19. Television presenters and writers Susie Barrie and Peter Richards will join to share their esteemed knowledge of vintages with an after-dinner discussion as well as passenger Q&A session. They will also be aboard the Emily Bronte, the Jane Austen and the Swiss Corona this August.
Allowing guests to further explore Rivera’s destinations are personalized extra-cost experiences such as Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, wine tasting in the Moselle Valley, Sigfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet in Rudesheim, Germany, and a visit to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. These are in addition to the bulk of included shore excursions.
Making it all more easily accessible to the North American market is DMI. The line already has a reservations center in Connecticut and two regional sales directors in Florida and New York, but the new collaboration will further bolster its promotional efforts and pool of professionals.
“The major point of differentiation is the value,” said David Morris, president of DMI. “For instance, a seven-night departure on the Emily Bronte in April 2019 is from just $1,819 per person, commissionable at 15 percent.”
For that price, clients will receive all guided tours, included port charges, complimentary bicycle use, free Wi-Fi access, morning room service, an alternative dining room and more. Only gratuities and beverage packages are excluded.
Plus, solo travelers will appreciate the line’s latest offerings sans single supplement. In 2019, there will be even more departures without the need to pay more. The four available dates exclusive to solo cruisers include The Douro, Porto & Salamanca River Cruise for Solo Travelers on March 31; The Blue Danube River Cruise for Solo Travelers on April 1 and Oct. 28; and The Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence River Cruise for Solo Travelers on Oct. 31. There are also several single-supplement-free cabins available on every Riviera voyage.
The DetailsRivera River Cruiseswww.rivierarivercruises.com