A Luxury Floating Hotel
Last November, I was lucky enough to be invited to join the Jane Austen, a luxurious river cruise ship, for a Riviera Travel Rhine River Cruise. I’ve been on a river cruise before, and I love the concept of these luxury “floating hotels”. I also like that when you book a River Cruise with Riviera Travel, everything is taken care of, from a reserved seat on the Eurostar from London St. Pancras to return flights from selected airports in the UK, and return rail connections on selected dates from more than 30 regional stations too. And you also don’t have to worry about transfers to the boat from the airport or train station too. The price of your cruise also includes full-board from dinner on your first day of arrival until breakfast on your last day…..it’s a truly easy and exciting way to see Europe’s towns and cities. (As well as many other global destinations)
I was flown to Cologne, where the Jane Austen ship was waiting for us; moored in Cologne’s picturesque historic centre, I was welcomed aboard my first-class floating hotel, before being shown to my comfortable and extremely well-equipped cabin. After I had time to familiarise myself with the ship, a Buffet Dinner in the restaurant was enjoyed that evening. I was on the popular Rhine, Strasbourg & Heidelberg River Cruise, which is from a very competitive £1,099 per person for 8 days. My itinerary was as follows:
DAY 1 – Cologne
Arrive – Jane Austen is moored in Cologne’s picturesque historic centre, with time to explore this beautiful city.
DAY 2 – Koblenz & Boppard
Koblenz is a romantic’s dream, forest-covered hillsides dominate the skyline, whilst the lower slopes are strewn with the pretty, half-timbered buildings so typical of the Rhineland.
Relax at your leisure in Boppard with ample time to explore the stunning castle
DAY 3 – the Rhine Gorge & Mainz
Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge
Mainz – capital of the Rhineland and a centre of Germany’s wine lands
DAY 4 – Heidelberg
Guided tour of majestic Heidelberg – follow in the footsteps of philosophers and poets
I had a wonderful double cabin, with complimentary tea & coffee facilities and an en-suite of course – with a large sliding window. There was adequate storage and wardrobes, a television, fridge and plenty of reading lights for bedtime novels or guidebooks! As I mentioned before, all meals are included in the price, including a welcome cocktail and dinner party, and the Captain’s dinner. Whilst on board, I enjoyed delicious buffet breakfasts with fresh fruit, buttery pastries, charcuterie and cheeses as well as the usual “Full English Breakfast” options. Lunches were tasty and freshly cooked with a good choice to choose from, including lighter bites; you could then treat yourselves to a delightful afternoon tea, if you had room before enjoying a sumptuous four-course dinner…….the meals are mainly buffet style, with some dishes being cooked to order at designated stations, such as omelettes in the mornings. The selection on offer was varied and diverse, with special diets being catered for.
Every day you looked forward to stopping at a new port and disembarking to enjoy discovering a new town or city; there was a daily “newspaper” style journal left on your bed every night, telling you what port you would be arriving in next, with all the relevant historical and tourism information about it too…..we had trained local guides on each excursion to guide us on our way and there was always PLENTY of spare time to enjoy the new destinations by ourselves, something that isn’t always offered on other cruises, especially those at sea. Although I had been to all the German towns and cities before, it was lovely to rediscover them and wander around exploring new parts that I’d not been to before.
My three days on board Jane Austen finally ended, and after a wonderful morning excursion in Heidelberg, we were transferred to Frankfurt airport for my flight home. I would heartily recommend a river cruise with Riviera Travel, there’s no packing and unpacking every day to travel to a new destination, and you really are on a floating luxury hotel, with all the amenities that you need and require. I’ve added answers to some frequently asked questions below, about what a river cruise may involve and what is included etc. With thanks to all the Riviera Travel Team for making me and my colleagues feel so welcome and comfortable on board, and, now is the time to book for the new season of river cruise travel! Karen
Disclaimer: I was invited to experience part of a Rhine River Cruise with Riviera Travel; all flights, transfers, accommodation, food and excursions were included at no cost to me and I was NOT asked to write a favourable review. Karen S Burns-Booth
All on board meals are included from dinner on your day of arrival to breakfast on your day of departure. Enjoy buffet breakfasts, delicious lunches, delightful afternoon tea and sumptuous four-course dinners – a memorable journey of culinary discovery awaits.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship and in your cabin to help you stay connected throughout the cruise.
Spacious cabins and suites all with beautifully appointed en-suite bathrooms and spectacular river views
A full programme of visits and guided tours is included. So you won’t just see the cities and destinations, you’ll feel their heartbeat. History and culture brought to life by expert guides and tour managers.
All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers and covered in your holiday cost. No surcharges – guaranteed!
Is there a dress code?
There is no formal dress code on board any of our ships – we want you to feel comfortable and relaxed throughout your cruise. Smart/casual attire is acceptable for all meal times and no dinner jackets and ties are required. The Captain’s Dinner offers the opportunity, should you wish, for more special attire.
Are there tea and coffee making facilities on board?
Yes – all cabins and suites* contain either a kettle or machine with complementary tea and coffee, which is re-stocked daily. There is also a tea and coffee machine located in the stern bar of all ships* which can be accessed and used for free any time of the day. (Excludes MS Douro Elegance)
Are gratuities included and how much do I give?
Tips are not charged at a set percentage and are not included in the holiday cost, as we understand that giving a gratuity should be entirely at your discretion. As a guideline we would recommend giving €5-10 per person per day should you feel that is appropriate. Usually, an envelope is left in your cabin on the final evening, for you to drop off at reception, if you choose to, the following morning.
Are drinks included?
We do not include the cost of drinks as everybody has different preferences. That being said, the cost of drinks on board our ships is far from expensive.
Is there a seating policy during dinner?
Absolutely not – we operate ‘open dining’ during mealtimes so you are welcome to sit wherever, and with whomever you choose at all meal times. Tables are set for four to six passengers and you may ask the Maître D’ for help choosing a seat if you wish.
Gallery of Cruise on board and ashore: