Australian cruise agents return from Europe river cruise
“The cruise and tour directors went out of their way – going above and beyond – to help passengers.” That’s the stand-out, take-away impression for two WA travel agents who recently joined a European river cruise famil with Australian market newcomer, Riviera Travel.
Michele Fraser and Dani Armstrong from Bicton Travel in Perth were hosted aboard Riviera Travel’s five-star, 140-guest river ship, Lord Byron, for an eight-day ‘Burgundy, The River Rhone and Provence’ between Lyon,Chalon and Avignon in the south of France.
Michele said that aside from exceptional service, she and Dani were also impressed by how knowledgeable the crew were about destinations on the itinerary and how many repeat passengers there were aboard.
“Many passengers were repeat guests – some on their sixth cruise – and there were some Australians onboard also,” Michele said. “The itinerary was fantastic but we also liked how there were cabins which solo travellers could use without paying single supplements and the fact that tips were not automatically included in fares – so you could tip who you wanted. That will appeal to Australians.
“Riviera Travel offers very good value for money,” Michele said.
Established in the UK in 1984, Riviera Travel is the largest supplier of European river cruises in Britain, with an expanded fleet of 11 luxury ships set to carry a record number of guests on 300 river cruises across Europe in 2018.
The company recently launched its first campaign targeted at Australians, with a dedicated website and brochure in Australian dollars. Riviera Travel has a no-direct- booking policy, with all bookings by Australians made via travel agents. In Australia, Riviera Travel product is distributed by wholesalers Cruiseco and Cruise Traveller.
Brochure fares in 2018 for Riviera Travel’s eight-day ‘Burgundy, The River Rhone and Provence’ cruise are available from A$2099 per person, twin-share or solo-use (subject to availability), including meals, afternoon teas, late-night snacks, tours and excursions with experienced guides and free Wi-Fi and the line’s ships are also the only river vessels in Europe to offer tea and coffee-making facilities in every cabin on every ship.
And unlike other lines, Riviera also offers a simple, transparent and affordable fare structure, with no hidden costs, and a no-discounting policy which saves guests from discovering fellow passengers have paid less than them for the same cabin.