“I was at a christening of twins recently… of two twin river ships, that is,” says Mark Davidson from Oasis Travel’s Belfast Howard Street office. He joined Riviera Travel in Amsterdam for the naming of its two new 5-star river cruise ships: the MS Emily Brontë and the MS Thomas Hardy.
The naming ceremony was the first of its kind for Riviera Travel, who had invited me along with dozens of other agents to be part of it.
The time-honoured tradition of smashing champagne bottles against the ships’ hulls to christen them were the top prizes of an exclusive competition that was run amongst travel agents from the length and breadth of UK and Ireland. Alas, I didn’t win, but was delighted to be there to see the ships first-hand and enjoy a three-course meal and entertainment on board.
Riviera appears to be continuing with an author and poet theme with these latest names. I recall that the fleet already contains a Jane Austen and Lord Byron, and I believe an Oscar Wilde is due to launch in August!
While I explored the state of the art, ‘all suite’ MS Emily Brontë and MS Thomas Hardy, I enjoyed playing a game of spot the difference, as the ships are pretty much identical aside from differing pattern of carpet and upholstery.
When it comes to river cruising decadence is the name of the game. Both of the new river cruise ships adopt a unique and exquisite fusion of understated taste, style and elegance. I can also confirm that the restaurants can hold their own amongst the best on shore fine-dining establishments. Riviera Travel also offers customers more space and a more personal service as each ship accommodates up to 169 passengers with 44 in-house trained staff, compared to over 190 passengers that similar sized vessels may carry.
These new river ships truly are world-class. They are fitted out to the highest standard and all cabins are very well furnished. You’ll find that even the standard suites on the lower deck contain Nespresso machines, flat-screen televisions and a top of the range bathroom.
Renowned for its European River Cruises, Riviera Travel is an escorted tour company, with over 30 years of experience. The company also offers Tall Ship cruises, Asian River Cruises, Mediterranean yacht cruises, and short breaks.
The first passengers will cruise on these new two vessels from April. If river cruising sounds like it might ‘float your boat’ call me at Oasis Travel’s Howard Street, Belfast office and I’d be more than happy to talk you through the options in more detail.