New ships and 68 percent jump in Australian bookings
The launch of three new river ships soon, a record number of passengers and a 68 per cent jump in Australian bookings mark the launch of Riviera Travel’s 2019 program of five-star river cruises across Europe.
Following the launch of four ships in 2017, the luxury, 167-guest river ship, Robert Burns, was christened in Austria last month, destined for cruises on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, while the 121-passenger Douro Splendour will be launched in Portugal this August. Another two river ships, the 167-passenger William Wordsmith and 132-guest George Eliot, will begin cruising in Europe in 2019, continuing Riviera’s tradition of naming vessels after famous British authors.
The new ships and an expanded cruise program mean Riviera Travel will carry a record 47,000 passengers – including more Australian passengers – on 12 ships over 327 sailings in 2019. Already the biggest river cruise operator in the UK market, Riviera Travel is this year attracting 68 per cent more Australian bookings compared to 2017. The British company first launched its European river cruises in the Australian market in 2016.
Riviera Travel offers five-star cruises across Europe at fares up to 50 per cent lower than river companies more established in Australia, with a selection of supplement-free cabins on every cruise also available for solo travellers.
In addition to the new ships, new for 2019 is the new Dutch port of Kinderdijk, a rustic village with 18th century windmills which will feature on Riviera Travel’s five-day Dutch Bulbfields cruise. High demand will also see Riviera add four more sailings in 2019 on its new 15-day Budapest to the Black Sea itinerary, introduced for the first time this year. Australians can now also join add-on, overland tours to selected sailings.
Australian sales manager for Riviera Travel, Thomas Morgan, said the company’s recent efforts at promoting Riviera to Australians as a new choice in river cruising were clearly paying off, with a new 2019/19 brochure, in Australian dollars, to be released by early June, 2018.
“We are clearly growing our footprint in Australian market amongst some very strongly branded competitors but we know Australians love the way we do things differently,” Mr Morgan said. “Our simple-to-understand fares are up to 50 per cent lower, we look after solo passengers, we don’t discount – so our guests don’t discover others have paid less than them for the same cabin – and we don’t automatically include gratuities in fares, allowing guests to tip as they like, which Australians love.
“Riviera Travel is also 100 per cent committed to Australian travel agents with all our Australian bookings here coming through agents via wholesalers Cruiseco and Cruise Traveller.
“Although we started in 1984, we’re still the new kid on the block in Australia but we’re growing up quickly!”
Riviera Travel’s European river sailings are available from $1849 per person, twin-share, or solo, for an eight-day Blue Danube cruise. Subject to availability.
Bookings are available via Australian travel agents, Cruiseco, Cruise Traveller, or visit www.rivieratravel.com.au