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Review: Riviera Travel

Travel Service - Bus & train

Wetmore Road, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffs, DE14 1SP, United Kingdom

Rail option to/from Rhine cruise

  • By SilverTraveller Freddie

    119 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • July 2015

121 people found this review helpful

Riviera Travel offered a rail as well as fly options associated with our cruise. As we had never experienced a journey on Eurostar we were keen to try the former.

We selected to travel Standard Premier. This upgrade cost £199 per person for all three rail journeys. Riviera’s price was identical to the cost of booking direct. The first leg from St Pancras to Brussels Midi was a textbook one. Check-in at St Pancras was straightforward. There was plenty of seating in the basement lounge Thanks are due to Mr Bass who needed such a vast space to store his beers under the station when it was first built. The train left on time and arrived in Brussels as planned just over 2 hours later. As we departed just 2 minutes before 11 am, we were served continental breakfast rather than a light lunch. This seemed slightly odd but no matter. Our return journey was from Paris Gare du Nord to St Pancras. The departure lounge at Gare du Nord is a crowded, sweaty dump. I even had to queue for the Gents! Not before time, the lounge is being extended. But even when this is complete it will not be a patch on the space at St Pancras. Our return journey to London was comfortable. We were served a tasty snack of roast beef and salad en route. Our arrival was a few minutes late due to maintenance work in the tunnel. Thankfully there were no delays due to refugees’ or striking dockers’ action. We would be happy to use Eurostar again but definitely not from Gare du Nord.

First Class travel on the TGV Lyria from Basel to Paris Gare de Lyon was somewhat disappointing. Definitely fast and comfortable, but that’s all. No WiFi and the free collation offered consisted of a drink and two packets of crisps and so was the nadir of French cuisine.

Riviera Travel transfer coaches were nothing special. The three and a half hour drive from Brussels to Cologne was through boring countryside in a cramped coach seat. The transfer from our ship to Basel station was short and efficient. The Paris transfer from Gare de Lyon to Gare du Nord was dreadful. The coach driver chose to avoid the main entrance of Gare du Nord and drop us off in the busy narrow Rue De Maubeuge at the rear. This meant that half of the luggage had to be unloaded in the middle of the busy narrow street. Passengers then had to trek with their luggage along a narrow pavement to the station entrance. Some of the elderly were struggling along. Our Tour Director, Richard, did not offer any help and weakly commented that he dare not argue with the transfer coach driver’s decision.

Those who travelled by air did not have a pleasant journey either. Several flights from the UK were delayed resulting in some people who landed on time being stuck waiting for others in the transfer coaches before departing to Cologne.

On balance we would travel by Eurostar again, especially when the routes from London are extended. But First Class TGV travel is not for us. Our best rail journey of the holiday was First Class Virgin East Coast home.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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