Luxury River Cruising on board the Riverside Debussy

There is an incredibly luxurious and comfortable way to travel on European rivers, and we recently discovered it aboard the Riverside Debussy, one of the units of the new fleet of Riverside Luxury Cruises on the short vernissage cruise.

The decision to incorporate the concept of luxury directly into the name of the new brand is an important choice and immediately conveys the level of service and attention one can expect on board. In our experience, the difference lies in two key factors: the ship, which is significantly different from the standard European river cruisers, and the service, understood as a true onboard experience.

The Riverside Debussy belongs to the renowned and successful class of former Crystal Cruises ships, known for their beauty and elegance. This is evident from the moment you step on board, where you immediately sense an atmosphere of relaxation and comfort, far from ordinary at embarkation. Soft-colored furnishings, modern yet perfectly aligned with a dynamic concept of luxury rather than retro, spacious and bright areas. These sensations are also found within the suites, all very spacious and equipped with marvelous top-opening windows for the entire upper half. A level of comfort, space, and amenities that are quite rare in European river fleets.

The ship consists of the classic four decks but undoubtedly offers uncommon amenities, starting with the fully equipped gym and beauty salon, and the truly extraordinary aft pool. The indoor sunbathing area offers an oasis of tranquility, allowing for a swim even during non-summer seasons while simultaneously admiring the landscape swiftly passing by with the ship’s wake. Another unique feature is the solarium deck bar, which magically emerges from the center of the ship, offering a complete range of spirits, wines, and cocktails during port stops or navigation stretches where passage under low bridges is not anticipated.

Elegance and quality are also noticeable in the outdoor furnishings, from the coverings to the sofas and armchairs. The lounge is particularly elegant, with comfortable seating both in the central area and along the side windows, always offering an excellent vantage point to enjoy the cruise. The entire forward area of the lounge has a glass covering, making it very bright during the day and providing a special charm in the evening, thanks to the lights and the cities passing by during navigation from one port to another.

The dining experience is undoubtedly a highlight of Riverside Luxury Cruises and a strong distinguishing factor from other companies. The environments, both the main restaurant and the bistro, as well as the Vintage Room, exude extraordinary elegance and attention to detail. The sensation of being able to enjoy excellent dishes is felt upon entering these rooms, with classy table settings and staff ready to fulfill and anticipate every guest’s need. The Waterside Restaurant offers breakfast and lunch service with a rich buffet and dinner with an à la carte menu. In both cases, the choice and quality are high, with dishes prepared by chefs and a consistently varied and refined selection of cuisines. The service is attentive and meticulous, conveying the feeling of always being assisted and pampered, without any rigidity or extreme formality.

The Bistro is an excellent bar that always offers some excellent snacks, whether it’s breakfast for those who want to rise leisurely in the morning or a small afternoon snack. It also serves as an alternative to the restaurant for a great snack or a quick lunch. The Vintage Room is a reserved room for tasting dinners and pairings with prestigious wines. An experience definitely worth trying during a cruise aboard Riverside Luxury Cruises.

Our short itinerary from Amsterdam demonstrated sophistication even in the itinerary planning and excursion offerings. Programs that allow for in-depth visits to selected locations and propose alternative options rich in attention to the culture and true essence of the places visited. What strikes most aboard the Riverside Debussy are undoubtedly the beauty of the ship and the quality of service. While the former is undoubtedly something naturally attributed to the concept of luxury, it alone would not be enough to distinguish a product in a context as rich in operators as the European river cruise market. However, the service, understood as attention to the customer but also as crew training, is truly the key to offering a cruise experience that makes a real difference when on board the ship. Although the offered itineraries lead to discovering many wonderful cities and small gems nestled among the countryside of Central Europe, the sensation of relaxation and comfort felt on board truly leaves a mark of a memorable experience.

The responsibility of incorporating the concept of “luxury” into its name that Riverside took on at the launch of the new company has certainly been rewarded and has been confirmed during our short but very intense and interesting experience on board. European rivers can now offer an additional experience, something beyond the beauty of discovering destinations and the charm of river navigation. A company that truly offers a luxury journey, without rigidity and formality, which looks at substance and quality beyond the appearance of a particularly beautiful and innovative ship.

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Gabriele Bassi