Riviera is one of the latest lines to restart, with river cruises sailing on the Douro for the first time in 18 months
Riviera Travel has completed its first river cruises in 18 months with two eight-day sailings to Porto and Salamanca.
A total of 120 passengers were onboard for the voyages, which featured excursions to a Porto vineyard and the old city of Salamanca, an official Unesco World Heritage Site, as well as guided tours of local landmarks, including Castelo Rodrigo and Mateus Palace gardens.
Riviera will now operate a series of river cruises across Europe until early November.
Katja Hildebrandt, head of product river and ocean cruise at Riviera Travel, said: “Our Douro cruises were the perfect first sailings back, as our guests really did feel they were away from it all as they visited some of Iberia’s most beautiful towns, gardens and vineyards.
“We can’t wait to welcome more people back on board, as our European river cruises return to some of the most beautiful destinations along the likes of the Seine, Rhône and Danube.”
Cruise passenger Sally Harper said: “The organisation that Riviera have put into this has been absolutely second to none; I can’t fault it. This is the second trip we’ve done with Riviera, the first one was Croatia, but this is the first river cruise I’ve ever done and it’s gone beyond my expectations.
“The river is spectacular. Everybody told us to expect a beautiful river and this has just blown me away. The food is great and the staff are so friendly, everywhere is so immaculately clean. We’ve felt really safe and secure at all times.”
Emerald Cruises resumed sailings on the Douro on July 31, while Emerald Destiny is due to set sail from Nuremberg on September 6 for the eight-day Danube Delights river cruise.
Oceania Cruises has also resumed sailing, with Marina becoming the first ship to welcome guests back on board after a pause of 524 days. It was also the first cruise ship to sail from the port of Copenhagen since 2019.
Princess Cruises’ ship Sky Princess became the third in its fleet to resume operations – after starting a series of UK domestic sailings from Southampton. Crystal River Cruises has also resumed sailing in Europe.
Fred Olsen became the first UK cruise line to complete an international voyage since the resumption of cruising in the UK. Borealis, one of the line’s new vessels, returned to the UK from Iceland with around 800 guests on board.
The line will sail 43 itineraries from Tokyo and Kobe on Diamond Princess
Princess Cruises has launched its 2023 Japan cruises season with 43 itineraries, ranging from five to 19 nights.
The 2,670-capacity Diamond Princess is returning for the summer and autumn of 2023, marking its 10th anniversary of sailing from Tokyo and Kobe.
The luxury liner boasts a tranquil Izumi – the largest Japanese bath of its kind at sea.
The ship is offering 57 departures and will call at 38 destinations, including the southern tropical island of Okinawa and the northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Highlights of the cruise programme include the opportunity to experience seven festivals, such as Kyoto’s world-famous Gion Festival, featuring hand-crafted floats.
During spring cruises travellers will get the chance to visit a classic Japanese garden, see cherry blossoms while picnicking and soak in a geothermal onsen, a natural hot spring bath.
The programme also features eight ‘more ashore’ late-night stays in ports, including Akita, Aomori, Hakodate and Osaka (for Kyoto).
Princess also offer 13 to 14-night Japan Cruisetours, which combine a land tour with a cruise for a more in-depth experience. Land destinations include Tokyo, Kyoto and Yokohama.
A seven-night Kyushu & Korea voyage starts from £879 per person, sailing roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama) and calling at Nagasaki, Jeju, Kagoshima, and Omaezaki, departing September 8, 2023.