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Robert Burns Review

Find a Robert Burns Cruise from £1,449

Robert Burns
4.0 / 5.0
5 reviews

Upscale beautifully appointed ship with a "British" vibe and attentive crew members
Drinks not included
Bottom Line
Good value fixed-price fares, including solo cabins with no single supplements




Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
Sails To
Sails From
Riviera Travel Cruise Deals
Jeannine Williamson
Cruise Critic Contributor

Robert Burns Overview

The 167-passenger MS Robert Burns is the 13th ship to join the expanding river cruise fleet run by U.K.-based tour operator Riviera Travel.

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Although Riviera might not be that familiar in North America, the company has a long-established pedigree stretching back to 1984 and is the U.K.'s largest provider of European river cruises. In 2017 it introduced its competitively priced cruises to the U.S. market and Australia under the name Riviera River Cruises with an office based in Connecticut.

In common with its other vessels, MS Robert Burns was constructed to Riviera's high specifications by the Swiss river ship builder Scylla (the same company responsible for luxury river cruise line Tauck's fleet) and is billed as a "five star" riverboat.

Its "Britishness" sets it apart from vessels that predominantly cater to U.S. travelers and this novelty will appeal to North Americans who prefer not to travel with large numbers of their fellow country folk and want to experience something a little different, including the option to sample typically British foods such as a breakfast "fry up" (eggs, bacon, sausages and baked beans) and the convenience of having a kettle in every cabin to make a "proper" cup of tea with boiling water.

Despite being a new vessel with modern amenities, such as USB ports in every cabin and a splash pool on the Sun Deck, MS Robert Burns has the atmosphere of an upscale "country house" hotel that oozes the traditional style and elegance of bygone times. The sumptuous marble-floored lobby is topped by a glittering chandelier and throughout the ship there are a wealth of wrought-iron, glass and polished wood fixtures and fittings.

The 88 cabins comprise standard staterooms and two categories of suites, including several with walk-out balconies. MS Robert Burns is the same size as ships that carry up to 190 people, so there is plenty of public space and passengers can expect a high level of personal service.

Solo travelers, who often get a raw deal on other cruise lines with punitive single supplements, get a great deal with Riviera. On each sailing, five lower deck cabins are set aside for single passengers with no additional supplement. Each season there are also a number of exclusive solo sailings with no single supplements at all, so solos can book a suite and pay the usual per person fare.

Unlike many other lines, Riviera does not include drinks with lunch and dinner -- one of the reasons its prices are very competitive -- and passengers can opt to pay for them individually or purchase a drinks package. Riviera also has a very transparent pricing policy, with no discounting. This means all passengers pay the same so there are no awkward conversations over dinner discovering fellow shipmates paid a bargain basement fare.

MS Robert Burns sails on five itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube ranging from a four-night Christmas market cruise to 14-night voyages.

Top Robert Burns Itineraries

Robert Burns
the blue danube - ms robert burns

Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest, Budapest

The Blue Danube - MS Robert Burns

Robert Burns

View All Robert Burns Itineraries (2)

Fellow Passengers

Up until 2017, Riviera River Cruises catered solely to U.K. passengers, building up a loyal following in its homeland with a high number of repeat cruisers. The line now sells its cruises in North America and Australia, although these passengers will be in the minority. Anyone with an interest in Great Britain will enjoy traveling with these polite folks who are always happy to chat about their country (and the royal family). In common with most river cruises, passengers are mostly over the age of 55, and made up of well-traveled retired couples and groups of friends interested in culture and history. As Riviera offers a great deal for singles -- with five no supplement cabins set aside on every cruise -- solo travelers won't feel out of place and will meet like-minded cruise companions.

Robert Burns Dress Code

There is no set dress code and passengers are advised to dress however they feel most comfortable. Jeans, casual pants, T-shirts and sweaters are ideal for shore excursions, and comfy shoes or sneakers are a must, particularly for walking in historic European towns and cities where there are cobbled and uneven surfaces. It should be noted that the weather in Europe is very changeable, even in the summer, so it is advisable to bring layers, a hat and rain jacket, along with warmer attire if you plan to sit on the outside deck in the evening. At night, most people change into smart pants or chinos for men and two pieces and smarter pants or dresses for women. It should be noted that Brits tend to dress up more for dinner than North Americans, so although it is not compulsory, you can expect to see some men in dress shirts, jackets and ties.

MS Robert Burns Inclusions

Fares cover all meals, daily excursions, complimentary tea, coffee and Wi-Fi. Other beverages are charged as consumed, or passengers can prebook a drinks package covering beer, wine, juice and soda with lunch and dinner for $129 per person ($159 in 2019). Mineral water is not included and can be purchased for 2.25 euros for 25cl bottles or 3.75 euros for 75cl.

All excursions are conducted with audio headsets so passengers can hear what the guide is saying without having to cluster around. Listening devices and earpieces are provided in every cabin.

The onboard currency is the euro. Being a U.K. operator, where tipping is not as customary as it is in North America, gratuities are not included and are discretionary. The recommended amount is 5 to 10 euros per person, per day, which is less than many lines catering predominantly to the North American market. For gratuities, an envelope is left in the cabin at the end of the cruise and can be deposited in a box at the reception desk.

Passengers might also want to carry some small denominations in local currency to tip local guides and shore excursion bus drivers.

Onboard accounts can be settled in cash or by Visa or Mastercard. Note: American Express is not accepted.

In North America and Australia, Riviera's itineraries are sold on a cruise-only basis, so air and transfers are not included as many passengers choose to spend time in Europe independently before joining the sailing. On certain itineraries, Riviera offers land-based extensions.

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Robert Burns Ratings

Public Rooms4.04.8
Fitness Recreation4.03.4
Value For Money5.04

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More about Robert Burns

Where does Robert Burns sail from?

Robert Burns departs from Budapest

Where does Robert Burns sail to?

Robert Burns cruises to Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna and Bucharest

How much does it cost to go on Robert Burns?

Cruises on Robert Burns start from £1,449 per person.

Awards and Recognition

Robert Burns Member Reviews

Robert Burns
Tricia G
Sail Date: Sep 2018
The Robert Burns is a new ship, not too big, beautifully appointed and spotlessly clean. Cabins are obviously not large, but comfortable and have everything you need.... Read More
Robert Burns
Sail Date: Jun 2018
Robert Burns is a beautiful brand new ship and it could not be faulted. The staff had all come from other ships so were excellent at their jobs,all of them.... Read More
Robert Burns
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Our first European/ Riviera cruise- an excellent experience, good value and leaving us with ideas for other cruises. Ship, cabin and all facilities were stunningly clean, well kept and top class. Our cabin was... Read More
Robert Burns
Sail Date: Dec 2019
The Robert Burns is definitely a 5 star ship and was decorated beautifully throughout for the festive season and kept in pristine condition for the entire trip The food was top class and the crew were... Read More

Riviera Travel Fleet

William Shakespeare
11 reviews

The 140-passenger William Shakespeare, which operates cruises on the Rhine River, features contemporary decor with sustainably sourced tropical hardwoods and brass and wrought-iron fittings.

Riviera Travel William Shakespeare Cruises to Europe View All Riviera Travel William Shakespeare Cruises
Jane Austen
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 140-passenger Jane Austen offers an intimate, premium feel with British touches; it sails Danube and Rhine River cruises as part of Riviera Travel's program of escorted tours.

Charles Dickens

The 140-passenger Charles Dickens offers river cruises through the heart of Europe and features contemporary decor that includes sustainably sourced hardwoods and brass and wrought-iron fittings.

Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte continues Riviera Travel's tradition of naming its ships after famous authors. Sailings on Emily Bronte are available exclusively to the U.K.

Thomas Hardy

The 169-passenger Thomas Hardy entered service with Riviera Travel in April 2017, joining sister ships Emily Bronte and Oscar Wilde as part of the line's expanding river fleet.

Oscar Wilde

Riviera Travel welcomed the 169-passenger Oscar Wilde to its growing fleet of river ships in May 2017. The Swiss-built ship is exclusive to the British market.

Douro Elegance

Built in 2017 and chartered to Rivera Travel, Douro Elegance has splash pool, open seating at meals and a la carte drinks.

Lord Byron

With 140 passengers, Lord Byron has a high crew-to-passenger ratio on weekly Burgundy, Rhone and Provence itineraries.

Robert Burns
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Coming in 2018 from U.K.'s Riviera Travel, Robert Burns will sail the Rhine, Main and Danube on river cruises that are open to Americans, Brits and Australians.

Swiss Corona

This 144-passenger vessel, twin to Swiss Tiara, has a sauna, splash pool and putting green; all drinks are extra.

Douro Splendour

Aimed at British tastes, this well-equipped ship has excellent facilities and is particularly good for solo travelers. 

Geoffrey Chaucer

Coming in 2020, Riviera River Cruises' 176-passenger Geoffrey Chaucer has a few new touches, including a small splash pool and a second restaurant.

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