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MS Lord Byron River Cruise Review

So you’ve found a fabulous river cruise aboard the absolutely amazing MS Lord Byron – but is the ship “truly one of the finest ships of this type afloat anywhere in the world” as described in Riviera Travel’s brochure?

Riviera Travel Lord Byron Ship Exterior

Online reviews from previous travellers can be a useful guide, but this is a new ship which doesn’t start cruising until next season. Without any reviews of the MS Lord Byron it can be difficult to gauge whether the ship is right for you. In this post I’ll look at some of the factors and resources one might consider in making that final decision.

MS Lord Byron Star Rating & Amenities

The MS Lord Byron is classified as a 5 star ship by Riviera Travel. However, unlike hotels there is no independent standardized rating system in place for river cruise ships. The rating is therefore set by the tour operator (in this case Riviera Travel) or the ship operator (Scylla AG, Switzerland). It is a useful guide to the standards and amenities onboard, but comparisons across different operators are difficult.

Riviera Travel Lord Byron Lounge

The 140 guest capacity of the MS Lord Byron is, by comparison, low for a modern river cruise ship of this size, resulting in a staff to passenger ratio of 4:1. Cabins are to be relatively generous in size at 161 sq.ft. up to 242 sq.ft. for the four deluxe suites. All cabins on the middle and upper decks also feature floor to ceiling glass windows opening to a French (Juliette) style balcony. Bathrooms will be of a quality standard with marble and glass fittings throughout.

Riviera Travel Lord Byron Lidi Bar

Public areas also promise to be luxuriously fitted out in common with the ship operators other 5 star river cruise ships. As well as a modern, comfortable restaurant, the ship features a panoramic observation lounge, Lido bar, sundecks with chairs and loungers, boutique, Spa with sauna, steam room, beautician and whirlpool.

Riviera Travel

The next thing to look at is Riviera Travel themselves, what is the standard of the tours they operate? What do previous customers say? And if you’ve been somewhere else with them before what did you think?

My view is that Riviera have a strong following and are very well respected for providing high quality tours at excellent value. Given that they wouldn’t want to undermine their reputation I think one can be comfortable that they believe that the MS Lord Byron meets their high standards and are happy to have it for their flagship cruises.

One other area that can be useful to look at is the ship operator. Scylla AG first started operating river cruise ships 1974 and over the years have build up a fleet of 17 modern ships, with the MS Lord Byron being the latest edition. Scylla charter ships to a number of organisation, as well as Riviera in the UK there is also Tauck, a highly regarded US tour operator.

The fact that Scylla are building their own fleet of boats places them firmly in the top tier of ship operators, and as a new ship the MS Lord Byron benefits from all their 38 years of experience in river cruise ship design and operation.

Feedback from travellers on other Scylla river ships suggests a very attentive service, fine food – and Swiss efficiency of operation – are all part of the package.  You can see a sample menu on the itinerary pages (see the links at the bottom of this post).

Our Verdict

Given our experience of Riviera Travel and Scylla we really like the MS Lord Byron! We believe it offers excellent quality and value and expect to see some really strong reviews coming through next year.

If you have any questions please give us a call or use the comments box below and we’ll do our very best to answer it for you.

Want to know more …

Read about our First Trip on the MS Lord Byron

MS Lord Byron River Cruises

Click the link below for more detailed information on the river cruise itineraries, MS Lord Byron images, departure dates and prices for the tour.

About Simeon Leete

View all posts by Simeon Leete

Ask a Question


    1. Hi Sandi

      Yes you may bring a bottle on board to drink in the cabin, Riviera only ask that you do not consume it in the public areas of the ship.

      Kind regards


  1. We are booked on the MS Lord Byron on October 25, 2018. We are coming from the US and plan to meet the ship in Avignon. Where will it be docked?

    1. Hi Doug

      The river ships generally dock around the Quai de l’Oulle, in the centre of Avignon. You should check with Riviera Travel, or your booking agent around the middle of October and they should be able to provide you with a specific docking location. Docking locations tend to be assigned by the port authorities so can change – it’s a good idea to make sure you have the contact number for the ship – just in case!


    1. Hi Peter

      The UK package we offer with Riviera Travel certainly includes complimentary wifi, as they do with all their European River Cruise vessels now.

      You should however check with your tour operator or booking agent for specifics of the package you have booked as these do sometimes vary between different regions and sales channels.

      Kind regards


    1. Hi Christine

      River cruises tend to have quite a relaxed atmosphere and the dress code tends to reflect this. Daytime dress is comfortable casual, with layers advisable to cope with varying temperatures – a light waterproof jacket is always recommended! Evening attire is a bit smarter, ‘smart casual’ is the term generally used. So long trousers and a collar for the gentlemen, jackets and ties are optional, and either skirt, dress or trousers and top for ladies. No formal dress is required, although the Gala Dinner does provide an opportunity to dress up a little if you like.

      You can find more information on Riviera’s website from the following link Rivera Travel – River Cruise FAQ, it is actually under the dining section.

      Kind regards


    1. Hi Kevin

      We generally get really good feedback from our clients on the Riviera Travel river cruises. There were some staffing issues on the William Shakespeare last year but Riviera did work with the operator to get these resolved very quickly. If there is something in particular that concerns you I would certainly recommend taking it up with the Riviera Cruise Director and the ship’s Hotel Manager – particularly as this is a longer cruise.

      If we can be of any assistance do let me know.

      Kind regards


  2. I have been invited to join friends on a trip on mv Byron. Recently widowed, I am concerned about the window size on emerald deck – cabin for sole occupancy, I am a little claustrophobic and would like to see a picture of the cabin and its window. Thank you.

    1. Hello Leonie

      We are an independent river cruise specialist and would be delighted to help you with your river cruise enquiry. One thing to note is that Whilst Riviera do offer fantastic value with no single supplement on the Emerald Deck cabins – these do sell quickly and supplements for the other cabins are high. If you can let me know when your friends are travelling and which itinerary I can check availability for you.

      You can call us free on 0800 471 4754 if you have any further questions, or you would like to talk about the cruise further.

      The cabins on the Emerald deck are identical to those on the Ruby and Diamond decks in terms of their size, layout and amenities, it is only the window that is different. So pictures of the other cabins will also provide you with a view.

      You can see images of the Emerald Deck Cabin, and the ship in general, in our review of the Lord Byron from the following link: MS Lord Byron – Review.

      One thing to bear in mind is that one does not spend an enormous amount of time in the cabin on a river cruise. It is also a fact of river cruising that from time to time you will be docked against another ship, even floor to ceiling windows are obscured when this happens.

  3. 19-26 April, 2015. Amsterdam, Volendam & the Dutch Bulbfields River Cruise

    Just returned home after our first ever organised holiday and also our first ever cruise. We had a fantastic time and we are already looking at another cruise on the Lord Byron. Everything was perfect – the ship and cabins were spotless, the staff & crew were excellent, the food was delicious and equal to any top class hotel, and all the arrangements for the inclusive visits were spot on – we could not have asked for more – even the Sun obliged us!

    Several “seasoned” passengers we spoke with said that this was the best cruise they had been on, with the combination of Rivera and Scylla’s Lord Byron far out-stripping the nearest competition!

    1. Hi Mike,

      I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed your river cruise on the Lord Byron. We would certainly agree that Riviera offer the most amazing value in their river cruises. The Lord Byron was commissioned by Riviera, with Michael Wright, Riviera’s founder, personally specifying the fixtures and fittings. The MS Jane Austen joins the fleet for this season, and is sister ship to the MS Lord Byron. Also operated by Scylla I think you can be confident of both.

      Should you wish us to assist you in finding your next river cruise we would be delighted to do so, please call us free on 0800 471 4754.

      Kind regards

      Simeon Leete

    1. Yes Eric,

      All cabins and suites have hair dryers. You can see full details of the cabin facilities on the ship pages of relevant itinerary from our Riviera Travel page or please do give us a call on 0800 471 4754.

      Kind regards


  4. Just finished a trip on the Duoro Spirit. Lovely boat & with 130 or so passengers more cozy. It is 240 ft. in length. Is the Lord Byron the 360 most of the larger one are?

    1. Hi Bob, I’m glad you enjoyed your Douro cruise. We think the Douro Spirit is a lovely ship too, and is a nice arrangement with all French balcony cabins. The ships on the Douro are smaller than those on other European rivers – this is governed by the length and width of the locks and the height the bridges.

      Yes the Lord Byron is 360ft, and caters for 140 passengers compared to the Douro Spirit’s 128, so only 12 more than the at full capacity. I have to say I think that she is a lovely ship and we get excellent feedback from previous passengers. Riviera are launching her ister ship the MS Jane Austen next year. Both will be operated by Scylla and offer the same high levels of service and accommodation we expect from them.

      Do give me a call free on 0800 471 4754 if you would like to look at specific cabin availability or discuss alternatives.

      Kind regards



  5. Hi. my wife and I are looking to try a river cruise later in the year. We are particularly looking for a ship that has an outside balcony/veranda. Additionally, We are both into art and photography, hence a later in the year nearer to autumn colours time would be ideal. Any ideas, would be most appreciated.
    nb. We particularly like the look of the Lord Byron.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Frank

      The Lord Byron is a lovely ship and most cabins & suites on board do have French balconies but I’m afraid there are no sit out balconies even on the suites. Outside balconies are a relatively new addition to the River Cruisers as the limited size of the vessels does make space a premium. Riviera are actually launching a new ship for 2014, the MS William Shakespeare, which will be a similarly high specification to the MS Lord Byron. The new ship will have outside balconies in the Deluxe Suites as well as an innovative take on the French balcony with the glass sliding back on the outside of the ship to open up the whole cabin.

      We do work with other operators such as Viking River Cruises, Uniworld and AmaWaterways, who also have outside balconies on some of their higher category cabins.

      I would suggest the best time to go if you’re looking for Autumn colours is around the end of September beginning of October but as we are dealing with nature we’re unable to make any promises! I think the Rhine and Moselle rivers are probably the most beautiful at this time of year – but I’m sure someone else will have another favourite.

      Riviera still have availability on the MS William Shakespeare on their Rhine Cruise to Switzerland & Rhine Strasbourg & Heidelberg itineraries in mid to late September. There are no Deluxe Suites left but plenty of the lovely French balcony cabins on the middle & upper decks

      Alternatively there is the longer, 14 day Cruise to the Heart of Europe on the MS Lord Bryon from Budapest to Cologne taking in the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers, departing 2nd November which still has good availability.

      Have a look at the itineraries above and please do get in touch to discuss your requirements further. You can call us free on 0800 471 4754.

      Kind regards


  6. Could not discern from deck plans if there are lifts between decks to make the ship suitable for wheelchair bound guests ?

    1. Hi Lynne

      Sorry for the delay in responding to you query. Whilst there is a lift on board which provides access to the accommodation decks I’m afraid that river cruise vessels are not generally equipped for wheelchair bound guests.

      In addition to the relatively cosy cabins and corridors there is often a requirement to traverse other river cruise ships in order to reach the quay to disembark and embark. This may involve navigating steps and gangplanks whilst passing through the adjacent vessels.

      Kind regards


  7. I went on the 5 day Riviera Amsterdam bulb fields cruise and spent an extremely enjoyable time aboard ‘The Lord Byron’. This is an excellent cruiser well accommodated for the river cruises and cruising along the Markermeer. On the bulbs field cruise you leave Amsterdam and cruise along the Markermeer with stop overs at Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Volendam with an excursion to Keukenoff gardens, before returning to Amsterdam where you have a short cruise along the canals and then for the rest of your time you can view Amsterdam at your leisure, before your return to the UK the next day. Your accommodation for your complete cruise is on ‘The Lord Byron’ where you will find that the ever attentive crew are there to ensure you enjoy your time aboard. The facilities of the cruiser are excellent and fully compliament the crew.

    This was my first cruise and I can not wait to book my next.

  8. Have booked with Riviera for cruise on Lord Byron in April.

    looking for details on internet of ship found this record.

    I hoped to print for reference but it gave shts 1 – 13 with printing narrowly down the middle which of course not acceptable—Why?

    1. Hi Peter

      I really hope you enjoy the Cruise and thank you for taking the time to raise this with us.

      The pages on our news feed had not been formatted for printing – as you found out. I’ve made a quick change to the site which should improve this for you.



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