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MS William Shakespeare Review

A look at the New MS William Shakespeare from Riviera Travel

Riviera Travel have commissioned another new river cruise vessel for the 2014 season, the MS William Shakespeare.  We take look at how she will stack up against the competition from their own fleet and across the other river cruise operators.

At 110m in length and a passenger capacity of 140 the MS William Shakespeare shares many similarities with her 5 star stable mate the MS Lord Byron.  The ship will be built to similarly high specifications but also features a number of innovative additions that sets the MS William Shakespeare apart.  The vessel is currently under construction by, Dutch based, VEKA Group and will début on the Rhine in 2014.

Interior design is being done by the same team that fashioned the 5 star Antonio Bellucci. Expect rich finishes with plenty of wood and chrome in the public areas giving a feeling of elegance and style throughout.

Riviera Travel William Shakespeare Atrium

Innovative French Balconies

Cabins on the middle and upper decks will be fitted with floor to ceiling glass windows, opening to a French Balcony.  Whilst this is a common feature on a modern river cruise ship there is a twist.  On the MS William Shakespeare both panes of glass slide back over the outside of the ship to open the whole window aperture to the fresh air.  Compare this to other ships where only half the window opens as one glass panel slides over the other.

Riviera Travel William Shakespeare Middle Upper Deck Cabin

Deluxe Suite with “Sit Out” Balcony

The 4 Deluxe Suites, located towards the middle of the upper deck, are 245 sq.ft. in size and unusually for a vessel of this size feature outside balconies with tables and chairs.  We think these are fabulous having experienced the equivalent on the MS Lord Byron and can’t wait to give the outside balconies a go.

Standard of Service On Board

The MS William Shakespeare will be operated by the same team that currently provide service on the MV Serenade II.  We can be confident that standards of service and cuisine on board will be up to the high standard Riviera Travel set for their river cruises.

Our Verdict on the MS William Shakespeare

Our experience with Riviera Travel leads us to believe that this is going to be a truly lovely river cruise ship.  We receive excellent feedback on Riviera Travel river cruises and many repeat bookings.  Riviera Travel offer 5 star accommodation, excellent service and cuisine and a full complement of interesting excursions making for a very enjoyable holiday.

The MS William Shakespeare didn’t make it into the 1st edition of the Riviera Travel River Cruise brochure so there is still very good availability as I write this – I do not expect that to last.

About Simeon Leete

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  1. Hi ,We have just read the same report as many others have concerns of the standard of food etc. I do realise that some moans and groans are legitimate. This is supposed to be the best on the river at moment, can you assure me that this will be a cruise I will remember for the right reasons. Two years ago it was our golden wedding anniversary ,which was delayed through illness, I promised my wife we would have the river cruise as soon as I was well enough. Well we have booked for Oct 2nd 2014 and having read damning reviews are having second thoughts thinking have we done the right thing.
    I hope when our cruise is over we can say it was the dream we wanted for our fiftieth anniversary.
    Fingers crossed and hoping to book with Riviera Travel next year.
    Mr Brian Noble

  2. Just read a worrying comment about the food on ms wm Shakespeare – could you kindly reassure us especially as we are vegetarians

    1. Dear Anil

      May I ask what you read and where? As an independent river cruise specialist we are always keen to gather as much information as possible from all available sources to help with our recommendations to clients.

      In answer to your specific concerns we contact all of our clients on return from their holidays and have received no such negative comments from any of those travelling with Riviera on the MS William Shakespeare.

      I would certainly recommend notifying Riviera of your dietary requirements, if you have not done so already, so that the ship is aware in advance. Also, if there is something you’re not entirely happy with on board – whether in variety or quality – please speak to the restaurant staff or the chef.

      Our clients have rated their experiences on the William Shakespeare very highly so I’m sure you’ll have a fab time – I’d be interested to hear how you get on if you would let me know.

      Kind regards

      Simeon Leete

      1. is where the comment about the food is to be found. But your comments are reassuring and I have taken your advice by notifying the company re: dietary requirements in advance. Hope to have a great time

  3. Is there any scope for dancing in the evenings? A previous query and answer makes me think this is unlikely?

    1. Hi Ellie

      Whilst the entertainment on board a river cruise ship is more low key than that on a large ocean liner you will tend to find that music will be provided in the lounge from either a pianist or perhaps small group of musicians. Dancing is certainly a possibility, with most of the river cruisers featuring a dance floor area in the lounge.


      Simeon Leete

  4. We are due to sail on the MS William Shakespeare on the 12 June 2014. Can you please tell me if the boat is in the water and, if so, when will it be through river trials and certification. Thanks.

  5. We are considering a cruise in July this year on board ms William Shakespeare and have been told that dining in the evening is “buffet” style. All information I have been able to read online refers to 5* silver service for evening dining, please could you confirm what type of evening dinner service we can expect.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Kim

      Yes, I can confirm that dinner is silver service – and of a very good standard! Breakfast and lunch are hot and cold buffets with plenty of choice from the local specialities and more traditional English dishes available.

      Kind regards


  6. hi simeon…. im curious i just want to know when is the start sailing of ms william shakespear? i mean first sailing this year 2014,,, they said april 2014? thank u

    1. Riviera Travel have their first passenger sailing departing on the 5th June from Cologne down to Basel. There will, of course be some trials prior to this.


  7. I have booked a deluxe cabin on the William Shakespeare in July. The cabin is supposed to have an outside balcony with table and chairs. On looking at the photograph of the ship I can’t see a cabin with a balcony – can you tell me whether it has. Thanks

    1. Hi Simon

      I have booked a trip on the William Shakespeare in July in a deluxe cabin. The cabin is alleged to have an outside balcony with table and chairs but the photograph of the ship does not show this. Can you please confirm whether it has an outside balcony


      1. Hello Tina

        Very eagle eyed of you – I too noted this. As this is a new ship for 2014 it has not yet been launches and as such the images of the ship are impressions only.

        As you say the Deluxe Suites will have sit out balconies with chairs. Build progress is going well, you can see a video from the ship builders from the following link At about 1min 18s you can just see the openings for the Deluxe Suite balconies – albeit only briefly!

        Enjoy the cruise, I really think you’ll have a fantastic time.

        Kind regards

        Simeon Leete

  8. We are booked on the MS William Shakespeare June 5th Will this be her maiden voyage? and will this have thing going on to celebrate? P Watts

    1. Hi Peter.

      Yes, the 5th June will be the maiden voyage of this lovely new ship. Riviera Travel like to keep things quite low key and aren’t really into the fanfare and razzmatazz of launches. I’m afraid there will not be any special celebrations – but I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time.

      Kind regards


  9. Your information does not include on any site I have visited about evening facilities (apart from dining) and any entertainment that might be provided. Can you tell me what there is and where I might find out. Thanks

    1. Hi Maureen & thanks for your query.

      The size of the river cruise ships in comparison to their ocean going cousins does somewhat limit the scale of entertainment that can be provided, so no West End shows or circus performances.

      The river cruise ships are much more intimate and in general the entertainment tends to be fairly low key. Entertainment takes place in the lounge and is likely to revolve around the on board pianist or local musicians & performers that may come on board to perform for you. Riviera also believe that this is a touring holiday and is as much, if not more, about the destinations than the ship. They therefore encourage you to take advantage of the various opportunities for entertainment available in the ports of call along your route.

      I hope this answers your questions, if you do have any further questions, or wish to make a booking please do not hesitate to call.

      Kind regards


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