“How can one adequately sum up the new for 2013, wonderfully elegant five-star MS Lord Byron? How can we describe this extraordinary vessel that’s truly one of the finest ships of its type afloat anywhere in the world?”
This quote is taken from the Riviera Travel “website”:https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/ships/ms-lord-byron .
Is it to be believed or is it a load of hype? I was booked on the ship for a weeks cruise on the Rhone and Soane rivers. I was still fairly new to river cruising having been on “A-Rosa Viva”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/cruise/166365-review-a-rosa-viva on the Rhine the previous summer and “Rex Rheni”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/cruise/172582-review-rex-rheni at Easter on a cruise to the Dutch bulb fields.
And yes, in my humble opinion, the hype is well deserved. This is an extremely comfortable ship with that careful attention to detail that can turn an ordinary cruise into a memorable one. Standards are exceptionally high and the ship was always spotless.
For a start it is a very stylish ship with good size and very comfortable cabins. The mattress was one of the most comfortable I’ve slept on and bath towels were large, fluffy and dried well. There was a good range of toiletries provided – everything I needed and more. To my delight there was a kettle with plentiful supply of tea bags or coffee (as well as unlimited free tea and coffee in the lido bar). There was a flat screen TV but I never had time to watch it. This also applied to any entertainment provided in the evening – I didn’t bother.
The housekeeping staff were excellent and cabins were serviced twice a day and used towels changed. Beds were turned down during dinner and a small chocolate left on the pillow.
The dining room was light and airy with a free seating policy. I appreciated the white linen serviettes at every meal. Breakfast had a range of cereals, fresh fruit and yogurts. There was cold ham and cheese as well as smoked salmon and picked herrings. The hot breakfast was possibly a bit basic with bacon, frankfurter style sausage, mushrooms, tomato, baked beans and either scrambled or fried eggs. Omelettes were cooked to order with a wide choice of fillings. There was always a good choice of fresh rolls as well as pumpernickle, croissant, small muffins or toast.
Lunch was a self service buffet with soup and desert served to the table There was always a choice of three hot dishes – meat, fish and pasta, as well as plenty of different salads. These often included local specialities. The pasta was particularly good.
Dinner was a set menu with a tiny appetiser followed by four courses. Again there was plenty of choice and often difficult decisions to be made. The beef was particularly good. Apart from the Captain’s dinner when we all ate together, dinner was served from 7-9pm so you were able to choose when you ate. The dining crew were excellent and soon got to know the different passengers, their preferences and any dietary requirements. Portion sizes were large enough to fill but not too large as to leave you feeling overfull. All spoke good English.
There was a large bar and lounge with comfortable chairs, although I spent most of my time on the sun deck. My only criticism would be that tables at the prow of the boat didn’t have sunshades and it could get very hot up there as temperatures crawled up to 36˚ during the cruise.
We had our pictures taken as we boarded and these were linked to our key card. You couldn’t creep out using the wrong key card as married couples soon discovered. This also meant that reception staff soon recognised us by name and made a point of using it. We were also welcomed back on board after guided tours with a cold drink – a welcome gesture.
Dress code was smart casual, with the emphasis very much on the casual. Men could not wear shorts into dinner but open neck shirts were quite acceptable. I hadn’t taken a dress with me and didn’t need one, although I had made sure I packed a smart frilly blouse.
Full details of my trip with all the pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/rhone/index.html