The Riverside Ravel

Riverside Ravel Luxury River Cruise Ship Review

Are You Wondering About The New Riverside Ravel?

One of our favourite ways to enjoy a vacation is to combine a bit of relaxation with an opportunity to immerse ourselves in history, culture and great food.  We recently had an opportunity to do just that on a Rhône River cruise aboard the new Riverside Ravel.

Riverside Luxury Cruises is a brand new River Cruise line owned by the German luxury hotelier Seaside  Collection.  Seaside Collection is renowned for its exclusive 5-star luxury hotels in places like Grand Canary and the Maldives. 

Seaside got into the River Cruise business in 2022 when they bought Crystal Mozart from struggling Crystal Cruise lines in late 2022.  They followed that up by buying the rest of the Crystal Cruise River boats in 2023, including the spectacular Riverside Ravel.

Highlights of the Riverside Ravel

About The Riverside Ravel

The Ravel was built in 2018 so is a relatively new ship.  In fact, because of the Covid-19 pandemic followed by the insolvency of Crystal Cruises in 2022, the Crystal Ravel only had a few sailings before being purchased by Riverside.

The previously named Crystal Ravel was officially christened “Riverside Ravel” in Viviers, France on August 16, 2023, before making her inaugural voyage on the Rhône.  We were fortunate enough to catch her second sailing from Lyon, France on August 27th.

Ravel at nighttime

With 55 suites and a passenger capacity of just 110, there is never a feeling of being crowded on this ship.  In fact, there were only 42 passengers on our sailing which made the ship feel like our private yacht.  It was a very relaxed atmosphere and we got to know the other passengers and crew quite early into the trip.

Palm Lounge

The Ravel is a sleek and modern river cruise ship with a length of 135 metres (443 feet) and a width of 11 metres (36 feet).  The ship has 4 decks – the lower Harmony Deck, the 2nd Seahorse Deck, the 3rd Riverside Deck and finally, the Vista Sundeck.

Deck 1 – Harmony Deck

The Harmony Deck is the lowest deck on the Ravel and is reserved for crew quarters as well as a self serve laundry, fitness centre and spa treatment room located at the front of the deck.  There is a spiral staircase that leads to the Harmony Deck near these common facilities. 

Fitness Centre
Spa Treatment Room

The free self-serve laundry is a nice touch especially if you pack light (as we tend to do).  We used it a couple of times on our cruise, including the day before disembarkation so we didn’t have to worry about doing laundry when we got home.

Self serve laundry room

Deck 2 – Seahorse Deck

The Seahorse Deck is divided between guest staterooms towards the rear of the ship, the reception area near the middle of the ship and the Waterside Dining Room at the front of the ship. 

Reception

There is also a tender platform at the rear of the ships where kayaks and water toys are stored and deployed.

Storage for bikes

Deck 3 – Riverside Deck

The Riverside Deck is also divided into sections.  At the very rear of the Riverside Deck is the indoor pool. 

Indoor pool

Next to the pool area moving toward the front of the ship is a section allocated to guest staterooms.  That is followed by an open area where the spiral staircase and central elevator are located. 

Spiral staircase

Just past the elevator is the bistro and café which is followed by the Palm Court Lounge – the main meeting area on the ship.

Bistro

Deck 4 – Vista Deck

The Vista Deck is the ship’s popular sundeck and has 3 retractable canopied seating areas.  There is a retractable bar that serves snacks, fast food and drinks. 

Vista Deck

This is also where the ship hosts its famous BBQ lunches.  The Vista deck can be accessed by the mid ship staircase that leads to the Bistro or by stairs at the back of the ship that lead to the pool area. 

BBQ on Vista Deck

The entire upper deck is enclosed by a glass railing which means you get unobstructed views no matter where you happen to be relaxing.

Riverside Ravel Accommodations

So you would expect a River Cruise company that is owned by a luxury hotelier to have exemplary accommodations for its guests and in this regard the Riverside Ravel does not disappoint.  While there are several sizes of suites on the Ravel, they all offer the same luxurious fittings and amenities. 

First of all, you don’t need to worry about whether or not you want a balcony because on the Ravel, every suite has a panoramic balcony window that goes from wall to wall and ceiling to floor.  There is a control on the wall near the window that lowers and raises the top pane of glass so you decide if you want to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Open air window

There is even a retractable bug screen so you can enjoy the evening sunset without having to worry about mosquitos distracting your zen.

Every suite has a king size bed (convertible to 2 twins) with luxurious sheets and duvets with lots of puffy pillows. 

There are night tables on either side of the bed with electrical outlets (European and North American) as well as USB ports to charge your devices. 

Electrical outlets

The night tables also have some storage space for things you like to have close by.  A master light switch allows you to turn off all the lights without having to get out of bed.

Each suite has a desk and chair along with a siting area (depending on the suite size).  There is a Nespresso coffee maker in each suite and coffee, tea, cream and sweetener/sugar are replenished daily.  A minibar is also provided in each suite and both still and sparkling water are stocked daily.

Nespresso coffee maker
Mini bar

A large closet with plenty of hangers, cubbies for storage and a safe complement each room.  Inside the closet you will also find 2 cozy bathrobes and 2 pairs of slippers to keep your feet warm.  There is also a set of binoculars that you have at your disposal.

Every bathroom on the Ravel is stocked with quality toiletries.  A marble and glass rain shower with hand held shower head is also common to every suite.  The bathrooms are bright and elegant with lots of light.

Toiletries in each cabin

So now let’s look at the suite categories.

Melody Suite

The Melody Suite is the smallest of the Ravel suites and is located on the aft part of the Seahorse Deck (Deck 2).  These suites are 18 square metres (194 square feet) but still provide a comfortable space for 2 people. 

The bed in the Melody suite has the headboard against the wall and the panoramic balcony window is perpendicular to the bed so when you are lying or sitting in bed you are facing the opposite wall where the desk/workstation is located. 

The bathroom in the Melody Suite has all of the amenities of the other suites but it has a single sink vanity and may feel a little crowded for some.

Bathroom in the Melody Suite

The closet in the Melody Suite consists of a single row of shelves beside an open floor to ceiling space with hangers for your clothes.

Closet on Melody Suite

While it is the smallest of the ship’s suites it is also the most economical so if you are on a budget and don’t mind giving up a bit of space, you still get all the comforts of a luxury suite. 

Keep in mind that there are lots of places on the ship to hang out and relax if you want to spread out a little.  And to be fair, 18 square metres is more than you get on a lot of standard ocean ship staterooms without all of the luxury that the Ravel provides.

Seahorse Suite

The Seahorse Suite is 22 square metres (237 square feet) and is located on the 2nd Deck, the Seahorse Deck (surprise!).  This is the suite that we stayed in on our Rhône River cruise.

The Seahorse has a different configuration than the Melody Suite, with the bed facing the large panoramic balcony window.  The headboard of the bed is against the wall to the bathroom with the desk/workstation being on the wall beside the bed.  We found this to be nice because we could read or work in bed and be facing the balcony to see what we were sailing past.

Seahorse suite

The bathroom in the Seahorse Suite has a double sink vanity and a bit more space in general than the Melody Suite.

Bathroom in Seahorse Suite

The closet is also slightly bigger with 2 rows of shelves instead of 1 for clothes and storage.

Closet space on Seahorse Suite

Symphony Suite

The Symphony Suite has exactly the same configuration as the Melody Suite but is located on the 3rd level Riverside Deck. Even though the rooms are identical, you will pay a bit more for a Symphony Suite than a Melody suite because you are one deck higher.

Riverside Suite

The Riverside Suite, located on the Riverside Deck (Deck 3) is identical to the Seahorse Suite on the 2nd Deck but is 24 square metres (258 square feet) instead of 22 square metres (237 square feet).  Again, because it is on deck 3 instead of deck 2, this suite will be more expensive than the Seahorse Suite. 

Ravel Suite

The Ravel Suite is a 1 bedroom suite on the Riverside Deck that is 47 square metres (506 square feet).  This suite has a separate bedroom with a king size bed that faces a panoramic balcony window and includes a walk-in closet.

Bedroom area of Ravel Suite
Walk in closet in Ravel Suite

A separate living space has a pull-out sofa, 2 armchairs, a dining table and a fireplace with a panoramic balcony window.

Living room area of Ravel Suite

The bathroom is very spacious with double sinks and a large rain shower with a seat.

Maser bathroom

You also get some extra services when you book the Ravel Suite.  This includes complimentary ironing service, complimentary laundry service as well as complimentary limousine service on your embarkation and disembarkation days.

Owners Suite

If you want the ultimate in luxury on this already luxurious ship you can opt for the 2 bedroom Owners Suite located on the Riverside Deck.  This is the Ravel suite plus a connecting stateroom. This suite boasts 71 metres (764 square feet) of elegant living space and can accommodate up to 5 people. 

Owners Suite

Each bedroom has a panoramic balcony window and walk in closet.  The master bedroom has a marble bath with a view of the river!  The second bedroom has its own mini fridge and height adjustable dining/coffee table.

The master bathroom has a glass-enclosed rain shower and double sink vanities. The second bathroom has a toilet and sink.

And you get complimentary ironing service, complimentary laundry service as well as complimentary limousine service on your embarkation and disembarkation days.

Things To Know About Suite Location

The less expensive suites are on the 2nd level Seahorse deck.  This is on the same deck as the dining room which you will go to at least twice a day so you won’t have to worry about stairs or waiting for the elevator. 

The Seahorse Deck also tends to be quiet at night because you only have staterooms above and beneath you.  If you are on the Riverside Deck, you are on the same level as the café/bistro and the Palm Court lounge.  You also have the Vista Deck and bar above you.  Not that noise is an issue, but there may be the odd night when a few people decide to party a little.

The Palm Court Lounge

The Palm Court Lounge is the ship’s entertainment centre and central meeting place.  It is located on the Riverside Deck (Deck 3) just in front of the Bistro.  This is a very open and airy space with light coloured furniture, floor to ceiling windows and a glass roof that lets in lots of light.

Palm Lounge

There is a small stage for performances and lectures along with a piano and dance floor.  Comfortable chairs and sofas are strategically placed around the lounge area.  The large, curved bar is located on the aft side of the lounge and an outdoor seating area is located at the bow.

The Palm Lounge bar

The Waterside Dining Room

The Waterside Dining Room is located at the front of the Seahorse Deck just past the main reception area.  This is a very elegant dining room with table settings located on both sides of the room.  At the very front of the dining room is the open kitchen.  This is where the breakfast buffet is served from.

Waterside Dining Room
Open buffet area
Breakfast buffet

The food on the Riverside Ravel is one of the ship’s true highlights.  The food and wines served at lunch and dinner are themed based on the location that you are sailing through.  The presentation of the plates is artfully done and serves to exemplify the quality and flavour of each dish. 

There was not one meal that left us the least bit disappointed, and we always looked forward to the next one.

The Vintage Room

The Vintage Room is Riverside Ravel’s version of Specialty Dining.  It is an intimate, closed space tucked behind the Palm Court Lounge on the 3rd Deck.  The room is quite small (cozy) with a long dining table and seating for 10.  This space can be reserved for private parties or events at an additional charge.

Vintage Room

The Final Word on the Riverside Ravel

We really love river cruising because it combines so many of our favourite activities within a single trip. 

We get to meet new friends, enjoy great food and local wine, and immerse ourselves in the culture of the places we visit.  And the Riverside Ravel enhanced the experience for us by offering a comfortable and luxurious place to return to at the end of each day and just feel totally at home.

We have cruised other lines before and enjoyed the experience on those as well, but the Riverside Ravel is just a cut above with its attention to detail especially in the quality of the accommodations and care in making each meal a culinary experience.  We are looking forward to other cruises on the Ravel and her sister ships as we continue to add places to our bucket list.

If you are looking for expert advice on Riverside Luxury cruises, contact us to assist with your reservation.

Our photo in front of the Riverside Ravel