Emily Bronte is one of three brand-new identical ships to join Riviera Travel's fleet -- along with Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde -- continuing in the line's tradition of naming its ships after famous authors.
Sailings on Emily Bronte are available exclusively to the U.K. market; with the ship carrying up to 169 passengers along with 44 crew members and a focus on Rhine and Danube river cruises.
When passengers book and pay for their river cruise on Emily Bronte -- like with all of Riviera Travel cruises -- they also get their return travel by train (air options are also available at a supplement), coach transfers and some walking-tour excursions included with the price. All meals, of course, are also included, however, drinks and gratuities aren't.
Emily Bronte has a spacious feel and, like its sister ships, decor features rich color schemes and a marble-floor lobby with a tall atrium skylight above.
What distinguishes the new vessels from others in the fleet? The cabins, mainly. An all-suite ship offering three cabins types -- Suites, Superior Suites and Deluxe Balcony Suites -- the ship's balcony cabins are a first for the line.
The smallest of the 86 cabins measures 183 square feet, while the largest is 274 square feet. Marble-finished bathrooms feature large rain showers and the line's standard Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries.
All suites feature twin beds pushed together to make a double, plus a table and two chairs, flat-screen TV, hair dryer, safe, mini-bar, telephone and tea and coffee making facilities.
Suites on the ship's Diamond (upper) and Ruby (middle) decks feature French balconies with floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors, while suites on Emerald (lower) Deck feature small windows. Emerald Deck suites are also available for sole occupancy with no single supplement fee. (A supplement applies to solo passengers on other decks.)
Superior Suites offer more space (210 square feet) dedicated to a larger living area. Deluxe Balcony Suite passengers benefit from extra space, a balcony with a table and chairs, and bathrobes and slippers. All of the ship's balcony cabins are located on the Diamond Deck.
Emily Bronte features two dining options: The Bistro and the Restaurant. The Bistro serves a specialty lunch each day and a reservation-only five-course dinner in the evening. The Restaurant, which is the ship's main dining room, serves buffet breakfast and lunch, and a four- or five-course dinner in the evening.
There is one bar onboard called Panorama Lounge -- open from morning until late, serving a variety of hot and cold drinks throughout the day.
The ship also includes a small fitness studio, a hair and nail salon, 24-hour self-service tea and coffee station, a small splash-pool and putting green, ample outside space to sit or lie out on deck, a boutique and gift ship and a fee-paying laundry service. There are also eight bikes and helmets available for use free of charge.
Entertainment is low-key, with a nightly pianist performance taking place in the lounge bar and enrichment talks on each port.
While excursions are included, they are kept to 60- to 90-minute walking tours. A local guide carries out each tour in English, with handy Quietvox headsets for passengers (provided in cabins) to listen with ease.
Wi-Fi is also included onboard.