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Riviera seeking to attract 50% more passengers

PHOTO: HOLLY PAYNE Will-Sarson-Phil-Hullah-Robin-Shaw-Riviera-Travel.jpg
L-R: Riviera Travel's head of product, river and ocean, Will Sarson, its CEO Phil Hullah and the brand's COO Robin Shaw, pictured on board Jane Austen during Riviera Travel's 40th anniversary celebrations
Riviera Travel aims to double its number of passengers to 200,000 by 2030, said its CEO Phil Hullah on Tuesday. 

He made the comment during a business update on board Jane Austen in Paris amid celebrations marking Riviera’s 40th anniversary where he said ‘the heart and soul of the business remains incredibly consistent.’

Hullah described 2024 as ‘off to a flying start’ and noted ‘more scope for growth on the Douro… and on the big waterways of the Rhine and Danube, also.’ 


As earlier reported, Riviera is aiming to grow in the US; in the UK, the travel trade is responsible for 25% of Riviera’s business, up from 15% two years’ ago. 

Riviera COO Robin Shaw followed Hullah’s remarks with the announcement that the brand’s booked revenue for 2024 is up 28% year over year, and for 2025, up 61%. In particular, bookings for voyages on its two new ships launching next year – Riviera Radiance and Riviera Rose – are ‘selling like hot cakes.’ Tickets went on sale at the end of February. 

Shaw went on to describe the 2024 early season river cruise programme as 95% loaded. ‘We’re looking at extending the season,’ Shaw revealed, having observed an increase in the number of people wishing to travel in the months of March and November.

Riviera’s Grand Tours, which are new for next year, span nine-26 days and offer a more immersive experience. Since launching on March 6, these are ‘proving very, very successful initially for 2025,’ said Shaw. 

More key trends 

It’s a record year for Japan sales, said Shaw, and there has been a steep rise in demand for ‘high value bucket list-style trips,’ while festive cruises continue to be well received. 

Revenue is up 46% on solo cruising too, Riviera having unfurled its biggest ever solo programme this year comprising no less than 162 solo tours. Shaw does not see that growth abating, recognising that the segment is ‘not well catered for’ and offers ‘huge opportunity.’ 

Last year saw Riviera introduced a superior drinks package offering unlimited drinks on all river cruises which has ‘proved hugely popular,’ said Shaw. 

From 2025, Riviera will lower the group sizes for its tours from 50 to 36. 


Riviera is planning to reduce its carbon footprint by 20% on a per passenger basis by 2028 and slash the use of single-use plastic by 50% by 2025. A new ‘code of ethics’ has been introduced for hotels and providers that Riviera works with. 

Fly options and rail options are proving more popular in the last two to three years, continued Shaw. 

In collaboration with its new charity partner Practical Action, the company will ‘focus on sustainable development and recycling in a way that is meaningful,’ according to the COO. 

Both Hallah and Shaw voiced a commitment to raising NPS scores from around 60 to 80 by the end of the decade and continuing to deliver quality at an affordable price: ‘We don’t play games with prices,’ said Hallah, with Shaw later commenting, ‘we won’t inflate prices then discount massively.’