Riviera Travel has held a christening ceremony in Vienna for the latest addition to its fleet. The 167-passenger all-suite MS Robert Burns will sail on five itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube.

Joseph Grimley, Riviera Travel’s head of agency sales, said it was part of expansion that provided “plenty for agents to get excited about”.

Following the launch of four ships in 2017, MS Robert Burns is the first of two new vessels to be launched in 2018 by the UK’s largest river cruise operator. It will be followed by the 121-passenger Douro Splendour in Portugal, and next year will see the debut of the 167-passenger William Wordsworth and boutique-style MS George Eliot, which will cater for 132 guests.

Bringing the Riviera fleet to 13, MS Robert Burns has three passenger decks with staterooms ranging from 172 square feet to 269 square feet, with cabins on the middle and upper decks featuring floor-to-ceiling sliding panoramic windows.

Billed as a “five-star” vessel, and decorated in elegant, muted tones, the interior decor features sustainable hardwoods, gleaming brass and polished copper, sparkling glass and intricate wrought iron. The ship has two restaurants – the main dining room and a smaller bistro offering light lunches and a speciality dinner where the chef presents signature dishes, with menus changing according to the season. This dining experience can be reserved on board at no extra charge and, when weather allows, the windows can be opened onto the terrace for al fresco dining.

The main restaurant can accommodate all passengers in one sitting. All meals are included in the fare, plus tea, coffee and juices with breakfast, water with lunch and dinner, plus a complimentary 24-hour tea and coffee station. This year Riviera introduced a new drinks package, which is priced at £99 per person, per seven-night cruise.

Grimley said:  “With six new ships introduced to our five-star fleet since 2017, and recently awarded the Which? Recommended Provider for River Cruises 2018, Riviera Travel has plenty for agents to get excited about.

“The MS Robert Burns is one of two brand new ships for Riviera Travel to launch in 2018 and will sail five fantastic itineraries from April 2018. The state-of-the-art Swiss-operated ‘all suite’ ship has a capacity of 167 passengers and key features include world-class cuisine and fine dining, a fitness centre and on board hairdresser’s, a panoramic observation lounge and sun deck, boutique-style cabins with luxury Crabtree and Evelyn amenities and a bow camera streaming live images of the ship’s progress to in-room flat screen TVs.”

He also stressed the line’s “price promise” and added: “Our relationship with the trade is very important to us so we work closely with agents to keep them abreast of new developments they can use as selling tools, and our transparent pricing policy allows agents to sell Riviera Travel with the confidence that the price is set and will not change.”

This year Riviera is set to carry 40,000 passengers on river cruises and new for 2018 are two sailings exclusively for solo travellers – a Danube cruise departing 1 November and a Burgundy itinerary leaving on 6 November.