U.K.-based Riviera River Cruises continues its rapid expansion, launching a total of four ships this year and next after launching four in 2017.

Following the April christening of the 167-passenger Robert Burns in Vienna, Riviera plans to launch its second ship on the Douro River, the 121-passenger Douro Splendour, in August. That will be followed by the launch of two ships in Europe next year -- the William Wordsworth, sister ship to the Robert Burns, and the George Eliot, a 132-passenger vessel.

Riviera's fleet will have 12 ships by the end of next year, accounting for the retirement of the Swiss Corona. The William Shakespeare will replace the Swiss Corona next year on Rhone River cruises in France.

Riviera expanded into the U.S. last year, when it established a U.S. sales office in Fairfield, Conn., and developed a U.S.-facing website this spring.

The company's entry into the U.S. and Australian markets, as well as overall growth in river cruising, is fueling its building boom.

Riviera operates cruises on the Rhine, Moselle, Danube, Main, Rhine and Douro rivers. Each ship features a lobby with marble floors and a glass-roof atrium, an observation lounge and bar, and two restaurants that serve buffet breakfasts and lunches and four-course dinners. Most ships also feature a sauna, steam room, pool, fitness room, library, and hair salon or spa treatment room.

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