Riva 82 Diva review: This €6m yacht is a design tour de force

The aptly named Riva 82 Diva is sharply dressed and highly sought after, but does it also deliver a suitably memorable performance? Alan Harper reports

Riva’s marketing people have had so much fun over the years thinking up names for new models that it was only a matter of time before they came up with this one. The Diva is certainly an attention-grabbing performer, as boldly styled as anything in the shipyard’s catalogue, with its katana-blade hull windows and superstructure mouldings that seem to float on top of the tinted glazing of the main deck.

The beautiful compound curve of the bulwarks around the bow complement the subtle sculpting of the topsides, while those angled, see-through side screens, slender steel struts and an apparent absence of major structural components lend a slightly skeletal effect to the whole, as if it were conceived by AI androids and manufactured on a gigantic 3D printer. But to show it’s not taking itself too seriously it’s topped off with that jaunty, carbon hardtop.

As a design, it’s a tour de force, and having set out its stall so assertively, the Diva’s interior has a lot to live up to. It doesn’t disappoint. This entire yacht is a statement piece, and as its owner you necessarily become a part of the performance.

A crumpled dressing gown and comfy slippers will simply not cut it. The Diva demands that your own elegance matches that of your surroundings at all times. It’s not just a matter of dressing for dinner – on the Diva you’ll be dressing for breakfast.

The Diva’s uncompromisingly angular profile is almost skeletal in its appearance

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But there’s a fine line between cool, rational living spaces and the executive boardroom look, which comes to mind in the raised dining area that dominates the main deck, with its glass balustrade and a marble table, edged – as if marble were not cold and hard enough already – with stainless steel.

Each to their own, of course, and as a styling exercise the interior of the Diva is admirably rigorous, full of uncompromising right-angles and dark, high-gloss reflective surfaces that contrast dramatically with pale carpets and deckhead linings.

It was no surprise in such a high-concept lifestyle yacht to see that fiddle rails were conspicuous by their absence. Handholds were few, and invariably made of hard, angular stainless steel. On anything other than a calm day the Diva will be a difficult boat to move around on.

Fixed but versatile, the foredeck offers elegant seating and lounging space

The main deck is intended to impress, and it succeeds in spectacular fashion thanks largely to the windows, which are huge. The aft seating has a self-contained feel thanks to the difference in deck level that separates it from the dining area, which itself commands superb views from its elevated vantage point.

One reason the main deck layout as a whole succeeds so well is that there’s no galley getting in the way of the sightlines, and if that sliding panel in the forward bulkhead looks a bit like a serving hatch to you then yes, you’re right, the galley is in the wheelhouse. It’s actually not as daft as it sounds, although cooking pasta might steam up the windscreen.

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The arrangement of the lower deck follows convention with a large and luxurious master cabin amidships, a pair of twin berth cabins, both with ensuite heads, and the VIP up in the bows.

It’s the master that has clearly enjoyed the focus of the design team’s attention, for in spite of its walk-in wardrobe, generously proportioned head and shower compartment and substantial bed, it still offers plenty of floor space for walking around in, with headroom of 7ft 7in (2.31m) over much of it.

The Diva’s fold-out cockpit platforms add significantly to the deck area for that all-important beach club vibe

The twin cabins are not identical, but there is little to choose between them. Each has a usefully large stowage drawer as well as a hanging locker, a comfortable heads compartment, and they both also have a neat little charging station concealed under the sliding top of the bedside cabinet. The starboard cabin lacks headroom between the beds – it comes down to just 5ft 8in – but by way of compensation the beds themselves are slightly wider.

It’s the VIP that has clearly been the loser in the tussle for space down below, being set well forward with its berth mounted necessarily high up in the V of the bow. It’s not lacking in stowage space, and the head and shower compartment is fine. Headroom is 6ft 7in. No-one will complain. But it doesn’t feel much roomier than either of the twins.

For most owners the deck spaces will provide the Diva’s raison d’être. There is quite a choice. The cockpit is laid out as a fairly formal spot for food and drink, with the obligatory glass transom panel to make the most of the view.

A cut-out in the leading edge of the flybridge hard top eases access to the forward sunpad

If you want to enjoy some down time closer to the water, there’s a sunpad on the roof of the tender garage, flanked by a pair of fold-out terraces in the quarters which are big enough to take a couple of folding chairs. The sunbathing area forward is pretty substantial and would be very tempting with its sun awning rigged. But it’s probably the flybridge that will prove the most popular gathering spot on a sunny afternoon.

It’s got everything – a bar, sofas and loungers, with plenty of shade courtesy of the hardtop. This has a cool cutaway in its forward edge to make it easier to access the sunpad without bending down, but take care when stepping off – any wobbles and you could get a nasty crack on the side of the head.

The midships master suite is the Diva’s centrepiece in every sense

Underlining the style of the Diva as a sophisticated platform for elegant idleness, all of the furnishings up on the flybridge are dedicated to time in port or at anchor. Only the two-seat bench at the helm faces forward. As we have seen in the interior, offshore cruising is not what this yacht has been designed for.

The shipyard offers a choice of power plants, but there is not much in it – either the 1,800hp MAN V12s in our test boat, at last autumn’s Cannes boat show, or the slightly more pokey 1,900hp versions.

The dining area is a couple of steps above the aft section of the saloon, with its laidback seating and vast TV

There are two ways down to the engineroom. One involves a steep ladder down from a hatch in the cockpit, the other is through the crew quarters, which are reached down an even steeper ladder from the starboard sidedeck door.

Once down there, access isn’t bad. The engines are mounted on V-drive transmissions, and it also helps that the ladder from the deck can be swivelled out of the way.

The forward VIP has good headroom but doesn’t feel that spacious

Riva claims a top speed of 29 knots with these engines, and we managed 28 with a pretty full fuel load, a tender, and the usual boat show crowd on board.

Even big Rivas tend to deliver in the performance department, and the Diva proved very rewarding to drive with a satisfying angle of heel in hard turns even with the Humphree trim system in auto mode, and positive acceleration and handling. It was a pleasantly flat morning, just what the designers had in mind, and the medium-V hull thumped gently through any wake.

The port guest suite is supplemented by another one to starboard

We took the opportunity to measure sound levels in the master cabin at 22 knots. The meter registered 65dB(A). Quality is as much a Riva selling point as high-end design, and this creditable figure served to reinforce the impression we had already formed of the Diva’s solid build and robust fit-out. It doesn’t have to be a boat solely for entertaining and relaxation on sunny days.

With the addition of a few extra fiddles and handrails, you could take on more challenging cruises too.

Riva 82 Diva specifications

Length: 83ft 0in (25.29m)
Beam: 19ft 11in (6.08m)
Draft: 6ft 9in (2.05m)
Displacement (light): 68 tonnes
Engines: 2 x 1,800hp MAN V12
Fuel: 6,400 litres
Water: 1,100 litres
Maximum speed: 28 knots
Cruising speed: 22 knots
Contact: Ventura Yachts

Riva 82 Diva costs & options

Price: from €6.385 million ex VAT
Seakeeper gyro: €128,000
Sternthruster: €21,000
Underwater lights: €43,000
Watermaker: €16,000
Electric saloon doors: €24,000

Price as reviewed:

£5,382,874.00 From ex. VAT

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