River Princess Cruise Review by semchism: Below Expectations
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Reading in Conde Naste that Uniworld was rated the number one river cruise company, we signed up for the their May 2012 Nurnberg to Paris 11-day trip. We were joined by another couple that we had sailed on Wind Star cruise ships with 3 times previously. Passengers mean age was about 68. Most passengers were well traveled, politically and historically astute.
As a couple in our mid-fifties, we found most of the piped in background music in the dining room not enjoyable (music from the 40's & 50's). Occasionally we would hear soft tunes from the last 15 years, but very rarely. In Uniworld's defense, the median age on our river cruise was close to 70. Two couples were in there 40's, we were perhaps the only couples in our 50's and the other 63 couples in were 60's & 70's. Most were quite healthy and capable of participating in walking tours without canes and walkers. Most were capable of climbing stairs and elevations readily.
Most passengers had done a lot of More traveling around the world and seemed to have reasonable knowledge of world affairs, history and politics. 20 were Aussie, 6 were Canadian, 4 were South African, 4 were New Zealanders, 10 from the British Isles, 2 from China and the balance of the 132 passengers were American.
The ships lone musician was a keyboard player (electric keyboard), Fredy, who played traditional polka's, German folk songs and slow dancing tunes from the 1960's all 7 nights we were on board.
Unfortunately the shipped was sailing every night after dinner, so we could not find live music in the towns and villages we were docked by. Most of them were too small to have live music venues anyway.
We are used to sailing on Seabourn and Wind Star cruises where live music is upbeat and more contemporary. Their ships have live bands and singing duos who perform nightly. The only reason I didn't score entertainment at zero, was that one night 3 university music students came on board and played classical Bach music on violins for 90 minutes. This was the only entertainment that we appreciated. Another night a local German couple came on board and started singing polka tunes and yodelling. We headed for the exit very quickly.
The ship's complimentary internet worked well. It was didn't work when the boat was in a lock and was down for 15 hours late in the cruise (between Koblenz & Trier on the Mosel River).
The tour director, Hildagard, was friendly and helpful. I give her top marks for local knowledge. Her tour talks excellent. She always provided good advice.
My wife was angered when we were abandoned in Sunday morning in the pouring rain in Bamberg. She felt strongly that the buses could have taken passengers back to the boat (10 min drive) in shifts, rather than giving passengers 90 minutes of free time in inclement weather. I invited several passengers into the town's recommended pub and spent 90 minutes enjoying Bamberg's fabled Rausbier (smokey beer) & kept dry. Less
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