My wife and I are seasoned travellers and spend more than 100 days per year on vacation. We have undertaken many cruises both at seas and on rivers and we have never failed to be impressed by the overall standard of the service we receive on all Uniworld cruises. This was our 10th Uniworld cruise and this may suggest that we have a blinkered view of the company. This is not the case as we are always on the lookout for other avenues and compare value for money. We have yet to find a comparable value for money package.
We had sailed on the River Countess in 2008 and since that time it has undergone a major refurbishment. When we boarded at Vienna the ship was almost unrecognisable. Our suite was spacious, impeccably clean (and remained so throughout our stay) and the shower room was state of the art with power showers, under floor heating and every other amenity. The room came with in-house internet access via the TV and a comprehensive entertainment system also operated via the TV, a coffee machine and drinks making facilities, stocked fridge and daily fruit, hors d'oeuvres were appreciated, nothing was left wanting.
The food was of the highest standard, quality and fresh ingredients. often bought by the chef himself from local markets and suppliers and the choice and presentation could not be faulted. This was all complimented by "free" wine/beers etc at meal times but more importantly by the highest standards of service from the waiting staff led by an impeccable Maitre D'.
There are many included excursions, at least one at each port, but my wife and I like to go it alone as we are putting off having to follow an umbrella or number on a stick for as long as possible. However all we spoke to on board had no complaints in relation to any of these tours and were impressed by the organisation of them shown by the onboard Cruise Manager.
The ship is billed as "boutique" and as such there are no organised games etc on board - thank goodness and the entertainment is appreciably low key. There is an onboard musician who was most versatile and could play almost anything requested from him- the state of the art keyboard enhanced his abilities and much music was enjoyed by the guests.
Embarkation and dis-embarkation was well organised and everyone
In summary, the facilities, food, accommodation and service are great value for money- the age group of the guests reflects the "grey pound" and on this particular cruise was well over 65. However this is unusually high for Uniworld Cruises. I believe that this was due to the time of year and the destinations of the cruise.
The true test, would my wife and I book again? Already done that, are spending Xmas and New Year on board the River Empress!!