Since ocean cruising makes me feel sick even before the ship leaves the dock, I decided to try river cruising. From the pleasant experience of working with Uniworld at reservations, to the efficient staff meeting me at the Venice airport, I was hoping for a good experience on board. It was so much more than that. The reception area is so light and inviting, and the registration process was quick and easy. The stateroom is beautifully appointed and the marble bathroom is well stocked with big, fluffy towels and high-end shampoo and soap. There's even a complimentary washer and dryer on the bottom level. Celena, the hotel mgr, was very visible, always asking if all was well, and quickly answered questions and concerns. The daily excursions were led by extremely knowledgeable guides, and expertly supervised by Tony, the cruise director. His daily updates were entertaining as well as informative. There was even a group of passengers who had difficulty walking, that were included in every tour. There was a lot of walking involved in all the excursions, but it was well worth the effort to see the churches, shopping areas, and especially the private evening tour of St Mark's.
The food was the highlight. The food was art. Breakfast and lunch were a buffet, plus custom delicacies that were made in the galley. The selection was varied and the food was well prepared and abundant. For those who didn't want to be wowed in the dining room, there was another area to eat a lighter breakfast and lunch. The service was exemplary. The wait staff treated me like a queen, and indulged every wish. There was also afternoon tea time, served in the lounge area, with little sandwiches, fruit, and cakes. Then there was a sort of happy hour with crunchy snacks, alcoholic beverages, and Mila, a very knowledgeable and competent bartender. Dinner in the dining room was the jewel in this crown. Romica, the maître d, made me feel like royalty, entering the room.The selection on the daily menu offered pleasing choices. Chef Daniel is a master of his art. The desserts were so beautifully presented and delicious. More solicitous service by this competent and funny staff. Then there was more drinking in the lounge, with Todor, providing lively music. He had a lovely singing voice, too. In the event you felt faint from not eating for five minutes, there was a coffee and tea station near the gift shop that also had chocolate and vanilla macaroons. Captain Oost was very visible for questions and fun conversation.
The ship is immaculate, my room was always well tended to by Zhivka. It was a stunning week.