I sailed on the River Beatrice from Budapest to Passau. The single occupancy surcharge is outrageously expensive, but my travel agent in the UK got me a deal which essentially cancelled it. Given the number of singles on the cruise, Uniworld must be coining it.
The welcome on to the ship was friendly and efficient: due to British Airways' inability to feed their passengers, we arrived having missed lunch. A lavish and varied buffet was available as soon as we boarded. The crew started as friendly and efficient and remained so until the point of departure where the First Captain Tom Buining was helping unload luggage. The Cruise Manager, Georgji, was brilliant: informative, cheerful, helpful and unflapable, and stunningly well-organised. She was admirably supported by the Concierge, Tanya.
The stateroom had an extremely comfortably bed and a well-equipped shower room. It was a joy to find 20+ hangers in the wardrobe, all of which could be taken off the rail. The television was discreetly positioned and efficient. The decor however had never been elegant, sludgy browns and pseudo-tweed, and was distinctly showing signs of wear. Other staterooms were significantly more elegant.
Meals were always a scramble to find your acquaintances, though the large tables accommodated larger groups and allowed some interesting conversations with other passengers you might not otherwise have met. The quality of food was consistently good - highlights were the crispy bacon each morning at breakfast, the soups at lunch and dinner, the range of fish served and the lunchtime puddings. There was an excellent selection at every meal. The weaknesses here were dull wines served at dinner - poor for the price of the cruise - and an astonishing inability to deal with vegetarian and religious diets. Bacon is never acceptable in a vegetarian salad, especially not when served to a Jew.
Tours were uniformly good. Highlights were the optional concert of Strauss and Mozart at the Hofburg in Vienna, the included day tour to Salzburg with an outstanding guide, Sylvia, and ample free time for lunch, other visits and shopping, and the included visit to the Parliament and Market Hall in Budapest. The only weak guide was a lady on the included Vienna city tour who was dull and did not keep her group together.
This was an outstanding cruise overall though only fair value for money.