This was the first year Uniworld offered Treasures of the Rhine ending in Nuremburg, a city i'd seen on an earlier cruise and wanted to return. AS a repeat cruiser i get free laundry, a metal water bottle, and a $100 credit, but it's the free laundry that warms my heart. Uniworld is spotless in cabin and public areas. Like all river ships the lounge and Dining rooms are similar, but Uniworld offers a larger more bountiful buffet for breakfast and lunch. The food is supurb and the service understated, but first class. The restaurant staff remember what i drink (no matter where i sit) and decode the 'specials' that are usually a gastronomic delight. Sitting by a window and watching houses, castles and folliage lazily roll by makes dining ambiance equal the food. Since neither my daughter or i drink wine, we can order sparking water, soda pop or an expresso instead. My only complaint is on this ship the noise level from people talking was quite high.
Reception staff are always cheerful and quick to offer assistance. One young lady and i became pals. The Hotel Manager ensured everything that was amiss in our cabin, heat etc. was repaired quickly while we were on a shore excursion. It's a pleasure to be greeted by name every time i return to the ship. After a walking tour staff greet us w/ a lavender-scented towel (warm or cold depending on the weather) and a drink. I prefer river cruising because tours seldom exceed 4 hours so i can take either the morning or afternoon off unless i choose an optional excursion. Since we are usually moored by the town, i can stay in town for lunch or dinner or return to the ship and then go out again after i've relaxed. Makes shopping or visiting an art gallery on our own easy.
The real bonus for me is i never get sea sick.
Treasures of the Rhine duplicated some of the towns i'd seen on Romance of the Rhine (Amsterdam to Basel) last year, but i was thrilled to see the fortress at Koblenz on this tour because there was a garden show and the town had installed gondolas to whisk us from one side of the Rhine to the other. Apparently, they will remain for the next year or two and longer if tourism covers the cost. This was a Koblenz i'd never seen before. This tour was about gardens and castles and only Bamburg and the castles of the Rhine were duplicated. I sat on deck and sipped a cool drink and enjoyed the castles once again. no regrets. in fact it was more enjoyable because i wasn't popping up like others to get the perfect picture like i had last year. This time in Bamburge my daughter found an outdoor mall and we went shopping -- great end of summer sales.
Doris the tour manager was very knowlegable. i've a degree in art history so i often know more than the tour guide. Doris told us daily which guides focused on history and that made the tours memorable. my daughter and i both love to learn. The tour guide in Miltonburg made medieval life come alive. it was hard to believe i'd been to that town the year before. i've also learned enough German to order apple kutchen in every town we stopped in and the guides were able to send us to the best bakeries for an espresso and apple struedel before i turned my daughter loose on the unsuspecting shopkeepers. Speaking of shopping, the ship's boutique had a daily speacial and we both bought marano glass jewelery at a huge savings.
One of the guides stayed on board and gave an evening lecture on the EU. Very interesting. We also had a trio that provided chamber music one evening, but as a rule i curl up w/ a trashy novel. The ship's libray is a place to drop off your book and take another as well as a wealth of travel and history books provided by the ship. Uniworld's cabins are so luxurious i like staying in my room, especially this trip because we had a french balcony and glass doors that opened onto the river. The evening sights and sounds are so releaxing it's like being outdoors while staying comfortable and warm. Eventhough the cabins on this ship are quite small, they are comfortable. i can stretch out on the bed and watch the world flow past my window.