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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Christmas Markets and specifically because we had travelled with UniWorld on 5 previous cruises. We chose this particular cruise date because it coincided with our 45th Wedding Anniversary. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Christmas Markets and specifically because we had travelled with UniWorld on 5 previous cruises. We chose this particular cruise date because it coincided with our 45th Wedding Anniversary. UniWorld decorated our state room with "candles", rose petals and a bottle of champagne. We did explore Cologne for two days prior to embarkation. Embarkation was effortless; as we arrived the ship's crew brought our bags immediately onboard. The SS Antoinette was magnificent: marble was tastefully incorporated throughout the entire ship; the draperies were exceptionally well color-coordinated to pieces of furniture; the chandelier in the main reception area was simply gorgeous; and the cuisine was 5-Star quality! Service was up to the standards that we had experienced on previous cruises. All of the staff attended to our requested and anticipated needs. The excursions were well-integrated with the Christmas Markets and the city tours. Superb guides, one of whom we had on a previous cruise. The musicians in the lounge added a very nice touch creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The swimming pool was excellent. The resistance jets added a wonderful challenge to our morning swim. The disembarkation was handled as smoothly as our arrival. The post-cruise extension at Les Trois Rois was of the same caliber of service as being onboard the SS Antoinette...including a view of the Rhine River from our room. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
For years I have wanted to see the German Christmas Markets. My husband finally decided to make his first trip abroad to make me happy. Now he is ready to do it again someday. The trip was everything we hoped for and more. The extra ... Read More
For years I have wanted to see the German Christmas Markets. My husband finally decided to make his first trip abroad to make me happy. Now he is ready to do it again someday. The trip was everything we hoped for and more. The extra was visiting Strasbourg, France and Basel, Switzerland. The walking tours the ship offered were great and the vinegar estate tour was wonderful. We chose a suite and our room was as good as any luxury hotel - huge shower, 3 tvs including one on patio, good bed, quiet, all amenities and butler service. The meals were great and the servers so accommodating. All of the staff was very friendly and helpful. We were sorry we didn't bring our swimsuits after we saw the beautiful indoor pool area! We met new friends at meal times - open seating. We have heard from one couple via email already and they want us to visit them someday. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I first provide a bit of personal context before reviewing because I was a reluctant cruiser and nearly cancelled the trip. There are things in life you are sure about. There are things in life that you are not sure about. Not terribly ... Read More
I first provide a bit of personal context before reviewing because I was a reluctant cruiser and nearly cancelled the trip. There are things in life you are sure about. There are things in life that you are not sure about. Not terribly profound. I was sure that I was not a cruiser. I like the freedom of being out and about. Not tied to a boat schedule and someone else's agenda. But when my sister asked me to join her running group for a Rhine River holiday cruise last year, I thought.... why not? Cruising down the Rhine River can't be a bad proposition. As Nov 2015 approached I started to feel some regret. Cruising is just not me.... I was also exhausted. It had been a crazy year up to that point from a work perspective. Projects I had undertaken required my travelling back and forth from Europe to Toronto (Brussels then back to Toronto; Paris then back to Toronto, interspersed with short trips to and from Philadelphia, Montreal, Ottawa, all within weeks of one another). Had it not been for the cruise, I was scheduled to fly to The Hague for yet another round of meetings. Enough already! I just wanted to stay still, stay home and get to the holiday season. The weekend before leaving for the cruise, Europe was on heightened alert. Attacks in Paris with the alert moving towards Brussels, with me scheduled to fly into Brussels first (then to Cologne to board the cruise) made me want to cancel the trip altogether. With a measured perspective and considerable thought, I decided to go anyway. We flew into Cologne and avoided Brussels altogether. Sometimes, what you're apprehensive about or reluctant to try is exactly what you need! I came home extremely relaxed. It was one of my best vacations! Here's why: Service, service, service-Cruising down the Rhine to see the holiday markets, quite frankly, is very mainstream and widely available. Many companies offer cruises with the same itinerary. So what is the differentiator? It’s the service, namely, the people! The crew, staff and management were outstanding in their balance of professionalism and appropriate sense of fun. Huge credit goes to the SS Antoinette's hotel manager Yann Roche (and his team); always present, a real gentleman, and infinitely friendly and courteous. The guests became the beneficiaries of Monsieur Roche's quiet leadership. Protocols must have been in place to ensure a smooth transition of duties. There were never any displays of anger or frustration from the team members; while expected, this could be difficult to achieve when you have discerning guests and the staff is basically required to work around the clock. Food Service-I would like to call out Emile especially for his friendliness and outgoing personality, always trying to please. He never missed asking the kitchen to prepare a fruit plate for me after every dinner (once he knew I preferred over a dessert)! Thank you, Emile. The servers were all friendly, efficient and worked well together (no sense of ‘this is not my table, I will get you your server’)! Svet was also extremely helpful and a joy to talk to. The food merits favorable comment. Always a good selection, always well prepared (except maybe one evening, the fish was a little over cooked), this cruise ship can boast a high end culinary offering. The little towns along the way of course were lovely. I enjoyed them all even though I had visited Lucerne and Strasbourg many years ago. Worth seeing again. The guided excursions were great but thought the groups were a little large. We could have benefited from more guides perhaps. I would also suggest that Uniworld consider offering to guests a 3k, 5k and 7k running map at every port for running enthusiasts. However, that may not be for the typical clientele for Uniworld. I don’t know. Entertainment-The nightly entertainment was fun whether in the lounge or the Leopard Lounge. I had fun dancing; definitely keeping my mind off work. So much so that when I returned to the office I had forgotten my password to get into my company email and network. That has never happened to me. That's testament to having had a great vacation! The Ship-Tastefully and thematically done à la 18th century French. Clean, bright and comfortable. Marie Antoinette herself may have preferred escaping to the SS Antoinette.... over Le Petit Trianon! There were comfortable common usage areas to relax, read or listen to music. We did not take advantage of the cinema on the ship. Security-I don’t know much about security on cruise ships but wanted to mention one incident and how the staff/crew handled it. I was very impressed. During one evening (after dinner), I was hanging out at the Reception area. A man from a neighboring cruise ship (docked further down from the SS Antoinette), slightly inebriated, walked in, persistently and eventually, more aggressively, asked to use the washroom. He was told that he could not and had to leave. The gentleman at Reception had to repeat himself 4-5 times and still no success. After the 5th time, a member of the ship’s crew (not the hotel staff) came out from behind and stood calmly beside this man and insisted on his departure. The man left. I felt safe on the ship needless to say. To the 'unsure' - If you're skeptical about cruises, before you say no, re-think, re-consider. You may be pleasantly surprised! It might be exactly what you need. Stateroom 206 Rhine River Holiday Cruise (Cologne to Basel) Nov 29-Dec 6 ’15" Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
The on-ship survey instrument does not provide for sufficient comments to adequately reflect our experience on our Christmas Market Cruise. The cruise was wonderful and in many respects it was our best experience on Uniworld in our seven ... Read More
The on-ship survey instrument does not provide for sufficient comments to adequately reflect our experience on our Christmas Market Cruise. The cruise was wonderful and in many respects it was our best experience on Uniworld in our seven cruises. Embarkation: I had emailed the ship to find out exactly where the ship would be docked in Cologne. I received a quick response that included a map and directions from the train station. The check-in process went very smoothly and quickly. Our bags were delivered to our room quickly by our Butler. Ship: The ship was wonderful, it is well designed and beautifully decorated. The ship was very clean. We quickly felt right at home. There were a few couches in the lounge that should be replaced. (I understand that the ship was soon going in for some updating and the Hotel Manager was spending a great deal time making notes on anything that needed fixing/replacing - even those items that looked great to us) Stateroom: Suite 404. Our Stateroom was well decorated and of sufficient size. The bed was very comfortable. There was sufficient closet space and our suitcases fit under the bed. The largest complaint regarding the room would be the paper thin walls. We could easily hear the guests in the adjacent room. This was most evident when they would turn on their TV, which was late every night and early each morning (I never had to set an alarm as I could count on their TV to wake us) To make matters worse, the TVs in the rooms have the speakers on the back/bottom of the TV so the majority of the sound goes into the adjoining room. The heater-A/C was efficient and very quiet. We loved the way the window could be lowered on the balcony. Due to the weather we did not use our balcony much during the cruise. There were sufficient 110 volt outlets in the room – a big plus. Bathroom: The bathroom was nicely appointed. The shower had a great shower head, but the water pressure for the hand shower was so poor as to make it useless. The bathroom floor and towel rack could be heated which was very nice for the cold mornings. The toiletries were of very high quality. Dining Room: The dining room was comfortable and nicely decorated. It was well laid out which kept things moving around the buffet. The tables were nicely spaced and we did not feel as closed in as on some other ships. There were also more tables for four and six, which is a big plus, allowing for easier conversations. Dinner was well paced. We had an outstanding server (Vladimir) which made the dining experience even more enjoyable. Food: We felt the food was excellent the entire cruise. The steaks were the best we have had on seven Uniworld cruises. The soups were always delicious, as were the deserts. The wine ranged from very good to outstanding. Excursion: Overall, the included excursions were well planned and executed. The buses were very clean and comfortable. All tour guides spoke very good English. Unfortunately. the Optional tour to Lucerne was terrible. It was nothing like the description. We were advised during the daily talk that we could skip the Chocolate factory tour and stay in town on your own. This was incorrect on two accounts; one was that it wasn't a tour of the chocolate factory, but a cheesy display at the transportation museum. This "tour" wasted over an hour and a half that could have been spent in Lucerne. The second was that if you stayed in town, you would be walking back to the ship as the busses did not return to the same location. This tour was a total waste of time and money. I felt especially bad as we convinced friends to go on the tour as Lucerne is a beautiful town, but we had very little time to enjoy it. Debarkation: The luggage was handled very well and it appeared the bus transfers to the airport were scheduled efficiently. It appeared we were the only ones staying in Basel and we were transferred to the hotel by car. Gift Shop: The gift shop had a nice selection despite the small size. Service/Staff: All of the staff were great. They clearly wanted to make the cruise a wonderful experience. Our butler (Valentin) was outstanding. His service and demeanor were the epitome of a true European Butler. He was quick to make sure all of our needs were met as well as provide the little things that made our cruise extra special. We had a wonderful waiter (Vladamir) in the dining room. While his service was outstanding, he was also very engaging and had a great sense of humor. Breakfast and dinner were entertaining as well as delicious. The front desk staff were friendly and helpful. The senior staff (Captain, First Captain, Cruise Manager, Hotel Manager) on the ship were visible and engaging. We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to booking our next Uniworld river cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Cruised the River Queen on the Main River December 8-16, 2012, from Frankfurt to Nurnberg stopping along the way at other Christmas markets in Wertheim, Wurzburg, Rothenberg and Bamberg. On arrival from the Frankfurt Airport we were taken ... Read More
Cruised the River Queen on the Main River December 8-16, 2012, from Frankfurt to Nurnberg stopping along the way at other Christmas markets in Wertheim, Wurzburg, Rothenberg and Bamberg. On arrival from the Frankfurt Airport we were taken to the lounge where a light buffet lunch was available and where we waited until mid-afternoon when cabins were ready. At check-in (by category of cabin) our photo was taken (for passenger security we were told) and we got our cabin door card with our name on it. For every excursion we left this card at Reception and picked up our tour group number and audio receiver. Each stop had an included orientation walking tour through the old town center plus additional-charge optional excursions (all well-worth the prices): to an abbey, a brewery, Aschfeld a fortified town and, to Room 600 memorial in Nurnberg's Palace of Justice where WWII war crimes trials were held and to the Nazi party Rally Grounds and Documentation Center (museum). However in four of the six cities visited -- Wurtzburg, Rothenberg, Bamberg, and Nurnberg -- the dock was so far from the old town Christmas Markets that we were shuttled to and fro by bus from the ship. Rothenberg was an included day trip from Kitzingen but, again, a great experience. The Quietvox portable audio headset system was used on all shore excursions so guides did not have to shout and we could all hear what was being said. Orientation walking tours included a "gentle walking" group for those who dislike steep hills, stairs and icy footing. There were guest speakers in the bar/lounge who talked about German Christmas traditions, glass blowing and, special holiday breads/cookies (the latter with samples!). Breakfasts and lunches were buffet with served dinners accompanied by wine/beer. Dinner selections offered both meat and vegetarian choices and my only complaint was there were so few German dishes offered. Oh yes, and that one evening with the chewy braised leg of lamb, which tasted more like athletic aged mutton, was the only culinary mis-step on the trip. The public areas color scheme is primarily blue and white (Delft-like since the ship registry is Dutch with German officers and Eastern European crew). All of whom, BTW, were excellent. Even at the end of the river cruising season, the interior decor still looked fresh and clean. There was an onboard reading/library area, computer/WiFi access, gift shop, exercise machines, two free do-it-yourself front-load washer/dryers (soap pods free at reception), plus irons/ironing boards in the laundry room. The flat screen TV in each cabin had access to the bow cam on the front of the ship so you can see where you are going (or are docked) while sitting up in bed. This beats standing out on the cold deck and is very interesting especially when going thru locks. The cabins also have a safe, umbrella, slippers, bathrobes, L'Occitane en Province lotion/soaps, water bottles, small seating area plus white bed linens and big towels all with the initials "UW" embroidered on them in gray. Guess this cuts down on pilfering (unless your initials are UW). Small gifts were given to everyone on board -- stainless steel water bottles, an agenda and a little packet containing your birthday stone (info from your passport). The River Queen is a smaller boutique ship but it does have an elevator which some of the bigger ships lack. I have taken five previous river cruises with various companies and, all told, I enjoyed this ship and the itinerary. Would I take it again? You betcha! Read Less
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