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9 Europe - All Luxury Cruise Reviews

We had planned for our first trip to Europe in almost 30 years and had been sold on the Uniworld Castles on the Rhine river cruise by Uniworld reps. When we arrived in Basel the captain and cruise director allowed all passengers to board. ... Read More
We had planned for our first trip to Europe in almost 30 years and had been sold on the Uniworld Castles on the Rhine river cruise by Uniworld reps. When we arrived in Basel the captain and cruise director allowed all passengers to board. We were unsuspecting of any issues, but Uniworld KNEW that the Rhine River was IMPASSABLE and they boarded everyone anyway. Then 24 hours after boarding at the first night Captain's dinner we were informed that the river was impassable and our river cruise was OVER. We would reach our first stop, Strasbourg, and that would be it for our boutique, high quality river cruise. Uniworld knew about the river levels BEFORE and still allowed all passengers to board. No amount of rain would have changed the outcome!! Passengers should have been informed before boarding and given an option of a refund. A cancellation would have been a huge disappointment, but fair. Once on board we were basically their CAPTIVES and spent the remaining time crammed into buses for hours, lugged our own bags around from location to location, stopped at gas stations to pee, and were given a meager amount for daily meals. We sat on a speeding bus for our Castles tour seeing more buildings and phone poles than castles. The staff seemed overwhelmed,frus trated, and unable to help. Our days were poorly organized, and attempts to contact Uniworld's customer service went unanswered. Every day, rather than relaxing on the cruise ship, we had to find our own restaurants for meals in unknown destinations with inadquate funds for the exquisite meals we had paid for. We arrived one day early in Amsterdam after hours on the bus and were put up at the AIRPORT hotel with a lovely (sarcasm) view of the control tower. We had planned to stay in Amsterdam for two additional days and had selected our hotel to be near our final destination. We now had to travel from the airport to our hotel on our own, at our expense with no assistance from the staff. A $1,000 per night boutique river cruise it was not!! The entire experience was a fiasco and very poorly handled by Uniworld! We ended our boutique river cruise experience frustrated, exhausted, and stressed. We were offered a $1,000 credit for a future river cruise expiring in 2019. That offer had no value to anyone!! The company intentially boarded passengers so they could make their profit. They put corporate PROFIT over honor and customer service! We are beyond disappointed with our first river cruise and more importantly with how Uniworld handled the difficult situation. I would encourage you NOT to book with Uniworld. Look elsewhere!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
First on Crystal River cruise and will be last. Have had great experiences on their ocean voyages; but the river line is a separate division and vastly inferior in most areas. Company was not forthcoming in notifiying us of the low ... Read More
First on Crystal River cruise and will be last. Have had great experiences on their ocean voyages; but the river line is a separate division and vastly inferior in most areas. Company was not forthcoming in notifiying us of the low water level until 2 days before we were scheduled to leave. Itineray changed to all but a couple of ports in the Netherlands. The highlights of the trip were to be the areas where the ship didn't travel. To make matters worse, tour director was disorganized, ship Captain did not speak English, ship docked so far from destination ports it was ridiculous. Other ships were providing buses to take passengers to destination. Not our ship. The few tours offered were primarily ones of walking around the town plazas, etc. And the majority of passengers were over 65! I understand the couple of buses they had were shuttled back and forth between the Danube groups and the Rhine. They seemed to always be with the Danube folks. We were not offered bus/hotel choices to make up for all the ports we did not see. That is standard with other river cruise lines. Passenger complaints to the officers and tour director fell on deaf ears and it was clear the disorganization and confusion came down from the top. The service staff tried their best; but they were understaffed. The spa was good but very limited; the food good except there was a problem keeping the buffet dishes hot. The rooms were way too small for the large beds. We booked 2 rooms for a family of 4 at last minute and top dollar and I never felt like we had spent so much money on something so disappointing. Our trip was in August and now in January we are still waiting for any compensation from Crystal. We all had out of pocket expenses because we had to change return flights from Basel Switzerland (which we never got to see) to Frankfurt. Additional transportation, hotel etc. all added up to more than they promised to reimburse. And there was no compensation even promised for the missed excursions and ports. My advice is to avoid this line at all costs. We are seasoned cruisers on several small luxury lines and have never had an experience like this! How could such an esteemed company as Crystal allow this group to be a part of their company??? We want to go back to take a Rhine cruise; but it sure won't be with Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Gems of The Danube is marketed as 3 days in Prague and then join the Jasper in Nuremberg for a Danube cruise to Budapest. We signed up in August of 2017, paid and arrived in Prague on time. The transportation provided from airport to ... Read More
Gems of The Danube is marketed as 3 days in Prague and then join the Jasper in Nuremberg for a Danube cruise to Budapest. We signed up in August of 2017, paid and arrived in Prague on time. The transportation provided from airport to Prague was delayed because some passengers were late. The area is small, hot, no explanations, no offer to move us to an air-conditioned motor coach, no offer of bottled water - nothing. My husband inquired of a cab and our inquiry was ignored. We finally got transportation to Prague and arrived at the hotel. The accommodations in Prague are nice, The Imperial, typical European style hotel. We were there for 3 nights. The first night there was a welcome meeting with a class of wine and a walking tour of the area. The other Scenic sponsored tour while in Prague was again, a walking tour. No worries we hired a car and had a wonderful tour of Prague. There were signs early on that something was amiss. The Scenic staff were all a bit vague regarding details. Our guide said he needed to leave ahead of the group to meet other travelers and passed us off to another woman working for Scenic. She rode the coach with us and informed us that morning that we would not be going to Nuremberg and we would not be on the Jasper. She assured us that the only difference between the Jasper and our newly assigned ship would be the name, Jade. The water levels were low and we would not go to Nuremberg, but to Regensburg. None of the travelers seemed concerned, until guide and driver got lost looking for the ship. When we finally arrived we had to walk about 300 yards along an unpaved path to reach the Jade, which was not exactly in Regensburg, but we could glimpse the skyline if we tried. We went to the lounge area and experienced the most cursory greeting from the hotel manager, captain, and cruise director. It's clear to us all now that the company was well aware that we would not be on the ship long and they were all noticeably nervous and in the instance of the Cruise Director, very short tempered. Those on the Diamond Deck are invited to dine at Table La Rive, that is if you are on the ship long enough to enjoy such an invitation. The sundeck was only opened for use on the evening that we were told we would be enjoying the rest of the trip from a bus! Check out my pics of the sundeck. Good Timing. The idea of a butler for every cabin, forget it. These folks are far too busy with the duties of being waiters and bartenders to actually assist in your cabin. Those Scenic spaceship balcony, not! It's a tiny window and when you open it the air-conditioning immediately shuts off and you swelter. If you are looking for group meals, long lines, buffets style dining, long bus rides and cruise companies that prefer to keep you in the dark, then this is your company. We rode on a bus for nearly 8 hours on our way from Vienna to Budapest, we passed our hotel 3 times so we could see the sights from a bus window. The group lunch was at a Hungarian park that our city guide described as his children's favorite playground. he asked if we noticed the wooden fort and castle on the playground, his children love it. No thank you for me and my group. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Dalmatian coast on the Ponant ship Le Lyrial. Food and service: fair to poor. Wine: poor. No choice at dinner: 1 red, 1 white, 1 rose. All wines were French for the entire cruise. Whites were undrinkable. Outdoor furniture in common areas: ... Read More
Dalmatian coast on the Ponant ship Le Lyrial. Food and service: fair to poor. Wine: poor. No choice at dinner: 1 red, 1 white, 1 rose. All wines were French for the entire cruise. Whites were undrinkable. Outdoor furniture in common areas: poor and most uncomfortable (no cushions). Westin hotel dinner: poor. Cabins: small. Shows were poor. Singers were very good. We enjoyed the ports however don't sail on Ponant. We chose this cruise for the ports, and booked through Tauck. Departed Venice on May 24, 2018. Cleanliness, laundry and room staff all OK. Dance lessons were good. Only one type of beer available in the restaurant. Waiters were friendly but service was poor. We were a couple and looking to sit with other people for dinners. Maitre d' was unable to help us and in fact did nothing. Champagne was not drinkable - tasted off. Boutique was very expensive. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This is not the quality product I thought I was paying for and would strongly advise people to avoid Cunard ships if you expect this to be a quality upmarket cruise company. Cunard are first class at the glossy branding and marketing but ... Read More
This is not the quality product I thought I was paying for and would strongly advise people to avoid Cunard ships if you expect this to be a quality upmarket cruise company. Cunard are first class at the glossy branding and marketing but the product is very poor. In summary, you are on a British ship where the currency is dollars and most staff struggle with the English language; so if you have a question or an issue they simply nod their head and agree, but do nothing. Areas of the ship are in poor condition. The food is very average, in fact I’ve had better on an aeroplane. The entertainment was basic and frankly second rate. We upgraded to a Queens Grill suite, as close to first class as possible and it was not cheap, but still it was a very very poor experience. I had expected elegance at sea and a first class experience. It was more like a 4 start hotel with a ‘Faulty Towers’ service style. There where various issues with the cruise, including Cunard leaving us stranded for one night as the ship was late to arrive. We had to find our own accommodation which was a challenge and they never even said sorry. When we got back their customer service staff were not interested in how bad it was for us. I even spoke with the CEO David Noyes and his attitude was poor. This says a lot about a company’s culture to me. I will not sail with Cunard or Carnival again and would strongly persuade anyone who is thinking about it to look elsewhere and avoid the disappointment. Cunard are trading on their connection with the British Royal family which is a mere name on a ship combined with some past glory. If you get a late deal at a bargain price then by all means it could be worth it but do not expect too much. Definitely do not pay over the odds and expect to have a good experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We sailed on CDF Horizon from Calais, through the British coast up to Iceland and back. to sum the experience in short: I spoke to my daughter during the cruise and she asked me how is life on the love boat and I told her it resembles ... Read More
We sailed on CDF Horizon from Calais, through the British coast up to Iceland and back. to sum the experience in short: I spoke to my daughter during the cruise and she asked me how is life on the love boat and I told her it resembles more a slave boat more than love boat. here was no consideration for non French speakings, meaning not a word in English even at the embankment tent in Calais were even PA re in French only and all the help offered was in French. It all seemed unorganized amateur. it continued on board were all messages delivered to us were in French and we needed translation for everything. there is only one channel in English, BBC world so I am on African affairs. they had French movie channels t none in English. Food was dull, not tasty and no seafood for example. The boat is not maintained very well, rust everywhere and doors that doesn't function well. The elevators were a night mare as there are not enough of them and they are slow as turtles. Our cabin was right on the engines and every night when they navigated the room used to shake to the point we worried the AC unit will fall on our head. At the first stop, Palmouth, the disambarkement took longer than the time we had on land because they didn't know the boat will stop short of the dock and the tender will have to go 3 miles. It took ages. In Iceland (great destination, I am in love!) one stop was great but, the other stop was in a dump, nothing to do and nothing to see. makes you wonder: did anyone of the boat made a prep tour before hand? was it a surprise or did they know it will be that bad. I can go on and tell you more about the crew's behavior, about the mass in Calais where 1500 people were fighting over too few buses to move the passengers to the port though they charge for a bus ride 5 times as much as the local bus company. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Cruise: Paris & Heart of Normandy Expectation:An amazing cruise experience with wonderful food and service. Reality: Failed in most areas. Reasons: 1) Security: Laxed/No on board security, no ID checks when boarding, ... Read More
Cruise: Paris & Heart of Normandy Expectation:An amazing cruise experience with wonderful food and service. Reality: Failed in most areas. Reasons: 1) Security: Laxed/No on board security, no ID checks when boarding, People able to board unchallenged. (See attitude of staff below) When we were in Rouen we returned to the boat at 23:35 and not only was there nobody checking boarding passes at the entrance, there was no one on the reception desk either, literally anyone could have boarded the boat! (see attached photo) 2) Noise: Cabin immediately above bow thrusters, used frequently over night when passing through locks reaching 97db in cabin at 4am through to 6.30am on the first night and at other times during cruise. Cabin also close, or immediately under piano player with noise disturbance up to 11pm every night. Viking should put a disclaimer in the brochure and be honest with your guests in cabins 200 -203 that there will be sometimes high levels of noise, not just leave it to your guests to find out. 3) Cabin: Brochure says: “Deluxe ensuite accommodation with river view.” Whilst the Cabin was adequate, for the first two days we were moored up in Paris and our view was of a wall and floating trash including bottles banging against the hull. Other times we had another vessel moored along side and still no view (We do understand that this is sometimes necessary.) The Cabin was immediately above bow thrusters, used frequently over night when passing through locks reaching 97db in cabin at 4am through to 6.30am on the first night and at other times during cruise. It was also close, or immediately under piano player with noise disturbance up to 11pm every night 4) Food: Hair in food (See below about attitude). When served a Boeuf Bourguignon one evening, all I could find was one small piece of meat in the Boeuf Bourguignon and Silver Onions (i.e. pickled onions) used instead of shallots. Not exactly Haute Cuisine! Flavourings used instead of genuine ingredients, example Rum & Raisin Ice Cream was inedible due to the cheap strong flavouring used. Being seated by 7pm we often did not receive our main course until 9pm, this is totally unacceptable. Overall the cruise fell well short and nowhere near the fine dining expected. We have taken many cruises with various operators and this experience must rank bottom in terms of the poor dining experience and quality of food. 5) Attitude of staff: When my wife raised the issue about the hair she found in the food the waiter exclaimed “well it can’t be mine because I have black hair!”, clearly not a polite answer. When security was raised with the with the Hotel Manager, whilst we were seated on the upper deck, he dismissed this as a potential problem. Whilst stating this, a man boarded the boat and was standing behind him and was later shown off the boat by the First Officer whom happened to be walking by! This is a disaster waiting to happen given the current issues in France. Other vessels on the same route had Security guards checking people trying to board their ships, with Viking they are happy to let anyone board and pay only lip service to the security of their passengers. Finally: Viking extol the quality of their cruises, perhaps this is just a poor example or maybe they feel this is an acceptable standard, but it falls far short of all our experiences with other cruise lines. It does not seem to help that you appeared to be short handed in terms of staff, because the restaurant staff were working as fast as they could, but there simply was not enough of them to serve 140 in one sitting. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Expectation: An amazing cruise experience with wonderful food and service. Reality: Failed in most areas. Reasons: 1) Security Laxed/No on board security, no ID checks when boarding, People able to board unchallenged. ... Read More
Expectation: An amazing cruise experience with wonderful food and service. Reality: Failed in most areas. Reasons: 1) Security Laxed/No on board security, no ID checks when boarding, People able to board unchallenged. (See attached photo & attitude of staff below) When we were in Rouen we returned to the boat at 23:35 and not only was there nobody checking boarding passes at the entrance, there was no one on the reception desk either, literally anyone could have boarded the boat! (see attached photo) 2) Noise: Cabin immediately above bow thrusters, used frequently over night when passing through locks reaching 97db in cabin at 4am through to 6.30am on the first night and at other times during cruise. Cabin also close, or immediately under piano player with noise disturbance up to 11pm every night. They should put a disclaimer in the brochure and be honest with your guests in cabins 200 -203 that there will be sometimes high levels of noise, not just leave it to your guests to find out. 3) Cabin: Brochure says: “Deluxe ensuite accommodation with river view.” Whilst the Cabin was adequate, for the first two days we were moored up in Paris and our view was of a wall and floating trash including bottles banging against the hull. (See attached photo) Other times we had another vessel moored along side and still no view (We do understand that this is sometimes necessary.) The Cabin was immediately above bow thrusters, used frequently over night when passing through locks reaching 97db in cabin at 4am through to 6.30am on the first night and at other times during cruise. It was also close, or immediately under piano player with noise disturbance up to 11pm every night 4) Food: Hair in food (See below about attitude). When served a Boeuf Bourguignon one evening, all I could find was one small piece of meat in the Boeuf Bourguignon and Silver Onions (i.e. pickled onions) used instead of shallots. Not exactly Haute Cuisine! Flavourings used instead of genuine ingredients, example Rum & Raisin Ice Cream was inedible due to the cheap strong flavouring used. Being seated by 7pm we often did not receive our main course until 9pm, this is totally unacceptable. 5) Attitude of staff: When my wife raised the issue about the hair she found in the food the waiter exclaimed “well it can’t be mine because I have black hair!”, clearly not a polite answer. When security was raised with the with the Hotel Manage whilst we were seated on the upper deck, he dismissed this as a potential problem. Whilst stating this, a man boarded the boat and was standing behind him and was later shown off the boat by the First Officer whom happened to be walking by! 6) Finally: Viking extol the quality of their cruises, perhaps this is just a poor example or maybe this is their acceptable standard, but it falls far short of all our experiences with other cruise lines. It does not seem to help that they appeared to be short handed in terms of staff, because the restaurant staff were working as fast as they could, but there simply was not enough of them to serve 140 in one sitting. Overall the cruise fell well short of expectations, and nowhere near the fine dining promised. We have taken many cruises with various operators and this experience must rank bottom in terms of the poor dining experience and quality of food. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Ship ran late. We were informed of the late running. However, upon arrival the terminal it was chaos. No free refreshments, nothing special for people who booked Queens Grill. Embarkation: Check in eventually opened. It was free ... Read More
Ship ran late. We were informed of the late running. However, upon arrival the terminal it was chaos. No free refreshments, nothing special for people who booked Queens Grill. Embarkation: Check in eventually opened. It was free for all. Terrible. Very unglamorous for premium passengers. Started dinner, but had to attend the life boat drill between starter and main course. How bad is this? Cabin: Old, worn, flaking paint bath tub paint. TV films on a loop, not on demand. Food: Uninspired. Were asked to PAY for a sparkling water at breakfast. Orange juice was made from powder. Clam chowder was so bad, we all had to send it back. Not edible. Cabin service: Good, old Cunard style Disembarkation: Chaos Top Tip: forget the big names and don't believe the "white glove" hype We'll never sail with Cunard again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014

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