1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
  4. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Cruise Reviews

30 Uniworld Lyon Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we particularly liked the sound of the itinerary, given that it was listed as a "Connoisseur Collection" cruise. Little did we realise at the time of booking that the majority of the Connoisseur ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we particularly liked the sound of the itinerary, given that it was listed as a "Connoisseur Collection" cruise. Little did we realise at the time of booking that the majority of the Connoisseur Collection tours were not included in the price and were listed as optional extras, often at considerable extra cost. We were also drawn in by the claims in the brochures of "the finest wines and ultra-premium liquors" being part of the all-inclusive deal. They are not. The ship itself is opulent and well appointed, we particularly liked the fact that there is a complimentary guest laundry (handy when you've been on the road for several weeks beforehand), but we found the climate control in the guest lounge and dining room to be woefully inadequate for the conditions. Contrast this to the comments from some of our fellow travellers who had spent the previous week on the sister ship, the S Joie de Vivre during a record heat wave - they said the air conditioning on board that ship was so effective they found themselves having to wear long sleeves to dinner - nothing like what we experienced, which was more akin to a sauna. There was a disappointing lack of entertainment on board, many of the tours (including some that we had to pay extra for) were just standard walking tours with little added value and the service overall was good, but certainly nothing like what we had experienced previously through APT on AMA Waterways. In fact, several of the tours that we had to pay extra for with Uniworld are listed as included standards in the latest APT brochure. All in all, it was an enjoyable trip, a four star service, but certainly not on par with AMA Waterways and definitely NOT the 6-star service we were led to believe. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Many of the advertised facilities and amenities on the Lyon to Avignon cruise on Uniworld's SS Catherine were not provided. When I embarked on the cruise, the suites and staterooms were not ready until 3.00pm and the only ... Read More
Many of the advertised facilities and amenities on the Lyon to Avignon cruise on Uniworld's SS Catherine were not provided. When I embarked on the cruise, the suites and staterooms were not ready until 3.00pm and the only toilet/washroom facilities were those located adjacent to the ship's reception area. The washroom and its two toilets were filthy with wet floors, no toilet paper and towels, and with dirty refuse strewn around. I was obliged to go to the reception desk and request that the facilities be cleaned - and this is not something that a passenger/guest should be required to do on a cruise ship touted as a "luxury floating hotel". The heated swimming pool was closed for the entire cruise, the Bar du Leopard (purportedly a full service bar) and its bistro were closed on a daily basis until the evening and not open/staffed during the day - so, there was no advertised "light lunch" bistro alternative to the crowded buffet lunch in the large, main dining room. The advertised daily afternoon tea was non-existent and the "early riser" breakfast in the Coffee Shop consisted of only croissants and overly-sweet biscuits - no fresh fruit, yoghurt or other light breakfast foodstuffs. Very few passengers/guests want to consume unhealthy, sweet biscuits for an early breakfast. Coffee and tea were via a self-serve machine sans fresh milk. I had to request fresh milk and a small, single-use jug of milk was provided. There was no pillow menu in my cabin as promoted and the overly-soft pillows provided resulted in a sleepless night, plus the heavy, winter-weight duvet was ridiculous in 31 degree late-summer heat. The wait staff closed off all of the small tables for two in the main dining room, which forced guests to sit at large tables. I requested a table for two and one was set, but it was then frequented by other guests who also did not wish to sit at large, crowded tables. Only the one table for two was provided for the duration of the cruise, despite many guests preferring not to sit at tables in large groups. Uniworld advertises and describes it river cruises in superlatives: "6 star experience" / "no request too large, no detail too small" / "every detail of your time with us is flawlessly executed" / "truly exceptional travel experience" / "our guests deserve the absolute best of everything and the difference is truly in the details". The nightly on-board entertainment was ordinary, apart from one female entertainer (whilst docked in Lyon) with a very good singing voice and a large repertoire of songs. The excursions were largely walking tours with the exception of one interesting visit to peruse the interior of a local house in Viviers. An excursion to a truffle farm was a disgrace with only a handful of chairs provided for over 20 passengers/guests, which left a number of elderly and infirm persons standing in 30 degree heat in the farm driveway for over an hour - and, as the truffle season had finished, the promised display of truffle-hunting by truffle dogs did not eventuate. At the culmination of this cruise, I was not provided with any assistance to disembark and was instead told by the crew member staffing the reception desk to locate and retrieve my suitcase from the large volume of guests' luggage stacked in the ship's foyer - and to make my own way down a less-than-stable gang plank. No consideration for guest's safety was apparent and (as an older guest aged 70 years) this was a concern. Apart from the staff disinterest in ensuring my safe disembarkation, the crew overall were excellent and were very helpful and kind. At best, this cruise was a 3 star experience, largely due to the failure of Uniworld to provide facilities and amenities for which I had paid just under $5,000 ($700 per night). I enjoyed the cruise only because it was in France and the Rhone was devoid of the multitude of deep concrete locks located in the northern European rivers. When I wrote a letter of complaint post-cruise to Uniworld requesting a partial refund, I was offered only a Uniworld Cruise Credit of $350 towards a future cruise. I declined the offer as given what I believe to be a very substandard cruise on the SS Catherine, I do not intend to take any further cruises with Uniworld. Uniworld provided a number of justifications for its failure to provide the advertised facilities and amenities, including that the cruise suffered from "strict labour laws in France" that resulted in "restricted working hours" for the ship's crew. However, cruise passengers are entitled to be provided with the advertised and promoted facilities and amenities for which they pay a significant amount of money in advance. The cruise was not a "luxury cruise" and I consider it to be highly misleading, false and exploitative for any company to make superlative promises in print and online and then fail to live up to and/or fulfill those promises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise for the chance to explore the Bordeaux and Provencal areas of France, and our travel agent recommended Uniworld as being an excellent line. We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful ship with its elegant French décor and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the chance to explore the Bordeaux and Provencal areas of France, and our travel agent recommended Uniworld as being an excellent line. We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful ship with its elegant French décor and contemporary art, its kind and helpful staff, and the surprisingly good food and wine. Our cabin had a French window, very comfortable bed, lovely bath with heated towel bars and floor, and excellent storage. We even took a photo of the closet interior with its shelves, racks, and drawers! The excursions were generally good to excellent, although my husband, who has hearing difficulties, found the microphone system incompatible with his hearing aids. I relayed to him as much as I could of the commentary. High points: the Pont du Gard, the little town of Beaune, and Viviers with its tour of a potter's studio and a potting demonstration by the potter himself. There were a few niggles: we had only 2 1/2 hours in Arles, which surely merits a full day. The person who showed us to our cabin did not explain how to open the window or turn on the lights or activate the light to indicate we were sleeping in. Room service was quite limited. The self service laundry (a fine touch) had machines which needed an engineer to operate. Everyone in the laundry room was extremely frustrated, and there was no promised iron to press our clothing. And then there was the Mistral: powerful winds (at least 40-50 mph) that blew for three days and forced us to walk horizontally on the excursions. We had read about these winds (which are supposedly capable of blowing the ears off a donkey), and now we have met them personally. These are minor points, and obviously Uniworld cannot control the weather. The food was extremely varied and delicious, with efforts made to include the cuisine and wines of the areas we visited. We particularly enjoyed the buffet lunches with their colorful variety and choices, the homemade soups and delectable Chef-made ice creams. One day lunch featured oysters in the half shell! The waiters and wine steward were knowledgeable, friendly, and efficient. We felt pampered and educated by this cruise and recommend Uniworld unreservedly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I did the Ultimate France with Uniworld in Apr 18. I travelled with another company last year and was able to compare the 2. Uniworld did not have the best port stops on the Ultimate France tour and mainly bused it to villages, leaving ... Read More
I did the Ultimate France with Uniworld in Apr 18. I travelled with another company last year and was able to compare the 2. Uniworld did not have the best port stops on the Ultimate France tour and mainly bused it to villages, leaving little time to explore these on your own. Bordeaux, Lyon and Paris were very good, but all of the other stops were very average and not much to see. The second cruise on the Joie De Vivre, the ship shuddered a lot and was more intense at night - making it an uncomfortable sleep. The third cruise on the SS Catherine had a group of 81 people celebrating a reunion, they were loud and behaved like the cruise was just for them, making the others feel like they shouldn't be there - it felt very much like an 'us and them'. Whilst the Uniworld ships were lovely, I found this company to be more a bus trip, at times travelling up to 3 hours each way to see things, leaving very little time to explore on your own. For the price you pay I expected more from this company. Will go back to the previous company which had fantastic port stops and had adequate free time built into every excursion. The dining experience was good, but did not really celebrate local foods. In summary, when booking a river cruise do your research to find out about the port stops as this makes a big difference and if there are any large groups on board because it could spoil the experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We had the opportunity to book the Departures Epicurean and Wine Cruise from Lyon to Avignon. This was a busy one with excursions booked through the day and visits to Chateaus, historic cites and even a lunch at an olive producers ... Read More
We had the opportunity to book the Departures Epicurean and Wine Cruise from Lyon to Avignon. This was a busy one with excursions booked through the day and visits to Chateaus, historic cites and even a lunch at an olive producers backyard. Everything was well organized and the crew could not have been kinder. Our fellow travelers were all interesting people and we enjoyed meeting them all. The wine and food aboard were fabulous and the exceptional epicurean and wine experiences off ship were so special. Our room was always in perfect shape due to the meticulous attention paid by the staff. There was also a wonderful masseuse aboard. The past river cruises we have been on had larger rooms, but none were available this time. I would recommend booking one of the suites if there is one available. That said, the smaller cabin worked well and we had ample closet space and drawers to stow our things. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We choose the 7 night Burgundy & Provence cruise. This was our first river cruise and we were not sure what to expect. We travelled with our friends who have cruised with Uniworld several times. We had the best time. The ship was ... Read More
We choose the 7 night Burgundy & Provence cruise. This was our first river cruise and we were not sure what to expect. We travelled with our friends who have cruised with Uniworld several times. We had the best time. The ship was excellent and the quality of the decor exceptional. The cabins were spacious and very comfortable. The food & wine (variety & quality) were excellent. The staff were friendly & wonderful, nothing was a problem and they were always eager to please. We cruised from Lyon to Avignon and the included shore excursions which were also excellent. Everyday there were several shore excursion to choose from that would appeal to everyone. The standard of the tour guides was exceptional, the knowledge & passion they had for their subject was excellent. Every excursion was a highlight. We will definitely be cruising with Uniworld again and have no hesitation in recommending them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was my second cruise with Uniworld. We had such a great time we decided to try it again. We couldn't believe that it surpassed our expectations. The ship, crew, room, food, excursions, and entertainment were all top notch. I ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Uniworld. We had such a great time we decided to try it again. We couldn't believe that it surpassed our expectations. The ship, crew, room, food, excursions, and entertainment were all top notch. I was speaking to two couples who had been on a river cruise on every line. They said that by far this was the best. to quote them "we feel pampered". The concierge, Valerie, did a fabulous job. Every tour was well planned. They had strenuous activity and a gentle walkers group with everything in between. We had arrived in Lyon several days early to enjoy the city. I, however, got a big surprise. Everything in Lyon was in full bloom and I got an allergy attack. Valerie arranged for a doctor to come on board. The doctor gave me several prescriptions to have filled. Just as I was getting ready to go to have them filled I received a call from Ivana, the manager, and she told me that she would be happy to do it for me. Talk about great service. The food was delicious and had great variety. They had several excursions to pick from each day, and they also had varied entertainment each evening. Our cabin, 303, was lovely and kept spotlessly clean. Our waiter, Daniel, was super. All in all it was a great trip. We are planning another one for November. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Friends invited us to join them on this cruise. It was so much more than I expected. The ship is beautiful, the land excursions were such fun, the food was wonderful, I have celiac disease and gluten free food was such a delight, the ... Read More
Friends invited us to join them on this cruise. It was so much more than I expected. The ship is beautiful, the land excursions were such fun, the food was wonderful, I have celiac disease and gluten free food was such a delight, the chef and restaurant manager were outstanding and were happy to meet my needs. I enjoyed all the amenities, the staff were outstanding, the service impeccable. The stateroom was more than adequate, and everything was clean and so well maintained. We all enjoyed the shore excursions, the truffle farm with our guide Jeanette was such fun. I especially enjoyed the Viviers excursion and the chcurch with the pipe organist, it was such a lovely little town and that was such a nice day for all of us. The wines provided by our sommelier were so wonderful, was determined to try the reds since we were traveling in burgundy, they were so good. This was the trip of a lifetime as far as I was concerned, I would and have recommended to friends. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Sponsored by a winery where we are wine club members, 38 of us in the group. All inclusive, no surprise bills at the end, making it easier to budget up front. The ship was spotless, always in tiptop shape. Rooms beautifully appointed. ... Read More
Sponsored by a winery where we are wine club members, 38 of us in the group. All inclusive, no surprise bills at the end, making it easier to budget up front. The ship was spotless, always in tiptop shape. Rooms beautifully appointed. Loved having onboard laundry facility, will not take as many clothes next time because of that. Wines were great, enjoyed the sommelier's knowledge base and education talks about French wines. Food was incredible and nicely varied, open seating allowed us to meet many of the other passengers. Ship was not fully booked, being the first trip of the season which was great. Shore excursion guides were great, buses very clean and drivers just wonderful. Service in lounges, restaurant and room was first rate. Staff always friendly, engaging and helpful. I can't recommend Uniworld highly enough. We'll be doing another Uniworld cruise as soon as we can get the budget in order. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Our wine club, Shadow Mountain vineyards, sponsored the cruise and we gladly signed on. An awesome experience. We had the royal suite and our own butler Valentina..so amazing. Our room, view, comfy bed, cleanliness,beauty..excellent. ... Read More
Our wine club, Shadow Mountain vineyards, sponsored the cruise and we gladly signed on. An awesome experience. We had the royal suite and our own butler Valentina..so amazing. Our room, view, comfy bed, cleanliness,beauty..excellent. The ship was elegant and staff so attentive. The food exceptional and dining staff wonderful especially Demi who served us so professionally while keeping us laughing the entire time. I want to commend especially Ivana, Valentina and Demi..I would choose a ship especially if I knew they would be on board. The day trips to charming villages wonderful and Tania did a fine job organizing activities. Thank you all for making this a once in a lifetime experience. I enjoyed being on the ship as much as day experiences off ship. Didn't feel a thing when sailing although I preferred day sail so could experience scenery and the lock experience. We had only one glitch which was readily made so right..Thank you Ivana. Everything that could have gone right DID go right. Thank you, Carol and John Tyrrell Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
After 4 river cruises we think that Uniworld is top of the line. This is our second Uniworld and we found the SS Catherine to be a better choice for us than the Baroness. We have cruised with the Premicon Queen and Viking. CABIN, ... Read More
After 4 river cruises we think that Uniworld is top of the line. This is our second Uniworld and we found the SS Catherine to be a better choice for us than the Baroness. We have cruised with the Premicon Queen and Viking. CABIN, Category 1 on top deck. More drawer space than one could use in a week, along with a multitude of US and European outlets. AC worked superbly and it was warm. Having a verandah was nice although we used it infrequently. Heated floor and towel rack in Bath were nice touches. Linens are changed at discretion of passengers and rooms are cleaned twice daily. I had an issue with the makeup mirror; it was fixed immediately SERVICE, having cruised Crystal, Regent, SilverSea and more we have high expectations. Uniworld tops them all. From the cleaning staff to the restaurant and bar hosts the level of service is in line with Four Seasons. DINING Frederic is the master chef and he aims to please. Multiple entrees and if you make a request it is met. Stuffed Quail, Beef tenderloin, and abundance of fresh vegetables such as Daikon Radish, unusual composed salads, and fresh fish round out a full menu. The pastry chef, Angelique , provided delicious treats that changed daily and do not miss the Valrohna chocolate ice cream, in fact do not miss any of the made on board ice creams. On the wines each evening brought a new selection and a discussion of the wines by the sommelier. SHORE EXCURSIONS are well organized and range from easy walking to kayak trips. Guides are very knowledgeable about the region. Uniworld offers so many small touches such as allowing passengers who have later flights to stay aboard the ship , and dine/drink just as they had during their trip. For those who are questioning the complimentary WIFI, don't. It worked superbly on both ships, and I use it all day and night. Passengers were from US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Well traveled and polite to one another defines the mix. One more item, I travel weekly and always make our flight plans. I succumbed to the Uniworld air as it was a fare beyond belief. Do not hesitate to use Uniworld and you have a wide selection of carriers. Bon Voyage and enjoy the week or more! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This is an amazing cruise! We begin in Paris for the Normandy section of the cruise and then followed up with Burgundy and Provence. The entire trip was flawless from beginning to end. The S.S. Catherine was beautiful and well appointed ... Read More
This is an amazing cruise! We begin in Paris for the Normandy section of the cruise and then followed up with Burgundy and Provence. The entire trip was flawless from beginning to end. The S.S. Catherine was beautiful and well appointed in every aspect including the cabins. We found luxury bedding and choice of pillows, a beautiful marble bathroom with heated floors, and two huge windows that lowered. The service on board was amazing as was the food. They are happy to hear about any food allergies and watched over each passenger with great care at every meal to ensure that they are eating a menu that is right for the individual. Uniworld does not leave you alone for a minute. They met us at the airport, accompanied us on the bullet train down south, and took us to the airport when we left. On every tour there was a representative as well. The shore excursions were well planned, covered a variety of topics, and most were included in the price of the cruise. The guides were informative and well versed in the area. On one of our excursions, our guide took us to her family home that had harbored Jewish refugees during WWII. We were shown the tunnel from which they escaped the Germans, which were housed two doors down the block.. That was the most impressive day we could wanted. If you plan this trip, I hope you are lucky enough to have Adrian John as you Cruise Manager and Ariel as your butler. They made our trip so memorable. We have traveled to many place and taken many cruises, but none compare to Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
After sailing with Uniworld on the Countess in Venice last year it was obvious we would choose none other than Uniworld again for our south France river cruise. The SS Catherine is nothing short of breathtaking and I implore anyone ... Read More
After sailing with Uniworld on the Countess in Venice last year it was obvious we would choose none other than Uniworld again for our south France river cruise. The SS Catherine is nothing short of breathtaking and I implore anyone reading this review to book and truly see for yourself. The design , decor , room layouts and colours are simply stunning.Every single detail has been thought about from mass storage space to gorgeous locally produced la occitane bathroom essentials. You could not wish for a better stateroom cabin if you tried. The lounge and dining room are nothing short of spectacular with food to die for and service that is unrivalled in any other 5* hotel I have ever stayed in.the chefs Uniworld choose are nothing short of genius and I have the extra 6kgs to prove it!! As with most ports we usually docked next to another ship and we could not believe the difference between our stunning grand double height mirrored reception area complete with stunning curved elevator and bespoke murano glass horse and chandelier when compared with the drab depressing clinical smelling reception of other ships such as Viking we had to walk through to disembark, my advice is book Uniworld rather than the inevitable " look what you could have had" feeling if you don't! Truly we had the best week of our life , we have been privileged to travel a lot and experience luxury all over the world but from an all round perspective of decor, design, service, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner,drinks Uniworld are totally unmatched, thank you team for a truly wonderful trip. We have already rebooked for later this year!! Whether it's a special occasion or just for a break you won't find better....treat yourself this is one experience everyone should enjoy again and again Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The group I traveled with chose the cruise line. The SS Catherine was a modern river cruise ship. The dining room was spacious and comfortable. There was a lounge at the stern which also served meals at breakfast and dinner. The room ... Read More
The group I traveled with chose the cruise line. The SS Catherine was a modern river cruise ship. The dining room was spacious and comfortable. There was a lounge at the stern which also served meals at breakfast and dinner. The room had a king size bed, but there was plenty of room to move around. Lots of closet space and storage drawers. The food was outstanding! Buffets for breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. The chef recommendations for dinner were all unique and tasty. Te package included unlimited pours of wine and beers. The entire crew was friendly, courteous and efficient, especially the dining room staff. Our room was serviced regularly, always while we were away. We did a different shore excursion all but one day. The last one was really too long, but that was because of the rising river levels. The ship was not able to sail to one of the ports on the original itinerary because of the water level. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was a highly recommended line by all who we talked to. Our trip from Avignon to Lyon exceeded our expectations (which were very high having talked to knowing friends) in every way. I have limited mobility and the cruise staff did all ... Read More
This was a highly recommended line by all who we talked to. Our trip from Avignon to Lyon exceeded our expectations (which were very high having talked to knowing friends) in every way. I have limited mobility and the cruise staff did all they could to make my and my wife's experience a memorable one. The food was representative of local fare as much as possible and the beverages were fantastic. One of us would just mention a desire to the staff and it just appeared. Taken care of. They have a way of making you feel as if you're the only couple aboard. We have only one regret - we didn't book a longer cruise. With one day consumed by air travel at each end of the cruise, eight days was too short. It seemed that as soon as we were starting to really luxuriate it was time to go home. We've since booked a longer cruise for this Fall. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Uniworld was great. The room was beautiful and the bed was extremely comfortable. The service was amazingly attentive and all of the staff were very professional. If anything, they were too attentive! My husband would sometimes get wine ... Read More
Uniworld was great. The room was beautiful and the bed was extremely comfortable. The service was amazingly attentive and all of the staff were very professional. If anything, they were too attentive! My husband would sometimes get wine and not even drink it, just so people would stop asking him if he wanted some! Our cruise director was Thierry and our hotel manager was Yann. They are both French and were very visible during the entire trip, and made sure everything was running smoothly and that everyone was happy. The head chef and restaurant manager were also extremely visible and attentive. The food was really good, albeit heavy, and the wines were nice. The only downside on our trip was that my husband ended up getting food poisoning, I think from a restaurant we ate at in Lyon before getting on the ship. Nobody else got sick (including me) so I doubt it was anything he ate on the ship. He was down and out for almost 3 days, which left me exploring a lot of the ports on my own. While he was sick, all of the staff on the boat was very attentive to his needs. They were always asking how he was doing, arranged for a doctor to come onto the ship to look at him, and picked up prescriptions for him. The restaurant manager made me plates of crackers, rice, and plain chicken to bring him. I wish he did not get sick but I was glad he was in good hands on the ship. I really loved Provence. My favorite port was Avignon. I actually did not even do the included tour there because I opted for the optional included tour of Pont du Gard (it no longer costs extra!) which was also amazing. We had a whole afternoon free in Avignon though so I explored on my own. I thought they fortified city was beautiful and really enjoyed the Pope's Palace. I definitely would like to return to Provence again, hopefully bring my kids once they are a bit older. I would highly recommend Uniworld to anyone going on a river cruise. The staff is incredibly attentive and make you feel like no request is too large. Although we were one of the youngest on the ship (mid to late 30s), we still enjoyed it and felt it was not too slow-paced. We were expecting the age gap anyway. The only thing that is a bit lacking is the entertainment on the ship, although we are not really into that sort of thing anyway so it didn't bother us. I pretty much got off the boat and went exploring whenever we were docked. The nice thing about a river cruise is that you can do that since you dock right at the towns! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The SS Catherine is the most beautiful ship ever! Very new and food is incredible, as were the tours and guides. Very small and unique. We never stood in a line for anything EVER! Worth every penny-can't want to do another.....The ... Read More
The SS Catherine is the most beautiful ship ever! Very new and food is incredible, as were the tours and guides. Very small and unique. We never stood in a line for anything EVER! Worth every penny-can't want to do another.....The only criticism would be that we felt too rushed at dinner in the dining room. We wanted to relax and take our time ordering but they were there immediately to take our order, A few of the servers were a bit curt and not as friendly as t hey should be. The wines they served were fabulous and all included in the price. Our guides were very charming and fun people who made our tours really fun, not just factual. The entertainment was good, but probably could be a bit better. One of our outings was too long on the bus for what we got out of the excursion. In retrospect, we would skip that one. There should be some tables for two set in case you just want an evening along with your spouse. They say this is an option in their open seating policy, but it really isn't. The tables for two are set about two inches from the next table. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our second Uniworld cruise and it was even better than the first (which we LOVED). The SS Catherine is a beautiful ship, every detail has been considered. The public spaces are very impressive with works of art, chandeliers and ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise and it was even better than the first (which we LOVED). The SS Catherine is a beautiful ship, every detail has been considered. The public spaces are very impressive with works of art, chandeliers and a two-story water feature. Uniworld has collected an all-star staff. Everyone - from our butler, Valentina, to our housekeeper Daniella, and our waiter Ivan, our bartenders Emil, Christian and Ariella and wine steward Laurentia and restaurant manager Tihomir - they were all fantastic. Personable, interesting and engaging while providing superior service. We felt very fortunate to have met them all. We enjoyed the ports and regular tours and took advantage of some of the optional excursions as well. The Paul Bocuse Institute cooking demonstration and lunch was memorable - not to mention delicious. We also enjoyed the Truffle Farm visit and Chateau-Neuf du Pape wine tasting. We did hear from others that the Olive Farm visit was too commercial for their taste. The tour guides were generally informative and engaging - Jean being our favorite who did tours of Lyon and Tain-L'Hermitage. Our cabin was a Suite which we can highly recommend if the extra cost is within your budget. The extra space is very nice and the butler service is definitely special. Your every need is met and extras abound. The suite has 3 tv's - one viewable from the bed, one in the large mirror in the seating area and one in the mirror in the bathroom - yes - the tv comes on inside the mirror. Lots of channels (mostly international news) and lots of movies (if you find time.) The "balcony" with retractable window was very nice - even though the weather was cold-ish. The bathroom was very large - double sinks and huge shower. Mini fridge which was restocked daily and Nespresso machine (a must!). The laundry was another big plus. There is a self-service laundry but Suite residents get complimentary laundry service which was a great surprise. There are also niceties such as cookies every day and an evening snack before dinner provided by our Wonderful Valentina. The food and wine on the ship were excellent. There were interesting selections in the main dining room every night and on the nights we had dinner in the Leopard Bar, the menu was the same both nights, but very good. Our only regret was missing the Rack of Lamb in the main dining room one night. (Next time!) And every evening Laurentia provided lovely wines to accompany the meals. Breakfasts and lunches were very nice buffets with a huge variety of offerings. How do you ever get hungry on such a ship? The entertainment was similar to our previous cruise. There was one entertainer we missed - to my regret - who was only there one evening. The lectures that we attended were reasonably interesting. Leaving the ship fairly late on the disembarkation day, we were able to stay in the lounge which was comfortable. We were offered lunch, but after having another huge breakfast - it wasn't necessary. However, it was very nice that it was offered. Our single criticism is that the suites offer sleeping space for a 3rd person - i.e. a small sleeper sofa. That, in itself, is good idea. The problem is that the sofa sits against the wall where the tv is in the mirror. That means you have nowhere to sit to watch the big tv - except on the bed - or to drag the chairs off the balcony into the room. It's a bit awkward. From the website - all the suites on the Catherine have the same configuration - 3rd person option. It would be far preferable to have two chairs that would face the tv. (we even tried to turn the couch around - it's too big to make that work). So - that's my only complaint. And it didn't detract from our overall enjoyment of the cruise. Next time I'll ask for a suite that does not accommodate a 3rd person. One other comment - we went on the first cruise of the season - which means the weather can be less than spectacular. We encountered the Mistral - the cold wind of Provence - four days in a row. It's unpredictable and can be pretty daunting - but it didn't diminish our experience. It did stir up some white caps on the river - but our Captain somehow was able to navigate into the locks VERY smoothly in spite of the wind. Other than seeing the white caps out the window - we would hardly have known the difference. So - YES , YES, YES - We LOVED it!!! And we can't wait for our next cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My husband booked this river cruise from Lyon to Arles in honor of my birthday, so I was expecting the best and was not disappointed! The S.S.Catherine is an elegant ship with Venetian glass fixtures, original artwork on all of the walls, ... Read More
My husband booked this river cruise from Lyon to Arles in honor of my birthday, so I was expecting the best and was not disappointed! The S.S.Catherine is an elegant ship with Venetian glass fixtures, original artwork on all of the walls, good-sized staterooms and L'Occitane amenities. The food was always prepared to perfection for ALL meals and finished by delicious desserts prepared by two pastry chefs! Each evening before dinner, everyone would meet for cocktails and information regarding the next day's activities. The tours and activities are geared for the sedentary up to "Go Active." We did two "Go Active" tours: a bike ride of Lyon and a hike up into the vineyards of Burgundy. We also did one special excision for an additional charge to the castle of a French Count who saved us wine and lunch. Well worth the extra money! UniWorld's guides were excellent in both their presentation and knowledge. UniWorld has their own fleet of tour buses, too. Our cabin was the perfect size with a little sitting area off to the side so we could watch the countryside or the many locks we went through. We did enjoy the entertainment in the bar area after dinner. Embarkation and disembarkation were a non-event - they were so easy. We decided that the staff must be trained to never use the word "No" as everything was wonderful. We would recommend UniWorld in a heartbeat and hope to enjoy one of their other ships in the future! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Until 2015, having never experienced either cruising or a crossing with a major company, I was hesitant to try. Because of friends, we first signed on for a crossing in June 2015 on the QE2, which was an excellent experience; however, this ... Read More
Until 2015, having never experienced either cruising or a crossing with a major company, I was hesitant to try. Because of friends, we first signed on for a crossing in June 2015 on the QE2, which was an excellent experience; however, this created doubt about how good could a river cruise be? But, because of other friends, we signed on for the Rhone River cruise this past October. Our week was beyond expectations, from the moment we boarded the SS Catherine in Lyon to our disembarkation in Avignon a week later. Everything, the ship which was practically brand new and maintained as she had been delivered on her first day, our very nicely appointed cabin, the crew who was professional and very attentive, the excellent meals, the options for entertainment, etc, were all perfect. The only negative was that it came to an end. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We had the pleasure of traveling on the Catherine with our son and daughter in law. The ship was every bit as beautiful as their pictures had described. Our son had reserved the Royal Suite #401 and we had suite #405. The staterooms on ... Read More
We had the pleasure of traveling on the Catherine with our son and daughter in law. The ship was every bit as beautiful as their pictures had described. Our son had reserved the Royal Suite #401 and we had suite #405. The staterooms on this lovely ship are beautiful! So much detail has gone into the design and décor. The is our 5th riverboat cruise, and our 3rd with Uniworld. What a distinct difference we have found and would give Uniworld high marks for design and service along with food. Our butler asked us what preferences we had with beverages. We found they only stocked Pepsi Lite on board for diet drinks. We asked about getting Coke Zero and was told he would look into it. The following day to our delight we were informed we could now order Coke Zero throughout the ship, and our mini frig had been stocked with them. We asked if it would be possible to have a cheese tray or light snack brought to our sons room later in the evening? His butler provided it any time we indicated we would like one. We enjoyed having a drink in their suite along with the tray of meats and cheeses that were provided for us. It's the little touches, such as asking for a shirt to be ironed rather late in the evening and having it done very quickly. It was a bit disappointing we were not told or scheduled for the free message offered to all suite passengers. It just happened we had read about the offer in one of their advertisements, but no mention of it by our butler or even the message therapist herself. We had to go to the front desk and ask about it. Turns out she was completely booked by the time our son and his wife asked for theirs. That was not handled very well. Most of our tour guides were very good, especially Frances, who took us through three different tours and in her home town even invited us to visit her home. She was delightful. The tour guide in Avignon France was quite disappointing. It turns out Uniworld was not allowed to use any of their own tour guides, but had to have the Palace of Popes guides. She added no value to this particular tour. We were not alone in our disappointment. We found our meals on the Catherine very tasty and well presented. It seems the habit we have found throughout our river cruising experiences is you will find a waiter you especially enjoy and you pretty much stay at that table if available. On our 52nd wedding anniversary they brought a lovely cake to our table and lots of wishes from our wait staff. It was a very sweet touch to a great evening for us. When we finally returned to our suite there were candles. champagne, a lovely decoration on our bed. It was a beautiful display that really added to our celebration. We had already enjoyed Champagne and a beautiful tray of snacks in our sons room. We felt completely honored and celebrated. Once again Uniworld has added very special memories to our travels. We LOVE the all inclusive cruises they have now initiated. For us it is a very great feature. Having envelopes left on your bed at the end of your journey for tips never did sit well with us. Many cruise companies, (Viking for sure) continue with this model. Not Uniworld. Thank you to corporate who decided to go all inclusive!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My wife and I just returned home from a wonderful vacation in France, the centerpiece of which was Uniworld's 15-day “Grand France” itinerary. This included 7 nights cruising the Seine River on the River Baroness, and 7 nights ... Read More
My wife and I just returned home from a wonderful vacation in France, the centerpiece of which was Uniworld's 15-day “Grand France” itinerary. This included 7 nights cruising the Seine River on the River Baroness, and 7 nights cruising the Rhone River on the SS Catherine. Among the many positives: *** Our first Uniworld cruise was in 2009 on the River Duchess (Bucharest to Vienna on the Danube). We had a terrific experience then, but Uniworld is even better today. We appreciate their evolution to “all-inclusive” river cruising. When we go into the lounge, we don't want to be thinking of nickels and euros when considering what to drink. We also appreciate the complimentary laundry service for past guests. It made packing for the trip a lot easier and more compact. *** We loved having bicycles on board. My wife and I rode around in several ports, and I chose the “go active” bike rides in Giverny and Lyon. Good exercise and a lot of fun. *** The crew on both ships was excellent. We've been on many small ship cruises, and A.J. (on the Baroness) was one of the best cruise directors we've ever had, (right up there with Marella on the Duchess in 2009). He was personable, knowledgeable, fun and funny, and he worked his tail off. The dining room staff was friendly and efficient. Being of Hungarian descent, (my father was born in Gyor), I bonded especially well with the many Hungarians on staff, especially Otto (my father's name), Karoly, Miklos and Laszlo on the Baroness, and Joseph, Richard, Sandor and Laszlo on the Catherine. *** We experienced consistently excellent service throughout our cruises, but I'd like to highlight – and perhaps bore you with – two notable examples: Example #1) I hate asparagus! Even the smell makes me nauseous. I happened to mention this to Christina the first night we were on the Baroness. Six days later . . . Unbeknownst to me, the entree for our farewell dinner came with a garnish of asparagus. Everyone else's did, but not mine! Christina had notified the kitchen ahead of time to leave the asparagus off Mr. Molnar's plate. I appreciated that. Example #2) We hate duvets! That thick comforter sandwiched between the two-sheet duvet cover is usually much too heavy. But it's all or nothing, and nothing is too little cover. So, on our first night on the Baroness, we took the duvet apart. That way, we could cover up with just the sheets, or pull up the comforter if we got chilly. The next morning, our cabin attendant asked if we'd prefer she make up the bed with just a sheet and blanket. We said “Oui” and that's what she did the rest of that cruise. I expected to have to repeat the same process the second week on the Catherine. But much to our surprise, when we got to our cabin, the bed had already been made up with a sheet and blanket. We subsequently found out that our bedding preference had worked its way up to the Hotel Manager (Marcus) on the Baroness, was communicated to the Hotel Manager (Astrid) on the Catherine, and resulted in our cabin being made up exactly how we liked it. Great communications and great customer service!! *** We expected wonderful food with Uniworld, and we weren't disappointed. The food on board - selection, quality, variety, and presentation - was marvelous. (I especially appreciated the choice of both "regular" and "extra crispy" bacon.) Dinners were usually excellent, and the modest portions were just right. On two nights, when I had trouble choosing between entrees, I was offered the option of ordering a half portion of each. A perfect solution! Desserts were outstanding. *** The wine offerings were very good and allowed us to experience a wide variety of regional favorites. (I must question, however, the occasional inclusion of South African wines. They seemed as out of place on a “Grand France” cruise, as would have wines from Chile, Argentina or the Napa Valley. They are all good, but come on, we're in France!!) *** The River Baroness is the oldest ship in Uniworld's fleet, and the cabins are tiny. However, we still loved it! It is extremely clean and well-maintained and service was impeccable, (perhaps even a little bit better than on the Catherine). With about 105 passengers on board, we never felt crowded. *** The Catherine is a magnificent ship! It's the most beautiful, elegant and well-designed river ship we've ever seen. Three years ago, Kathy and I did a “Tulips & Windmills” cruise on the then brand-new Viking Freya. Never again! The Catherine wins this comparison hands down. With 20% fewer guests, the Catherine is far less crowded and noisy. The balcony design on the Catherine is brilliant!! (The balcony space is useable no matter the weather.) And the roll-down screen kept the bugs out. *** The included tours were mostly very good, as were most of the guides. A few standout guides include Sandria and Martine (I probably spelled them wrong) on the Baroness and Geri on the Lyon biking tour. Our favorite, however, was Frances in Viviers. She was warm, witty, knowledgeable a little bit irreverent, and she opened up her magnificent home to us. A few of the guides were a little difficult to understand, (especially our Colombian guide to the Moulin Rouge). Alas, all on the cruise was not “perfect”, so here are a few reflections: *** I wish the WiFi worked better. It was extremely slow and more typically seemed to not work at all. *** I wish there had been more opportunities to socialize and interact with the Captain and senior crew. Each ship had a dining room table reserved just for the staff. There were never (as far as I am aware) invitations for guests to dine with the Captain. I realize that language was an issue, but the Captains on both ships often seemed a bit aloof. On recent AmaWaterways and Windstar cruises, we interacted with the Captains a lot, and we liked that. *** I wish that Uniworld promoted – and invited - passenger participation in the lounge or bar, (eg., karaoke, sing-a-longs, etc). We did this six years ago on the Duchess and it was great fun for everyone. *** I wish the bathroom toiletries included bars of soap. Bath gel is fine, but we prefer bars. *** Uniworld has made a conscious effort to eliminate public address announcements so as not to disturb and disrupt passengers. Mostly we appreciate that, but perhaps there is some middle ground which would permit announcements in the halls and lounges for important activities or especially impressive scenery. *** I understand that the Baroness is scheduled for retirement pretty soon, but the chairs and sofas in the lounge are really long in the tooth. Many are badly worn, sagging and uncomfortable, and detract from the Uniworld image. *** I came to this cruise expecting to use the pool, but I never did. Nor did I ever see anyone using it. The pool is pretty, but it's small, indoors and awkward to access from the bar area, and the water was kept too cool. Instead of the pool, I wish that space included a hot tub, sauna and shower. I would have used – and appreciated – all of those. (This comment is intended for whoever designs the next Uniworld ship.) Thanks to Uniworld for providing an enjoyable and memorable French holiday. We love the Uniworld brand and look forward to our next Uniworld cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First the ship ---- This new ship is decorated to the finest detail. It is beautiful. Cruise the 'net' to find photos. Whatever you see online, won't do it justice. The cabin size was more than adequate with more storage ... Read More
First the ship ---- This new ship is decorated to the finest detail. It is beautiful. Cruise the 'net' to find photos. Whatever you see online, won't do it justice. The cabin size was more than adequate with more storage space than required. I would NOT book a suite on this ship - a waste of your money. When one initially views the ship from the outside the first thought would be "Where are the balconies which are promoted?". The Catherine has an interesting concept, which I would label 'internal balconies'. It is really a separate sitting area with windows that electronically open with a screen (they label a mosquito net). It was a nice space to relax. My only criticism with our cabin would be its location. One would think with a new ship, the amount of noise and engine vibration toward the stern of the ship would be reduced. Unfortunately, this is still an issue. I would NOT recommend a cabin in the rear quarter of the ship, if one is 'sensitive' to noise and vibration. The public rooms and lounges on the Catherine are wonderful. I do not agree, however, with 'Cruise Critic's' discussion about the pool. IMO, it is a waste of space. The pool is within the bar. Thus, one is on 'display' when utilizing it. This probably lead to the lack of use. During a future 'refurb', I would recommend UniWorld remove the pool and extend the space within this wonderful bar/lounge. Also, during this 'refurb', something should be done to insulate the dining room. When it is full, it is very noisy. The outside entertainment, when provided, was diverse. I would like to see local entertainment provided from each port. The meals were wonderful - actually better than the River Baroness, which we cruised the week before. Yes, this was a 'wine' oriented cruise. Thus, the emphasis. The wine education was fantastic. It was well organized and presented. However, for us beer drinkers, I was disappointed. France has a variety of 'local' beers. They should have been provided. UniWorld's team and customer service did not disappoint. Tony Jenkins, our cruise manager, catered to all individual needs. He was also remarkably patient with rude and abusive 'guests'. The shore excursion selections were diverse. There was something for all to enjoy. Don't be 'turned off' by the tour that travels to a 'count' and his 'castle'. This was one highlight of our trip. The "Go Active" excursion program was new to us, with respect to our previous UniWorld cruise experience two years ago. This option was great. I also enjoyed UniWorld's bicycles quite often. Tony was a great help to me in 'mapping out' routes for me to 'ride'. Reflecting on the ports of call, I was pleased with all. However, I would suggest UniWorld attempt to reconfigure this itinerary or extend it (perhaps a few times per season) to include Marseilles. I was disappointed we could not experience this city. If one is into wine and supreme customer service on a wonderful ship, this is the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Just returned from Riverboat Cruise on SS Catherine. First time on a river boat. My husband’s special birthday. He is a foodie and loves French food and wine so we selected this itinerary which was in Burgundy and Provence (From Lyon to ... Read More
Just returned from Riverboat Cruise on SS Catherine. First time on a river boat. My husband’s special birthday. He is a foodie and loves French food and wine so we selected this itinerary which was in Burgundy and Provence (From Lyon to Avignon). Generally, he does not like cruising preferring to be able to dine in actual restaurants on land which he feels he misses out on during a cruise. However, he was pleasantly surprised….. the ship is brand new this season and is gorgeous and spectacular – even better in person than in photos –t he food, service, staff were all excellent – the ship is beautiful – we loved the small size and ease of getting around – forget something in your cabin? – no sweat – it’s a one minute walk not a twenty minute hike as on a huge mega ship. We arrived the day ahead into Lyon and stayed at Sofitel – across the river from ship and you can literally walk to the ship and will not need a taxi. Strongly suggest you come in the day before the cruise – the jet lag will be killer otherwise imho. I was ill from long flight and layover to Lyon and needed to just sleep for a day. Also, the curried chicken on British airways served at midnight home time did not do wonders for the GI situation. So, yeah, don’t plan on flying over and going right to the ship. On this particular cruise (cant speak for other dates) the age group was significantly senior – we are in early sixties and were among the youngest. We “closed down the joint” in the evenings and that was before 10 PM! LOL. Also, would agree with another poster that this itinerary was somewhat disappointing as we could not sail at all the first few days due to high water level – we went by bus to Beaune (in Burgundy) skipping the sail on Saone River. There was very minimal actual sailing the entire cruise. Also, while docked (Stateroom 422) we either faced a wall and the land side, another ship like Viking, or in Avignon, a huge ugly cement piling smack in the middle of our balcony - twice. Therefore, I question the value of paying for an upgraded room with balcony with so little to see out the window. As far as the land tours, the first two guides (to Beaune and city walking tour of Lyon) were disappointing – their English was very poor and they spoke at about a third grade level. However, the other tour guides were excellent and much more professional – night tour of Lyon was fantastic – walking tour of Tournon and Tain L’Hermitage was great. Also liked our tour guide for Viviers. She lived there and was British and was very informative. We loved the wine tastings and we loved the tour to truffle farm – I do not feel it was a “ripoff” as other poster stated. I do kind of object to all of the “optional tours”. We are already paying a ton of money on Uniworld – they advertise that it is all inclusive but it really is not. Our only other recent tour experience was with Tauck on the Amalfi coast – truly fantastic tour and amazing, intelligent, fantastic tour guide who stays with you the entire time. No extra charges for anything from Tauck. So, on principle – we really did not sign up for more than one of the optional tours with Uniworld. It was a lot of walking and cobblestones and I was disappointed that the tours took up so much time in the towns that we had no time to shop. (my husband was not upset by this at all) but seriously, would have preferred more time to explore. Overall, though, Uniworld did a great job and we would consider sailing with them again. We most likely would never take a tour for longer than seven days though…..too much regimentation, too much great food and weight gain!, too many early mornings with no chance to sleep in….and no real opportunity to be immersed in the culture and meet the people of the place you are travelling to. For example, except for one person, Emmanuelle, no one on the ship was French, the staff is mainly Eastern European. All of your fellow passengers will be either American, or Aussie or Canadian. Therefore, at end of cruise, we rented a car in Avignon and drove through southern France to Nice to explore French Riviera and walk and do things at our own pace… This creates a nice mix on your vacation. We also did not get to go to Pont Du Garde on the cruise so did this on our own (not to be missed).   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our second Uniworld cruise, the first being the Castles on the Rhine last year. We were delighted with our tour on the S.S. Antoinette and were anxious to experience the new sister ship in an area we had never been before. Some ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise, the first being the Castles on the Rhine last year. We were delighted with our tour on the S.S. Antoinette and were anxious to experience the new sister ship in an area we had never been before. Some of the similarities were immediately obvious: The upscale decor in the common areas, the comfort of the cabins and the attention and courtesy of the staff. We continue to be amazed at how well the cabin space has been designed. Meals were very good, as we expected. We are not wine experts so the nightly presentation of the wine pairings by the shipboard sommelier was mostly wasted on us. The Rhone is trickier to navigate than the Rhine with more locks to go through and lower bridges to travel under. Consequently, the upper deck was inaccessible much of the time. Cruising had to be abandoned on the first day because of high water and a bus excursion was substituted. The tour was enjoyable, but its length due to busing was a let down. The excursions were a mixed bag. My wife and adult daughter greatly enjoyed the optional cooking lesson with an authentic Five Star French chef. Although pricey (152 euros each) and a big time commitment (six hours to buy the food and prepare it), the experience turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. On the other hand, a visit to a truffle farm was disappointing and bit of a rip-off (59 euros each). It ended in ANOTHER wine tasting, the third or fourth of the trip. We didn't realize when booking this trip that this cruise is an extension of the Grand France tour. It was difficult for us to get to know the other passengers, since friendships had already been formed before we arrived. We have enjoyed getting to know other passengers on previous cruises. That didn't happen here. Tour guides were inconsistent. Some were quite good, entertaining and informative, others not so much. The small towns did not afford many tourist attractions other than the age of the city. It appeared the tours were trying to fill time with a local organ concert and a visit to a private home. In tans L'Hermitage a visit to the Valhrona Chocolate Factory was merely suggested as a "do it on your own" but was a wonderful highlight. Some tour guides didn't mention it at all. It would have been fun to tour it more fully. There was little time to visit local shops. Avignon has many "chain" and designer stores, but little local flavor. Most of the ladies valuable shopping time in that city was taken up by the optional tour, the 6-hour French cooking class. Arles combined both local flavor and shopping, but our guide spent too much time taking us past places there was no time to visit. At one point he led us to believe a cafe was the actual one appearing in the Van Gogh painting. Only after everyone had taken pictures did he reveal the cafe was painted two years ago and only patterned to look like the one in Van Gogh's masterpiece. It was a cruel trick. There was no emphasis on lavender fields, production or visits. Sunflower farms were noted just in passing on the bus. This is definitely a tour for wine enthusiasts, but not much else. We still love Uniworld and will likely cruise with them again, but we will be careful to find a cruise with a more accessible river and larger cities (other passengers have told us the Danube is a must-see.) We've had our fill of sleepy towns, cobblestone streets and churches.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click