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41 River Royale Cruise Reviews

The River Royale sails the rivers in Bordeaux, France. It is touted as a “culinary” and “wine” experience. We chose this cruise as it s supposed to be upmarket and sophisticated. The focus is on food and wine. Nothing could be ... Read More
The River Royale sails the rivers in Bordeaux, France. It is touted as a “culinary” and “wine” experience. We chose this cruise as it s supposed to be upmarket and sophisticated. The focus is on food and wine. Nothing could be further from the truth. The food was mediocre. If they think the food they serve is a culinary experience, then they have absolutely no idea what they are doing. I get better wine at my local supermarket. Almost everyone I spoke to on the cruise was dissapointed. The service is shocking. They have “self service” coffee stations with the worst coffee in the world. There is no service on the deck, even though Uniworld promise that you can “snap” your fingers and someone will service you. I had to ask for service at the reception more than once. The staff spend more time at the smokers corner, looking at their phones, than servicing guests. On a number of occasions, we would have wine and coffee on the deck and then we would find our empty glasses and coffee cups at the same table the next day. Shocking. The captain saw all of this happen in front of him but not once did he reprimand his staff. Nie day I took all the empty glasses from the table that has been there for a whole day and night, and deposited it on the table where the staff where smoking and chatting and told them that they can take the dishes back considering that we are paying their salaries. They glared at me. Bad management. That s all it is. But it’s also more than that. It’s unethical to sell something and create these expectations and then to fail so miserably. This cruise is mediocre and most certainly not worth the money. And it’s not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. I told the cruise director that the coffee if really terrible. She said that she thinks the coffee is good. I told her that I am her customer and I know the coffee is bad. Unbelievable. Denial. Incompetence. I know that Bea Tollman would probably have a heart attack if she knew that her legacy is being disrespected like this. This is not the Red Carnation way. I expected so much more. We won’t go on another cruise with Uniworld, even if they gave it away for free. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were looking forward to a "wine cruise" in the Bordeaux area; Medoc, St Emilion and Sauternes. We expected to visit Chateaux that we otherwise could not, with expert tour guides nd maybe some lectures. We had also hoped ... Read More
We were looking forward to a "wine cruise" in the Bordeaux area; Medoc, St Emilion and Sauternes. We expected to visit Chateaux that we otherwise could not, with expert tour guides nd maybe some lectures. We had also hoped for "Haut Cusines" and luxury experience. Regrettably: • Food provided was very average, nothing special although I daresay it was adequate. • Meal times were restrictive. In particular breakfast started / finished in line with tours. No tea (scones / cakes) was on offer. • Wines were on the cheap end and not representative of fine wines available in the Bordeaux region. We were gratified that we were able to purchase our own wines offshore and drink them over dinner without a corkage charge. • Only 4 of the 6 full days included wine tours, one of which was very poor. No on-board wine lectures were included. Given the nature of the cruise there were not enough wine experiences!!! • Cooking class which cost €119 which was very poor and decidedly not as advertised. A view shared by all 6 participants. On complaining no remedy was offered. • Entertainment offered on board was very limited. Singer was somewhat tedious and no broadcast of the world cup final was available. • Infuriatingly one night (captain’s birthday) there was a party on deck above our cabin with noisy music until 2.00 am. • I got the impression that the boat’s management did not react well to criticism. Specifically when I commented on one of the wine tours and my wife on the cooking class. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The Bordeaux cruise was a very enjoyable, light, easy going trip. Perfect for seniors, but maybe we were below the average age. Saint Emilion and Bordeaux were the highlights of the journey, but other stops, like Blaye, Fort Médoc or ... Read More
The Bordeaux cruise was a very enjoyable, light, easy going trip. Perfect for seniors, but maybe we were below the average age. Saint Emilion and Bordeaux were the highlights of the journey, but other stops, like Blaye, Fort Médoc or Libourne weren´t really exciting. For a wine centered cruise I expected more wine tastings and better house wines on board. We had an average of one wine tasting per day, and asked for upgrade wines in almost every dinner. Sometimes we brought the bottles we bought at the wineries to the restaurant. The food was very good, but not memorable. The cabins were extremely small, with a narrow corridor around a Queen size bed. There is a table and 2 chairs between the bed and the window, to give the impression of a veranda, but they´re just annoying obstacles. The bathroom is also tiny and I wonder if a fat man can fit the shower. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our June trip was a chartered cruise we chose with a group for continuing education but also for the opportunity to experience the amazing Uniworld service and the beautiful Bordeaux region of France. We were met at the Airport (CDG) in ... Read More
Our June trip was a chartered cruise we chose with a group for continuing education but also for the opportunity to experience the amazing Uniworld service and the beautiful Bordeaux region of France. We were met at the Airport (CDG) in Paris and drove into Paris by a driver in a van, which was a very slow and heavily trafficked route. We took advantage of Uniworld pre-cruise nights in Paris at the Westin Vendome to hit the major sites (hint, get your Eiffle tower tickets early to avoid disappointment, they are available online 3 months ahead of time) The day of the cruise we were escorted in a motor coach to the speedy and smooth TGV first class train to Bordeaux , which is also easily done on one's own if desired. The River Royale is beautiful, the service is impeccable. After a short 10 minute wait we were checked in at the boat. Our category 2 stateroom had lots of storage and a comfortable bed, but not much room to walk around besides that! Each member of the staff is friendly, welcoming, and attentive. The food is excellent. The wines were delicious. we had an enjoyable wine tasting seminar with the sommelier. The included tours were informative. We took bikes out in Bordeaux along the river for a lovely ride on the first day. There were optional tours, we did the cooking class with a master chef in a chateau which was magical. The Cognac tour sold out quickly so darn we missed that one. There was a WW2 bunker tour which was favorably reviewed by my husband. We especially enjoyed bike tours through the vineyards. The motorcoaches are luxurious. Evening entertainment was low key except for one dance party night, and very enjoyable. Uniworld sets up a rooftop self-serve bar which is nice in the evening, and we enjoyed evening fireworks due to the Festival of Wine in Bordeaux happening concurrently. We used the fitness center 2 times, the bikes, and active tours, as well as the jacuzzi and sauna. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Fabulous cruise with delicious local fresh food and very well presented. Plenty of variation to choose from each day. The red and white French wines were great however when we asked for French Champagne on arrival we were only offered ... Read More
Fabulous cruise with delicious local fresh food and very well presented. Plenty of variation to choose from each day. The red and white French wines were great however when we asked for French Champagne on arrival we were only offered sparkling wine. It wasn't until we enquired further that the sommelier then offered us French Jacquart Champagne. I would have expected French champagne to be offered as a staple when travelling in France on a 4/5 star all inclusive luxury cruise. The entertainment was very disappointing. The singer who sat at the piano singing voiceovers and occasionally playing a couple of notes would finish well before patrons had left the bar/lounge area each evening. We had expected lively entertainment that encouraged people to get up on the dancefloor and dance. The speaker sound system in the lounge/bar didn't work properly as we had to resort to playing music from our iphones once the entertainment had left for the night. Overall the staff were very friendly and helpful on board, particularly our sommelier and dining room manager, Plaman who arranged a special evening for us on the top deck with our selection of vintage French Champagne and canapes. Our tour manager, Adrian (AJ) was outstanding. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the tours. The Chateaux owners were very passionate about their wine making and incredibly generous with sharing their knowledge with us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
1st time river cruising, and after checking around, the dates suited us and we attended a dinner talk about Uniworld. The sailing date (29th April08-Days Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux @ River Royale) that we took was promoted at the ... Read More
1st time river cruising, and after checking around, the dates suited us and we attended a dinner talk about Uniworld. The sailing date (29th April08-Days Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux @ River Royale) that we took was promoted at the talk as an epicurean journey with fine wines, different from the other sailings. We booked our cruise based on that. Unfortunately, we were most disappointed to conclude that Uniworld over promises and under delivers....The wines were really not great (although these were regional wines) and what we had at the wine tastings at the wineries were much better, except for one winery in St. Emillion. On querying the sommelier on board, we were informed that the table wines were available at the supermarkets for about Euro 10-15 per bottle. Fine wines are not that cheap, no? The sommelier did produce another range on a later night, which was better. The others in our group found the wines served so unpalatable that they had to buy their own when there was an opportunity. (One of us is a great wine expert.) We were greatly disappointed with the food served. Portions were big and quality was just not there. There was hardly any french dishes/meals served except for the last night, the gala night. Hello... French epicurean meals was definitely mentioned at the presentation talk? When we complained, the restaurant manager's reply was that the cruise was catered for Americans! Well, that certainly put us in our place, as we were not Americans! There were Canadians, Australians, Mexicans, Spanish, English, Malaysians etc on board. French food is dainty & light on the servings, being more quality than quantity. In this case on the River Royale, it was all quantity that mattered. The fish dishes every night were pretty bad....one would think cruising up and down the river, we would get fresh French fish at every meal! The only thing that was actually good was the constant item on the menu every dinner, the steak, cooked American style! There was NO French dessert! We never had any escargot, truffle, fois gras, french specialites etc. White asparagus was in season which we saw in the fresh markets, huge stems, but we never saw them except finally on the gala night, on one dish(if you got lucky and ordered that dish!), and these were the skinny ones, 4 pcs only. Epicurean? So saddd... Dessert was another great disappointment as that is always my highlight, and being in France, French pastries & cakes are delightful. When did Uniworld think Bombe Alaska is a French dessert? Or brownies... you get the picture... it was American desserts all the way. And another great disappointment! You would think being in France, with all those utterly lovely bakeries, we would definitely get a variety of French breads for breakfast? NOPE! OK, the chefs were Spanish (the senior chef Manuel, who seems to be the PR guy) and a very young, junior sweet Bulgarian chef who tried very hard to cook whatever we requested. So, even if the kitchens can't cope or are unable to make those lovely French breads and pastries, all they had to do was go off the boat and get them fresh off the local bakers on the riverside! We saw quite a few, and these are beautifully delicious breads! Instead, we get American style croissants (huge and non buttery flaky - hydrogenated oils I am guessing), muffins, danish, etc... HUGE disappointment on the breakfast breads. The eggs benedict was done well, though not consistent (perhaps different chefs, different ingredients). First 3 mornings, it was creamy and delicious...after that, it was wateryyyy... Lunches were ok, nothing great, being buffet style. I enjoyed the salads and the cheeses and the Rose that was served. Funnily enough, it wasn't offered to us until the 3rd last day, when we noticed other tables drinking the Rose, then did we realised that it was served. We checked and double checked with our Uniworld agent about the laundry services and were assured that one can do self laundry without charge. When we were on board, we found out there is NO self laundry and everything was to be handed to housekeeping and were chargeable. The morning exercises were interesting, but only 30 min which does not do much. 30 min is just warm up! The "gym" was very small and I think there were 4 exercise equipment but no treadmill. One cross trainer and the other 3 were cycling machines. The rooms/cabins are the smallest I've ever seen (we took the window cabin and not the balcony, as the balcony eats into the room), but we have only cruised on the big ships. For my husband to pass at the foot of the bed, I either have to hop onto the bed or sidle to the side of the bed. And I am of petite frame and he is of average built at 5ft 8inches. There are 2 upright chairs at the window next to the bed, but one would have to put both legs up on the bed as there's no place for your legs. The bathroom shower is tiny! I hate to imagine how the bigger size men and women close the shower door let alone have a shower in there! Both my husband & I have to flatten ourselves literally along the shower wall to enable the shower door to close! Well, those are the bad points about this Uniworld cruise on River Royale. But of course, there are lots of good points too! The staff work really hard, doing whatever they have to do (and everyone has to lend a hand in everything except housekeeping & front desk seems to be standalone depts). The wait staff are serving at the bar, and then at the dining room and then back at the bar too! The wait staff were always cheerful and smiling, ever willing to assist or listen to suggestions/complaints and pour wines/drinks. At dinner times, one could see them working under pressure, with a few tables to wait on, so taking orders and serving and clearing took some time. We appreciated our sommelier's efforts, Nico, for trying to give us better wines at dinner but he was limited by Uniworld's regulations. He was most helpful and informative. The restaurant & bar staff were very hardworking indeed. Housekeeping was always excellent, kept the cabin very clean, topped up the lovely complimentary chocolates, and always gave extra water after my request on the 1st night. Very efficient and fast, in and out before we realised it! Toiletries were by Occitane but did Uniworld really have to screw down all the dispensers? LOL... The tours were very much enjoyed and were good. Very well executed, very good guides (especially our Irish lady guide) who made the tours very interesting, good and interesting wineries were visited, good lunch at a chateau, the optional wine cask factory visit was greatly enjoyed, the Remy Martin excursion was really worthwhile and enjoyed by everyone. The buses were comfortable, and the drivers were good. We greatly appreciated that Uniworld (Thanks, Pierre - Entertainment Manager) made extra effort to pick up our group upon arrival at the Bordeaux airport very late at night and a light supper was prepared at the bar for us. Due to unforeseen circumstances, our connecting flights were cancelled and we had huge problems getting another flight to Bordeaux. Entertainment on board was limited. There were 2 nights where we were entertained by different artists who came on board to sing (and these were good) and the rest of the nights, we had a resident singer, and she was good too. If it were not for the extremely disappointing meals & wines, I would give this cruise a 5 star rating... as it is 3.5 stars .. It was our first river boat cruise, so we had high expectations, having heard great things from friends and family members (but they did not sail on Uniworld). We purposely chose this sailing based on the selling point and description of "epicurean meals & fine wines" and to our great disappointment, Uniworld did not deliver on these 2 points. We were so looking forward to the French meals and wines on board. Sad to say, we felt very short changed on these 2 items. We will try the other river boat cruise companies next time, to different places and hopefully, have much better reviews to write about. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I researched thoroughly and came to the conclusion that Uniworld were the best in the market. I was not in anyway disappointed. The staterooms are a little tight (going to be refitted this winter and more spacious are part of the plan) ... Read More
I researched thoroughly and came to the conclusion that Uniworld were the best in the market. I was not in anyway disappointed. The staterooms are a little tight (going to be refitted this winter and more spacious are part of the plan) but the bed and bedding was to die for, there was plenty of space for storage and loads of hangers for the 2 of us. The shower was also excellent, room service superb. We cannot speak too highly of the staff, they work very hard and always have a genuine smile. The food was the best, simply delicious and beautifully served. The bar staff were superbly trained, all were excellent but special mention for Marietta the Bar manager and the Sommelier Nedko, his wine tastings were interesting, informative and fun. Reception staff and crew members were ready to help at any time. Sharon the Uniworld Rep organised all the off boat excursions and did a great job. I would love to mention everyone by name but I am afraid this would go on far too long but they all deserve to be congratulated. We will certainly travel Uniworld again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We had a family event in Europe and I wanted to add a river cruise to our trip. We booked just three months before departure, and my only regret is that I am still not on the ship ! I was very attracted to Uniworld's small size ... Read More
We had a family event in Europe and I wanted to add a river cruise to our trip. We booked just three months before departure, and my only regret is that I am still not on the ship ! I was very attracted to Uniworld's small size (there were 119 passengers on our cruise) and all inclusive price, and it was wonderful not to have to think about tipping all the service people and guides, paying for shore excursions or paying for a pre-dinner cocktail or my beloved Diet Coke in the salon or on the sundeck. I think this encouraged people to mingle more before, and after dinner. Lovely dining salon and lounge, with a grand piano and comfortable tables and sofas. The ship was immaculately clean. We were blessed with great weather and enjoyed some cruising topside on the sun deck on very comfortable padded lounge chairs. There are also tables available. The waiters were quick to take drink orders and keep them coming if you desired, along with little silver bowls of salty snacks. My husband enjoyed trying a variety of different beers and scotches. There was a small hot tub we never used on this deck. There was also a small work out room with a nice view at the front of the ship, and morning exercise classes were offered. The food was outstanding. I was told they would be featuring 43 different kinds of cheeses during the cruise. I love cheese, and they did not disappoint. Breakfast and lunch buffets with made to order omelettes and other goodies. Dinner was multi course table service with at least three choices for all courses. If you did not care for what was being offered, there were other choices that were always available including steak, salmon and a vegetarian dish as well as different starters and salads. I am allergic to mussels, and they went out of their way to make sure I had a satisfactory substitution when these were offered. The desserts were incredible, and the sweet pastry chef was standing by to describe each one and encourage you to try several. You could also book a dinner in The Blue Fox which was an intimate room for 12 serving the same menu as the regular dining room or a glass enclosed room for about 20 on top of the ship which served the same set menu the whole trip. This was very pleasant on a beautiful fall evening while cruising and watching the beautiful sunset. We did both and enjoyed them. I would recommend signing up for these on the first day, before the general announcement. They fill up quickly. Casual dining was also available on the sun deck with a limited menu of items. We did not try this. The service was top notch in every way. A nice touch was the stewards standing by when you came in from an excursion to hand you a cool cloth with silver tongs to refresh yourself, and another with a tray of fresh squeezed juice or iced tea. Sharon, our cruise director was wonderful, as was the hotel manager Sebastion. The dining room servers and housekeepers could not do enough for you. I think they have been trained to never say no. If you want something, they will make find it, or make it happen. Since this was a Vineyards and Chateaux cruise, there was a lot of focus on wines. We explored several wine making regions. I never knew such different wines were produced so close together. I enjoyed the winemakers lunch we had in a Chateaux where we were greeted by the owner and had a three course lunch with three different wines to complement each course. This was the only the only excursion we all went to together, the others were broken up into smaller groups.The guides were very good. I particularly enjoyed Sarah, an Irish girl married to a French national and raising a family in Bordeaux. The tours never felt crowded and the buses to transport us were very comfortable. There were three different days where there was an option to do a bike tour, which my husband loved. Bikes were available at all ports to explore on your own if you did not wish to do the excursions. He enjoyed the Bordeaux by bike tour, while I went on the walking tour. This is not a tour for children or teens, and there were none on the ship. Ages ranged from mid 30's to upwards of 80, I would have to guess. There were two guests with walkers, there is an elevator on board and they do have "gentle walking" excursions. The guest were primarily Americans, with Canadians, English, Australians, Brazilians and Spanish in the mix. We enjoyed most of the passengers and became friends with a couple who we hope to meet up with again. Would I go again ? IN A HEARTBEAT ! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our third Uniworld cruise and like the others, it was very nice and good fun. We traveled with three other couples for a group of eight and were accommodated well with a table at each meal. This cruise had a younger crowd than ... Read More
This was our third Uniworld cruise and like the others, it was very nice and good fun. We traveled with three other couples for a group of eight and were accommodated well with a table at each meal. This cruise had a younger crowd than the others and the dance floor was swinging most nights. The food was well prepared and two of the dinners were outstanding. Staff was super attentive and friendly. The River Royale was in top shape and except for a bit of trouble with the door lock everything worked perfectly. The on board entertainment was ok, but the local entertainment was very good. That said, the entertainment we have had our=out Tauck cruises has been superior to that on Uniworld. The daily excusions were well run and the guides well informed, interesting and easy to understand. The chateaux we visited were lovely. The city tours were causal and easy to walk. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I was invited by a friend to go on this river cruise and was a bit nervous as I suffer from motion sickness. The good news.......no motion sickness and it was an amazing experience. I would have to say the highlights were the Cruise ... Read More
I was invited by a friend to go on this river cruise and was a bit nervous as I suffer from motion sickness. The good news.......no motion sickness and it was an amazing experience. I would have to say the highlights were the Cruise Managers (Adrian) planned excursions which included cooking classes, bike rides through the vineyards and wine tastings. My favorite........St. Emilion, I could have spent a week there just strolling the ancient cobblestone streets and exploring all of the amazing little wine shops. The staff and crew were outstanding, I couldn't have asked for better service and they went out of there way to accommodate all of us. The food could have been a bit more "exciting", I'm a bit of a foodie and I feel that that's one area that they could improve. The wine selection was good, the pastry chef was outstanding. I would definitely sail with Uniworld again, they go above and beyond to make your vacation memorable and enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I first want to say the staff and chef is excellent. They went our of their way to make your trip enjoyable. The ship itself is getting long in the tooth. The couches in the bar area are worn, dirty and stained, you would not want to ... Read More
I first want to say the staff and chef is excellent. They went our of their way to make your trip enjoyable. The ship itself is getting long in the tooth. The couches in the bar area are worn, dirty and stained, you would not want to wear shorts while sitting, They really should call this a bus/wine cruise. We only took their tour two days because one tour was a 2 1/2 hour bus ride each way. A big disappoint to us, and not noted as such in their brochure, nor by the travel agent they assigned. The rooms a tiny and bathroom even smaller. One person has to wait in bed while the other gets ready and then they have to leave the room so you can get ready. This was to be a wine connoisseur tour, NOT. Mediocre wine on the ship and worse at most wineries, some undrinkable. There was a serious problem with the alarm going off at 4:45 in the morning and then going off all day long till about 8:00 PM. The told us they had fixed it, but then again it went off the next morning at 4:45 for about three hours. This alarm is deafening. Had to sit up on the deck all day or you would probably become deaf. Staff sent a note of apology and 4 macaroons, we found that quite insulting and sent them back. We were told we had to be backed and out of our rooms at 8:30 in the morning, so they could be ready for their next group. With not much sleep for two days, we found this pretty rude. We feel Uniworld has very poor management and would never go on their ship again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary, reputation for luxury, food and wine, and the date of sailing. Ship: The ship's decor was okay but definitely could be updated in my opinion. There was a nice area upstairs that was ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary, reputation for luxury, food and wine, and the date of sailing. Ship: The ship's decor was okay but definitely could be updated in my opinion. There was a nice area upstairs that was used for alternate dining (the Blue Fox). It would be nice if this was an upper level bar, at least for part of the day. Cabin: The room, for a luxury cruise, was tiny, as was the bathroom. My husband and I are small people and we had to wait for the other to pass before moving about the cabin. The bed and linens were very comfortable though. Dining: The food was usually excellent, and if something occasionally was disappointing there were always other choices. We were however, very disappointed with the "fine" wine included with our cruise and the cost for premium wines was steep. Entertainment and Activities: There was an oyster tasting event on board which was excellent and a cooking demo on Caneles. It was nice to have a piano player in the lounge but the music was pretty much the same every night with the exception of a couple of nights of scheduled singers. The cruise manager did a great job of scheduling activities of varying levels, optional filler events, and downtime. Service: Our cruise manager was fabulous, she even assisted us in scheduling an excursion of our own. The staff was excellent, very friendly and accommodating. Ports and Shore Excursions: Excellent! It was nice that there were choices for different ability levels. The groups were divided into very manageable, comfortable sizes. The ports and shore excursions were very interesting and Uniworld hired excellent guides. I would definitely consider a Uniworld Cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This cruise was above first class all the way. They made sure you got to and from the airport which was fantastic being in an unfamiliar area. The crew went above and beyond to make sure we had a wonderful experience. The tours were ... Read More
This cruise was above first class all the way. They made sure you got to and from the airport which was fantastic being in an unfamiliar area. The crew went above and beyond to make sure we had a wonderful experience. The tours were interesting and just the right amount of time that you still had plenty of free time to relaxant do your own thing. The Hotel Manager Sebastien took wonderful care of all the guest, the Restaurant Manager Walter and the Chef Joao made sure we experience the finest french cuisine with Ailine pairing all the wines. We were very lucky to have Nathalie for our Cruise Manager she kept us not only informed and entertained but threw in french lessons daily. We met our captain Pierre and realized he was the same captain from our previous river cruise on the River Baroness several years ago! Until you experience a cruise with Uniworld you will not have had the experience of going first class all the way, they will spoil you! We had exceptional weather and all the ports were beautiful, we really enjoyed the wine tours and all the markets at each stop. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Beautiful ship. Mostly everything planned very well. Staff courteous and helpful. Food & bar service excellent. Tours interesting and informative. Both guides & bus drivers very competent. Disembarkation however a nightmare. ... Read More
Beautiful ship. Mostly everything planned very well. Staff courteous and helpful. Food & bar service excellent. Tours interesting and informative. Both guides & bus drivers very competent. Disembarkation however a nightmare. Cruise director did warn us to check our safe deposit box carefully, which was done. Suitcases had to be out of cabin by 3.00 am. Off ship by 4.00 am. Took a shower 2.30 am to try and wake up. Then after, door to bathroom open and forgot that my much loved nightshirt from Victoria's Secret was hanging on bar behind door. Got on bus to Bordeaux airport and somehow stumbled onto plane. At Paris airport could not get into Air France lounge which had been possible when leaving San Francisco. Long wait to get on flight. Was so exhausted could not sleep. Long wait for all passengers at San Francisco airport to get onto bus to San Louis Obispo. Being tired and run down, like some others, came down with a bacterial infection. That I can overcome but what hurts me more is that after reporting my nightshirt forgotten in bathroom, was told it was not found. Uniworld should stress to cabin cleaners to turn in anything forgotten in cabins. In other words, they keep what they find! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
A wine cruise in Bordeaux , what could be better. Learned a lot about Bordeaux that I had not experienced before. Great wine, cooking classes ,entertainment, excursion and great people on our river boat. Out crew was excellent. Always ... Read More
A wine cruise in Bordeaux , what could be better. Learned a lot about Bordeaux that I had not experienced before. Great wine, cooking classes ,entertainment, excursion and great people on our river boat. Out crew was excellent. Always their for us. Took care of every detail, very organized. Never lost anybody or anything. This is a small boutique ship. Which makes it very intimate. Every one gets to know everyone. Sitting on the lounge chair in after noon with a glass of wine served to you as you watched the castles. So beautiful and relaxing. Small but very nice appoint room. Draws under bed. Table and two chairs. Queen size bed. Hair dryer that gets plugged into plug under shelve. A safe too high to reach always needed a chair to get to it. Caterers to everyone food likes. A wonderfully buffet for lunch and breakfast. Always a special in morning and a chief to cook omelet of your choice. I especially liked all the home made bread and deserts. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The NY Times did a review of the top places to see in 2016 and #2 was Bordeaux. We wanted to try our first river cruise and were recommended to Uniworld. We just got home today after experiencing a wonderful week planned expertly by the ... Read More
The NY Times did a review of the top places to see in 2016 and #2 was Bordeaux. We wanted to try our first river cruise and were recommended to Uniworld. We just got home today after experiencing a wonderful week planned expertly by the crew and management of River Royale. Everything was first class from the moment we boarded. The rooms were gorgeous, the food was delicious and the wine poured freely. The crew made you feel that you were special and always greeted you by name and were always asking what they could do for you, The tour guides they hired were extremely knowledgeable and all had great personalities. We made so many great friends from Canada and the US but there were also many Australians on our cruise. Everyday was planned carefully but there were always alternatives for all lifestyles, however this cruise is definitely for wine lovers with tours of chateaus and vineyards. Two highlights for me....a tour of a wine barrel making factory and a small cooking class in St.Emilion with a private chef in a chateau. When we departed this morning we were taken by bus to the airport where we were met by another employee who made sure we all got where we were going, We are already planning our next trip with Uniworld! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We started cruising European rivers a few year ago after over 40 ocean cruises and more than 10 land tours. Our last river cruise was the Rhine and Moselle with Uniworld. This time we choose to go with Uniworld again to cruise the Bordeaux ... Read More
We started cruising European rivers a few year ago after over 40 ocean cruises and more than 10 land tours. Our last river cruise was the Rhine and Moselle with Uniworld. This time we choose to go with Uniworld again to cruise the Bordeaux region of 3 rivers and an estuary. Our wanted to see the heartland of France and visit the famous wine regions in the world. Our home is about 2 hours from the Napa Valley and I have some interested in wine. We were rewarded with a memorable experience that I feel the need to share it with others. Our cruise had an ominous start. We mistakenly connected with a driver who turned out not the Uniworld transfer. He took us to the river bank and pointed to a ocean cruise ship, "The World," and said to us, "Here is your cruise ship." When we both realized the mistake, the driver got all excited, talked on the cell phone for a long time and demanded 50 Euro. Finally I managed to convinced him to take us to the Uniworld ship which was only 50 yards away. The hotel manager of Uniworld, Sebastian, came out and greeted us, assured us that he would take care of the driver and told us to relax and enjoy our vacation. We never got the bill for 50 Euro. This is indicative of the high level (5 star) service throughout our cruise. Meals services were very good in general. You can asked for what you would like through the waiter or the ever-present restaurant manager. We asked for sautéed spinach with our dinner nightly. The chef comes by nightly for feedbacks. Every night there is a pasta, a meat, a fish and a vegetarian main course to choose from. Some meals are of local flavor. For cheese lovers, there are 40 varieties on the ship. Every night. One red and one white wine are available to accompany your mean. You will be given another wine if don’t like the selection. Champagne is always available for breakfast along with juices. There are two additional dinner venues to the main dining room. One can sign up to have dinner in a private dining room for up to 12 people or dine on the sun deck. We did the private dining room the second night with 2 other couples. Same food, just different atmosphere. We had not tried the other venue on the Sun Deck. A lady told us that she had the best Beef Wellington there. Of course, the exciting part of this cruise, entitled, "Bordeaux. Vineyards and Chateaux" is the shore excursion. We could see from ship upon arrival that Bordeaux was a good size city with many big and tall buildings of 18th century architecture. It was an important port for the wine trade of old. Starting the next day, we visited the Sauternes region that is famous for sweet wines. Chateau Latour Blanche was classified as First Growth in 1855 and it has 26 non-fee paying apprentice wine makers. The last owner had bequeathed the winery in 1907 to the government with a stipulation to create a free school. We learnt about how grapes rotten with fungus were handpicked to produce the sweet wines and tasted three ones. Lunch was in the Royal Castle Cazeneuve with a wine-matching three course meal. A tour of the castle where King Henri IV had lived was followed after lunch before returning to Bordeaux for the night. Next day's highlight was an afternoon visit to one of the wineries in the prestigious Pauillac region of Medoc. Uniworld divided the passengers into 6 smaller groups to visit different wineries. After the morning lecture presentation, I made a request to the cruise director, Adrian, to be assigned to the group that visit Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Not only that he could not promise but sounded far from promising. He pointed out that we may not get invitation from Chateau Lafite Rothschild and that any appointment would take at least 6 months in advance. In the afternoon, when we were boarding buses for the winery visit, Adrian was there to direct us to bus number 3. Soon after departure, the local tour guide handed me a piece of paper which was an invitation to winery #6. Opened it up and much to my surprise it was an invitation to visit Chateau Lafite Rothschild! That made my day and pretty much my cruise! To have a exclusive private tour and tasting of a if not the most prestigious winery in the world was a wonderful feeling. The 16 of us went with the tour guide to Chateau Lafite Rothschild and dropped off at the back as the winery does not like to have tour bus seen in their front gate. A sommelier of the winery greeted us and act as our guide. The tour ended with tasting a 2007 vintage Chateau Lafite Rothschild in the round rotunda which is the "nursery" where wine is stored in barrels for 3 years before being bottled and released. The sommelier said the Lafite Rothschild wines could takes 20 years to reach its peak. Day 4, starts the morning with a scenic drive along the river followed with a visit to the UNISCO listed citadel in Blaye. The fortress was built in the 17th century to protect the wine trade of Bordeaux. The highlight for the day, however, was an optional visit to the Rémy Martin distillery in Cognac where famous brandies are produced. We visited the building where barrels of brandy of different ages are stored and was told, blending of the expensive brandy can involve over 100 different barrels of up to age over 100 years. In the tasting room, only a VSOP was tasted with three different nibblers that resulting a quite different taste of the brandy. The tour ended in the shop where brandies of different blend and labels were shown together with the price tag except in the little back room where there is an elaborate display of Louis XIII. I found out that a 70dm bottle of Louis XIII in a crystal decanter could be had for 2,700 Euro. Why so expensive? Here is what Rémy Martin says, "A Century in a Bottle: Results of 100 year of passionate work and patience, LOUIS XIII is a unique blending of 1200 of the rarest and oldest eaus-de-vie from Grande Champagne. A firework of intense and delicate aromas, a celebration of floral notes, undertones of candied fruits and touch of spices. An ultimate precious moment in life." I can vouch to that! In the morning of Day 5 we went to Saint Emilion which is on the right bank of the river where climates are different from Médoc which is on the left bank. The wine grapes here are predominantly Merlot whereas in Medoc it is Cabernet Sauvignon. The Saint Emilion vineyards have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vinery classification here are also different from Medoc, it is every 10 years instead of only once in 1855. The cobber stone lined village had plenty of wine shops, a monolithic 12 century church carved into the cliff that is under restoration, a nearby grotto that is reputed to be where Saint Emilion lived. The morning tour ended with a wine tasting in a nearby, modern, Grand Cru class winery: Chateau Larmande. The pleasant surprise of Saint Emilion was a little shop brought us there by the local guide. This small, unimpressive little shop claimed to be the legitimate heir to the original recipe of macarons. We bought some for our connoisseur friend who told us excitedly that she had never tasted macarons that good. Uniworld provided shuttle for people wanting to go back to ship for lunch and return to Saint Emilion. I chose to walk around the city of Libourn in the afternoon. It is a small city with her days of glory behind her. Only students from the campus nearby provided some sight of life. The next morning, however, the city center came alive with a farmers market. The morning excursion was to visit the market before going to a mysterious destination. I always found the market an exciting place to see what produce are available locally. Our mysterious destination was a boutique, organic winery, Chateau Boutinet, run by a wine educator wife and an experienced wine maker husband, blend into a family with each having two children from different marriage. It was interesting to hear the lady told their story and future plan of rebuilding the ruined castle and to operate 5 rooms for B & B. They are selling 3 wines now: a sweet light red, a ready to drink red, and a better-to-drink-later red. The sweet light red wine, they called it Claret, was offered for tasting. The ship returned to Bordeaux after lunch with a cooking demonstration and tasting of the Canelés de Bordeaux on board. This native dessert of Bordeaux is often found at coffee bars but now I also know its origin, the history and ingredients. A twilight tour of the city of Bordeaux was arranged in the evening. The tour, started at 9 pm, was conducted on open top buses. It presented a romantic and interesting light of the city and would be even more enjoyable when done in June and July. The last day belonged to Bordeaux. The "Do as the Locals Do" walking tour of the city started with a tram ride. The tram stop was only a short walk from the ship and 3 stops later we were in the city center. The modern city of Bordeaux had undergone a Pygmalion transformation by the current mayor 15 years ago that change her from an "wretched flower girl" into a "fair lady." The black coating of the 18 century sandstone buildings were cleaned up, dirty river bank renovated with walkways, bike/skate-board lanes, garden and museum, a high-tech tram system built to speed up the transportation, parks were created, the historic core of the city became an UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition, a number of world class chef have establish their presence here and Paris is only two hours away by high speed train. It has become a destination of choose and attracted the luxury residence at sea, "The World". Bordeaux in many ways similar to my favorite city Vienna: it is by a river, it has an opera house, a large pedestrian shopping street, a tram system, a distinctive Gothic church (Saint Andrew), sandstone buildings of 18 century architecture, and a dessert of its own (Canelés de Bordeaux). The walking tour started before shops were open and few other pedestrians were there to obstruct our progress. We admired some of the beautiful architecture along the walk, stopped for Kodak moments, and some people watching. An hour or so later, the shops began to open and the fun part comes. Our first stop was at Baillardran for a tasting of their Canelé. I purchased some for gifts back home. The second stop was a pastry shop, David, where I tasted a most delicious cream puff like dessert that was created with inspiration from Dune of Pilat on the seaside about an hour away. They named it "Sand Dune" and I called it delicious. Unfortunately they must be consumed fresh and could not be brought home. So that may be reason enough for a repeat visit to Bordeaux! After consuming most of calories from the two desserts, we ended up in a chocolate shop, Saunion, where they hand make delicate chocolate since 1893. Here again it was sample and purchase. In all, it was an very interesting sightseeing walk with great discoveries of the delicious desserts in town. Day 8 came soon enough: it was time to disembark. We vacated the room as instructed by 8:30 and relaxed around in the lounge until 11:00 when we were bused to the airport. There were self-help coffee/tea and some light snack. The bar was open too. The hotel manager was around and came said goodbye to us. I made an request for an extra box of mint so I can save the metal box with the Uniworld emblem for pill case. Two boxes were delivered to our seat by the house keeping manage few minutes later. That again exemplified the service. We are looking forward to another Uniworld cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our seventh Uniworld Europe river cruise over the past ten years, (when we first discovered Uniworld after many years of ocean-going cruises). We're both in our mid-to-late 60s. We flew into Bordeaux three days early, and ... Read More
This was our seventh Uniworld Europe river cruise over the past ten years, (when we first discovered Uniworld after many years of ocean-going cruises). We're both in our mid-to-late 60s. We flew into Bordeaux three days early, and stayed at the very nice, centrally located Intercontinental Bordeaux Grand Hotel (which really was grand in every sense). From our hotel we were able to walk easily down to the river and to many of Bordeaux's most famous spots, various shopping areas, and many restaurants,... although you also have the option of getting around on the tram line that runs in front of the hotel with its closest stop just around the corner. On embarkation day we took a cab from our hotel to the ship, which was tied up along the beautiful river walk in the Chartron section of the city. (If you fly into Bordeaux on embarkation day, Uniworld provides a no-extra-charge group transfer to the ship). As usual, there were uniformed ship staff on-hand to greet us where our cab let us out, and they took our luggage aboard. Immediately adjacent to the ship was a large, permanent skateboard park with a professionally-staged competition going on, along with lots of locals enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We were a bit concerned about all of the noise, but thankfully we never heard anything inside our cabin that faced the skate park. Upon entering the River Royale, we were welcomed aboard by the Purser and the Hotel Manager, and it was an easy process of exchanging travel credentials and welcome aboard info. Lunch was served in the lounge, and when the cabins were ready, (I believe it was a bit before 2:00 PM), we were escorted to our cabin. Our cabin (312) was spotless, nicely appointed, and (as always) there's a place to store everything (which is terrific because we both are practiced over-packers with too-large luggage). We cruised on River Royale five years ago on her Chalon sur Saone to Arles itinerary, and there seems to have been a few minor upgrades/changes to our cabin. Our cabin had a french balcony with full floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. The trade-off with the balcony cabin versus the cabins on the other two decks below is you lose approximately two feet of interior space which is dedicated to the step-out area of the balcony. Otherwise, all of the cabins (except for the one suite) on all decks are identical in layout and size, with either picture windows or portholes on the lower decks. We didn't consider our cabin's slightly-smaller floor space much of a sacrifice since you can open your glass door whenever you want. We did ask our cabin attendant to remove one of the two side chairs from either side of the little round table that's up against the window,... so there was just a little more room to move around between the side of the bed and the sliding glass door. River Royale was refurbished in 2013, and the ship still looks brand new. There appeared to be several changes made in the public areas since our last cruise. Our favorite upgrade was the Blue Fox Cafe, aft up on the Sun deck, where we had a wonderful supper one blue-sky evening cruising as the sun went down. The dining room and main lounge continue to be welcoming, and the food and service were excellent, as we've previously experienced on all of our Uniworld cruises. Every staff member always has a smile and a greeting, and every one of them is anxious to fulfill any request minor or otherwise. Our Cruise Manager, Pierre, was outstanding, always seeming to be in the right place at the right time, and always happy to assist. In the evenings there was a keyboard musician who played until the very last passenger said good night, and several nights local talent came aboard to entertain us. We guessed most passengers were about our age, with some older and a few couples younger. River Royale can accommodate 130 passengers, but there were only 81 passengers aboard this cruise. We heard Uniworld offered a single-passenger-supplement waiver program for this voyage, and we think there were 7-8 cabins with only one passenger each. Who knows whether this discount/incentive program was offered because we were cruising before prime vacation season, or whether advance bookings were slow due to terrorist/security concerns? Most passengers were from the US, but we met people from Australia and England. There were twenty passengers from the same wine club traveling as a group. The daily (included) small-group shore excursions were conducted by excellent local guides who use a QuietVox mic/transmitter while passengers wear convenient, small, hang-around-your-neck receivers with an earpiece. It's terrific being able to hear the guide and not have to constantly be crowded around him/her. On most excursions there were "normal" paced small groups plus a "gentle walker" group. (All of those cobblestone streets, up/down steps, and narrow walkways can be challenging for some of us). We visited interesting chateaus and wineries along with historical landmarks, and in Libourne we walked through the busy Friday market in the town square. We enjoyed an after-dark open-top bus tour of Bordeaux with one of our now-familiar local guides. We liked all of the wine tastings, but I'm afraid I still don't know much more about the fine art of wine appreciation than I did at the beginning of the cruise. We did notice a slight difference between French wine tastings and those we've experienced in Napa/Sonoma. In most of the Medoc region chateaus/wineries only one wine was offered to our group, versus two or more wines might be offered in the US. All but one excursion we participated in were well-paced and interesting (to us), but the tour of the chateaux on the first shore day was excruciatingly slow. One day we had a full sit-down lunch served in a castle's great room, which was quite impressive. There were several no-extra-charge "active" excursions on various days, too, using ship-provided bikes and/or Nordic walking sticks. The buses/coaches were all Uniworld branded, and were clean and comfortable. We didn't participate in any of the extra-charge optional excursions. Disembarkation day came, as always, way too soon. We had perfect, sunny, mid-60s weather all week, so getting up early on an overcast, chilly last morning to board the coach for the (included) transfer to the Bordeaux airport seemed an appropriate way to end our vacation. We really enjoyed our cruise, and we look forward to sailing with Uniworld again in the not too distant future. PS. Food quality/taste and various other experiences are obviously subjective, so please remember, "Your mileage may vary". Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Uniworld has a fantastic product! We went on the Bordeaux Chateaux and Vineyards cruise and though we have cruised on Seabourn, HAL, Princess and Regent in the past., this was our first river cruise. The River Royale is a very lovely and ... Read More
Uniworld has a fantastic product! We went on the Bordeaux Chateaux and Vineyards cruise and though we have cruised on Seabourn, HAL, Princess and Regent in the past., this was our first river cruise. The River Royale is a very lovely and comfortable ship. There is a large lounge, a smaller library area, gym, sauna, hot tub and a full seating area on the top deck where one can enjoy the great weather. The crew is absolutely wonderfulc. The cruise director, Sharon, was just a really nice person who was always focused on making sure everyone had a great time, did what they wanted to do and just enjoyed themselves. The hotel manager, Ivana, also did a great l job (as did our room steward Ivan). All of the staff were pleasant, professional and courteous, no request was too big. The food was outstanding due to its high quality and variety. The meals reflected the local specialties with an emphasis on fresh local products. We visited the local markets so we saw firsthand the local foods. Breakfast and lunch is buffet, with breakfast one could order specials of the day. Lunch was a buffet with a carving station for the special of the day. Did I mention the fabulous deserts and cheeses? Well, they are fantastic. Every day there was an excursion (these are included in the cost of the cruise, though there are additional excursions one could take for an additional fee). This was the Bordeaux wine cruise, so we went on visits to vineyards including wine tastings, local towns and historic sites. We also visited some local markets and had a surprise visit to a local industry. We were in cabin 202, and although a little smaller than standard ocean cruise cabins, it was comfortable and the bed was very, very comfortable. The rooms have really nice blackout curtains. We went on this cruise with high expectations, and this cruise met and exceeded them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first river cruise and ten years since our last trip to France. We arrived in Bordeauex from Paris via the very effcient TGV high speed train on Sunday afternoon. Uniworld does not provide transfers from the train station, but ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and ten years since our last trip to France. We arrived in Bordeauex from Paris via the very effcient TGV high speed train on Sunday afternoon. Uniworld does not provide transfers from the train station, but since it was a beautiful day and Google Maps told me it was only two miles to the ship, we decided to walk. We travel light anyway so not a big deal. It ended up being closer to three miles, comment to Uniworld, a lot of passengers arrived by train so transfers from the train stations would be nice. Boarding was simple and after check in a staff member escorted us to our cabin and showed us around. We had been upgraded by Uniworld to a Cat. 2 cabin which has a picture window, it was beautiful and though slightly smaller than a ocean cruise cabin, had plenty of room for us. Although the food both at lunch and dinner on the first day was not that impressive, it improved tremendously once the cruise started and was excellent. Something not in the brochures is a small menu for breakfast that can be ordered in addition to the extensive buffet including pancakes, waffles and Eggs Benedict. The service was incredible on every level, there was no request that was denied. The tour guides were extremely knowledgable on the area and the wines of the region. The open bar is available 24/7 with great cocktails, wine, beer, champagne with many different brands to choose from. The ship was only at 60% capacity which really made it feel like a private yacht. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I'd camped a few times around the Bordeaux wine region back in the '70's so when I was offered the perspective as seen by the other half, I jumped at the chance! We were picked up from home, just four of us in all, in a ... Read More
I'd camped a few times around the Bordeaux wine region back in the '70's so when I was offered the perspective as seen by the other half, I jumped at the chance! We were picked up from home, just four of us in all, in a comfy VW minibus with courteous, friendly driver, travelling to Gatwick for overnight before an early scheduled flight to Bordeaux. Great standard room at the Sandman Signature, tasty food at elevated prices, captive audience priced drinks! The usual two hour minimum heel kicking to maximise airport sales exposure, prior to an underwhelming flight, courtesy of BA, not helped by a breakfast of gooey stodge masquerading as muesli and a dry bread roll even McDonalds would have been ashamed of, with microns thin cheese slice washed down by orange juice and coffee. Promptly picked up from Bordeaux airport in a well appointed coach with helpful friendly guide, delivered effortlessly to a smiling welcome party aboard the luxury River Royale berthed in Bordeaux on the Garonne. Uniworld's well rehearsed staff soon had us registered and furnished with an introductory programme and cabin keys. We had lower deck cabin on a level with the dining room, very well appointed but no space to spare! The board was fully inclusive of all food, drink and excursions and bicycles for loan, to boot! Every evening during cocktail hour, there was a greeting from the director of cuisine, an review of the night's cocktail and wines by a hilarious sommelier and an entertaining delivery by the Cruise Manager on the next day's voyage, evening entertainment and of course the next day's vineyard tours and tasting events. Dinners could be booked in the Claret Room, for twelve or fourteen or in the Blue Fox deck diner, topsides and wine tasting sessions could also be booked! Breakfasts, lunches and dinners were all scrumptious and most imaginative, a range of drinks without equal and service was impeccable and friendly throughout. Wine tours included vineyards in the Medoc, St Emilion, Sauternes (inc a stop to worship at Chateau d'Yquem!), Cadillac, Bergerac, Bourg and Blaye. Guests were from UK generally but probably majority from USA and Canada, plenty of friends to be made and non stop activity of some kind. There were opportunities to explore the City of Bordeaux, vibrant, clean and full of history. This was a holiday not to be missed, if you're a wine drinking Francophile! :-) Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first Uniworld and riverboat cruise. We are not big fans of cruises, but this was suggested by our travel agent - so we decided to give it a try. We flew into CDG and spent the night - taking the train down to Bordeaux the ... Read More
This was our first Uniworld and riverboat cruise. We are not big fans of cruises, but this was suggested by our travel agent - so we decided to give it a try. We flew into CDG and spent the night - taking the train down to Bordeaux the next day. We allowed ourselves a full day and overnight in Bordeaux. This help any travel lag and made sure we had plenty of cushion in case anything went wrong. Went to the boat around 1:00pm and were met at the curb by Uniworld personnel - they took our bags. we in processed, and our bags were in our stateroom by 2:00 - a great meal and refreshments were provided. Everything about the ship and cruise was first class, and there were never any surprises. An excellent cruise director kept everyone informed and staff was always available. The excursions were well organized and never crowded or rushed. The guides were well informed and all spoke excellent English. Meals were always an experience - starting with a presentation from the Sommelier on the wines of the evening. There were plenty of choices and any requests were cheerfully accommodated. We were going to take the train to London after disembarking in Bordeaux. They arranged a cab for us, our bags were loaded, and we made our train with plenty of time. And just like the book says - we didn't owe a cent upon departure. A fabulous experience - we are already looking to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
River Royale – Uniworld Bordeaux River Cruise Just completed our first cruise with Uniworld, a week long river cruise that can only be described as a truly magnificent experience. The entire cruise from end to end was nothing less ... Read More
River Royale – Uniworld Bordeaux River Cruise Just completed our first cruise with Uniworld, a week long river cruise that can only be described as a truly magnificent experience. The entire cruise from end to end was nothing less than sensational. The daily itinerary including scheduled day excursions to the most interesting places and were well planned, informative and all-round very pleasurable, in particular the visits to the chateau informative wine talks and tastings. The entire ship’s crew were, extremely friendly, welcoming and attentive meeting your every need in the most pleasant manner. No request was too much and they all carried out their functions in the most professional manner. Every meal offered a wide range of choices and well presented. Every evening meal (food and wine) were gastronomic experiences. The leisurely atmosphere and organization was unlike any of the other five river cruises we have experienced to date with other river cruise company’s. We loved the relaxed style, no hurrying, laid back approach and no name tags. It was the little things that made this cruise so pleasurable, The Cruise Director Piet was fabulous he just handled every issue with complete ease second guessing people’s needs and wants. Uniworld have certainly set a benchmark with us and we look forward to another experience with them they really know the meaning of value add. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Just back from our first river cruise on the Uniworld River Royale in France , sailing from Bordeaux on the Dordogne and Garonne river . Visiting many famous Chateaus and tasting wonderful French wine example: Chateau La Tour Blanche ... Read More
Just back from our first river cruise on the Uniworld River Royale in France , sailing from Bordeaux on the Dordogne and Garonne river . Visiting many famous Chateaus and tasting wonderful French wine example: Chateau La Tour Blanche ,Chateau Beau Beau Sejour , Montbazilliac and the different sauternes accompanied with a fine lunch at Chateau D’ Arche . The River Royale is a pretty new ship , luxurious cabins, good size and fast Wifi everywhere on the ship , very helpful staff from different nationalities and we received a perfect service till the last minute , all kind of drinks and snacks or sweets available all day long , never short of something , you just ask for it and it’s there rifgtaway. The food was excellent all the way , fine dining , choice of meat , fish vegetarian etc. never any complains except at one noon when they served hamburgers on deck , they have been not really eatable but how do you expect a great French chef to make that kind of junk food . They had fresh deliveries in every port of call to make all our meal delicious. The ship accommodate 130 guest but there have been only 96 . The two rivers did not have a good scenery as you would have f.e. at the Rhine river but the highlight of this cruise was visiting the wineries and old towns like Saint-Emilion or Blaye , travelling though the Bordeaux area and being informed about the history of it was more important. Have been lucky with the weather in June so that we enjoyed the included well-organized excursions, we had local guides wit very good knowledge about the places we have been visiting , and yes it was all explained in very good English but with French charm , not just retired school teachers but very professional guides. We all agreed that the optional tour ( a full bus ) to the Remy Martin cellars was just top notch. Some of our US travel friends have convinced us to join on this cruise and we did not regret it one moment, the contrary. Are there negative things to say , maybe but have to search for it, there is only one restroom near the restaurant but most guest went to their own cabin if needed , it’s just a short distance so no big deal . The airport pick at Bordeaux airport did not work the way it was expected or foreseen, it was all about advance information about , where - when - how. Uniworld is in the high price bracket but after sailing around the world on 5 stars cruise ships, this one was a bit different from what we used to do but for sure 5 star, we feel that these 7 days have been such a great luxury experience for us so that we can’t wait to book another cruise with Uniworld . Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
First, this was our 3rd cruise with UniWorld. Last September we did the Avignon to Lyon on the SS Catherine. It was fabulous! The ship had only been in service 5 mos at the time and everything was terrific. I reviewed that cruise as ... Read More
First, this was our 3rd cruise with UniWorld. Last September we did the Avignon to Lyon on the SS Catherine. It was fabulous! The ship had only been in service 5 mos at the time and everything was terrific. I reviewed that cruise as well. The second cruise was part of the Majestic of France two cruise package. We began on June 14 in Paris to Normandy on the River Baroness--very small cabins, but manageable--crew in total were FANTASTIC. The same goes for the food and service we received. There was an air of closeness--in a good way. We traveled with friends and we all agreed the feeling on the ship was close and sort of family like....we thoroughly enjoyed it. As part of the package we took the train from Paris to Bordeaux. As one reviewer has said, the cruise really goes no where. Frankly, as we decided in the end, we could have done the Bordeaux region with the wineries, etc. all on our own using Bordeaux as base. We found the crew to be okay, friendly, but not really giving the warm we are really glad you are here feeling which we had gotten on the Baroness. This is not fair to Antonio who was the primary entertainment...keyboard..he was really engaging, fun and played beautifully. The food was not as good as the Baroness which was truly 5 star...the food on Royale was a 7 out of 10, better than average but not 5 star. The wine selections were mostly local and acceptable, although we learned thru this trip my wife and I really like the Pauillac/Medoc region wines the best. This certainly is not a criticism of the wines served, since we could request alternate wines and it was immediately provided. The excursions all encompassed a bus ride. They also, except in a few occassions, were strictly from 8-8:30am until returning to the ship at Noon approximately. We were in the land of wineries and small quaint French villages, which could all be reached easily and we did get a taste of the countryside and the wines. This definitely is a wine tour cruise, which is what we wanted, but it could have been so much more with more visits to available wineries. One excursion in particular was to Blaye....1 1/2hours on the bus. The people who were signed up for the easy walking were dropped seaside by the bus at a cafe and told the bus would return in 1 1/2 hour and then back to the ship. The rest went to a grist mill and as it turned out the tour for walking was less strenous than the easy walking tour if you walked about Blaye. My wife has a need knee replacement coming and one of our friends also has difficulty walking due to gout, etc. The four of us did not wish to just sit around a cafe but chose to explore the town, which entailed walking up some steep cobblestone roads and walks...no problem, only problem is Blaye was essentially closed down...nothing open, no galleries, etc. An absolute waste of time and certainly not worth a 3 hour round trip bus ride. What really had to be a disappointment for a couple of handicap people who just sat in the cafe until the bus arrived again. One exceptional tour was again another 3-4 hr roundtrip to the home of Remy Martin. It was a fabulous tour and the people at Remy Martin were outstanding. This was on a day when we had a morning tour and lunch on the boat with the trip to Remy Martin in the afternoon arriving back to the boat about 6pm. Given there are so many fine wineries in the region, why not have excursions all day long? As I said the cruise could have been so much more. I did get to use the exercise equipment since we had many afternoons with nothing going on.....but that is the tale of a River Cruise generally...morning excursions and afternoons with nothing, unless you choose an optional (pay for it) excursion. Keep in mind UniWorld does not nickel and dime. They only offer very few optional excursions fairly priced and we have taken 3 which have been terrific and 1 which we signed up for but was cancelled due to lack of interest. On this particular cruise we signed up for Remy Martin and another, but it was cancelled. We had taken 2 optional excursions on the Avignon to Lyon cruise and they too were fantastic! We enjoyed the river cruising and will probably do the Rhine as everyone we have met that has been on a Rhine cruise says they are the best. Won't be this coming year, but maybe the next. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
River Royale Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.7
Family 1.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 3.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 5.0 4.2

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