9 Uniworld River Countess Cruise Reviews

This was our first uniworld cruise, and to be honest I did not like the ship. It was very claustrophobic: low ceilings, outsized furniture in small spaces, I always felt like I was sqeezing past other guests, especially at the buffet. That ... Read More
This was our first uniworld cruise, and to be honest I did not like the ship. It was very claustrophobic: low ceilings, outsized furniture in small spaces, I always felt like I was sqeezing past other guests, especially at the buffet. That said, service and food were always excellent. We had an amazing art historian leading many of the tours and it was nice to have a choice of tours included every day. (Avoid the mussel cruise at all costs, though; it was totally lame). Having all drinks included, not just with meals, was a nice plus. We took the option of starting in Milan and were very happy we did. The hotel there was very good and stopping at Verona on the way to Venice was quite pleasant. We took the optional tour to the top of the Milan Cathedral which was dangerously crowded since it was a holiday weekend but still spectacular. I especially appreciated that Uniworld arranged for private group viewings of the Last Supper and St Mark's cathedral so we could avoid the crush and appreciate those places. The onboard enrichment ranged from pathetic (tiramisu demo). To very good ( narrated tour of the lagoon); onboard entertainment was very good, especially the local musicians and singers. The cruise director, Ricardo, was always ready to lend a hand to anyone who needed it, and was very pleasant and competent. He kept us well informed of changes in the itinerary. Although we never reached the Po due to weather, cruising the lagoon was wonderful, and exploring the islands was a treat. If we hadn’t been to Venice before I would have wanted more of the area around the square, but for us it was a wonderful trip All in all, I would travel with Uniworld again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I am just back from a fantastic holiday in Italy, and loved my experience with Uniworld and the River Countess. We started with the pre-cruise add-on in Milan, which was a great start to our vacation. The hotel was well located and ... Read More
I am just back from a fantastic holiday in Italy, and loved my experience with Uniworld and the River Countess. We started with the pre-cruise add-on in Milan, which was a great start to our vacation. The hotel was well located and comfortable, and the walking tour gave a nice introduction to the city. The transfer to Venice was excellent, with Verona being a hidden gem that ended up being our highlight of the trip - it is a beautiful town I would love to return to. Arriving in Venice, embarkation was smooth. The River Countess is a good looking ship for its type, and it has all the advertised features. It doesn't have the range of on-board options we've experienced in sea-based cruises, but I wasn't expecting it to. Food was uniformly good, with some meals being excellent - I am fussy with food and was very pleased with what we received. The best part of the River Countess experience was the staff - they were all consistently friendly and helpful. It truly seemed that nothing was ever too much trouble, and the small size of the ship (just over 100 guests the week we cruised) meant they started to get to know us and our preferences as the cruise progressed. I was particularly impressed by the mid-cruise request for feedback, as my feedback was acknowledged and implemented by the next day. The excursions were good, although some of the guides shared more information than I personally needed. This is a hard balance, as others seemed to love the stories about the art and churches etc. Having individual ear-pieces was great as it allowed me to wander away briefly and look at things of interest to me while others stayed with the guide. My only reservation about the experience was the 'river cruise" component. Cruising on the Po was unexciting, as there was little to see on either side of the river much of the time. Spending two days on the river felt forced, and the excursions were based on where we were rather than any particular tourist merit (not that all weren't charming in their own ways). For myself, I'd have been just as happy spending that time in Venice. Lastly, a note on my fellow cruisers. The week I cruised it was a family cruise, so there were a mix of ages. I liked that. I got the impression that other weeks the age profile for the average cruiser will be heavily 60 (if not 70)+. Passengers came from USA, Canada, UK, and a range of other countries. All were friendly. The small size of the ship meant you saw most people around the ship or on the included tours, and dining was communal (there were only two tables for two), so it was hard to stay anonymous. That will suit some people but not others. Overall, I gave this cruise 4 stars. It didn't get five because of my reservations about the river aspect, and because River Countess is a small ship with limited facilities. Other than those, it was a 5 star experience and something I would happily do again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Venice and a canal boat experience was on our bucket list therefore choosing Italy gem tour fitted these two points. Having a trip with all inclusive costs was appealing especially when considering budget. All of the staff on board were ... Read More
Venice and a canal boat experience was on our bucket list therefore choosing Italy gem tour fitted these two points. Having a trip with all inclusive costs was appealing especially when considering budget. All of the staff on board were amazing, exuded professional service and interactions at all times. They were happy to meet our needs and some went over and above to provide a specific and thoughtful service. There were interesting and a variety of excursion options offered. The guides provided by Uniworld were professional, knowledgable and aware of their group. It was appreciated that there was always a person at the end of the group ensuring no one was lost or left behind. However this was not always the case with the local guides. Dining on board was a pleasant experience, good food and drink, great service and helpful and friendly staff. We met people from different walks of life and enjoyed their company. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We are so glad we did this cruise. This is a wonderful way to see Venice. The tours we took during this cruise were outstanding. We started the cruise with a land tour in Milan where Uniworld put us up in a nice hotel right downtown ... Read More
We are so glad we did this cruise. This is a wonderful way to see Venice. The tours we took during this cruise were outstanding. We started the cruise with a land tour in Milan where Uniworld put us up in a nice hotel right downtown in the middle of the action. They took us to see the "Last Supper", the Duomo, and a castle/fort. After 2 days in Milan we were loaded onto buses and transported to Venice and the River Countess with a walking tour and lunch at a winery on the way. The River Countess was very clean and in good shape for its age. Have to admit that our french balcony room was a lot smaller than what we expected but we made the most of it. The staff overall was friendly and service was good. Food overall was also good, with their soups some of the best I have ever eaten. Tours from the boat were good and we appreciated the grouping by physical ability for the tours. The only thing we did not particularly like was have to be off the boat for such a long time while cruised to and from the Po River. Other than that, Uniworld is very well organized with excellent tour guides. Because of this tour/cruise, we are now looking at Uniworld as another option in a Budapest to Amsterdam river cruise. Highly recommend this as a way to see Venice and surrounding areas. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose a River Cruise as it was recommended to us by our Travel Agent. In addition to the river cruise, part of our vacation was a Land Tour before and after the cruise. Staying on the River Countess was the best part of the trip ... Read More
We chose a River Cruise as it was recommended to us by our Travel Agent. In addition to the river cruise, part of our vacation was a Land Tour before and after the cruise. Staying on the River Countess was the best part of the trip although we were unable to sail on the Po River due to low water levels. We actually only sailed the Venice Lagoon twice. The service by the staff was excellent namely Andreea, Crisitan and Tibor. On one of the sailing days, one of our tour guides, Tamara, described the lagoon and islands as we sailed. She also provided us with an educational wine tasting afterwards in the lounge. We were able to select and participate in many excursions based on our interest level. One of my favorite days was visiting Torcello, Burano and the Venissa Winery! The four hour round trip to Bologna was difficult for the short amount of time spent there. I did enjoy the pasta making workshop and appreciated the opportunity to participate in the making of the tortelloni. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly~the crew is well organized and professional. I would definitely book another River Cruise in the future! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have sailed with Viking on 5 different cruises and will do more in the future but the itenerary offered by Uniworld was one we could not pass up. We did the Splendors of Italy tour which was a combination land and boat tour. We ... Read More
We have sailed with Viking on 5 different cruises and will do more in the future but the itenerary offered by Uniworld was one we could not pass up. We did the Splendors of Italy tour which was a combination land and boat tour. We understood that it wasn't really a river tour but a floating hotel in the Venice lagoon. The land portion of the tour was excellent. The quality of the hotels was better then anything we experienced with Viking. The only negative was the food service at the hotel in Florence. One meal was so bad that everyone in our group complained and we joked about it during the rest of the trip since everything else was superb. The really great meals were on the tours at the wineries and small restaurants we visited. The guides were excellent, informative and easy to understand. From Mylan to Rome we couldn't have aske for a better experience. The experience in Venice was also very good but the service on the River Countess did not measure up to what one would expect from Uniworld. The dining room staff did not appear to be ready for a full boat. We had two meals where we waited over an hour for our food. The air conditioning could not adequately cool the dining room so the wait was a hot one. At the captains diner those who dresses up regretted the choice, shedding jackets etc. to try and be comfortable. This problem was also true in the lounge as it was difficult to get a drink in a timely fashion. We noted that more staff were in the lounge as the week went on. We were told that they only had about 60 people on the previous cruise and may have not been prepared for a full boat. It was noted that there was a large contingent of people on board that had booked the trip with a discounter who sold a big block of rooms at a huge discount. You would think that Uniworld would upgrade those who paid full price before giving rooms to a discounter. But for the problems mentioned above the tours and guides were great. The evening at St. Marks was special and the quality of the guides, especially Susan, the art historian was top notch. The boat docked 7 bridges from St Mark's square so it was great for touring Veniice. All in all, this was a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was billed as 7 days of river cruising and 6 nights of land travel to visit Florence and Rome with stops on the way to both. Unfortunately as seen from other reviews, there was little cruising to be had other than in the lagoon. ... Read More
This was billed as 7 days of river cruising and 6 nights of land travel to visit Florence and Rome with stops on the way to both. Unfortunately as seen from other reviews, there was little cruising to be had other than in the lagoon. While the captain attempted to give us some of that, it really didn't live up to it's billing. The ship was wonderful and well as her crew, food outstanding and our fellow travelers made our trip. The long bus rides for 4 days need to be evaluated and made more comfortable given the amount of time spent on this mode of transportation. Guides in local areas were outstanding, very knowledgeable and accommodating to questions and clarification. Wifi was billed as free and it was a real frustration, never really worked but wasted a tremendous amount fo time for those of us that needed to keep an eye on our business communications. Coffee machine didn't work for the first few days and that as well meant frustration for many. Entertainment in the lounge was weak to non-existent and I would suggest strongly given the other glitches it would have been a PR gesture to offer free drinks/snacks to help ease the frustration of the things that didn't work. Land part of this trip was wonderful. Much better bus and excellent side trips. Two wine trips were above expectation in all areas, fun, hospitality, food and wine. Our cruise manager was very knowledgeable plus brought the tour to a down to earth experience with personal stories of his living in Italy. Would certainly cruise with Uniglobe again, but would really like a true river experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We sailed on Oct 13. The ship is lovely and our cabin was more than adequate. High end linens and toiletries in a well configured room. Can't fault the staff for anything. They were absolutely flawless. Meals were high quality and the ... Read More
We sailed on Oct 13. The ship is lovely and our cabin was more than adequate. High end linens and toiletries in a well configured room. Can't fault the staff for anything. They were absolutely flawless. Meals were high quality and the variety was endless. If you didn't see what you wanted and the chef had time, he would try to accommodate you and make it. The two times they brought in entertainment ( a jazz trio and then two opera singers) were very high quality. The tours in Venice were amazing. The walking tour that led into the Doges Palace was great. Seeing St. Marks go from darkness to light that evening was incredible. We were very impressed, thinking this is a terrific cruise.. Then we started on the bus tours. We couldn't sail the Po just like most of the other cruises this year. So we sat for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours (Paduva) and often much longer ( Bologna 4 hours) on a bus to get to a somewhat interesting city. The walking tours were well done and we saw some great sights. The Vox system of broadcasting worked really well. The lunch in Ravena and Bologna were very nice and the pasta making workshop was terrific. The last two reviews have done a great job in describing their experiences. We just felt somewhat disappointed that we didn't sail on any river. I wonder if in their haste to offer a river cruise in Italy and beat the competition, that they didn't do due diligence on whether Italy is a place that should offer a river cruise. The ports of call are okay and would be much more attractive if they were a stop on a river that you were sailing on. We may try another river cruise down the road, maybe the lower Danube, but this is a very expensive bus tour the way the Po river cruise stands at the moment. We had a good time because we always have a good time, but it just fell a little short of what we were expecting. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We sailed on the River Countess on a Rhine and Main Rivers ("Rhine Discovery") cruise in July 2010, from Basel, Switzerland to Nurenberg, Germany. We arrived on our own in Basel a few days early and toured on our own. The day ... Read More
We sailed on the River Countess on a Rhine and Main Rivers ("Rhine Discovery") cruise in July 2010, from Basel, Switzerland to Nurenberg, Germany. We arrived on our own in Basel a few days early and toured on our own. The day of departure, we took a taxi to the dock around Noon. The crew took charge of our luggage. The Hotel desk staff had us checked in (in) less than one minute and sent us to the lounge to wait for our cabin to be ready. There were sandwiches, pizza and cheese for us to snack upon, with free tea, coffee, iced tea and water. Soft (and hard) drinks were available from the bar. Sodas cost about 2.50 (Euros) while drinks ranged from 4.50 to 6.50. We explored the ship as well. As you can see from the floor plans, it is small. It has: Lounge in the bow; a small library with 2 desks with PC's, two 4 person bridge-style tables and two 4 person easy-chair groupings; reception area with "hotel" and Cruise Director desks; 4 decks of cabins; "shop" (10 x 10 feet) with jewelry and kick-knacks; a coffee station with espresso, teas, hot chocolate and iced teas; a fitness room with 2 x each of treadmills, bikes, ellipticals; (free) passenger laundry with 2 x washers and dryers (soap available for purchase at the Hotel desk); massage room; and restaurant aft. We met a few other couples while we waited. The other passenger groups ranged in size from couples to a group of 8 neighbors from the States. There were two families with teens, but I strongly recommend against bringing kids. The company and tours are not geared toward them at all. The age range of adults seemed to start at 45 and went up to 93, with two couples seemingly in their late 30's (or with much better plastic surgeons). There were 138 passengers on board for our cruise. An aside: One couple, from Australia, told us Uniworld had lost their reservation (yes, they had their confirmation paperwork) and had to scramble to find them a cabin. They were booked in a Cat 4 cabin, but were given a Cat 1 for the first ½ of their cruise (7 days). For the inconvenience, they were invited to the captains table and given a suite for the second ½ of the cruise. We were given our cabin keys at around 1:30. The cabin was a little smaller than most other cruise ship cabins we have had. It had 4 large drawers, 2 half-height and one full-height closets...plenty of space for our clothes and a tall space under both double beds for our luggage. One of the closets had a large safe, able to hold a large camera, wallets and laptop. It also included two fluffy robes and a large umbrella. There was a "makeup" area with mirror and stool with its own light as well. The TV was about 13 - 15 inches seemed to have lower resolution than SD, making it very hard to read the daily announcements, menu's, etc. The ship has satellite service which went in and out as we passed bridges, trees, clouds, etc. It worked fine while we were docked. Channels included CNN International, BBC, Discovery Channel, Cartoon Network. Two different recently released to DVD movies which changed daily played as well. For our cruise, they included Alice in Wonderland, Dear John and Shutter Island. As with our other cruise experiences, the bathroom was just large enough for a sink in a small vanity with mirror and lit magnifying mirror, toilet and shower. The shower was surprisingly large, considering the rest of the bathroom. The crew is simply the most cheerful, helpful group we have had the pleasure to meet. Everybody was smiling and seemed genuinely happy to help in any way possible. The Captain and Hotel Manager (married) were professional and very funny throughout our interactions. The Cruise Director (Claudia for this cruise) was very knowledgeable, helpful and kept close track of all 140 of us through our excursions. Unlike most of our other cruise experiences, the food ranged from very good to excellent. Even the breakfast and lunch buffets were of excellent quality. Lunch and Dinner menus were posted the night before on the TV and before each meal at the Hotel desk. Wait staff were all friendly and attentive, serving and refilling drinks at all meals and helping the mobility-challenged of us. Breakfast included a daily special, like crepes or eggs benedict, eggs/omelets cooked to order, a great selection of breads, juices, smoked salmon, cheeses, cereals and a variety of hot foods: scrambled eggs, bacon (crisp AND soft separately), pancakes. All meals were served in one sitting, without any assigned seating. All passengers fit at once(obviously). Tables held from 2 - 8 (10?), all with views out floor to ceiling windows side and/or aft. You could either sit at a table the size of your party or dine with other groups. Each meal most people either sat at tables with empty spaces or asked to sit in said empty spaces. If you wanted to "reserve" a large table for a large group, you simply got there as early as you could to hold it. The variety of people we met made for the best part of the cruise. We met families from US, UK, Australia and Canada. Most people were happy to meet each other, though there were a few groups more insular. Over the course of the cruise, we met about 16 different couples over meals and found a number of friends with whom we plan on keeping in touch. Lunch changed daily and always included a different carving station entrEe, such as a German version of a Pot Au Feu (the best offering, in our opinion), salmon with a lemon cream sauce and carved beef. There were also different soups each day, all made in-house. Every single one was excellent. There were a variety of cheeses, three different salads (changing each day as well...chicken and Caesar salads were great), two different hot entrees, vegetables and starches. Finally, there were always 2 or 3 desserts created by the in-house pastry chef. Her creations were always beautiful and had excellent flavor. Finally, if you did not like her creations that day, there was an ice cream sundae station. Dinner was served, as opposed to the buffets of the other meals. You were given a menu listing the (4) courses, with a choice of entrEe and occasionally a choice in appetizer. Appetizers included I am not going to discuss the tours at any length. They were a good compromise, given the range of passengers. All guides were friendly and easy for us English speakers to understand. Some thought the guides were long-winded, others thought they gave an excellent level of detail. Our only real complaint: Internet access was as close to useless as I have ever seen. At least dial-up provides you with a consistent connection, slow as it may be. The wifi network was only usable from the lounge and library (and on the rear sundeck, I think). Once you signed in to get access, you were usually unable to get any further to the Internet. There are also two desktop computers to share, which had exactly the same lack of Internet service. While I understand the spotty nature of Satellite Internet service, it should have at least been available while we were docked. The whole week, all of us would stick our heads into the library and ask the current set of frustrated EMailers if the "Internet was working". 75% of the time it was not, 10% of the time it seemed to move at 1 Kbps (Yahoo/G/Hot- mail would take about 5 minutes to load), and 5% of the time it was "normal". Mind you, that 5% of the time, maybe 2% gave us speeds fast enough for ANY media access. One poor woman worked for an hour to view pictures of her grandson and family online. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
River Countess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 1.0 3.9
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 5.0 4.8
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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