13 Uniworld Queen Isabel Cruise Reviews

We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different ... Read More
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different venue....the makeup of the Seine vs the Douro but a lot of it was just a poorly orchestrated itinerary. As I’m sure you’re aware, unlike the Seine, the river boats can’t cruise the Douro at night which probably presents some logistical issues. That said, as a more upscale provider, I would have expected UniWorld to have figured out how to compensate and address this. The other issue is that while the Douro is lovely and the scenery beautiful, there isn’t tons to do. Unlike the Seine, there are few cute little villages (except Porto) to explore along its banks so understandably, every sight or at least most, we were bused to. However, they did these bus rides/tours in the morning which meant rising at 6/6:30 to dress and get breakfast so we could be on the bus usually by 8:30 (one morning may have been 9). Then they’d get us back on the bus and back on the boat midday for lunch and an afternoon of sailing. Nothing of real substance to do except drink (btw the wine is delicious!). I should note that one day was a full day trip to Salamanca so of course we had to be up and out early but the others were half day excursions. If memory serves me, 3 of those morning / half day excursions involved wine tastings! Really....at 10am!!!!! Had they flipped the schedule and allowed for more leisurely mornings to eat breakfast and watch the countryside go by, the whole experience would have been more enjoyable and relaxing. We finished the cruise depleted and exhausted! Two other points. Lisbon. They put us up at the Corinthia Hotel on the outskirts of the city. The hotel was fine but the location made it difficult to get out and easily enjoy the city. On the return we stayed in the heart of the city (unfortunately it was only for one night). How much more delightful our Lisbon experience would have been had we been there for 3 days at the front end! I’m not sure if other tour companies offer a more centrally located hotel. If this is typical then I would urge you to suggest that people make their own hotel arrangements in Lisbon so they can take advantage of the city. There are plenty of local guides and a hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the city and then people can get out on their own and explore. The Douro is very dependent on the weather. Our week was cloudy, cold and rainy. The week before was lovely. But since there is so little to do, it’s extra important to have good weather. I wouldn't book beyond mid October. The food was inconsistent so disappointing. The buffet food at lunch was not always hot. Ama had a few things you could order from the kitchen, such as pasta, that came out hot. Uniworld was only buffet and carving station. Seafood was usually over cooked. They didn’t have some Portuguese specialties like shrimp in garlic or large prawns. Or even lobster. I expected this on a luxury line. It did seem like they were serving less expensive foods. The pork tenderloin the first night was excellent. The rest of the dinners were not memorable. Red Wines were excellent even though they were pretty inexpensive (we looked In stores). Our waiter, we had the same table all week, was outstanding. The Sandeman trip was a highlight - beautiful ride up. Would recommend the duo the last night in Porto be put on the first night in Porto - they we’re outstanding. Kirsten, the cruise director, was ok but a little misleading on what a disabled person could do. Also, the wine guy who explained the wine was worthless. It didn’t really tell us anything so I’d just eliminate that part. I would also recommend that Uniworld send more information in advance of the cruise. We skipped the dinner at the local winery, because we didn’t want the bus ride in the dark, or more cabbage soup. The dinner on the ship that night was mediocre. People said the winery dinner was not very good but the evening was fun. Coimbra was lovely, even though it poured. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise based on recommendations of American Express platinum travel services and reviews. Prior to leaving we had reservations as we had read some not so great reviews on the ship and service .We contacted our Agent as ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on recommendations of American Express platinum travel services and reviews. Prior to leaving we had reservations as we had read some not so great reviews on the ship and service .We contacted our Agent as well as Uniworld and were assured that all our concerns had been addressed and that Uniworld had trained the Portuguese crew and that it was not their ship but leased it out Let’s start by being positive,the Portuguese staff were great and all spoke English and went out of their way to please you ,unfortunately as I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 40 years doesn’t matter how great you are if there are not enough of you it’s impossible to give the level of service demanded on what is meant to be a 5 star crise The actual boat ,the cabins and itinerary were also very good but because ships are not allowed to travel at night it’s a lot of wasted time Now for the bad ,Uniworld staff on board pretended to be sympathetic to all your needs but always came back to you with the same line our head office says we can’t give you what was promised but will accommodate you to the best we can ie as our flight was outside there time allotment they would order us a taxi of which we would have to pay Secondly our power in our room blew up my wife’s hairdryer and my shaver blew We used the same transformer in Lisbon and it worked great ,was told it was our issue and said I could buy some stuff in the shop ,no way after making a stink they brought me some disposable razors and some shaving cream Next our neighbors cabin was leaking dark brown sewage out of her toilet which we could smell The food at best was average we were told we would be getting fresh local foods especially fish , haha we had fish 2 times and once it was about 1by 2 and we did get sardines at our last lunch Breakfast and lunch were good but dinners were to many courses (my opinion less choices and more quality ) would be best served .once again staff tried everything to accommodate us by making special treats to try and compensate We also go sick after the second day both vomiting and diarrhea and learn that many other passengers suffered same fate Lastly some of the excursions we had especially the last dinner outing to a winery was just terrible,the food inedible We met many other guests on board who had been other Uniworld crises from Amsterdam and other ports that were fantastic,I guess this one is there biggest money maker but if the want my business back they will need to really make me an offer I could not refuse Planing a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia and heard similar issues as they don’t own boat or have control of staff Might have to look into other lines Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was out 5th cruise with Uniworld and the previous 4 were great. We were looking forward to seeing Portugal with same quality. Unfortunately, we were disapppomted. Many of the tours Included excessive free/shopping time, and the meals ... Read More
This was out 5th cruise with Uniworld and the previous 4 were great. We were looking forward to seeing Portugal with same quality. Unfortunately, we were disapppomted. Many of the tours Included excessive free/shopping time, and the meals were below the standard that we had come to expect. There was an emphasis on Portuguese food, but it was not planned with an appropriate consideration for the tastes of the non-Portuguese clientele. Hot food was often served warm or cold. There were many times where tours could have been expanded and where experts could have been brought on board during sailing times to improve the quality of the experience while providing better insight to Portuguese history, culture, and customs. Outstanding service and staff support helped to offset some of the problems. We thoroughly enjoyed our trips on the Rhine and in France and are looking forward to a trip in the fall to Italy. Overall, while I would still recommend Uniworld, I cannot recommend this particular trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
To celebrate my 70th birthday my husband and I went all out and booked first class air flights, 5 star hotels and a suite (318) on the Uniworld Queen Isabel for a Douro River cruise. This is an amazingly beautiful trip. Porto and the ... Read More
To celebrate my 70th birthday my husband and I went all out and booked first class air flights, 5 star hotels and a suite (318) on the Uniworld Queen Isabel for a Douro River cruise. This is an amazingly beautiful trip. Porto and the adjoining cities are charming. The Yeatman Hotel is over the top! The city excursion guided by Uniworld was very good. Our guide was knowledgeable and engaged. We learned a lot about the city and the culture of the region. The service on-board the Isabel was stellar. A special shout-out to Ricardo, the bartender who never met a drink he couldn't make and who looked out for the passengers. There were a couple of nights we weren't up to a big dinner and Ricardo hovered over us until he convinced us that for him to bring us a sandwich etc. was no problem. Another shout-out to another Ricardo, our "cruise director". Ricardo's lectures on the area, port and the planned excursions were interesting, funny & informative. He was also a kind a caring person who truly seemed to care about the welfare of all his passengers. Last but not least was Roberto, who was generally in charge of the ship. Another person who was always more than willing to go the extra mile to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, even such excellent service could not make up for the very real short-comings of the Queen Isabel herself. The ship seems old with very low ceilings in the lounge and dining room. The furniture to be kind is dated and uncomfortable. Here you are on a river cruise...that cries out for a comfy chair and a hassock to put your feet up on and watch the world slip by. There is nothing like that anywhere on the ship. Not in our suite and not in the lounge. All the seating is straight backed and stiff and there are NO footstools of any kind. Yes, the top deck has some chaises but the weather is not always conducive to sitting up there. Then finally there is Suite 318. This suite is right above the water pump which turns itself on and off all night and all day long. Because the noise goes on and off inconsistently, it never becomes "white noise" and you find yourself on edge waiting for it to start or stop. My husband and I did not have one good night's sleep the entire time we were on-board. Although the crew came to our room and listened and agreed yes it was disturbing, there was nothing that could be done. Since this was a very expensive room on this ship, it was very disappointing. The issue with our room was so serious that I don't recommend Uniworld's Queen Isabel. From what I saw, there are far newer and more comfortable looking ships that offer the same or a similar itinerary. To go 7 nights without resting well has put me off Uniworld in general. They should not allow such an expensive room to have such a deep and apparently unfixable flaw. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have traveled with Uniworld several times in the past and had always had wonderful experiences. This trip was not wonderful. I knew that this ship was leased by Uniworld but did not realize how much difference that would make. The worst ... Read More
We have traveled with Uniworld several times in the past and had always had wonderful experiences. This trip was not wonderful. I knew that this ship was leased by Uniworld but did not realize how much difference that would make. The worst time was when a group of 8 of us arrived at the designated meeting spot in Salamanca, Spain only to find that there was no Uniworld rep there to meet us. Nothing like being stranded in a foreign country with no map and no emergency contact information. When we were docked in Porto (actually in Gaia), the docking spot was next to a restaurant with an open deck where loud parties went on till 3 or 5 AM both nights we were there. Cabin cleaning services were random, at best. Food was fine, I guess, but I can think of at least 6 of the guests on this cruise who were sick with some kind of stomach virus during the cruise. The scenery along the Douro is lovely, but don't expect a Uniworld experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We choose Uniworld for our first river cruise as it is supposed to be I boutique ship.The ship the Queen Isabel wasn't in Porto as planned when we got on as the river was too high. We had already spent 3 days in Lisbon with Uniworld ... Read More
We choose Uniworld for our first river cruise as it is supposed to be I boutique ship.The ship the Queen Isabel wasn't in Porto as planned when we got on as the river was too high. We had already spent 3 days in Lisbon with Uniworld and nothing was mentioned about not being able to cruise just that we were getting on the ship further down. We were then told we wouldn't be cruising the river. We moved a little way down the river while we were out in a trip. The only other time we moved was to the other side of the river to refuel why when we hadn't moved? We ended up going out by bus every day on different trips but no cruising.we didn't move until the next to last day when we cruised to Porto.We missed going to Salamanca which was one of the main reasons for booking this cruise. We had booked a French balcony but all we could see was either a wall or another ship we were next too. Also we were in cabin 221 and we could hear the generator every night and we couldn't sleep. When we got up one night for a cup of tea we told the reception staff about the noise and they said it was the generator. The only compensation Uniworld offered is 50% off the next trip so if you don't go on another there is nothing. We have complained but Uniworld just say they don't give refunds! The service on the ship and food were very good and it's a shame that the main reason you do a river cruise is to cruise the river. The cabins weren't very big and several people have been on other Uniworld cruises else where and they said this ship wasn't as good. It appears that this ship is not owned by Uniworld as they aren't allowed to use their own ships on the Duoro which we didn't realise. I wish I had read some of the reviews on this site before we went. I think some form of compensation should be allowed even if it was just the extra we paid for a balcony we couldn't use Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My brother has done several river cruises with UNIWORLD and has always spoke highly of those experiences. We decided to join him and his wife on the Douro River cruise on board Queen Isabel. I expected a five star trip but this was not the ... Read More
My brother has done several river cruises with UNIWORLD and has always spoke highly of those experiences. We decided to join him and his wife on the Douro River cruise on board Queen Isabel. I expected a five star trip but this was not the case. The actual cruising time is only four nights. I don't think we needed two nights in Porto before sailing. We certainly did not need two nights at a place that is nothing more than a fly spot on the map whilst waiting to be transferred to Madrid. Yes there was a tour to Castillo De Rodriguez but that only took care of three hours or so of that stopover. To be fair, I enjoyed the shore excursions put on by Uniworld and have no real complaints about them. However this does not apply to the food and drink on board. It really annoyed me that most of the decision on what to eat was restricted to main course only. This occurred on three occasions of the five nights aboard. The menu for the rest of the courses had been decided by the Chef. The food was not of five star quality- I had better on a recent cruise on board Celebrity Solstice. The wines were a big disappointment as like the food, all came from Portugal. The wines on offer were very high in acid. There was no Champagne and no other alternatives for the wines. Some of the wines we purchased ashore were of a far better quality than those aboard. The service was mixed. The waiters tried very hard but due to the lack of numbers of them, were often forgetful when servicing the needs of the diners. In particular, the situation on the sun deck. One (very new to cruising) waiter tried to meet the demands of at least 40 people. Just couldn't cope and rightfully so.There was also a language problem in that few of the waiters were fluent in English. Please know that this is not a five star cruise despite the very expensive price tag and the experience in my view, is a smear on UNIWORLD'S reputation. I understand that UNIWORLD charters the Queen Isabel and has little intervention over the use of Portuguese staff, food and beverages. Maybe UNIWORLD needs to rethink its presence on the Douro River. Scenic does the same trip and it is booked out. Maybe that is because Scenic has its own boat and does not have to compromise its level of service or its reputation. It would take quite an incentive for me to chose to cruise with UNIWORLD again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We heard so much about how wonderful Uniworld is...Well not on this trip We came to find out that Uniworld doesn't operate this tour..they lease it out. The first thing they should do is get their name off of it What a ... Read More
We heard so much about how wonderful Uniworld is...Well not on this trip We came to find out that Uniworld doesn't operate this tour..they lease it out. The first thing they should do is get their name off of it What a disappointment....the service was bad, particularly the dining room,. Our waiter told us we should have gone on Viking, as they are better. Perhaps he is right. There was no air conditioning for most of the trip and the temps were in the 90's. In the lounge, where drinks are included, it was impossible to get one. 88 people on board, one waiter..one bar tender. One of the passengers tried to get behind the bar himself. Awful. On the deck, you had to ring for a waiter...good luck with that. There is more, but you get the idea... When we got back I reached out to Uniworld customer service, asked for some compensation. They said sorry, but no. But they would give us ship board credits on next voyage. There will not be a next voyage with this company.... Lots of other vendors...don't need to be disappointed.... Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We saw this cruise advertised and thought it rather expensive but advertised as 5 star luxury so went ahead and booked a cat 2 cabin. I cannot call it a stateroom as there was nothing stately about it, ok so it had a hairdryer and a ... Read More
We saw this cruise advertised and thought it rather expensive but advertised as 5 star luxury so went ahead and booked a cat 2 cabin. I cannot call it a stateroom as there was nothing stately about it, ok so it had a hairdryer and a huge shoehorn but little else - no fridge or minibar, no tea/coffee making facilities (had to queue in corridor one floor up to use machine for early morning coffee), no room service, a filthy half window but always docked against a wall so nothing to see. The shower room was a good size unlike the cabin, and had L'Occitane toiletries bolted to the wall. The worst was to come when a tremendous noise repeated itself frequently, this turned out to be the pump syphoning every time anyone, anywhere on the ship flushed a toilet, most annoyingly late at night or very early morning before 6am when the crew awoke. We were told by the Uniworld representative that you get used to this after a week or two but we were only on a 7 day cruise! The whole ship felt crowded, we were told that it was fully booked with 116 passengers on board. On gala evenings there were insufficient seats in the lounge for everyone and it became so hot it was obvious that the air con couldn't cope. The two bar staff ran around each evening trying to manage all the drinks orders, they looked exhausted. Likewise in the restaurant the tables at dinner were so close that the waiters couldn't get between them and ready filled plates of food were passed down the tables, no service at table. The food was adequate but nothing special as would be expected for 5 star rating. At lunch the self service buffet ran out of hot food after about 10minutes and was not refilled, so the queue for the pasta cooking station was ridiculously long as that was the only hot food available. The scenery was amazing and the included excursions were well planned and always ran exactly to time with excellent guides. The scenery and excursions were my reason for giving an overall 3star rating rather than a lower score which the ship deserved. There was one public toilet on the ship, shared by both men and women and crew, and after 8am on disembarkation day was the only facility available for toilet, washing and changing for everyone. I was pleased to leave the ship and go home having spent a lot of money on a disappointing holiday. My impression was that at some point Uniworld or Douroazul had got greedy and converted the lower deck cabins from staff quarters to passenger cabins, we were told that crew now shared four to a cabin - unbelievable! An old deck plan showed all lower deck to be staff cabins, this was not dated however. Without the lower deck cabins there would be accommodation for around 86 passengers, about right for the size of the ship in my reckoning. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
After spending 2 days in Lisbon we were taken by coach to the Queen Isabel, stopping for a buffet lunch at an hotel along the way. After a short wait in the lounge with a welcoming drink we went to our cabins where our luggage was waiting ... Read More
After spending 2 days in Lisbon we were taken by coach to the Queen Isabel, stopping for a buffet lunch at an hotel along the way. After a short wait in the lounge with a welcoming drink we went to our cabins where our luggage was waiting for us. We had opted for a Junior suite cabin on the third floor which featured a small balcony. Room was nicely decorated with an adequate bathroom and includes slippers and robes. There was no Nespresso and tea station as advertised in their brochure and as far as I am aware nobody else had it in their cabins. There was a tea and coffee station on the second deck, as well as lemon water and biscuits, where you could help yourself. Staff are lovely and charming, but there would seem to be strict rules to be adhered to on this ship, and there is no flexibility or regard to customer satisfaction in some respects. Miguel plays the piano and sings during afternoon tea and after dinner in the evening and this finishes at 11.00pm. Although he would like to sing more, he is not allowed in case he disturbs other guests. As down below the lounge is the restaurant and we had the first cabin nearest the lounge, we know that you could not hear the music in other parts of the ship. Evening meals can be confusing as the menu was often inaccurate, eg minestrone soup turned out to be a very watery vegetable soup and orange pudding was cinnamon pudding and steak turned out to be veal. So we were well versed to being told that it was a mistake on the menu, which was quite disappointing to be served something you didn't think you had ordered. Apart from the vegetarian menu, the main menu offered either a meat or fish course as the main meal. One evening my husband asked if he could have the rosti that accompanied the lamb shank with his fish meal instead of the risotto, but this was refused by the chef. We have never experienced such an uncompromising attitude with regard to food choices before and although when bringing this to the attention of the cruise manager who agreed with us, many other people encountered the same problem. I would say that the food was a bit hit or miss, portions are small and there is a lack of vegetables with main courses. Although a small eater, after the first night I had all courses, because I still felt a little hungry. The excursions are good, but the first one on the trip to the Douro Museum was boring and I would skip that one. We did go on all of them and it can be quite tiring, so not quite the relaxing trip down the river we were hoping for, but that was our choice at the end of the day. Salamanca was excellent, a full day trip with an 8.00pm departure, and the evening meal at Quinta da Avessada was also great fun, as the owner was very entertaining in the style of Mr Bean. The last two days we were docked in Porto which is a lovely city. However we were docked next to a very noisy bar/restaurant which attracted a very young crowd from 11.00pm and the partying didn't stop until gone 4.30pm. Also a few boats away was a booze cruise which also had loud music until the small hours. However, the most disappointing part of the Uniworld cruise was departure day where we had to vacate our cabins at 8.00am and there was no courtesy room available. This meant that until our pick up there were 38 of us with the use of one toilet. In fairness this did not prove to be too much of a problem, as we were advised that there were plenty of restaurants with toilets along the dock and some people left the boat and used these. This is not what most people expected to be advised though. It would have been nice to have explored Porto further, but as there were no changing facilities, a lot of us did not want to get hot and sticky, as we were unable to change our clothes for the flight home. Also we were not served any alcoholic drinks until lunchtime, when we were only allowed 'simple' drinks. Gin and tonic was not one of them, wine, beer or soft drinks were the only options available. When you consider we didn't arrive on board until late afternoon and didn't have the opportunity to visit the bar until early evening, we certainly didn't get our full 7 days all inclusive package. Lunch provided on departure day was sandwiches, cheese, fruit and cake, quite adequate, but even at 2 small quarters each, run out before everyone was served and we had to ask for more to be provided, which they did. It is just not nice for something that bills itself as a luxury all inclusive boutique cruise to be so mean at the end, it did leave rather a sour taste and all of us were made to feel persona no grata. Our departure was brought forward by half an hour, as they clearly wanted to get rid of us, and this resulted in us queuing for 40 minutes for the check in to open at the airport. We also discovered that there was a couple onboard that had to be accommodated in one of the crew's cabins because they were overbooked. So although we very much enjoyed the Douro River and aspects of this river cruise, we will NOT be booking with Uniworld again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
A very disappointing river cruise, given the perceived reputation of the Uniworld brand. Although this was our first time on Uniworld, there were many "regulars" on board who were also not impressed. I believe we were the ... Read More
A very disappointing river cruise, given the perceived reputation of the Uniworld brand. Although this was our first time on Uniworld, there were many "regulars" on board who were also not impressed. I believe we were the first cruise that was able to make it from Porto all the way for some time. (the river had been too high ). If you have cruised on the Rhine, Danube or the French rivers you will find the Duoro rather lacking. There are very few towns of any substance on it - a function of geography - and almost all tours involve quite long coach rides. Apart from the vinyards the overwhelming impression is of the profusion of derelict habitations, often with trees growing through the roofs. The rep. in Lisbon - Pilar - was excellent, giving us welcome help with joining complications. The cabin attendants, again, were good. The wait staff I feel were understaffed and at times had to run to stand still, although good humoured and mostly friendly. The problems came from the overall management, which did not live up to the star rating. One example appeared early on: sitting on the deck chairs rapidly produced wet pants. Either rain overnight or deck washing had saturated the cushion interiors. Of itself a small thing, but it would just not happen on top rated companies. Deck staff also appeared to be in short supply; the captain was often to be seen sweeping up or otherwise cleaning various venues. Our cabin had a French balcony; a far better idea than a full balcony which takes away a lot of cabin real estate for very little gain. As it was, the cabin could politely be termed "bijou" to the point of being claustrophobic. It always takes a day or two for a couple to orchestrate their movements to be collision-free in a new cabin and this one certainly took some time. The tour guides were of variable effectiveness. One or two were so garrulous that many guests lost the will to live. No doubt the language factor comes into this but it does appear that the company has just let the local subcontractors get on with it. And I think this is the basic problem: the vessel and operation are not actually Uniworld but contracted to local companies. Having said that, Uniworld has overall responsibility for standards. It did appear that a manager was parachuted in, halfway along the river, but was not seen to be particularly proactive. Disembarkation was at a horrendously early hour, followed by a long drive to Salamanca, where luggage lock-up and coffee & biscuits were arranged for the several hours before the coach change to Madrid. Except that the hotel didn't have the booking: guests milled around for almost an hour until things were sorted out and some jugs of coffee appeared. The "lock-up" turned out to be a part of a conference room marked out by a ring of chairs. A few Euros had been handed out for lunch. More like a school outing than a well managed upscale operation. Would I book another Uniworld cruise? Difficult to say: based on this one and given the pricing then, no. However, regular guests did say that this cruise was not typical of the usual standard. But there's an awful lot of quality competition today on European river cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
April 14 - 27, 2016 Duoro river cruise to Portugal and Spain: The Douro river was closed to all boat traffic the entire cruise due to high water levels and dangerous currents of the river. The ship was unable to make it to Porto so ... Read More
April 14 - 27, 2016 Duoro river cruise to Portugal and Spain: The Douro river was closed to all boat traffic the entire cruise due to high water levels and dangerous currents of the river. The ship was unable to make it to Porto so we were docked 30 minutes from Porto in a small residential docking area the entire time. Never sailed, the boat never left the dock. It was very disappointing that we never were able to cruise at all. We saw what we could by bus. Most of the itinerary remained close to what was published. A few new things were added and a few things were dropped. We did have to leave the ship a day early so we could start our journey to Madrid by bus. Uniworld did give us money for food for the times we could not eat on the ship. They also gave everyone a free 7 night cruise to make up for not being able to provide the cruise that we expected. The bar and restaurant staff had a rough time this cruise. Don't know if it was because of everyone being disappointed that we could not cruise. Could not tell if they were understaffed or what was happening?? But orders were forgotten, the serving routine was not followed at several meals. A number of passengers noticed the same thing. The staff really had a couple of off days. Any one scheduled for the Douro cruise should contact their travel agent/Uniworld before you get on the Airplane.to see if the water levels have improved. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We just got back from Portugal after a trip on Uniworld's Queen Isabel Duoro River cruise. Since several of our fellow travelers had sailed with Uniworld many times before and raved about the experience, we had great expectations. So ... Read More
We just got back from Portugal after a trip on Uniworld's Queen Isabel Duoro River cruise. Since several of our fellow travelers had sailed with Uniworld many times before and raved about the experience, we had great expectations. So here are my downsides and upsides comments. The downsides: While the boat is relatively new, it certainly lacks the style of the other Uniworld boats, based on the glossy photos in the brochures and reports from our friends. And while the crew was generally friendly, the service was very uneven, especially at dinner, suggesting insufficient training and supervision. Waiters would come once and then disappear and have to be hunted down for refills of the water glasses. It was the food, however, that was the big disappointment. The first evening I had a pasta and vegetable dish (being a vegetarian) and I was dismayed to realize that the veggies were frozen and the pasta cooked well into mush territory. Yikes. This is not a complicated dish to prepare well! Subsequent meals were similar, ranging from the kind of grub you generally get at a business convention to slightly better than standard fare. Breakfast was generally much more interesting and varied. The wines served at the meals were basic plonk which is kind of inexcusable since there are some very good Portuguese wines that are quite inexpensive (I drink them at home). The upsides: The Duoro River is achingly beautiful, underdeveloped and with little boat traffic. The excursions were well thought-out and organized and led by the incomparable Kirsten (who turned out to be the only Uniworld employee on board). We embarked and disembarked at Porto which has gone to the top of my list of European cities to photograph - visually rich and exciting. Conclusion: 3 days into the trip, we learned that the Isabelle is chartered from Duoro Azul which also owns the boats used by Viking and AMA and essentially has the monopoly on this route. So, what we had was an Azul experience, not a Uniworld experience and I was told by many fellow passengers to please not judge Uniworld by this particular cruise. Bottom line: if you want to sail the Duoro, be aware of the charter situation and price shop; no need to pay Uniworld prices since Azul services them all. Note also that I am taking all of the comments about Uniworld's other cruises seriously and booking a trip on the Danube to celebrate my 60th birthday. Second time a charm? Let's hope so! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Queen Isabel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 2.0 2.9
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 1.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.1
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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