3 Uniworld Queen Isabel Cruise Reviews

I am a three-time Uniworld cruiser and have been on about a dozen river/ocean cruises and never have I had a more terrible experience than this one. On the first day, my cabin smelled like something had died in there. The crew confirmed ... Read More
I am a three-time Uniworld cruiser and have been on about a dozen river/ocean cruises and never have I had a more terrible experience than this one. On the first day, my cabin smelled like something had died in there. The crew confirmed this to be true. The terrible hotel director Andre (who seems to have a chip on his shoulder that he isn’t using his law degree) refused to acknowledge or confirm there were any issues on the ship. For the first night they had to put me up in a hotel the smell was so bad. My dad went in my place as he didn’t like the idea of me in a random hotel by myself. The next day the smell was gone because they masked it with a heavy floral perfume scent. No other cabins had this scent. The hotel director offered to put me in a crew cabin instead but the crew member pulled me into her cabin to show me her room smelled too. Although frustrated I didn’t want to spoil my trip so resolved to stay out of my room as much as possible. Unfortunately, there was an Australian couple who told me “they weren’t racist”, but they were inclined to think poorly of my family and friends because we were all Asian. The couple, explained that there were a lot of Chinese people in Sydney, where they were from, who were so rude so they expected us to be the same. Later on, while on tour, the husband got in my face and screamed at me to “go away” and then shoved me. I can only surmise what I did that enraged him but I was speaking to his wife and I think he somehow interpreted it as a threat. Uniworld’s response was ambivalence. So here I was, unable to go into my cabin because of the horrid smell and unable to leave because of fear that this violent racist man (who was located on the same floor as me) would do me further harm. Both during the trip and after, Uniworld corporate lied to our travel agent about what was happening on the ship (they said everything was fine and indicated concessions (a bottle of win, chocolate) were made that only materialized after we showed the email stating they had done so to the hotel director. Additionally when our travel agent told Uniworld to reach out to us directly by phone after the trip they told her they would not. Instead they sent us a form letter apologizing for the lack of A/C . (The A/C was never at issue) and a $250 future cruise credit and $400 check for the inconvenience. I have no desire to spend luxury dollars on a uninhabitable living space only to be shoved by violent racist guests. I understand Uniworld has no choice in their guests but that doesn’t mean I should have to put up with them either. For those who feel inclined, especially if you are a POC, avoid, avoid, avoid. This cruise line doesn’t deserve your business. Additional info: -I did explore Porto before the cruise. It’s a lovely city and deserves plenty of time. -embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly -dining: food was average but service was excellent. All the waiters attempt to outdo each other in service. -entertainment and activities: it’s a small ship and short cruise so there’s not much in the way of activities outside a general pianist/entertainer who plays retro hits after mealtimes. There’s a performance by a “tuna” (Portuguese a capella band) and a pair of singers one other night. -ports and shore excursions are subject to last minute changes but that is the nature of cruising so as long as you aren’t 100% set on the itinerary posted you will enjoy yourself. Our cruise director was thoughtful, well-spoken and kind. The excursions are a nice mix of free time and information making for an overall relaxing experience. -I did not travel with any children -given the other issues mentioned in the bulk of the review, I would not go again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Horrible guide, dreadful cruise experience as we were not on ship--long bus trips, guide did not give information or attend to our comfort, safety or try to give us a good experience. The food on the ship was wonderful, the people on the ... Read More
Horrible guide, dreadful cruise experience as we were not on ship--long bus trips, guide did not give information or attend to our comfort, safety or try to give us a good experience. The food on the ship was wonderful, the people on the ship were wonderful, but 4 days out of 7, no sailing, and the promised excursions mostly did not happen. Instead we got long bus rides to second or third rate destinations, and, most importantly, NO GUIDES!!! The guides waited by the busses, chatting, and left us to find our own way. Silent or chatted with the drivers during the drives. One guest fell land broke her arm, another was left behind when she could not find her way to the bus in time. The guide made strange choices--walking us up long outside staircases by parking garages instead of into main entrances off main streets, putting us in hotels with no porters and not helping with luggage, even for the lady with the broken arm--just generally glad to be home! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was my fifth European river cruise (first on Uniworld, the others on Avalon). Uniworld is marketed as a Six Star Luxury river cruise line. We decided to give them a try. Portugal was a destination on our list so we booked the only ... Read More
This was my fifth European river cruise (first on Uniworld, the others on Avalon). Uniworld is marketed as a Six Star Luxury river cruise line. We decided to give them a try. Portugal was a destination on our list so we booked the only Uniworld itinerary offered, roundtrip Porto on the Queen Isabel. Our first surprise (of many to come) was the arrival of our cruise documents. This consisted of a piece of paper with the name of the ship, name of the itinerary, sailing date, and two luggage tags. No detailed itinerary or instruction. We were told we had to go on their website, download (which required cut and paste) and print. Three days before sailing my wife received an email from Uniworld that advised us the ship would not be departing from Porto because of high water on the river. Instructions were sparse – go to the Porto port the day of sailing, look for the Uniworld representative, and she would direct us to a bus for us to be driven to the next port to board the Queen Isabel. There was no mention of the location of where the rep would be or the time to meet her. Instructions in the email also recommended we call the boat the day of sailing if we needed assistance. Wanting more details, my wife called the Uniworld sales office in LA the day before sailing, and was given the same information. No additional details were provided. The morning of sailing, my wife called the sales office again, only to be told the boat was departing from Porto, and to go to the pier to board the ship. Wrong information. Each time my wife called, she was placed on hold, so the agent could talk to a supervisor to try and find out more information. The only information given was for us to go to the port and a Uniworld representative would be there all day to meet us. There was no one there when we got to the port and after three phone calls to the boat, we were told the rep was on another boat, at the end of the port, the third one out .We had to walk through these two to get to her. All the while dragging luggage from one end of the port to the other. The next surprise was the ship. The toilets weren’t working right, and hot water was intermittent. Movies were not available. When they got the toilets working that same day, we had to endure a high pressure flush that I’m sure woke up the surrounding rooms (because I certainly heard them) as it ended with a boom! This was never fixed. Due to high waters, the ship only moved across the river to a refueling point the first five days. In the meanwhile, we were bussed daily to different destinations (Porto twice). We finally sailed to Porto on day 6 and the plan was more excursions to Porto for the remaining two days. The food on this ship was not up to advertised luxury cruise standards. The crew was very professional. It appeared the operational decisions on our daily routines were made late the night before. The actions by Uniworld on this cruise were not worthy of a “Six Star” luxury cruise line. I would think twice before going on this Uniworld cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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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