10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld ... Read More
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld certainly knows what it's doing when it comes to hiring the "best of the best" as we found each and every person on board to be kind, engaging, fun, service oriented and just lovely. In particular Adrian, our Waiter, was Amazing, as was a bar waitress named Sylvia. Always a smile, they remembered the smallest details: How you like your drink, or the type of coffee you enjoyed. Our stewardess kept the cabin SPOTLESS and we were so impressed with how quickly they did their work. Can't praise them enough! Food: Meal quality was a little uneven. In particular Uniworld always has some basics on the menu in case you can't find anything you like in the daily featured dishes at dinner. The "Everyday" menu included things like Chicken and Steaks and Salmon and while prepared pretty well, the quality of the ingredients seemed to be lacking a bit. Strongly suggest they look to their purveyors to up that quality of the proteins on board. The breakfast and Lunches are all buffets and they were really excellent always plenty of choices. The dining room is a bit tight with big comfy chairs but overall a very pleasant place to spend a good portion of the evening. Again, the staff shined with complimentary wine flowing. Overall dinners were OK, just not at the level we were expecting at this price point. Tours: This is where I feel Uniworld really shines and is totally the reason to pay a little more for Uniworld. We saw other lines with huge groups of people but Uniworld had these small intimate group tours around the various cities. We couldn't have been more impressed with the guides (they get the best of the best) and loved the 'do as the locals do" visiting markets, riding public transit with our guide and learning ever so much, about the daily lives of the locals. A++++. Accommodations: So Uniworld claims to have the best beds on the rivers and indeed they do. Seriously it's no joke, these beds are off the chart. It's like sleeping in a gloved hand, resting on a cloud. I could go on and on but suffice to say, you will want to try, as we did, to figure out how to get this bed home with you! The decor is really quite something, shall I say " Over the Top". Makes you feel like you are staying in one of the palaces that you've toured each day. Initially I was a bit taken aback, but quickly realized it was replicating the experience of old Europe and very quickly I fell in love with it all the tufts and frills. while I wouldn't decorate my home this way, the style and glamour immersed you in the European style and we loved it! Ambiance: Sadly on our sailing there wasn't a piano player in the lounge and that was a miss, as a little music during cocktail hour and afterwards would have made the product come to life a little more. Uniworld does bring on entertainment in some of the ports but would have loved a little more consistency in this area. I found the other guest on board to be quite social and we met tons of new friends. Bottom Line: It's worth the extra $$. You will be wowed and super comfy! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Took this trip as a Christmas Market trip- Uniworld delivered. However, I would do the Danube River again and make sure we took in more of the historical parts of the cities - we missed out on that - to be fair we booked a Christmas ... Read More
Took this trip as a Christmas Market trip- Uniworld delivered. However, I would do the Danube River again and make sure we took in more of the historical parts of the cities - we missed out on that - to be fair we booked a Christmas Market trip - so it wasn't a Uniworld thing. Cities are amazing. Ship is spectacular. Clean, beautiful, crew was friendly and helpful. We found we had issues with one particular high profile crew member that really didn't do anything wrong so to speak- it was just a lack of what we have come to expect from that type of position.... it makes for a less than great experience overall. Cabin and steward were amazing. Pretty typical cabin size- bathroom was laid out different so felt spacious but we banged elbows in the shower trying to shampoo... storage was fine in closet and bathrooms. Room was always clean. Dining was good. Some days the food was amazing! Other days it was just fine. I don't care for buffets - and they had those more than not. The staff in dining room was terrific- we really enjoyed getting to know some of the crew. Very nice people. We found we missed the little things we found on Viking- treats when you return to the ship- more socializing with the program director and other officers - lots of little things were missing. There was a small lounge at the back of the boat if you didn't want to be in the larger lounge, there was also a pool which we didn't use, and a small workout area on board. Tours were all nice- hit or miss with a few of the guides - but we still loved the tours and cities. We did slots of exploring on our own after the ship tour. There was some confusion with a few tours being offered then not enough space for everyone- things like that were deflating to many of the passengers. Overall - the ship and most of the crew were just fine- I think for the price I paid and the overall feeling of what was delivered - I wouldn't go on Uniworld again unless their pricing was more in line with others that included airfare etc. I feel like I paid for the Ritz Carlton concierge level service and got the Ramada Inn... Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We have done several ocean cruises but this is the first river cruise, so our comparison point is not with other river cruises. We had a very enjoyable time overall. The smaller ship (~150) was cozy and let the staff be more flexible ... Read More
We have done several ocean cruises but this is the first river cruise, so our comparison point is not with other river cruises. We had a very enjoyable time overall. The smaller ship (~150) was cozy and let the staff be more flexible in arrangements. The ship facilities were good overall. The excursions were great. The quietvox system they used was really useful. For the biking excursions, they had enough guides that they could have let the group split into two... one faster and one slower group. But instead, by keeping one group, the slower and faster folks were both a bit off their desired paces. The fitness center was small and one of the two bikes was broken for the entire cruise, so this caused a lot of contention. Good laundry machines available. Wait staff was really nice, but often made mistakes... wrong or forgotten orders, etc. Checkout was really inefficient. One person for all checkout. I think we waited in one for 45 minutes. Not much for kids. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We wanted to experience Eastern Europe, not having been there before, and chose an 8 day cruise between Budapest and Passau. The shore excursions were informative without being great and we sometimes had only brief periods to explore the ... Read More
We wanted to experience Eastern Europe, not having been there before, and chose an 8 day cruise between Budapest and Passau. The shore excursions were informative without being great and we sometimes had only brief periods to explore the cities/towns on our own. Our on board experience was mostly good and all the crew were ultra-attentive and always helpful. The restaurant service was impeccable and the dinner menus selective and mainly above par but breakfast and lunch choices, while always tasty, were practically static every day. On board entertainment was below par with the same pianist and vocalist nightly and this must have greater variety like using local performers, in each port, reflecting their local culture. Airport services with pick-up and dispatch was well organized and timely. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and without a hitch. Overall, a bit pricey for what you get in return but we would definitely consider using them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Please note that our family has lived overseas on three different continents, and we traveled a great deal in each area, usually on our own with children. We decided on this small cruise for several reasons: friends joined us, the area ... Read More
Please note that our family has lived overseas on three different continents, and we traveled a great deal in each area, usually on our own with children. We decided on this small cruise for several reasons: friends joined us, the area interested us, and the definite ease of travel. For the record: I will never, ever, ever take a cruise on a larger ship. Massive amounts of people make my skin crawl. We are of a certain age (me especially) and watching the world go by at a leisurely pace with everything arranged suited us immensely. The staff, crew, and guides spoiled us; this can be disconcerting at times because it is not how we live. Granted, they were not helicopter-intrusive, but they were always present. The food on board was always very tasty and always featured local foods and very fresh ingredients. There were American/English staples for the breakfast and lunch buffets; then they also offered a variety of native items. Dinners were a la carte with three choices: meat, fish, vegetarian. There were other options--but, never taken. Our chef was a youthful Portuguese gentleman who took pride in our table fare and every plate was picture-perfect. Because we were traveling along the Danube, many local wines were poured. They were generally not to my taste and the wait staff was at the ready with alternative choices. Our outings were, of course, well-planned. Local guides met us and filled our heads with dates and names and histories galore. They all spoke very clearly with charming accents. We were given portable ear pieces so that hearing them was not a challenge. Generally, our crowd was a little more geriatric and they accommodated us nicely. Those with great spirit and good health had the option of bicycling from port to port or taking more vigorous tours. Bless their hearts. I was impaired after our three day stay in Prague and the ship had the common sense to have walking sticks available for those of us with mobility challenges. With my ‘magic stick’, I was able to conjure easier paths, elevators, chairs, kindness, and great respect (always after the threat of a wallop). Early June and it proved to be tourist season for the whole world. Some sites were over-crowded and almost claustrophobic--Disney World jammed, you know what I mean. I enjoyed it when arrangements were made for early tours, private entrees, and alternative destinations. River cruises have become quite popular; in larger ports there could be up to 20 ships docked in close proximity. At times our luxuriously large window was blocked by another ship docked next to us. Note to cruise executives: if you are charging us for an immense window, please make sure the view is worthwhile. My husband and I struck out on our own several times with good directions and some helpful hints about the local city. This is what I truly enjoy doing: exploring and observing without a definite timetable. We have been on guided tours, but the venues were more volatile and we had small children with us (Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey). Moving about en masse with about 20 people became a little tedious even though everyone was pleasant and as enthralled as we were. My mailman asked me what my most favorite thing about our trip was. For me, it was talking to those citizens who had lived behind the Iron Curtain and were now venturing into capitalism and their surge into freedom; feeling the history of their countries through stories of change and fear and loss and resurgence--always with pride in their voices. Being on the ship was peaceful. You could relax in the quiet of your room (it was well-insulated) or find a spot in a common area that gave you a view and few people. If you were so inclined, there were people ready to converse, order drinks with you, or engage in rollicking fun. In truth, I am imagining the rollicking fun part as I was usually very tired and ready for my comfortable bed. If I take another cruise, I think it will be one with a theme. Not a drinking or history tour, but one of a more eclectic subject: Northern lights and the fjords of Norway may be calling me as I dine with astronomers. My guess is, Scrabble tours would probably just get ugly. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Service was top notch, ship is great but food was disappointing. Buffet style breakfast and lunch every day. When we told the maitre'd that we didnt like that style they brought us menus and did an excellent job of providing us ... Read More
Service was top notch, ship is great but food was disappointing. Buffet style breakfast and lunch every day. When we told the maitre'd that we didnt like that style they brought us menus and did an excellent job of providing us with table service but the food just lacked something. Chef tried very had but we think he was handcuffed by the quality of the food and also by the dietary habits of our fellow passengers. This morning the sausage with our poached eggs was, in fact, pepperoni. Huh? At lunch one day there were burgers, inevitably, but they were precooked thin things heated up to order. Tours: A lot of walking tours from the boat. I can do that myself - ok, without the commentary but so what. I can find the history online if I'm really interested. The tours were low-budget. A 10 minute experience dragged out to an hour and a half. We enjoyed the cruise because of the boat and the staff, all of whom were excellent. Nothing was too much trouble including a curry chef cooked for us one night as we had stated that we liked curry. Entertainment: Average except for a jazz band brought in one night and a classical concert in Vienna Would we go again? Maybe. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Wanting to do a European Christmas Market Cruise we chose Uniworld as it was part of the Red Carnation Brand and Hotel 41 In London recommended it to us. The décor of the ship has had varying comments but we loved it and it felt ... Read More
Wanting to do a European Christmas Market Cruise we chose Uniworld as it was part of the Red Carnation Brand and Hotel 41 In London recommended it to us. The décor of the ship has had varying comments but we loved it and it felt special not a run of the mill ship. Check in was simple and we found our room. The room was lovely, but small and initially we wondered where we would store our four suitcases and gear. But all cases fitted under the bed, all clothing fitted in the wardrobes and whilst the bathroom was tiny the large vanity drawers kept all our toiletries etc safe and sound and the rooms were kept neat and tidy. The TV in the Mirror was a good touch. The wardrobes were a good size and surprised me on how much they could hold. One of the best things about the ship was the care and attention taken to guests who were gluten free (like my husband) and lactose free like a lot of others. Francesco from day one would come over each day and advise my Husband of what he could and could not eat Breakfast and lunch (the Gluten Free croissants and bread were the best we have every eaten). At night the chef always had gluten free options including deserts. This additional attention was amazing and a number of other guests on the ship with similar eating issues were all very impressed with this. Food: overall (GR aside) the breakfasts and lunches were very good and the service was very good ( Virgil and Paul) not to mention the wonderful Francisco did a great job at breakfast each day having our table ready and our juices and almond milk, coffees and teas. Our first breakfast the eggs benedict was the best I have ever eaten, however, the second day the sauce was white and lacking in egg yolk and I sent it back, the next version came was slightly better, but there was a lack of consistently in it. Lunch: each day the salads were great and Mrs Tolands special salad dressing was my favourite, also different hot options each Day. Dinner: Probably the most disappointing meal of each day. I suppose we have been spoilt for choice on cruise ships but to be honest we did not enjoy the evening meals, limited selection and the alternative option to the changing main each night never changed. Also a personal choice I did not enjoy their wine selections. Rumyana our room attendant was excellent and always had a smile and a kind word for us. Our Captain was very entertaining and delivered the safety lecture in such a great way, however, that night with him, the cruise director, the hotel manager and the Sommelier taking to the floor it was a little "Blah Blah Blah" which the crew themselves called it the Blah Blah Blah each night. The Gym was tiny but right next to the Guest Laundry so you would put your washing on and then go to the Gym while it was doing its cycle Afternoon tea was disappointing same thing most days and not a great choice (again comparing it to the small ocean cruises). However, we were disappointed at night with the evening meals (but again being used to smaller cruise ships with more options. In saying this we did have a wonderful evening meal the second night before we were due to finish the cruise out in the Leopold Bar. They offer special dining to those in Suites each night (the same meal is each night) but towards the end of the ship other guests can book to eat there. Its a smaller area and the food was exceptional as was the service, this is what the main dining room should have been doing each night. We really enjoyed the Christmas Markets and our tour guides were knowledgeable and our bus driver Thomas was the best. Due to the river dropping we could not head into Nuremburg so we were put up in a hotel in Nuremburg and bussed in. The Staff handled the situation very well and did all they could in this situation. However, it was hard to fathom that they would give you Euro $25.00 per person per day for lunch and then for dinner that night Euro $35.00 as we could not eat on the ship. This did not make sense and a large number of us complained about this as whilst it may have and in fact was sufficient for lunch - for dinner you could not buy a decent bottle of wine for E$35.00 and considering that on the ship you had access to spirits, pre dinner, dinner and after dinner drinks plus a three course meal how would an extra Euro 10.00 per person per day cover this. We lodged a compliant but nothing happened and we were told head office would get in touch with us, its been a month and we have not heard anything. Disappointing. I loved the ship and the cruise just was disappointed with the evening meals, also having to eat all three meals in the same restaurant didn't have the same appeal as having a separate one for the evening meal however this should be taken into context that after doing a river cruise I feel we are more ocean cruise people (love Oceania and Seabourne). Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We are experienced ocean cruisers so we tried not to compare river to ocean cruise as we had sailed on the now defunct Peter Deilmann river cruise over 10 years ago and anything would have been better than that experience. Suffice it to ... Read More
We are experienced ocean cruisers so we tried not to compare river to ocean cruise as we had sailed on the now defunct Peter Deilmann river cruise over 10 years ago and anything would have been better than that experience. Suffice it to say, Uniworld provides a superior experience from the standpoint of service on board. All personnel were committed to providing the best customer service albeit some a little surly such as the front desk purser. The staff are mostly Eastern European so language is a problem sometimes. The ship is beautiful if you like this kind of decor. It is kept immaculate. Dining room food and service were excellent with a great effort to provide personal attention to allergies (gluten). The chef and dining room manage would consult with me on each menu item and buffet offering. Very nice! We were in a suite #409 which was well furnished and kept perfectly clean by housekeeping. The butler was attentive but not overbearing. The only complaint I have about the suites is that there is no comfortable place to sit and read except in bed. And the pop out "balcony" is a waste of space since most dockings were alongside another ship and it is not a real balcony. Better to use the space to provide a nice comfortable chair. The bed was extremely comfortable and there was plenty of storage and closet space. The bathroom was very nice with two sinks and a large shower. Tours which are included in the fare were very good. Rik, the cruise director, was excellent and engaged the guests well plus providing a plethora of information since he is from the Netherlands. We really enjoyed him. There we a number of cancellations on this cruise as it was in the aftermath of the Brussels attack many decided not to travel. Uniworld was working hard from their corporate office to change itineraries for those of us who had purchased airfare through them. We tried to do this before we departed but they would not do so. Many of us experienced a lot of stress not knowing which airport we would fly back from and communication between the ship and corporate was very poor. I would not book airfare through Uniworld again because of this experience. Overall, it was a good experience but river cruising is just not for us. I don't enjoy the cramped spaces in the dining room and suites, albeit they are beautifully decorated. We will stick to ocean cruising in the future. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
My cruising background: * Sea Cruise Nights: (about 280, mainly on Seabourn) * River Cruise Nights: This is my 1st River cruise. OUR SUITE: 406 PROBLEM #1 - INTERNET Internet access is free, and fast enough. But there is a ... Read More
My cruising background: * Sea Cruise Nights: (about 280, mainly on Seabourn) * River Cruise Nights: This is my 1st River cruise. OUR SUITE: 406 PROBLEM #1 - INTERNET Internet access is free, and fast enough. But there is a big problem with accessing anything else than BASIC email and WEBSITES. There seems to be a firewall between the ship and the world that is set as follows: * ALLOW: Web pages & Basic email * DISALLOW: All else For example, this is what I could NOT do initially: * Send email via Secure SMTP. Specifically ... my outgoing email is set to use the (common) port 587 for secure email. It is blocked. * Login to my work server via Microsoft's RDP protocol. That outgoing port is blocked. * Login to my security camera server. That port is blocked. * Make VoIP (phone) calls via my VoIP service provider. Also blocked. All these tasks are essential for me to keep in touch, and manage my business. I reported this to the reception, and it seems I am not the first to mention it; I overheard others with similar problems. The front desk was very helpful, and asked me for a list of the servers:ports I needed to contact and they requested them to be unblocked. About 24hrs this was done successfully and I had full access to all services I needed. I travel extensively and used the Internet from many hotels, airport lounges, cruise ships, .... Never seen this problem. Uniworld really needs to get rid of this silly policy of blocking everything by default, and allowing through only some things. It can not work in the long term. (By all means - I have no problems if they block bandwidth hogs like Youtube, but not my secure email). I happen to be very well versed in Internet technology, so was able to diagnose these issues. But most people will simply see things 'not working' and get angry. [For those reading this thinking "Gee - He is on holidays ... surely he can leave work at home for a while!". Like some others on board, I own my own business and that business affords me the luxury of being able to cruise frequently. While I have people that generally run the show, sometimes you need to get involved from time to time. Access to secure business email is not a luxury for me. I want to also point out I had no compliant with the Internet speed. Yes - it was not as fast as at home, and yes it dropped out from time to time. That I understand. I can live with slow email, but not zero-email.] PROBLEM #2 - VIBRATION After leaving Amsterdam, the banging of pipes in the ceiling woke me up. Something needed to be tied down. Reported to reception and was told: "That will stop after Koln, as we travel slower in the next stretch of the river.". Hmmm.... no comment. Everything was much quieter on subsequent cruise nights, as we travelled slower. PROBLEM #3 - LOOSE FITTINGS This I put down to simple teething problems with a new ship, but things like the door knob to enter our suite is loose and rattly. Odd for a brand new ship ISSUE #1 - ROOM SIZE I will preface this by saying this problem is with me - not the ship. We have a Suite (#406) as the size of the normal cabins is too small for me. But even a Suite is compact. There is an annoying small partition between the bed and the 'balcony' (Hint: it is not a balcony - it is a part of your room that has been partitioned off - making the room feel smaller as a result). I would have prefered the partion and the glass sliding door to that 'balcony' removed completely. GREAT POINTS * The 'Mirror TVs' are outstanding. (What looks like a Mirror becomes a TV when you turn it On). Really cool! * Service. Fantastic. I would say it is better that Seabourn. One of the benefits of small-ship cruising (we were 91 passengers on a ship that can accomodate 150) * Food and Wine. 8 out of 10. Good, standard food, well presented. Good quality wines with staff that soon got to know your preferences. I liked the inclusion of 'regional' food and wine specials as we cruised (e.g. Bavarian specialities in Bavaria, Hungarian specialities in Hungary, ...) * Included Excursions: I am not a fan of bus trips and tour groups that have to maintain the pace of the slowest person, or the most frequent toilet-seeker. But Uniworld structured this very well. Each port generally had a CHOICE of free excursions. Generally there was a higher-activity excursion hosted by the on-board fitness expert; we noted about 10% of the passengers did this. Then there was the rest of us on the more normal trips. But even in this group, it was split into two classes of people: The 'normal' groups, and the 'Gentle Walkers'. This was great as it allowed those with mobility problems an excellent alternative, without slowing down the rest of us. By the way - all excursions were hosted by local guides with excellent English. And we had QuietVox boxes; we all had a radio receiver (with volume control) and earpiece, and the guide had a microphone and transmitter. Everyone could hear clearly! Top Kudos to the Cruise Director - Chad. He did a fantastic job in every respect. I also noted that Chad seemed to book more seats than needed. There was always spare seats on the busses. And at the concert in Vienna, Chad asked for 100 seats in the room, even though there was only (about) 80 of us attending. * Bed. My wife said best bed she has ever slept in. OVERALL Loved it. Highly recommended. I did not get 'castled-out' or 'churched-out' as expected as each port was pleasantly different from the next. A very memorable experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
For obvious reasons I have never had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the decor of the average 17th century baroque brothel but, had I done so, I am sure that I would have felt perfectly at home as soon I had set foot on this ... Read More
For obvious reasons I have never had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the decor of the average 17th century baroque brothel but, had I done so, I am sure that I would have felt perfectly at home as soon I had set foot on this ship. Whatever possessed them to decorate it as they have, I cannot imagine. Almost the entire ship is a melange of gold leaf, shiny stuff, tassels, mirrors, glass, marble, ornate furniture, competing textile patterns and, in the dining room and lounge, badly made Austrian style curtains. Added to which the whole lot had been distressed (I spent a worrying few moments when we first got to our cabin trying to get the brown spots off the mirrors, only to realise that they were supposed to be there). The one oasis in this headache-inducing riot of over-the-top, disneyesque fantasy was the Leopard Bar at the back of the boat which was cooly and impeccably decorated and furnished; we spent most of our time there when we were sailing. Having said that, and despite their obvious attempts to make it appear otherwise, this is a brand new state-of-the-art, luxury ship, full of the sort of 21st century touches that you would expect and extremely smart from the outside (one could feel quite superior when passing lesser boats to get to our handsome vessel). It was only two-thirds full and so there was always lots of space to sit where you wanted, to move around or to use any of the facilities offered on board. I don’t know if things would have been different if the ship had been full. The beds were enormous and very comfortable (in fact, they could have been a foot narrower and given us more cabin space which was extremely limited). Unlike the previous reviewer, we had ample hanging and drawer space.The walls were actually padded so there was no noise at all from adjacent cabins, nor could we hear the ship’s engines. The shower room was full of marble and mirrors and was quite luxurious with optional underfloor heating. The shower (big enough to bend over and pick up the soap when you drop it) had the option of a hand-held shower or a one coming from the ceiling. The hot water never ran out. The shower gel, liquid soap and body lotions were in dispensers fixed to the wall. The hairdryer was not fixed to the wall and was very powerful. At night, there was a gentle blue light which did not invade the sleeping area - a good idea. Towels and flannels were beautifully fluffy and soft. Unfortunately, the temptation to fill the cabin with gizmos had not been resisted. All the lights were controlled by sort of touch-screen control panels and I never did work out how to switch off the lights that I wanted too switch off. How I longed for good old-fashioned switches. The main mirror was a sort of display panel when activated which, at least, meant that you did not have a free-standing television taking up space. The Service Impeccable. Nothing was too much trouble. For example: because there were only 20 non-Americans on board, we decided that it would be a good idea to have a ‘Commonwealth Dinner’ so that we could meet up. We put the idea to Georgina Sousa, the Hotel Manager, and it was immediately organised. A menu was decided upon, the Leopard Bar was reserved for us and invitations were sent out. They even decorated the bar beautifully with a little picture of the Queen and the flags of the Commonwealth countries. It must have taken them ages and we had a wonderful evening. The Food Consistently wonderful. I cannot fault it in any way. Breakfast and lunch were self-service from an absolutely enormous choice and dinner was formally served. The Maître d’ gave us a little talk each evening just before dinner on the wines that he had selected for that evening and why. On several nights, even more formal ‘Fine Dining’ evenings were held in the Leopard Bar at no extra cost. On-board Facilities The sun deck was closed for the greater part of the trip. Peter, the wellness coach, offers a comprehensive fitness and well-being programme (I had a massage and it was excellent). There was a little, well-equipped gym which was usually well used. The little swimming pool had a sort of artificial current gizmo so that you can swim without ever going anywhere. The films available, both in your room and in the cinema, were rubbish - completely out of date. The lectures were good. There is a laundry room. The Itinerary I think that the itinerary needs to be reviewed. Some stops would have benefitted from being longer, even at the expense of some of the smaller places we visited. The real weakness was at the end where we only had an hour and a half in Cologne - (just enough time to visit the cathedral really). (Admittedly there had been an additional walk in Cologne starting at 7.00 a.m. which, on reflection, I wish that I had done). After that we spent until early the next morning sailing to Amsterdam for, as far as I could see, no particular reason. Unless you pay for an extension, you are then transferred straight to Schipol Airport and you never actually see the city. Therefore,it is a bit disingenuous to describe the trip as from Budapest to Amsterdam. It finishes at Cologne. With one exception, the local guides were very knowledgeable, often very amusing, and fluent English speakers. Our wonderful Cruise Manager, Christine Bremberger, organised them, and us, with unfailing patience, good humour and thoroughness. She also briefed us on the next day’s visit the evening before. There seemed to be nothing that she did not know about each destination and about the countries that we passed through. The excursions were quite varied. We particularly enjoyed the optional Viennese Music Night in Vienna (and thought it worth the extra cost), the visit to the BMW plant in Regensburg, World War II Nurenberg and the organ recital and tour of Passau. Safety and Security I am a little concerned about the lack of security on all these ships, especially when ships are moored up against each other so that anyone can walk through a ship. Perhaps a swipe card system would tighten up the security. Although the Captain’s lecture on safety was very comprehensive, there was no practise at putting on a life jacket (although it was demonstrated by some of the crew) nor did we go to our actual muster station on the sun deck because the weather was inclement. Overall An expensive holiday but on a luxury ship with superb food and service. The itinerary needs to be looked at again and the company needs to describe the differences between cabins more accurately in its brochure. I suppose that it is too late to do anything about the decor but, when the time comes to refurbish it, I hope that they think again. However, we would certainly consider another cruise on a Uniworld ship. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I sailed on the third sailing of the new SS Maria Theresa. We enjoyed much about the cruise although a few things left us scratching our heads. I will hit the highlights of the good, the not so good, and the unacceptable. ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the third sailing of the new SS Maria Theresa. We enjoyed much about the cruise although a few things left us scratching our heads. I will hit the highlights of the good, the not so good, and the unacceptable. The good: The best part of the ship was the food and drink. The food is outstanding and on par with the best cruise ships have to offer (my point of comparison is Crystal). My wife and I enjoyed every meal and appreciated the ties to local cuisine. The chef has taken a light approach to sauces and that was much appreciated. The breads and croissants are to die for. The complimentary wines were wonderful and tailored to each region as the sailing progressed. Coffee is French press - the first cruise line that we have been on that has taken the time to do that. The staff was very nice and the service was of a generally high quality. The dining service quality was fine but not of the very highest quality. The difference is that cruise ships with the highest level of dining service anticipate your needs; they bring you coffee without asking, they offer a second bread stick before you request it, etc. On the Maria Theresa, we found that we needed to ask - they did not anticipate needs. It was not a big deal as the wait staff brought you what you asked for in short order. The little alcove for coffee on the lowest floor is delightful. It was a wonderful luxury to head there in the morning in my slippers, get a coffee and croissant, and take it back to the room. The included shore excursions were marvelous. The guides were uniformly excellent. The highlight was a special chamber orchestra concert that Uniworld arranged just for our ship in Vienna. This special effort that more main stream lines would not go to was much appreciated and something that we will remember for the rest of our lives. The not so good: Embarkation was anxiety filled. The ship was not where Uniworld said it would be, so when we got to the dock I had to scramble and ask other ships for help. It turned out that the ship was docked a mile away. It would have been nice if Uniworld had sent an e-mail or contacted our travel agent about the change in dock. But they didn't. Once we schlepped to the ship with our luggage, embarkation was a breeze. So if you book the Maria Theresa, please be aware that, at least in Amsterdam, the ship may be at a very different location than the one listed in your travel documents. I understand that everyone has different tastes in decor, so the following simply reflects the taste of me and my wife. We had read reviews about Uniworld's decor being over the top and now we know what they mean. This ship seems to reflect Marie Antoinette on a really bad "let them eat cake" day. The philosophy is that more is better - if a mirror looks good, add a lot more. If some marble in the bathroom helps make it wall to wall. If a pouffy drape and flowery upholstery and carpet work, add more. The result to us was not positive. There are so many mirrored surfaces that parts of the ship such as the downstairs hallway and the bathroom outside the dining room make you feel as if you are in a fun house. There are so many pouffy curtains that if the colors weren't subdued you could almost imagine that you were on a floating brothel. In looking back at the cruise it appears that Uniworld was attempting to recreate the feel of Versailles. Our opinion was that to do that effectively you need a much bigger space to work with. A more subdued decor approach works better with the small spaces a river ship has to offer. We were quite surprised to find that the Maria Theresa does not have any inside forward views and, to us, that was a significant deficit. The lounge is quite nice, but the forward view is blocked off. Sure, you can go up on the Sun deck, but if it is cool, the weather is inclement, or the Sun deck is inaccessible due to low bridges (which happened about 40% of the time on our cruise), then you cannot look out the front of the vessel. There is a surprising amount of vibration and noise when the ship is at high speed (as it was from Amsterdam to Cologne). During that period we could not sit in the Leopard bar at the rear of the ship due to the shaking. My wife had trouble sleeping during nights that the ship traveled at high speed due to vibration and noise and we spoke to a number of other passengers who said the same thing. The Maria Theresa boasts the latest technology, but that is a two edged sword. On one hand it is kind of neat that the TV is built into the mirror. On the other hand, I didn't really want to spend my cruise figuring out how to adjust the lights, air conditioning, TV, etc. After hitting the glowing round thing that is supposed to turn on the cabin lights for the fourth time in order to get them to turn on, I started longing for a simple light switch. The complimentary internet was nice and worked better than I expected - at least using my iPad. Trying to use the internet through the TV was an exercise in frustration. The cabin is cluttered with nonfunctional furniture. You would think that with space being a premium on the ship, that efficiency would be a priority. Not on the SS Maria Theresa. The design emphasis is on the Marie Antoinette look, not utility. Another example of the lack of utility was the layout of the dining room. Both the wait service areas and buffet stations are at the front of the dining room. So everyone has to walk past them to get to a table. Since the aisles are very narrow, this lead to traffic jams during breakfast and lunch as people entering the dining hall have to navigate past waiters filling drink orders and other passengers filling their plates at the buffet table. The obvious solution would have been to flip the room around and put the service areas and buffet tables at the back. This was one of the areas (along with the lack of frontal view and the lack of drawer space as described below) that had us scratching our heads and asking, "What were they thinking?" The unacceptable: When we got to our cabin, we called the front desk to ask where the drawers were for our clothes. After all, the ship was taking a 14 day cruise, so we figured there must be a hidden chest of drawers. The answer we got back was that there were cabins that did not have any drawers and ours was one of them. We were floored. You go on a cruise to not have to live out of a suitcase and now we were being forced to...well.... live out of a suitcase. When we talked to the hotel manager, she apologized and said it was a design flaw. But she didn't offer any useful remedy. Closing remarks: So would we book another cruise on the Maria Theresa? No. I do not want to cruise in a cabin without a single clothes drawer. I want a ship that has more tasteful decor and provides an interior frontal view. But I do want a cruise line with food this good and staff this nice. Read Less
S.S. Maria Theresa Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.1
Family 1.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.1

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