S.S. Antoinette Cruise Review by DC0743
- Sail Date: November 2014
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Suite with Full Open-Air Balcony
Embarkation: I had emailed the ship to find out exactly where the ship would be docked in Cologne. I received a quick response that included a map and directions from the train station. The check-in process went very smoothly and quickly. Our bags were delivered to our room quickly by our Butler.
Ship: The ship was wonderful, it is well designed and beautifully decorated. The ship was very clean. We quickly felt right at home. There were a few couches in the lounge that should be replaced. (I understand that the ship was soon going in for some updating and the Hotel Manager was spending a great deal time making notes on anything that needed fixing/replacing - even those items that looked great to us)
Stateroom: Suite 404. Our Stateroom was well decorated and of sufficient size. The bed was very comfortable. There was sufficient closet space and our suitcases fit under the bed. The largest complaint regarding the room would be the paper thin walls. We could easily hear the guests in the adjacent room. This was most evident when they would turn on their TV, which was late every night and early each morning (I never had to set an alarm as I could count on their TV to wake us) To make matters worse, the TVs in the rooms have the speakers on the back/bottom of the TV so the majority of the sound goes into the adjoining room. The heater-A/C was efficient and very quiet. We loved the way the window could be lowered on the balcony. Due to the weather we did not use our balcony much during the cruise. There were sufficient 110 volt outlets in the room – a big plus.
Bathroom: The bathroom was nicely appointed. The shower had a great shower head, but the water pressure for the hand shower was so poor as to make it useless. The bathroom floor and towel rack could be heated which was very nice for the cold mornings. The toiletries were of very high quality.
Dining Room: The dining room was comfortable and nicely decorated. It was well laid out which kept things moving around the buffet. The tables were nicely spaced and we did not feel as closed in as on some other ships. There were also more tables for four and six, which is a big plus, allowing for easier conversations. Dinner was well paced. We had an outstanding server (Vladimir) which made the dining experience even more enjoyable.
Food: We felt the food was excellent the entire cruise. The steaks were the best we have had on seven Uniworld cruises. The soups were always delicious, as were the deserts. The wine ranged from very good to outstanding.
Excursion: Overall, the included excursions were well planned and executed. The buses were very clean and comfortable. All tour guides spoke very good English. Unfortunately. the Optional tour to Lucerne was terrible. It was nothing like the description. We were advised during the daily talk that we could skip the Chocolate factory tour and stay in town on your own. This was incorrect on two accounts; one was that it wasn't a tour of the chocolate factory, but a cheesy display at the transportation museum. This "tour" wasted over an hour and a half that could have been spent in Lucerne. The second was that if you stayed in town, you would be walking back to the ship as the busses did not return to the same location. This tour was a total waste of time and money. I felt especially bad as we convinced friends to go on the tour as Lucerne is a beautiful town, but we had very little time to enjoy it.
Debarkation: The luggage was handled very well and it appeared the bus transfers to the airport were scheduled efficiently. It appeared we were the only ones staying in Basel and we were transferred to the hotel by car.
Gift Shop: The gift shop had a nice selection despite the small size.
Service/Staff: All of the staff were great. They clearly wanted to make the cruise a wonderful experience. Our butler (Valentin) was outstanding. His service and demeanor were the epitome of a true European Butler. He was quick to make sure all of our needs were met as well as provide the little things that made our cruise extra special.
We had a wonderful waiter (Vladamir) in the dining room. While his service was outstanding, he was also very engaging and had a great sense of humor. Breakfast and dinner were entertaining as well as delicious.
The front desk staff were friendly and helpful. The senior staff (Captain, First Captain, Cruise Manager, Hotel Manager) on the ship were visible and engaging.
We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to booking our next Uniworld river cruise.
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