We were first time river cruisers (2 Caribbean cruises), and we read Cruise Critic website for help. So, we wanted to put down any notes or tips for the next reader. As we did not know the river cruise market at all, we went to through our trusted, neighborhood Costco with its guaranteed service. We picked this cruise mainly because it grabbed two USA holidays (New Years and Christmas), and covered some ground (three countries, Germany, Austria, and Hungary).
Booking with Costco was fairly easy and required several phone calls, a few e-mails and two FAXs, but that was about it. There was no mystery to the process. The pre-cruise package did not arrive within the 21 to 30 days before the cruise, so we had to call and have it FedExed to us. However, this was not a big deal - there is no work involved with the pre-cruise package – it is just your cruise ticket, luggage tags, your cruise ID Scantron cards, and itinerary book. We read the Cruise Companion PDF on the Uniworld website, and it covered almost everything.
We also did our flights through Uniworld, paid the small fee booking fee to do it through Costco (25$ x 2), and had them book the flights on the days we picked. Uniworld’s airfares could not be beat. Overall, Costco was a very good way to book; they did everything they said they would.