River Duchess Cruise Review by seattleGTfan
- Sail Date: October 2018
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Stateroom with French Balcony
We left Budapest a day early because of the river, but got an extra day in Vienna, which was great. Once we got as far as Vilshofen, the river was no longer navigable. We were still able to do most of the tours, but had to take a bus to get to the various towns for our tours. It's not what anyone hoped for, but the buses were comfortable, and the tours were quite enjoyable. Passengers who didn't want to go on a bus were welcome to stay onboard the ship. After 9 days (of a 15 night cruise), we packed up and rode to Frankfurt where we boarded another Uniworld ship to use that as our base for the next 3 nights while we had tours in towns in that area. The final 3 nights were spent in hotels in Cologne and Amsterdam. The hotels were quite nice, and Uniworld provided money for our meals while we were not on the ship.
I noticed that the Cruise Critic overview for this ship is a little out of date. Alcohol is included with this cruise, except for high-end drinks that are listed in a book at the bar. Also, on the Gala night and Farewell night, dinner is somewhat dressier, but not necessarily as dressy as described. A lot of men wore a jacket without a tie, some wore a tie but no jacket, and some just wore a dress shirt. Women dressed a little dressier than the other nights, but nice slacks and a dressy blouse were fine.
There was a resident pianist/vocalist playing in the lounge before and after dinner, and outside bands were brought in to play on several nights.
The food was generally quite good, and if we found something not to our liking, the wait staff were happy to bring something else.
Regarding tours, they did offer a "Gentle Walkers" option for passengers who would like a slower and easier pace on the tours. Otherwise, I think every town had a choice of at least 2 different tours that were included at no extra charge. They did offer a few special tours that cost extra, but there were always some free tours as well.
Overall, we had a great time, and look forward to our next river cruise.
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The cabin is somewhat smaller than we've had on other ships, but was quite comfortable, and we had everything we needed.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Van Gogh MuseumThe Van Gogh museum is very popular, and difficult to get into, so we were happy to have the opportunity to go as part of the ship's tour, and get in when it first opened. The museum provided headsets for listening to information about the paintings and Van Gogh's life. The museum got crowded in a hurry, but it was still a great opportunity to see it without waiting in line.View All 56 Van Gogh Museum Reviews
FrankfurtFrom Frankfurt we took the full day tour of Heidelberg. The castle architecture was fascinating, and it provided an opportunity to get some great photos of the town. After the castle tour, we rode the bus back into the town for a walking tour, followed by free time for lunch. I wish we had more free time to spend there.View All 16 Frankfurt Cruise Port Reviews
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PassauThis was an out-and-back ride that was mostly along the river. There were a few small hills on the course, so anyone considering this tour should be comfortable shifting gears on hills, as well as starting and stopping in groups. The tour did go thru a forest for one stretch that had a very bumpy surface. At the turnaround point, we stopped at a biergarden for refreshments before heading back. The tour had 3 guides: one to lead, one to sweep, and another who rode in the middle, so nobody got left behind. Getting through Passau required riding in town for a stretch on cobblestone streets, so that part was bumpy as well. But we had a good time.View All 12,237 Passau Cruise Port Reviews
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RegensburgIn Regensburg we took the BMW plant tour, which was fascinating. Afterward, we had time to walk around the town for a while and get the sausages they are known for. A great tour!View All 490 Regensburg Cruise Port Reviews
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Schonbrunn PalaceThis was an "after hours" tour, so the only people in the palace were from our ship. That was a great way to see it. The guide was wonderful. This tour cost extra, but was well worth it.View All 140 Schonbrunn Palace Reviews