We took the Uniworld European Jewels cruise between October 19 and November 3 from Budapest to Amsterdam. Due to low river levels, we spent far too much time on a bus, missed excursions and had to transfer to three different ships. The core of our complaint is that Uniworld was aware of this issue all summer and did not give us the opportunity to decide for ourselves whether we wished to proceed or postpone. We had purchased expensive trip insurance for just such an eventuality. However, Uniworld only notified us late the day before we were scheduled to depart for Budapest, effectively taking the decision away from us and forcing us into a highly substandard experience of tremendously less value.
As far as the onboard experience goes, it was generally quite wonderful. Personnel on all three ships worked hard to make the best of a bad situation. The Captain on the River Empress (second ship) demonstrated truly outstanding leadership skills. He led the crew in a way that made them want to perform well. He also took full responsibility and did a good job managing customer complaints associated with using tour buses versus sailing. Also, the laundry service was well done and prompt. Bar service was friendly and always available, which helped soothe nerves of frustrated passengers. One exception to the positive feedback concerning onboard experiences was that food quality was less than we had experienced on two previous Uniworld cruises. Especially early during the cruise, there were far too many buffet style meals. During a mid-cruise survey, I commented that the chef was strangely absent. On previous Uniworld cruises, the chef was the star of the show. The day after I submitted my comment, the chef began to appear in the dining room. Again, this speaks to the leadership qualities of Captian Ferdy on the River Empress.
Beautiful cabins on all three ships with very attentive staff. We splurged for a suite, so there was plenty of room. I'm not much in favor of using a butler which is part of the package, and all three were very attentive to our needs without being imposing.
Only time for 90 minutes in town due to bus travel
Very brief tome in Old Town due to bus travel. Skipped the Nazi Documentation Center due to lack of time.
Port was skipped by Uniworld due to lack of time.
Just transferred ships here