This was our 4th experience on Uniworld and was a 7-day cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg with an additional 2-day land excursion in Prague. As I have learned the hard way from a previous river cruise, your dream and expensive vacation can go wrong quickly and unexpectedly.
On the positive side the Beatrice was a nice ship. Overall the ship was clean and well maintained. The staff was great and would always do whatever they could to make the trip enjoyable. The food and wine quality in my opinion was very good to excellent.
This trip which departed on June 12, 2019 from Budapest was going well up to shortly after the moment the returning guests in the River Heritage Club were being thanked for their loyalty to Uniworld. The Captain announced that a cruise ship from another cruise line had damaged a river lock near Riedenburg Germany on June 5, 2019, and the ship would not be able to go to Nuremberg as planned. This accident occurred 1 week prior to our tip. Our river cruise would in a few days be turned into a bus tour and the ship would remain docked in Riedenburg. He went on to explain that they had hoped the lock would be repaired in time but unfortunately repairs could not be completed before our planned passage through the lock. While I certainly place no blame on Uniworld for the lock damage caused by another cruse line I do take exception to not notifying passengers on this trip of a potential disruption to the itinerary as soon as it became a possibility. We were notified well into our trip of the disruption thus putting us at the mercy of Uniworld. I discussed this issue with the staff and suggested that letting us know the minute this came up would have likely minimized the impact of the deviation. This is the second time Uniworld has known in advance of a major deviation to an itinerary and has chosen to wait until the last minute to inform guests. I find this pattern concerning and is one of the reasons I would be very hesitant to travel on Uniworld again. The bus tours were long, hot, and not comfortable. Buses that are meant to travel a short distance are not built for hours on the road.
My other issue with the trip included the quality of the excursions. Fortunately, we spent a few days in Budapest before the cruise started. Otherwise the option was a 1-hour tour of the Parliament and a 90-minute bus tour with one 15-minute stop. Some of the tours were better than others, but nothing that I would call extraordinary or special. I recalled that on our Uniworld cruise on the Venetian Canal we had a private tour of St. Mark’s Cathedral at night. There was nothing equal to that experience on this trip. On board entertainment ranged from none to lacking and uninteresting.
Our room in the 300 series of rooms was unbelievably small and the I was uncertain how anyone was expected to use the bathroom. There was a small table and chair jammed into the side of the room that we should have asked to be removed as they served no purpose.
Finally, I was disappointed with the hotel choice in Prague. It was likely a 3-star hotel. While it was clean and reasonably appointed, for the cost for the trip, I would have expected a much better hotel choice. The hotel did not even have a bar. We had to walk across the street to its’ sister property for drinks with friends.
Overall I continue to be skeptical about future river cruising given all the unexpected things that can turn your river cruise into a very unpleasant and high price bus tour. I can assure you that travel by bus through these regions is not fun and not equivalent to what you paid for on the ship. And, don’t count on any type of refund from the cruise line.
Small, cramped, and the bathroom was almost impossible to use. I would like to meet the person that designed it.