We've done ocean cruises for years and decided to try a river cruise because we always wanted to see the Danube. We chose Uniworld since it was a boutique line with good reviews. We did the 9 night Delightful Danube and Prague on the SS Beatrice on July 24, 2019. We opted for the 2 day pre-extension in Budapest.
Overall the vacation was good. But given the price, I would say it failed to live up to our expectations.
- Food was excellent. That part was very much in line with our expectations.
- Itinerary was excellent. I liked river cruising and especially the locks. I wasn't sure if I would like river cruising (being an ocean cruiser), but it was nice.
- Ship was nice.
- Staff was for the most part very good.
- All tips included which was nice.
- All drinks included (but I'm sure we paid for that with the price).
- Many excursions were included (but that wasn't necessarily good - see the ugly below).
- Cabin was nicely decorated. It was pretty tiny, but we knew that going in. Just be aware that it is very small. The bathroom would be hard for an elderly person (in my opinion. One annoyance to me was that light from the hallway came around the door on all 4 sides so the cabin was never really dark at night. French balcony was nice.
- Pre-Cruise in Budapest. I would definitely recommend extending your trip in Budapest. Amazing city and you really need more time to see it than you will otherwise get on the 7 night cruise.
- Post-Cruise in Prague. I would also recommend this as well. I loved Prague. Would definitely do this since you should see it.
The Not so Good:
- Public areas were limited. There weren't too many places you could go on the ship the get out of your small cabin. The top deck is closed between Nuremberg and Regensburg so that took away a nice option leaving only the lounge. If a talk was going on in the lounge, you then really had no options. That final day (when the sun deck was closed due to low bridges), the ship felt much, much too small to me.
- Excursions were not that great. I actually thought they were pretty poor. Nothing amazing and certainly nothing close to what we paid for with Celebrity in Greece. We even paid for a Masterpiece excursion one night and even that wasn't really that amazing. I was disappointed with the excursions. We could have done much better on our own and if I did this cruise again that is exactly what I would do.
- Information was poor. I've never been on a cruise before with such little information being provided. We didn't realize until we were on the ship that the ship was leaving Budapest the following morning. We thought we had a day to see Budapest and all we had was a bus tour (included) which did not give a very good overview of Budapest. Had we not done the pre-cruise stay in Budapest we would have been very upset.
- Excursion groups were HUGE. Ship may have been tiny (130 or so passengers), but the excursion groups were very big and many did not break up in to smaller groups. We did a bike tour in Austria that had 65 people riding in one large group. Our last cruise was with Celebrity in Greece with thousands of passengers and we never had groups this big. To me it ruined the small ship feel since the excursions were anything but small.
- Open seating was a pain for a group of 4. Being a family of 4 in two cabins, we wanted a table of 4 for dinner. It was hard to ensure that since there were not many 4's and some of those were reserved by larger groups (which is annoying). So we always had to be at dinner right as it opened to ensure we got a table of 4. Not the most relaxing feeling when you have to worry about that each evening. Not sure why they allowed so many tables to be "reserved" like they did.
- Cruise Manager was poor. This was our biggest gripe on the cruise. The cruise manager several times gave out false information about tours. It almost seemed like she had never done this before (but I know she's been doing it a while). On the biking tour from Austria to Passau, we were under the impression that drinks at the "Beer House" stop were included in the excursion. Prior excursions included water so we figured this would be no different since we were biking 18 miles. We only got water for ourselves and 2 kids at the Beer House. Prior to biking away, we were told that some tables hadn't paid their bill. Turns out we had to pay for that water. It was rather embarrassing - especially for another guest who didn't have euros on him to pay. I mentioned to the Cruise manager immediately upon returning to the ship that she might want to explain that to future guests. She said it was mentioned at the talk the night before which we hadn't attended (since we had already signed up for the tour). She seemed rather indignant to my wife and I - like it was our fault. I would think that given the cost of this vacation, they could actually mention something like this at the onset of the tour itself. I mean it's a vacation and why should we have to attend every little briefing just to hope we get the tiny details that you would think would be given to you on the actual tour itself. But it was just another sign of the poor information provided and for that I totally blame the Cruise Manager.
Recommend? I don't think I would recommend Uniworld to someone who wanted to River Cruise. For the price, I was definitely not impressed and the organization on the ship was very much lacking. If we river cruise again (which I expect we will), we will try another company.
Cabin was pretty tiny but that is the norm on river cruises due to the locks. Bathroom was hardest to maneuver in (and elderly folks would have trouble in there - in my opinion). But it was nicely decorated and the french door was nice. No screen so we did have a bug issue a few times. Door let light in all around it so at night it wasn't overly dark.
I loved Regensburg. Town was so nice and you could walk there from ship. Favorite port on our cruise.
Visited ship museum and then walked around town. Museum was OK. Product tasting (apricot products) was nice. Walk was nice. Not sure I'd do it again. Melk (where ship was docked) was thousands of times more interesting. I would definitely choose Melk over Spitz. Ship had no tours in Melk, but we did it on our own.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Least favorite port. Only one excursion was available and it wasn't very good. Town is OK, but nothing great. Had much higher expectations for this port.
Just two stops. Parliament was good. Top of Buda hill was nice. Luckily we arrived 2 days early in Budapest. If not, this tour would not give you a very good overview.View All 353 City Tour Reviews
Liked this tour a lot. Driven to Vienna on bus with a stop at the tree house (which was good) and then a walking food tour (which was also good). Then driven to ferris wheel for a spin. Had a good time on this tour.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Poorly organized tour. Too many people in our group. Some riders fell and got hurt. No safety talk, no overview of bike and how to use gear shifts, no check on seat height. Riders were too close to each other and passed to often (for unknown reasons). Tour could have been so nice if it had been organized better.View All undefined undefined Reviews