This was our first cruise and we were celebrating a special occasion. Everything was great - cabin layout quite adequate with lovely big comfy bed, lovely en suite with great shower, all sparkling clean. Food was fantastic, loads of choice for breakfast and lunch, more formal meal in the evening but still with three or four choices on the four course menu. Masses of choice in drinks including malt whiskies, all staff were friendly and professional. Trips varied but generally good and there was usually a choice.
So what was the problem?? I have to firstly state that I am a poor sleeper. So, we had paid for a 'deluxe' cabin, which meant we had a good sized, non opening window and were located at the front on the second level. All cabins are the same size and layout, you pay for the window, ours was fine from that point of view. What was definitely not fine was the hellish noise we experienced from the engines at the front, located maybe six feet from our door, which was the second last in the corridor. The last door between us and the engine room was the bottle store. 100+ passengers on an all inclusive cruise get through a lot of bottles so the staff were constantly in and out during the day and in the evening, clattering and clanking as they restocked. But worst by far was the engine noise. Apparently the engines at the front are the ones which deal with sideways positioning and are therefore heavily engaged when passing through locks. There are a great many locks between Basel and Amsterdam, and we sailed through the vast majority of them overnight, mainly on nights 1 & 2. This meant that I barely slept during either of these nights doe to the roaring of the engine. We spoke to passengers who were in the cheaper cabins one level down but who heard nothing. We were very unfortunate in the location of our room. And to add insult to injury a couple of nights later we had dancing in the lounge from 9.30pm. Guess what, the lounge turned out to be directly above our heads. We ended up going ashore and walking along the towpath for an hour or so in the pitch dark, thankfully when we returned after 11.00 the band was finishing. Lots of apologies and a bottle of fizzy wine the next day from the hotel manager on board.
So apart from the noise the cruise was 5*. Unfortunately if you can't sleep at night you can't enjoy the days. I have since been in touch with customer services who tell me that noise is not unexpected. Well it was completely unexpected for me and served to seriously detract from our holiday. Should you have a problem I cannot recommend Uniworld customer services.