My wife and I just returned from our second Uniworld cruise. The first was on the S.S. Catherine going from Lyon to Avignon in 2016. It was excellent and initially we were a bit concerned that the Castles along the Rhine (Amsterdam to Basel) cruise might not live up to our experience in the south of France. But it certainly did!
We spent 4 days in Amsterdam before boarding the S.S. Antoinette for the cruise. (a perfect beginning we recommend for everyone) We've read a few reviews complaining about the condition of the Antoinette - we have absolutely NO complaints about the ship.
We booked a French balcony cabin which was very nice. On our first trip we opted for a full balcony - which, as far as we are concerned was a mistake. The French balcony configuration on the Antoinette is exactly the same square footage as the full balcony. As on all river cruise lines, the staterooms are small but very functional. We had no complaints about the cabin, amenities, bath, AC, steward service, or anything else. All Uniworld ships are non-smoking except in specific above deck areas so there was no smell in the cabin. As a safety engineer, I was pleased to see that all areas of the ship are sprinklered with smoke detectors.
Dining was excellent - plenty of choices for all meals. Uniworld is all inclusive so all beverages were included. Other reviewers have commented on the noise level in the dining room - and we experienced a similar issue. But, it was NOT awful, contrary to other comments we've read. However, we do suggest that the noise level in the dining room be evaluated to see if anything could be done to attenuate the noise. (There was a large group (40+) of passengers, all on a sponsored excursion from one US State, who added greatly to the overall noise level.)
The excursions were also excellent, and the local guides were very knowledgeable. The excursions themselves were very interesting and we really enjoyed the small towns we visited. Strasbourg is a don't miss experience. Definitely don't miss the vinegar tasting excursion!
The castles along the Rhine were beautiful. The Cruise Director ("Pete"), told interesting stories about the history of each one. In a nutshell, he did a fabulous job.
We chose to do a progressive dinner (small group) which included appetizers and a full meal and dessert while taking a guided tour of the ship including the kitchen, engine room (spotless!), and bridge. It was very interesting seeing the inner workings of the Antoinette.
We had read about the low water level problems on the Rhine. Although it was low, it was still passable and our sailing was just fine. Fortunately, our weather was perfect the entire trip. Bright sunshine all the way.
The crew was great - professional, helpful, and friendly. All spoke English very well.
We didn't go on a river cruise expecting Las Vegas style entertainment. But what there was, was nice. Especially the guitar playing "guy with 2,000 songs."
Finally, we love the fact that river cruising is on small ships with far fewer passengers than on those ocean going monsters. There were probably about 150 passengers on the Antoinette. We met lots of very nice people, some of whom almost instantly became good friends. In short, we had an absolute ball and we will be taking future river cruises in Europe with Uniworld.
Very nice - quiet, comfortable, excellent bed.