Our travel agent recommended this cruise line over others. We had had a wonderful experience with Tauck’s musical cruise on the Danube but she said there’s no comparison in terms of Uniworld being a better experience.
My first reaction upon entering the boat’s lobby is that it looked cluttered. There is a large blue chandelier that overpowers the small area. Downstairs in the reception area there is a table with blue and white vases and green apples that provided a pleasing vignette. The stairs themselves are rather steep and curved, which to me seemed like a recipe for a fall if not being very careful.
About a month prior to departure we were offered an upgrade to a suite, which we were glad we took, since it offered much more space than the French balcony. That classification offers butler service, but we rarely took advantage except for laundry, which always came back later in the day and was beautifully done. The “balcony” is actually an inset into part of the room with two small chairs and a table plus a window that will open half way. It was nicely appointed including a live orchid. There was limited opportunity to use the balcony, as most of the time the boat moved at night and when docked, we were either up against another boat, a concrete wall, or similar uninteresting view. The room decor seemed a bit heavy but the bed was very comfortable and we like the size of the bathroom and the storage under the two sinks, plus towel and floor warmers. The shower often backed up into the main floor area.
One major disadvantage to that particular cabin (402) is that it can be noisy with lots of footsteps outside and overhead, evening during the night. It is near the main gathering area, which added to the noise, plus the neighboring room played their TV hanging on the wall adjacent to our bed loudly playing past midnight. I mentioned something to the hotel director, suggesting that our neighbors play the TV by their bed instead. That worked one night only... .
One of our major complaints about this ship is that the gathering areas were very noisy...We traveled with another couple and could barely hear each other while dining. Upon request, they reserved a table in the back of the room, which helped. Even with the room partially filled, the sound level was very high and one could clearly hear conversations from two or three tables away. It did seem as if the there was fairly steady drinking among this crowd, which may have added to the decibels.
Another serious issue was our experience at dinner. First, the waiters were understaffed, meaning that there was a sense of frantic about them (tho they were very pleasant and tried to be accommodating.) Often they tried to serve us the wrong order and usually it took well over 30’ to have our dinner plates removed. The food itself was sub par. There was only one night that I thought the entree was edible. Every other night I couldn’t eat it. When asked why my plate was full when they removed it, I told them and they responded “I’ll let the chef know”. All four of us on the cruise felt that the quality of food at dinner time tended to be dry as if sitting for too long before being served...and often without much taste. The breakfast was very nice and lunch was okay, tho repetitive. The offered cheeses, many of which were not of high quality...almost stale in some cases..and the fruit was usually unripe. We have been on several tours and sea cruises (Tauck, Lindblad, Crystal, Celebrity) and in all cases their food quality and service were superior to this.
The cruise director was upbeat and accommodating. That said, we thought the guided tours were rather bland and generic. We suggested to him it might be nice to include more information about the architecture and art/music in the particular areas and he said this “market” wasn’t interested in this.
I want to reiterate that the crew were all very pleasant and worked hard. It seems that perhaps the corporate section of Uniworld needs to consider addressing some of these concerns, as I see that many other reviewers with similar comments.