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5 U River Cruises Cruise Reviews

For our first river cruise, we select U by Uniworld (now U River Cruises) specifically to cruise with a younger demographic, as we are in our late 30's and enjoy a fun atmosphere. I was a little concerned about the very little I could ... Read More
For our first river cruise, we select U by Uniworld (now U River Cruises) specifically to cruise with a younger demographic, as we are in our late 30's and enjoy a fun atmosphere. I was a little concerned about the very little I could find online about the newish offshoot of regular Uniworld, but we figured we would give it a try. It was a little cheaper than Viking for a week on the Danube. First, we had an unexpected delay when a ship ran aground (not ours, but ahead on the Danube) on the morning of the second day, when we had only been sailing a few hours. We had left Regensburg and not yet arrived in Linz when we docked unexpectedly in Deggendorf as we were not allowed to continue on the river. Although this was my first river cruise, I understood going in that the rivers are unpredictable and our itinerary might change. The weird thing was the complete lack of communication during this time. We had a WhatsApp group that would send notifications of schedules, events, etc and nobody from the staff ever said anything about what had happened. They seemed scared to death to admit anything had gone "wrong" and were very defensive. We only learned what had happened from people docked on a neighboring Viking ship. During this time, the passengers became increasingly irate, threatening to leave, worried that we would spend the week docked in Deggendorf. After two days, we were cleared to leave again and continued on, missing only one port (although we had to be bussed to some because of the schedule change). This weird, defensive service was sort of the theme of the week. We joked that their customer service philosophy was to start every conversation by telling the guest that they shouldn't be mad. I can only assume that they have had a lot of angry people in the past with the various challenges of the river, and the Danube being impassable was certainly out of their control (many other river cruise ships were with us at Deggendorf) but an apology for the inconvenience and some small offering would have been nice. I think a single free drink might have mollified me at that point. The boat itself was lovely. I understand it is a rehabbed older ship, and it didn't have some of the amenities we saw on our parked neighbors, like pools. However, it had a fun trendy design and I always had what I needed - which was a dining room, a top deck for watching the sights roll by, and a lounge for an evening drink. I don't think I would have used a pool anyway! Our room, while very small, was well appointed and the bed was comfortable. The assortment of plug styles was appreciated with our many devices and single European adapter. We seemed to find a place for everything despite the small size, and the tiny bathroom was also laid out well. I also appreciated that the river cruise boat never had a sewer smell, something I have begun to associate with almost all ocean cruise lines. I had a balcony room and between the lost days at Deggendorf and our other port times, we were almost always sandwiched between other ships, rendering the balcony (or any window) totally pointless. The dining room food was fine. It had a focus on fresh/regional ingredients and recipes, which makes sense, but since I don't care too much for the German/Austrian cuisine, I wasn't too impressed. My husband did like it. I felt like breakfast was pretty repetitive, but also fine. I was aware going in that we only got 2 meals a day, breakfast/brunch and then dinner, with the idea that we would eat at our daily port stop. Well, that would have worked out fine had our itinerary gone as expected, but we were stuck on the ship in Deggendorf for 9 or 10 hours with no meals. We finally trekked into town and ate at a fast food restaurant. There is a limited bar menu (fries, etc) for an extra charge between meals, but I really think they should offer some sort of light snacks for those days with 10 hours between meals, especially when we are stuck at a port or at a sea day. There was also a mix of dining styles - some nights it was buffet, and other nights it was served family style at the table. As there were only 2 of us, the family style was weird and very wasteful - we would be delivered a container of, for example, vegetable curry whether we were going to eat it or not. The clientele of the ship was what I had hoped for - an assortment of ages, but skewing younger. Compared to our Viking and similar ship neighbors, the demographic on ours was much younger, and we had some fun bar nights. However, in chatting with fellow guests, I was interested to see how many people were in the travel industry. After awhile, I was wondering if I was the only person who had paid retail to be there. Bar drinks were on the expensive side, at 7 euro for the drink of the day and 9 euro for everything else, including single glasses of wine. We saw very few people with the drink package (they were identified with different color wristbands) which did not seem to be a great value at 300 euro per person per week. There was no security as you board, unlike ocean cruises that I'm used to, so most people just brought alcohol back with them from the ports and carried it around. I wish I had known in advance to do that! Our port stops (Regensburg to embark, then a couple days lost to Deggendorf/river problems, then Durnstein, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest) were all pretty interesting, and were the highlight of the cruise. The included excursions were a mixed bag. Sometimes they were totally worthless ("walk in that direction and you'll find an event, good luck"), sometimes they were okay ("here is a train ticket, enjoy Vienna") and sometimes they were great (like our 3 hour walking tour of Budapest). There was a constant and annoying push for the paid excursions, which seemed to be minimally used. There were also several available bike tours, which we did not utilize. With our port interruptions, we were frequently bussed to port stops, which I found convenient (at least we were seeing the missed ports) but many of my fellow passengers seemed to find annoying. Once our anger at the total lack of communication over the itinerary change faded, we just found ourselves underwhelmed with the whole experience. At the price point, we could have toured those cities in style ourselves. We might try another line someday, but I think U River Cruises needs to overhaul their model if they hope to continue, with an emphasis on better (or really any) service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
my husband and i chose this, our first river cruise, with some concern. u river cruises, a fairly new cruise line, targeting millennials, was initially restricted to passengers between 21 and 45 years of age. when the ship could not be ... Read More
my husband and i chose this, our first river cruise, with some concern. u river cruises, a fairly new cruise line, targeting millennials, was initially restricted to passengers between 21 and 45 years of age. when the ship could not be filled, the age restriction was lifted. and we booked, but we worried that, because of our age (we are both in our 60s), we might not fit in or feel welcomed on The A. that fear, thankfully, was unfounded. about half the passengers on the ship fell in the target age range, and the other half were older, like we are. regardless of age, passengers interacted with each other easily and comfortably. the ship has a youthful vibe. the experience, while high in quality, is not formal, but casual in dress and presentation dinners on our cruise were most often served buffet style at shared tables, but two nights of our 7-day itinerary, dinner was presented family-style. the food was varied, fresh, and quite good. the wine list, while short, offers a nice variety. having access to a free laundry room was great! staterooms are very small. unless you are booked in a suite, the stateroom is not a place in which you would choose to hang out. but, the rooms were attractive, clean, thoughtfully laid out and quiet. we had a french balcony, which really is not a balcony at all, but a full length window which opens, having a bar across the middle so you can stand IN your room and look out and feel the weather. something i did not know about river cruises, is that the river cruise ships park on the banks of the river, side by side, sometimes three-deep. it is a good thing that windows have privacy shutters, because when the ships are in port, your stateroom window can be only inches away from a neighboring ship's stateroom window. another thing that i did not know is that when you exit your ship, it may mean passing through several other ships as you make your way to shore. service at the dinner hour was always excellent! service at the U lounge, less so. the ice bar lounge was non-functional most of the cruise. stateroom attendants were efficient and always friendly. our september sailing of "the danube flow" did not get off to a good start. there was an accident on the danube between regensburg and passau, and all river traffic was shut down. we had only barely gotten underway, when the ship turned around and anchored in deggendorf, where we stayed for three days. this was, of course, extremely disappointing to passengers who had looked forward to scenic views while gliding on the river. this river accident was outside the control of U River Cruises, but i felt that communication during this event could have been better. and i also felt that a gesture of understanding, such as free drink, two-for-one drink, happy hours specials, would have helped to offset the disappointment. no such gesture was made. being stuck on the ship is not a good thing, because the ship offers little in the way of entertainment. there are board games, cards, and jigsaw puzzles in the u-lounge, but that is about it for entertainment. and while the online website for U River Cruises states that cruise fare includes three meals a day, it does not include lunch.---the three meals are 1)very limited continental breakfast for early risers. 2 breakfast. 3)dinner. a menu with very limited options is offered in the U Lounge for a fee...if you can find a server in the U Lounge! here is a day-by-day-rundown of our experience: september 7 - it was a rainy day. we had spent the previous two days in regensburg, a completely charming little town. between rain showers we walked our bags to the ship around 11:30am. our bags were marked with our stateroom number, and we were told to come back around 3:00pm when the staterooms would be ready, which is what we did. we unpacked in our tiny little stateroom and then headed to the U Lounge, eager to greet other passengers, expecting some sort of welcome aboard festivities. but NOTHING!. no bar server was in the lounge. just nothing. we sat awhile, just kind of this creepy quietness, so we decided to get off the ship and explore the gardens of regensburg near the port. reboarded the vessel a couple of hours later. welcome announcements and a glass of champagne were given in the U Lounge before we made our way downstairs to a buffet dinner. after dinner my husband and i went to regensburg after dark to go a local german festival called "dult", a suggestion made by U Host Boris. it was like a county fair with little oktoberfest-like tents of revelers. it was quite fun. september 8 - during the night, the ship had sailed, but by morning it had turned around and we were anchored at deggendorf because the river was closed because of accident. the scheduled tours had to be reworked. we were taken off the ship and brought by bus to passau, where we did the included excursion "scenic passau" with a hike up to the hilltop veste oberhaus fortress. the U Host led us through the town at a swift, but comfortable pace, pointing out possible spots in town where we could have drink post-hike (because it was sunday, many places were not open) and then up the hill to the fortress. once we got to the top, he said we could go to the little museum there, or have a snack at the hilltop cafe, or head back down had visit a pub or cafe in town, but none of these things were included in the tour, but would be at our own expense.. we explored a bit at the hilltop, then headed down into the town and had a german beer and bavarian snacks at a little cafe. then we were bused back to the ship. dinner that night was served family style. very generous portions! we enjoyed the excursions and the dinner. september 9 - the ship is still not moving. all the regular tours were canceled. we were brought by bus to a schnapps factory for schnapps sampling and then taken to a national park for a hike in the rain. there was no charge for this tour. it was okay. the schnapps factory was generous with the samples. sales were brisk. the national park was just okay. there was the possibility of seeing some wildlife, but we saw none that day. prior to the cruise, we had booked "look at linz past" a U TIME tour for which we were charged. because i had bought the excursions from home, i could not receive credit for the cancelled tour onboard, but i was told that a credit would be issued to my credit card after sailing. so far, (6 weeks post sailing and three phone calls later) no credit has appeared. september 10 - the ship is finally moving! the ship was not going to stop at the places we missed, but head directly to durnstein. we were told to be on the top deck for the beautiful scenic views,and to wear the headsets because U Host would be offering commentary on the sights. this was an extremely disappointing experience. finally we are moving, and there is a reason to sit on the top deck and enjoy the scenery and the sunshine, and perhaps a drink? but no. the ice bar, which services the top deck is broken. it did not open the entire cruise! i went down the two flights of stairs to buy a drink at the U Lounge, and i suggested that a server come up top with a tray of drinks of the day, saying that sales would be brisk, but i was told that the ship did not have the personnel for that. the commentary coming through the headsets was complete static. the U Host offering the commentary was sitting right in the path of the wind, and that interfered with the reception in passengers' headsets. when made aware of the issue, the U Host seemed completely indifferent to the issue and did nothing to rectify. what should have been a great experience was a complete dud. in the afternoon, we were taken by bus from durnstein to melk, where we headed up the hill to melk abbey. this was an included tour. our time at the abbey was very short. once we got up the hill, we were told we would have to pay for a ticket to enter the abbey. there was a great deal of frustration with this. we were two busloads of people all entering the ticket queue at the same time. with so little time, and the long queue, it seemed like an ill thought-out plan. most of the people at the end of the line, abandoned the plan to enter the abbey and just walked around in the courtyard. there must be a better way to design this tour. in the evening we did U TIME excursions "wine through the wachua". i thought it was a very good tour. the town of durnstein is absolutely charming. september 11 - the ship was in vienna. we did U Time excursion "taste of vienna". the seven people who had signed up for the tour were taken with a local guide by huge full-size bus to the historic center of vienna for a walking tour. then we met another local guide, reboarded the bus and went up the hill into the vienna woods to a scenic overlook for photos, and then to a restaurant for an included lunch which featured austrian cuisine and wine. it was a well executed tour. in the evening we did another tour "after hours at schonbrunn palace". the palace and the grounds were not crowded and this tour was also very enjoyable. september 12 - in bratislava the A docked close to the "ufo bridge". we met our local tour guides for the U Time "retro-bratislava" right near the port. it was a most enjoyable and educational tour led by two very likeable young guys. they own the little tour company, and to lend authenticity to the experience, they insist on doing the tour with retro vehicles...our small group was divided between a VW van and an old Skoda car. we enjoyed the ordinary sights, because of the extraordinary history they hold. we enjoyed the communist era snacks that were offered. and the surprise picnic that was set up near an old german bunker at the old border between east and west. this was probably my favorite tour of the trip. we had another family style dinner on the ship that night, made a little more special because of the dessert demonstration or demolition. around midnight the ship was nearing budapest, with a full moon and the dazzling display of light, this arrival was absolutely stunning. september 13 - in budapest we took the included tour of the rock hospital. it also included a very informative walk through the old town with a local guide. the rock hospital tour was very interesting. later that day we took the U Time tour to the gellert baths. this, too, was great! in the evening the ship had to move to another dock. this was supposed to take about 45 minutes, but instead it took about two hours! i think that there were some angry passengers who had gone ashore and had to wait and wait to reboard the ship because the repositioning took so long. in summary, i would say that there were many things that i truly enjoyed about our first river cruise experience. but there also were significant issues. -communication prior to the cruise was poor. the website had lots of conflicting info regarding the different excursions in ports. there were two places on the site to access the information, and each place listed different options. prices for the U Time excursions are not listed on the website, and it is not possible to book the excursions on the website. -the ice bar was broken nearly the entire trip -service in the U Lounge was often poor, and sometimes not too friendly. servers do not come tableside to offer drinks, but most often you have to go to get yourself a drink. though the ship is paperless, all drinks require a signature on a receipt. it would be a big improvement to have the drinks charged by tapping the wristband that opens stateroom doors. -there is no way to access your shipboard account on your own. the only way is to ask at the reception desk. i think that many who had received shipboard credit as a booking perk, had no idea that it was there because of this. - because all announcements come to passengers via whatsapp, people were glued to their phones. face to face social interaction suffers in this arrangement. 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Sail Date September 2019
April saw me join the first cruise of the season for U by Uniworld on the A, cruising from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. It was Easter weekend in Amsterdam so was very busy. I caught a taxi from the airport but the train would have been an ... Read More
April saw me join the first cruise of the season for U by Uniworld on the A, cruising from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. It was Easter weekend in Amsterdam so was very busy. I caught a taxi from the airport but the train would have been an equally good option as the boat was docked like 700 mtrs from the train station and due to the location the cabs do not get much closer. The A cuts a nice figure on the water and due the black outside colouring makes it very easy to identify among the river boats. Walking on the dock was quiet quickly greeted and helped with my luggage on board. Check in was completed in minutes and was in my room 201 very shortly after. The rooms are compact which is to be expected on a river cruise, but there is plenty on storage areas. In fact the whole trip I kept finding new hidey holes. I was travelling alone so the room was more than adequate for me. They are clean and sleek. The bathrooms are small but well laid out. 201 is the first cabin on the boat and I had thought you may get alot of noise of people walking by but I rarely heard outside. There was USB and power points throught out the room. You could also cast from your phone or tablet to the TV. The boat is very slick with artwork through out and the use of colours is well done. Even the outside signage changes colour from night to night. The first day the boat was very quiet with people either out exploring the city or catching up on sleep from flying in. In the afternoon there is a welcome aboard event with sparkling wine, introduction to the staff and U hosts, as well as all the security details. Also where you get to meet your ship mates. The line markets to a younger crowd, we had a wide mix of people from the 86 year old grandma to 20 something couples. This for me made for an interesting group and everyone was able to connect with others from time to time. Dining on the A was a bit of a hit or miss to me. They say that they serve regional cuisine but found that more often than not they were trying to cater for a very wide range which people either enjoyed or didn't. To me alot of travelling is about experiencing local cuisines and feel this could have been better delivered. There is a brunch most mornings that consist of generally the some sort of hot breakfast bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. There is also an omelette station. Salads, pastries, yoghurts, breads and cheeses are also included. There is a good mix of healthy and less healthy options. Breakfast does at some point move to a more lunch menu but I did not see that much as you are usually out and about. Dinners run a mix of family style dining or a buffet. I found the family style nights had food of better quality. Dinner was generally a great time to meet and catch up with your fellow cruisers. The last night there is a dessert special which was the best desserts all trip and is quite an experience. Dinner time is up to your schedule usually from around 6pm to 9pm. However usually you found most people were there on 6pm as there is not alot of options onboard post 11am. A smaller selection at break and availability of some snacks in the afternoon would have been nice, which was a general consensus. Service was hit or miss about getting drinks to go with the meals. I had purchased the drinks package but felt overall I ended up feeling like I had to drink alot to make up the amount I paid. But they did have very nice cocktails. There are a number of included excursions, and others that needed to be paid for. Most locations include a walking tour with the U hosts to get your acquainted with the city and then time to explore on your own. There are a couple of included excursions including canal tours in Amsterdam with champagne with was thoroughly enjoyable. There is a visit to a castle that you and your fellow cruisers get to experience castle living. Bikes are available to be taken out in all cities that are visited with a 24km bike ride included if you wanted to ride instead of cruise which was a lovely experience. Being April there was also a paid excursion to Kuekenhoff to see the Tulips which was great but busy as would be expected. It was the first cruise of the season and the staff were still getting their groove on so it could be hit or miss. Also some of the towns visited the timings were a little off. We had one town that we got in late and most places had closed other than a few bars and then left at 8am. Onboard there is not a great deal of entertainment. There was an jazz player when we were sailing the Rhine and the U hosts Djd. Most nights tho were spent relaxing and getting to know your fellow cruisers. There are U hosts that organising the different activities and everyone had their favourite. On disembarking you need to be out of your room by 8am tho you can stay on the boats common areas till you need to leave. The cruise was also able to organise cab rides to the airport which picked you up right in front of the boat. All in all the experience crusing the Rhine is pretty darn great. While there are things that could have been done better but as we noted one afternoon sitting in the sun, with a cocktail, jazz playing, amazing scenery passing by there was nothing wrong with life at that moment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This 60 something couple chose the Danube Flow as an affordable, first river cruise with our ideal itinerary. We flew in a day early to find an email changing the entire trip from the Danube to the Main-Rhine Canal debarking in Frankfurt. ... Read More
This 60 something couple chose the Danube Flow as an affordable, first river cruise with our ideal itinerary. We flew in a day early to find an email changing the entire trip from the Danube to the Main-Rhine Canal debarking in Frankfurt. Apparently, low Danube water has been an intermittent occurrence this Summer and governments (not cruise lines) decide when you cruise. Viking took a real online bashing for their treatment of clients when this occurred. NOT UbyUniworld, who began by giving everyone a free, unlimited alcohol package (normally $300+). After returning from a tour of Bamberg on the 2nd day, U Host Caspar announced management had determined that enough rain had fallen to still capture the highlights of the original Danube schedule, so the crew reversed direction and dropped us to tour lovely Durnstein and then met us in Vienna, where they scored us a restaurant meal. After reboarding, we sailed past Bratislava and enjoyed live jazz sax on the sunny deck cruising into Budapest. As an extra sweetener, everyone on the voyage was offered a complimentary UbyUniworld cruise in 2019. Congrats to Ellen & her team for their understanding that sacrificing some profit to achieve client satisfaction is still the best business practice! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We thoroughly enjoyed our one-week river cruise on U by Uniworld from Paris to Rouen and then back to Paris. This cruise was very special because we met several new friends, traveled the beautiful Seine River, participated in many fun ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our one-week river cruise on U by Uniworld from Paris to Rouen and then back to Paris. This cruise was very special because we met several new friends, traveled the beautiful Seine River, participated in many fun excursions, learned about several French artists (particularly Monet) and visited sobering Normandy (D-day) beaches. We enjoyed many new experiences and sights that we would have missed without taking this cruise. Our cruise hosts (Sabrina and Boris) were very knowledgeable and helpful. They organized the day-to-day activities and excursions, but they also served as individual concierges if you wanted to venture to a particular sight on your own. We enjoyed the diversity of people on the cruise coming from US, Canada, South Africa, Austria, New Zealand and many countries in Europe. We also enjoyed the age diversity ranging from twenty-somethings to over sixty-somethings. One of the best features of this particular cruise was that it was geared toward active people. Each day there was a bicycle trip or a long walk or a brisk hike. Some of the unexpected rewards on this Uniworld river cruise were: 1. We had a guided tour of the Normandy Beaches that we most likely would not have arranged if we were on our own. In addition, our tour guide previously interviewed people that participated in D-day landings so she could share their memories with us. 2. We had a guided tour of Claude Monet house and gardens as part of the cruise before we went to the Musse d’orsay, so we could really appreciate Monet’s paintings as well as the paintings of the other French artists during that period. 3. We went to (and enjoyed) Moulin Rouge show that we most likely would not have attended on our own. 4. Finally, our most memorable adventure was that we rode on vintage motorcycles with sidecars through the winding streets of Paris up to Sacre-Coeur. This was our first river cruise, so we were a little concerned about feeling motion on the boat. However, during the cruise we never felt any wave motion. We did feel a little vibration when the boat was under way, but it never disturbed our sleep. The room was smaller than a normal hotel room, but as most people will tell you, you don’t spend much time in your cabin. The cabin included a queen-size bed, several storage areas and closet, and a small bathroom including shower. Everything in the room worked well, and it was nice to have individual air conditioning controls in the room. We had a “French balcony”, but while we were on the boat, we spent most of our time on the roof deck with our new friends or in one of the enclosed lounges. The food was very good but not gourmet. The French pastries and home-made ice cream were wonderful. There was a variety of foods ranging from meats to fish to pasta to grilled vegetables to great salads. All the dinners except one were buffet so you could pick whatever and how much you wanted. A few people on the boat were vegetarians and they seemed to have many options at each meal. This was a perfect trip for us, because some of the day excursions and drinks were a-la-cart. You could buy a drink package, but if you are not a big drinker, the a-la-cart option works better. Having some of the day excursions a-la-cart allows you to decide what you want to do without feeling like you had to do everything. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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