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590 Uniworld Cruise Reviews

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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The Outstanding: This was a themed cruise and our hosts and fellow passengers were interesting, conversational and knew how to have a good time in spite of the vessel. The Good: Hotel Director Ivana was outstanding in resolving any ... Read More
The Outstanding: This was a themed cruise and our hosts and fellow passengers were interesting, conversational and knew how to have a good time in spite of the vessel. The Good: Hotel Director Ivana was outstanding in resolving any issues and providing assistance. Servers all worked very hard and remained pleasant even though they were overwhelmed. The Captain was very personable and happily provided a tour of the bridge/wheelhouse. The Bad: Public areas including the dining room were understaffed to provide the promised 5-star service and always hot because of inadequate HVAC (the staff admitted this was a problem). Buffet area woefully small, resembled an anthill and difficult to maneuver. Food quality in general was marginal at best. It seemed the Executive Chef was scrimping on product or his budget was inadequate. I am assuming he is purchasing food locally. The Ugly: The very expensive food and wine pairing dinner was a disaster. Private room was extremely hot. Lobster tail was a fragment of a lobster tail, tough maybe 1 once (this is no exaggeration) and appeared to be a leftover from a previous evening's main dining room meal. Lamb was not lamb but rather pork. Conclusion: Never again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because of the destinations and prior reviews. The crew was great, the room adequate, the ship is unique and pretty. However the tours were badly organized with two exceptions, Heidelberg and Cologne. The Luxembourg ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destinations and prior reviews. The crew was great, the room adequate, the ship is unique and pretty. However the tours were badly organized with two exceptions, Heidelberg and Cologne. The Luxembourg tour with the American cemetery was awful. Only four hours allowed and forty five minutes each direction.We did not get to the cemetery as one road had construction. The tour director evidently did not check before with the cemetery. The bus driver asked a tractor driver for directions. We wanted to pay respects to my uncle who is buried there. The tour of the town was a mess one guide lost half his group. We were left huddled under pouring rain while the buses sat not far away. This was not an isolated incident several tours had bus drivers that had no idea where they were going. The dining room was totally disorganized and the food was average. Frozen butter, forgotten bread and you got rushed out at the end. Entertainment was laughable. No piano player at night or dancing. Three nights live music, two violinists and a vocalist with a guitar accompanied by recorded backround on two. We feel the entire thing was overpriced and underperformed. By all means do a river cruise the Rhine and Moselle are spectacular. Just not this one. By the way french balconies did not open like on other river cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Just completed our first river cruise on the Rhine with Uniworld River Queen. Purchased a french balcony; not sure why it is called a balcony as this is a floor to ceiling window which doesn't open out onto a balcony at all, indeed ... Read More
Just completed our first river cruise on the Rhine with Uniworld River Queen. Purchased a french balcony; not sure why it is called a balcony as this is a floor to ceiling window which doesn't open out onto a balcony at all, indeed there were no balconies onboard. Extremely disappointed in the position of the room which is situated right next to the restaurant, subsequently prior to the restaurant opening there is a cacophony of noise outside this room as people queue until the restaurant is opened making it impossible to sleep in in the mornings even if we wanted to! The restaurant itself is on the small side and can be very cold if sitting next to a window. Everyone tends to desend on the restaurant as it opens in the evening and the noise is unbelievable, you can hardly hear the person next to you speak. Although the food was good, if not repetitive in terms of the soups on offer, the plates are stacked cold for breakfast. There is no tea/coffee making facility in the cabin, the only place you can get a drink outside of restaurant opening is a machine midship. I believe entertainment was offered on 3 nights out of the 10, violin music. The ship does have a boutique feel, and the staff are helpful and polite at all times. There are bikes to take off the ship as well as guided bike rides on 3 occasions. Guided hiking was also offered on a couple of occasions. Otherwise the ports and shore excursions were all of adequate standard, offering a "Quiet Vox" for everyone making it possible to hear commentaries very well. On sunny days it was very uncomfortable to sit on the upper deck as the chairs and sunbeds were not padded. Overall extremely disappointed, wrong boat and worst of all, wrong room!! Room 422 opposite must suffer the same noise issue, though I cannot advocte for that here. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After having experienced the middle deck room in Uniworld’s Venice Cruise, the next year my husband and I were ready to sail the Danube from Passau to Budapest, but on the lower level. For the most part, I was happy with the room, ... Read More
After having experienced the middle deck room in Uniworld’s Venice Cruise, the next year my husband and I were ready to sail the Danube from Passau to Budapest, but on the lower level. For the most part, I was happy with the room, food and staff. The excursions could have been better described. Most guides but the one in Passau were quite knowledgeable about their subjects. The organization of passengers onto busses and back again was streamlined and easy. I’d highly recommend all the tours except Schönbrunn Palace. It was too warm with too many people and not particularly interesting. I was quite tired after that and skipped the Mozart concert, which everyone said was fantastic. The bathroom had a heated marble floor and towel rack, which was great. The beds and pillows are sooo comfortable, although the AC wouldn’t cool quite enough for me at night. An article of clothing “disappeared” from my room’s closet. I wish I had thought to lock my clothes in my suitcase and then slide the suitcase in the space provided under the bed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I chose the Uniworld river cruise as it was recommended by our travel agent due to the supposedly very high level of their food. We were looking forward to cruising down the Rhine, while viewing beautiful scenery, castles, and ... Read More
My wife and I chose the Uniworld river cruise as it was recommended by our travel agent due to the supposedly very high level of their food. We were looking forward to cruising down the Rhine, while viewing beautiful scenery, castles, and making interesting stops along the way from Amsterdam to Basel, all along being served first class food. It did not turn out that way. Let me first state the ship was very well maintained, although the decor is dated. The professionalism and friendliness of the staff could not have been any higher. We happily give the staff a five star rating! The weather was excellent throughout our cruise. However, there are several things about our Uniworld River Empress cruise which were definitely disappointing. As mentioned above, we looked forward to cruising down the Rhine while taking in beautiful scenery. However, the cruising time while viewing the scenery basically lasted one and one half days. The afternoon of the first day, and the full following day. The rest of the time the cruising was done during the evenings (while sleeping), which significantly short changed our expectations, as well as those promised by cruise advertisement images showing a ship serenely cruising by ancient castles and impressive mountains. With this having been our first river cruise, my wife and I obviously failed to "read the fine print" of the schedule which would have alerted us to the fact that impressive scenery would be extremely limited. Most of the days we would wake up in a different small Rhine-area town, disembark, and be given a tour of the immediate area. These small towns differed little from each other, with the shape of the local cathedral most often being the main difference. After a couple of stops they become interchangeable, since there was little local art (none at all), food, scenery difference to appreciate. These towns seem to exist currently simply due to the river cruise industry. To say the stops became repetitive is as kind a description possible. If the cruise had lasted half of the time it would have been an improvement, as it would have cut down on the boredom. Uniworld should choose stops which offer individual experiences, not simply more of the same, becoming repetitive. As far as the food is concerned, the flavor segment of the cuisine was underwhelming. The selection of food was definitely ample and well presented. Breakfast, and also desserts at lunch/dinner, were excellent (the pastry chef should be highly commended). However, the taste of the starters and main courses was definitely Disney quality - bland. This was a very, very significant disappointment for us, as the endorsed (by our travel agent) high level of the cuisine was the basis for our Uniworld choice. Food quality was good, food flavor was mediocre. Sadly, the entertainment (which we did not expect to have) was completely forgettable. My wife and I lived in Europe for several years some time ago, and perhaps our trip expectations were too high. This trip did not leave us eager to book future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second Uniworld cruise (our first was on the Rhine) and my first time in Paris! I don't think it's possible to not have a great time when you start and end in Paris. The boat was beautiful! Not everyone likes ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise (our first was on the Rhine) and my first time in Paris! I don't think it's possible to not have a great time when you start and end in Paris. The boat was beautiful! Not everyone likes the Uniworld decor but I felt it was reflective our where we were touring. The food was delicious and service was great. I thought the cruise director, Theirrey (I'm not sure that I spelled his name incorrectly), was very good and encouraged us to take a few tours that really made our trip (motorcycle side-car tour of Montmartre). I'd also like to thank, Augustine, who was professional, pleasant and witty, and always served our late night drinks with a smile. Overall, our fellow travelers were very friendly and social. Our party made friends with a great couple that we keep in contact with and will see this year in Florida. Groups seemed to mix very well on this trip. There was a lot of socializing after dinner and the entertainment for two nights was very good and had the dance floor packed. This was a very tour intensive trip. I did not realize that the Masterpiece Selection tours were going to be available, albeit for an extra cost. There were so many noteworthy things to see as I have outlined below. Unlike the Rhine, there did not seem to be a lot of traffic on the river. Most of the time, there were no boats visible as we were cruising. We arrived a day before embarkment and stayed in the beautiful St. Germain area, or 6th arrondissement, at the Hotel Esprit St. Germain. We loved this boutique hotel and we stayed for a reasonable price, probably due to it being the end of August. We walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg, walked by Notre Dame and toured Sainte Chapelle right before closing, so it wasn't busy. We ended the day dining outdoors at the restaurant recommended by the hotel. The next morning we enjoyed breakfast with our travel companions at Cafe de Flore. After that, we headed over to the boat around 10:30am. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. While it wasn't on the agenda for the day, we went on a cruise of Paris on one of the main tour companies, perhaps because so many people showed up on the early side. Unfortunately, it was very hot, over 90 degrees and the boat was very crowded. No fault of Uniworld but this would have been much more enjoyable on a different day, when the temperatures were more moderate and the crowds lessened. Day 2 of Seine Cruise: We had two excisions with the first being Chateau de La Roche Guyon, an interesting castle first built in the 12th century with additions in the 14th and 18th centuries. In 1944, Rommel requisitioned the castle and used it as his headquarters. After the tour, back to the boat for lunch and then a short bus ride to Giverny to visit Monet’s house and gardens. Some folks from the cruise biked about 4 miles along the Seine to the property. Beautiful! Day 3 of Seine River Cruise - Normandy Beaches The Normandy beaches were a three hour bus ride from where our boat was docked but was well worth the trip. We visited two of the five landing beaches of the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Utah and Omaha Beaches (the American landings). The Canadians in our group visited Juno Beach. We also visited Pointe du Hoc, the highest point of the American landings which was scaled by rangers, Sainte Mere-Eglise, and the American cemetery. Day 4 of Seine River Cruise - Golfing at Etretat and shopping in Honfleur The guys golfed at Etretat, a course with spectacular views of the Normandy Coast while the ladies chose to visit Honfleur, a picturesque village, the subject of many painters. Loved Honfleur! We finished the day off by walking to the cathedral at Rouen at 10:00pm, to watch an amazing light and sound display. Rouen is the city where Joan of Arc was martyred. Days 5 & 6 on Seine River Cruise - Mont Saint-Michel and Versailles Drove several hours to UNESCO site, Mont Saint-Michel, an island that is home to a medieval Benedictine monastery and a former pilgrimage destination. We took the shuttle but independent travelers, not on our cruise, can hire a guide to walk in during low tide, which is dangerous due to quickly changing tides and quick sand! The following day we visited Versailles. No lines and we toured the private apartments. Only 3 kings lived at the palace, Louis XIV, XV and XVI. Final Day of Seine River Cruise - Retro Sidecar in Montmartre and an evening at the Moulin Rouge No history or culture today! Started the day with a little shopping and stroll along the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. Headed back to the boat to take our motorcycle-sidecar tour. Loved the ride and our brief time in Montmartre. Returned back to the area at night to go to the Moulin Rouge. Quite an experience! Sorry, photos of the show are not allowed! We spent a few more days in Paris after the cruise and toured the Louvre, L'Orangerie (to see Monet's waterlily panels), Jardin de Tuilleries, and ate at the Jules Verne restaurant in the 2nd platform of the Eiffel Tower (made a reservation months prior). My theory on river cruises is that so many different things can impact your experience. The weather, crowds, water levels, people on board, service,... However, so far, we've had two great cruises on Uniworld and are booked for the Danube next year. The River Heritage Credit for being return customers and the early booking, pay in full, 10% discount has made Uniworld and attractive option for us (plus a couple of complimentary bags of laundry). I hope future travelers have a great experience on the Joie de Vivre as well! Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Good points - Savoir Bed great, cabin small but good standard overall, boat clean and outside areas very comfortable and plenty of shade, small hot top, trips ok, guides very good, drinks included, extra trips were the best ones - trip to ... Read More
Good points - Savoir Bed great, cabin small but good standard overall, boat clean and outside areas very comfortable and plenty of shade, small hot top, trips ok, guides very good, drinks included, extra trips were the best ones - trip to Remy Martin really good. included trip to St Emillion not to be missed. Bad points - at airport we had to wait an hour for another couple who never arrived - we were the last couple to arrive on the ship just in time for the safety drill - could hardly get unpacked - could not get a seat in the lounge and generally could not hear the drill or speech by the Captain - felt very rushed. breakfast - described as sumptuous by Uniworld - think this is a misnomer - just a buffet and no chance of fresh cooked eggs - one chef with two electric rings to cook for over one hundred guests - think this is really poor as this is an expensive cruise and the egg station situation in my view was pathetic. Breakfast ended every day at 9am in the main dining room and on day at 8.30am with no explanation as to why early. Time of daily trips - all started at 9am - too early - even 9.30am would have given you the feel of being on holiday -most trips were only for a couple of hours and not that far away. this made breakfast rushed and not enjoyable start to the day - this is a holiday after all!! Daily updates - there was a talk by the excursion manager at about 6pm every night. If you did not attend you did not know what was going on. We did not attend as couldn't get a seat and couldn't hear on our first night - thought it would all be repeated in a daily newsletter or on the tv - no mistaken - so we missed out on a trip to a wine tasting which happened after a walking tour to a mediocre local market -no idea it was on!!! Again we are on holiday - who wants to be dressed for dinner by 6pm and listen to a talk for an hour and then go straight down to dinner at 7pm? All a bit regimented for us and a bit early. Food/drink/ service The food in my view is just ok - had far better on Cunard. The wine served was mediocre. The waiting staff were ok - one overstepped the mark with us at breakfast by making quite a political comment about our home town - I was shocked - never have had this on a cruise - quite upset - didn't want to cause issues on the cruise - but still really annoyed. Not good to be insulted first thing in the morning on a cruise! We stayed on the ship one day instead of the daily excursion - the food/drink service then is very patchy - they really want you all to get off. Port visits - Just ok - apart from Bordeaux and Libourne there is literally nothing there to get off and look at unless you go on the organised excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were originally scheduled to do Gems of Northern Italy but the ship was damaged in a port accident so we switched to the Grand France tour. The first week was on board the S. S. Catherine (reviewed separately) with a high-speed train ... Read More
We were originally scheduled to do Gems of Northern Italy but the ship was damaged in a port accident so we switched to the Grand France tour. The first week was on board the S. S. Catherine (reviewed separately) with a high-speed train connection between Lyon and Paris to begin the second leg. The train trip to Paris was fantastic. Everything was looked after by our lovely escorts and we arrived without incident. The ship: Decor was classic; beautiful and well-maintained. The maintenance staff worked hard to keep everything clean and shiny. Because we switched at the last minute, we were not able to get the same category cabin as we had booked on the Venice cruise so we were in the "basement". The room was larger than the one on the first leg of the trip. We didn't spend a lot of time in our room, so the size and location wasn't a huge issue. The guest laundry was located on this floor which was very convenient. However, the only coffee station on the ship was next to the bar on the other end of the boat which was very inconvenient. We had the same issue with the a/c on the Joie de Vive as we did on the Catherine; it was not nearly adequate given the temperature in France at the time. Even with the thermostat set as low as possible (5C), the temperature in the room never got cool enough. I was extremely uncomfortable, especially at night, and even though I requested a fan, none was provided. The pool was indoors in the middle of the bar - very unappealing location. It was covered over at night. The main lounge and rooftop deck were comfortable and it was wonderful to sit there and watch castles float by. The staff: By and large, we found the staff to be excellent. Most of them are from Eastern Europe but speak English well. I took the time to learn a few pleasantries (good day, please, thank-you) in Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian which they seemed to really appreciate. It was an ice-breaker that got them chatting about their countries and families. The food: I had high expectations for the food and was rather disappointed. It was fine, but not great. We took a cruise up the coast of Norway on Hurtigruten in 2018 and their chefs sourced local ingredients throughout the whole trip; the food was outstanding. We expected elegant French cuisine but it was all rather uninspiring. Service in the dining room was excellent compared to the Catherine. The ports: We loved all of the ports but did run into a couple of hiccups. At Giverney, there was an option to bike to Monet's gardens or take the bus. During the port talk, I asked if the biking was on level, paved trails and we were told it was. I am a casual biker, used to riding on level, paved trails, so I decided to sign up. At the muster point, there was a huge van dumping off bikes and bags of helmets. No one was available to help adjust seats or generally get you ready. The first thing we had to do was ride uphill onto a very busy bridge that was under construction. One of the participants fell off and suffered from bad road rash but he had to continue to walk his bike to the destination as there was no way to get back to the boat or the gardens. When we approached Giverney, we had to pedal up another steep hill, all the while dodging cars and pedestrians. Needless to say, I shouldn't have been on this tour and never would have participated if it had been adequately explained at the port talk. The tour guide was very frustrated with the inexperienced riders on the tour and complained about us to the more experienced riders. Monet's gardens were absolutely mobbed with tourists, but they were beautiful and it was worth the harrowing bike trip to get there. I got some amazing pictures. My takeaway is don't attempt a Go Active tour unless you are a real sports enthusiast :) We were looking forward to the tour to Juno Beach and the Canadian cemetery in Normandy. Unfortunately, these were add-ons to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery and we just didn't have enough time. We understand that most of the passengers are from the US and it probably doesn't make financial sense to have a Canadian beach tour. Our suggestion to Uniworld is they have an optional tour to the Canadian and UK beaches. It could probably be covered in a couple of eight-passenger vans and I certainly would have paid extra to have time to fully enjoy the experience. The opportunity to visit our beaches was a very special memory of our trip. We had an onboard credit that we decided to use to go to Moulin Rouge. The show was professional and very entertaining. However, six people were jammed together in tables meant for four which made it hard to fully appreciate the dinner and show. The food was mediocre and some of the champagne served at our table was flat. The entertainment: We usually spent some time in the lounge after dinner each evening and enjoyed the singers. There wasn't as much passenger participation on this cruise as the Catherine. The experience: This was our first river cruise and we will definitely do another one but not Europe in July or August; it's just too hot The all-inclusive policy on Uniglobe is very appealing as you aren't constantly being dinged for every drink, tour and tip. This was a lovely introduction to river cruising; it's going to be hard to top this experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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 ... Read More
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. So yes, go on the trip but only if you can be absolutely certain you will not end up in CABIN 202! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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 ... Read More
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. The Good: - 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. The Ugly: - 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. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because we particularly liked the sound of the itinerary, given that it was listed as a "Connoisseur Collection" cruise. Little did we realise at the time of booking that the majority of the Connoisseur ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we particularly liked the sound of the itinerary, given that it was listed as a "Connoisseur Collection" cruise. Little did we realise at the time of booking that the majority of the Connoisseur Collection tours were not included in the price and were listed as optional extras, often at considerable extra cost. We were also drawn in by the claims in the brochures of "the finest wines and ultra-premium liquors" being part of the all-inclusive deal. They are not. The ship itself is opulent and well appointed, we particularly liked the fact that there is a complimentary guest laundry (handy when you've been on the road for several weeks beforehand), but we found the climate control in the guest lounge and dining room to be woefully inadequate for the conditions. Contrast this to the comments from some of our fellow travellers who had spent the previous week on the sister ship, the S Joie de Vivre during a record heat wave - they said the air conditioning on board that ship was so effective they found themselves having to wear long sleeves to dinner - nothing like what we experienced, which was more akin to a sauna. There was a disappointing lack of entertainment on board, many of the tours (including some that we had to pay extra for) were just standard walking tours with little added value and the service overall was good, but certainly nothing like what we had experienced previously through APT on AMA Waterways. In fact, several of the tours that we had to pay extra for with Uniworld are listed as included standards in the latest APT brochure. All in all, it was an enjoyable trip, a four star service, but certainly not on par with AMA Waterways and definitely NOT the 6-star service we were led to believe. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We just got back from doing the absolutely delightful UNIWORLD Imperial Waterways of Russia river cruise. What a wonderful experience. We did the cruise the last two weeks of July via the Moscow to St. Petersburg option, versus the ... Read More
We just got back from doing the absolutely delightful UNIWORLD Imperial Waterways of Russia river cruise. What a wonderful experience. We did the cruise the last two weeks of July via the Moscow to St. Petersburg option, versus the reverse. I highly recommend this option because Domodedovo Airport (IATA code DME), serving Moscow is south of Moscow and right at two hours from the Severniy River Port, which is up on the north side of Moscow. Whereas, the Pulkovo Airport (IATA code LED), which serves St. Pete is only 30 minutes from the St. Petersburg river port, both being on the south side of town. We left our boat at 3:30 am for our 5:55 am flight on Lufthansa out of St. Petersburg to go to Frankfurt. You would probably have to leave the boat around 2 am to go to the airport if your were flying out of Moscow. Uniworld, as usual, provided a world class experience. All the Russian staff, from the cruise managers to the Front Desk folks to dining room staff to the bar tenders spoke good to fluent English. And everyone was so gracious and friendly, making everyone feel special. We were met upon arrival at the airport in Moscow. Departure at the St. Petersburg airport went very smoothly. Embarkation and disembarkation on the ship were both easy and quick. If you have mobility problems, you need to request cart or wheelchair service at the Frankfurt and Moscow airports. They are both huge airports. The arrival and departure gates in Frankfurt are in different terminals. The dining room service was wonderful. The food was always delicious, with a great variety of dishes, always very tasteful and well presented. And yes, I ate too much. The River Victoria is a wonderful, modern vessel. Very, very nice, It appeared to have been through refurbishment recently. The veranda stateroom we had was standard riverboat size, ie large enough, very modern and well furnished. The beds were just right for sleeping after a days worth of adventures. The ship's elevator is modern, and very responsive. The decor throughout the ship is beautiful. The gift shop had a great variety of beautiful gifts if you could not find enough stuff ashore to buy. The wi-fi service was good throughout the cruise. Almost all vendors and stores ashore took rubles, credit cards, Euros or dollars. Smaller vendors took only rubles. The vendors would take a US note before they would take a Euro. But the notes have to be newer, clean and cannot have any writing of any kind on them. One lady would not take the tea colored US notes, saying it was dirty. Just take lots of ones, fives, and tens. No one wanted to take a US twenty or US or Euro coins. We bought 80 dollars worth of rubles our first day in Moscow for day-to-day small purchases and came home with only 300 rubles, about $5. I used 60 rubles to the dollar for quick easy conversion. The shore excursions were always amazing and very informative. The tour groups were usually limited to 25 to 30 people. All ports were handicap accessible. The ship's crew was very helpful getting people on and off the boat. The VOX boxes were new and worked flawlessly. All of the shore excursion guides we had spoke good to fluent English. They usually taught English as a second language at the local high school or college. The buses were all new or nearly new. A lot of the times they were Mercedes Benz buses. All in all, the trip was an absolutely wonderful experience. I highly recommend it if you want to learn about Russian history and meet the warm friendly people of their great nation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Went on uniworld last year Avignon to Lyon. Great cruise. Great food, wine service. Not this year. What happened to the personal butlers? Gone! Food was at best average and some afternoons even worse. Cabins are smaller. Tours are shorter ... Read More
Went on uniworld last year Avignon to Lyon. Great cruise. Great food, wine service. Not this year. What happened to the personal butlers? Gone! Food was at best average and some afternoons even worse. Cabins are smaller. Tours are shorter and not as interesting. I loved last year. Not this year. I would not recommend this tour. I do not think I will go uniworld again based on the price and value. Highly disappointing. I plan to let the company and ceo know. You have choices and think about which lines give you what you want. Cabin is comfortable for small folks but big people will not fit in the shower. Had to remove table and store luggage outside cabin. Tonight dinner was a buffet. Hotel in Prague was not 5 star. 4 at best and generous at that. Ride from Prague to boat 4 hours. They gave u a bottle of water and stopped at mac Donald’s. This is not what I expect from a 5 star cruise line. Do not book Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are Heritage members and sailed with Uniworld before on the S.S. Joie de Vivre from Paris to Normandy. Our experience with Uniworld in 2017 was exceptional! BUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON RIVER PRINCESS WAS NOT! Front Desk Hotel Manager ... Read More
We are Heritage members and sailed with Uniworld before on the S.S. Joie de Vivre from Paris to Normandy. Our experience with Uniworld in 2017 was exceptional! BUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON RIVER PRINCESS WAS NOT! Front Desk Hotel Manager and staff looked upset and serious if you asked a question. No smiles at anytime. It was as if all of them had some attitudes. The wait staff were arguing at times in their Romanian or Slavic language-you could see the tension. I even had to get up at dinner to ask for water. They forgot my meal and had to remind them but all they always said was it is coming and then they would turn to each other and argue. It was extremely uncomfortable. The dining room was poorly set up not allowing much choices on seating to meet others and definitely NOT what our last experience was. It was a typical dining room as if it were on a Celebrity Cruise. The food on the River Princess was below standard-not typical of Uniworld’s fine culinary fare. It tasted comparable to most large massive mid budget cruise liners. We were extremely appalled that we were served a buffet one evening for dinner. Our Food was served Luke warm or cold at table side. I sent back several dinners due to flavor and being cold. My husband ordered a simple steak and looked grey in color as if they threw it is a broiler and rushed it out. He sent it back. We waited so long for our food to come a good portion of the time. Having to remind them! Never told in the morning there was a special dish. When the omelet station chef overheard me speak to another guest he said there is always a special and showed it to me. When I asked him to order me one, he said, " sorry, you have to go to your table and ask your waiter". The waiter NEVER CAME! I had to flag them down. That was done more than just one day on a 8 day trip. The choices of food served were the same almost everyday at lunch or breakfast. Many times.I had to wait 30 minutes for poached eggs. Poached eggs take 2-3 minutes to make. I made my own toast. The Eggs Benedict in morning was cold and thick sauce I could not eat it. Our tour guides were not the best and rushed us. Even an expert lecturer who traveled on the ship and spoke about the history stopped our guide during a tour and told her she was not telling the history as per the Jewish Heritage Tour it was to be. The ship was old and tired. My advice would be to remove this ship from circulation. It is old and many issues. The trip was from Vienna to Prague. They went to Nuremberg and bussed us to Prague-(4 hours) not given water bottles and stopped 1/2 way to buy some! Our choices of tours were do as locals with a basic walking neighborhoods, biking, hiking in Bavarian Forrest or Pay for other tours that were not worth the money-Especially the Schoenbrunn Palace-we paid 66Euro per person. We were taken to 4 rooms that were an apartment of a Queen who liked tropical islands and murals on walls, no furniture at all to view. Rushe in and out. There maybe 15 minutes it was so small. Took us on a specific tour in a museum to see directly the Vermeer painting a just a few other paintings. Then told to go to the gardens and walk around for 45 minutes in the blaring heat! She was abrupt and she had 45 minutes to herself and she could have let us stay in the museum if we chose too. But we HAD to leave it! We hung around in the heat and had nothing to do. I wrote a letter to corporate office explaining our experience in detail. They had the audacity to insult us with a $150 per person credit on board to be used on our next trip and expires no later than December 2020! Other passengers who had been on Uniworld before and had good experience prior were also upset and said Viking they took once did a better job on food , staff and quality. We are done with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our 4th experience on Uniworld and was a 7-day cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg with an additional 2-day land excursion in Prague. As I have learned the hard way from a previous river cruise, your dream and expensive vacation ... Read More
This was our 4th experience on Uniworld and was a 7-day cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg with an additional 2-day land excursion in Prague. As I have learned the hard way from a previous river cruise, your dream and expensive vacation can go wrong quickly and unexpectedly. On the positive side the Beatrice was a nice ship. Overall the ship was clean and well maintained. The staff was great and would always do whatever they could to make the trip enjoyable. The food and wine quality in my opinion was very good to excellent. This trip which departed on June 12, 2019 from Budapest was going well up to shortly after the moment the returning guests in the River Heritage Club were being thanked for their loyalty to Uniworld. The Captain announced that a cruise ship from another cruise line had damaged a river lock near Riedenburg Germany on June 5, 2019, and the ship would not be able to go to Nuremberg as planned. This accident occurred 1 week prior to our tip. Our river cruise would in a few days be turned into a bus tour and the ship would remain docked in Riedenburg. He went on to explain that they had hoped the lock would be repaired in time but unfortunately repairs could not be completed before our planned passage through the lock. While I certainly place no blame on Uniworld for the lock damage caused by another cruse line I do take exception to not notifying passengers on this trip of a potential disruption to the itinerary as soon as it became a possibility. We were notified well into our trip of the disruption thus putting us at the mercy of Uniworld. I discussed this issue with the staff and suggested that letting us know the minute this came up would have likely minimized the impact of the deviation. This is the second time Uniworld has known in advance of a major deviation to an itinerary and has chosen to wait until the last minute to inform guests. I find this pattern concerning and is one of the reasons I would be very hesitant to travel on Uniworld again. The bus tours were long, hot, and not comfortable. Buses that are meant to travel a short distance are not built for hours on the road. My other issue with the trip included the quality of the excursions. Fortunately, we spent a few days in Budapest before the cruise started. Otherwise the option was a 1-hour tour of the Parliament and a 90-minute bus tour with one 15-minute stop. Some of the tours were better than others, but nothing that I would call extraordinary or special. I recalled that on our Uniworld cruise on the Venetian Canal we had a private tour of St. Mark’s Cathedral at night. There was nothing equal to that experience on this trip. On board entertainment ranged from none to lacking and uninteresting. Our room in the 300 series of rooms was unbelievably small and the I was uncertain how anyone was expected to use the bathroom. There was a small table and chair jammed into the side of the room that we should have asked to be removed as they served no purpose. Finally, I was disappointed with the hotel choice in Prague. It was likely a 3-star hotel. While it was clean and reasonably appointed, for the cost for the trip, I would have expected a much better hotel choice. The hotel did not even have a bar. We had to walk across the street to its’ sister property for drinks with friends. Overall I continue to be skeptical about future river cruising given all the unexpected things that can turn your river cruise into a very unpleasant and high price bus tour. I can assure you that travel by bus through these regions is not fun and not equivalent to what you paid for on the ship. And, don’t count on any type of refund from the cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I would like to congratulate Uniworld´s marketing department - they do a great job of selling something that does not exist. . This is a nicely decorated river ship but it is nothing special. . Their "ALL INCLUSIVE" policy ... Read More
I would like to congratulate Uniworld´s marketing department - they do a great job of selling something that does not exist. . This is a nicely decorated river ship but it is nothing special. . Their "ALL INCLUSIVE" policy is not so - the city tour in Budapest consisted of a visit to the Parliament Building, impressive, a short drive on the Pest side and a 10 minute stop for picture taking on the Buda side - no visit to the Cathedral or the Palace or the Fisherman´s Bastion. Schonbrunn in Vienna was at an additional cost. Belvedere and Klimt were not available in Vienna. Wachau Valley stop was at Spitz, where there is nothing of interest instead of at the awesome Melk Abbey. Evening concert in Vienna also at additional cost. . Food is nothing special - rather, completely standard. No local specialties. Same supermarket "fresh" salads every day. Breakfast pastries unavailable - same croissants every day. Desserts also standard. . No music, no lectures, no games, nothing to do after 9 pm. . Very expensive for what Uniworld delivers. At the same cost, we would have had a suite on another ship! . Excellent personnel, always helpful and smiling. . We were not informed that embarkation had changed and was now at the Chain Bridge in Budapest - online information not updated, although I must say that we received E. 20 from the Front Desk for our additional taxi fare. . From another reviewer, I have now learnt that Uniworld already knew that the ship would no be able to sail upto Nuremberg one week prior to our sailing on June 12. Yet we were not informed of the incident and the shortening of our cruise until the middle of same. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have been on multiple ocean cruises and wanted try to a river cruise. I have to say this was the best in terms of total relaxation. To glide along the river on the amply seated top deck with you beverage of choice is an immediate stress ... Read More
We have been on multiple ocean cruises and wanted try to a river cruise. I have to say this was the best in terms of total relaxation. To glide along the river on the amply seated top deck with you beverage of choice is an immediate stress reliever. The ship is beautifully decorated in shades of blue and green. Staff is attentive. Dining is buffet style for breakfast and lunch. Sit down meal at dinner. The relaxed vibe continues at dinner with no formal dress up required. Resort casual for men and women with men occasionally in a suit jacket at dinner. The pre-dinner talk by the cruise director regarding the next days excursions and the sommeliers description of the wines to be served at dinner was very informative and entertaining. Food was good, wonderfully prepared and presented. Big eaters beware portions are small at dinner. I felt the excursions had enough variety. Wine tastings were plentiful as were other other alternatives such as an excursion to learn about barrel making. Being able to dock close to town and the extended length of time spent in ports allow for easy on and off to explore the towns on your own. Many of the people we met were 3+ travelers on Uniworld which speaks volumes about the cruise lines commitment to the quality of service that brings people back again and again. Overall this was a great experience with the following exceptions. The French Balcony cabin is extremely small. One needs to develop a system for two people to navigate around the room without one having to crawl over the bed. I would not book this cabin again on this ship. Beautifully appointed bathroom but again small. I would not recommend the chefs specialty dinner with wine paring. The experience did not support the additional charge compared to others we have been to. While this is the most all inclusive of all the river cruises there are still some charges for premium liquors. Ask before you order. I highly recommend cruising on a river and would certainly highly endorse Uniworld as a first choice Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary on the Danube from Budapest to Passau, Germany and we chose Uniworld on the advice of a few friends. We liked the idea of an all inclusive trip, we've been on a few ocean ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary on the Danube from Budapest to Passau, Germany and we chose Uniworld on the advice of a few friends. We liked the idea of an all inclusive trip, we've been on a few ocean cruises where that was not the case. We booked the Uniworld add-on of two nights in Budapest before embarking on our cruise. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with Budapest. Our tour guide/concierge Romulus was wonderful, helped us with restaurant reservations and guidance on where to visit, as well as leading our tours which were included with the add-on. There are a couple of optional tours which were an extra fee, we did book the trip to Sznentendre, which was a lovely little town, full of little stalls with locally made goods. We loved Budapest, the food was wonderful, locally produced wines were very good, the people were friendly, I highly recommend it. Our embarkation onto the ship was extremely smooth. Our luggage went from hotel to ship with no problems. The check in procedure was simple and efficient. Debarkation was also smooth. The ship is beautiful, all the public rooms make you feel like you are staying in one of the palaces you visit along the way. We stayed in a balcony room on the 4th deck, the room is small but very comfortable, There is plenty of storage and the empty suitcases did fit under the bed. I'm not sure if it was worth the extra money for the balcony room, the balcony takes up space in the 194 sq ft, but it was nice being on the upper floor of the ship. The food is really good and there are regional specialties served as you travel along the river. There are always regional wines as well, which were very good and generously poured. The service was excellent, couldn't think of a thing that they could improve on. There isn't much in the way of entertainment at night but we were so tired it didn't matter. The ports along the Danube were beautiful, Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Melk, Linz (Salzburg) and Passau. The included tours were all great there were a few which were additional fees, like a Pub Crawl in Budapest (fun) and a tour of Schonbrunn in Vienna, both worth the extra cash. We would definitely try another Uniworld river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words? I never have until now. I'm Angela and I teach house cleaning for a living - all over the world. So when I stay at a hotel, or I go on a cruise - I can't help it. I notice the ... Read More
Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words? I never have until now. I'm Angela and I teach house cleaning for a living - all over the world. So when I stay at a hotel, or I go on a cruise - I can't help it. I notice the bits of dust on the lamps or the drapes or etched water stains on the shower glass. THE WORST DAY TURNED INTO THE BEST I hadn't been on board the S.S. Maria Theresa for more than a minute when my entire trip changed for the absolute best. Let me back up a sec. My husband and I traveled from Charlotte, NC, USA to Passau, Germany by way of Munich. The Passau to Budapest river cruise was the celebration of our milestone birthdays. Weather in Charlotte had steep flight delays and we missed our connecting flight to Munich. When we arrived four hours late, our luggage didn't. There we were in an unfamiliar place, no luggage and needed a means of transport from Munich to Passau two hours away. PANIC TURNED INTO PEACE No sooner had we filed a missing luggage report we came through the baggage claim doors. And waiting for us (much later than the pre-arranged time) is a Uniworld transport driver with a sign bearing our names. She was delightful, charming, and put us right at ease as she drove us to the ship. I thought she was the best gem Uniworld could offer. I didn't know she was the portal to the spellbinding service we would experience all week aboard the ship. We arrived at the ship somewhere around 10:30 pm. WELCOME TO S.S. MARIA THERESA Tired, weary and hungry we checked in at the front desk picked up a room key. Paul, dressed to the nines, escorted us to our rooms. He spent a few minutes showing us the lights, ways to adjust the room temperature, and the plug situation. (Note: There is a USB port hiding under each of the room's outlets in the top right-hand corner to charge your phones.) Then he invited us to the lounge where we could order some food. YES! At 10:30 at night they will bring you a menu, offer you drinks and cater to your every whim. I LOVE this place. THEN IT HIT ME... As I sat in the lounge waiting for them to bring our food my eyes scanned the room. Not in a judgmental way, just a way of familiarizing myself. The drapes in the lounge pooched up in Victorian scallops didn't have a speck of dust. How is this even possible? As my eyes wandered to the mystery of dust-free drapes I noticed the walls adorned in carved flourishes. (Also, dust catchers, they too are free of dust.) Am I dreaming? Sure, it's late, and my blood sugar is out of whack from no food and it's possible I am hallucinating. MY SHOCK TURNED TO HORROR The entry of the ship is glass. All Glass. Glass and Mirrors. And as my mind processed what I had seen a few minutes earlier passing through the lobby, it hit me that the lobby wasn't just mirrored. It was mirrors on top of mirrors. Mirrors made of flourishes attached to mirrors for decorations. Cleaning those mirrors would have made any sane housekeeper flee in horror. Now I sit in the lounge and there is a lavish bar filled with gleaming liquors, wines and drinks. Gleaming because every jar and bottle at the bar is spit-shined and polished. No dust. The glasses hanging from the bar must have been brand new - as in purchased today because not one of them had a smudge. No dust, no water spots. Just new. The thought of how much cleaning went into this "first impression" was horrifying to me. I KNOW CLEAN. And I've never in my life seen anything this clean. I WANTED TO DANCE WITH JOY The friendly staff, impeccably dressed served us as if we were royalty. Friendly, patient and attentive they brought us hot food and drinks. Anxious, exhausted and starved I wanted to hug every one of them. And the place was so clean I wanted to dance with joy. WHAT IS THIS PLACE? Before going to bed the front desk, the crew gave us toiletries for the night and assured us, they would contact the airlines and trace our luggage. I'd been on the ship less than 30 minutes and had already had the best trip of my life. Hooray! And I get to stay another week. ALL THE USUAL'S AND SO MUCH MORE If you've ever been on a cruise your expectations are pretty high. You want great food, clean rooms, nice excursions, friendly staff, and fantastic entertainment. Yes, yes, yes, this ship has all this. AND SO MUCH MORE Every corner of the ship is ornate. Carved flourishes, velvet walls, wrought iron stair railings, and Murano glass chandeliers. Mirrors, mirrors, and more mirrors. And marble floors. The house cleaner in me cringed with delight. Everywhere I looked, there was excellence in cleanliness. Every nook and cranny were shiny and polished. Not a hair out of place, not a speck of dust, not a smudge, smear, fingerprint or spot. EVERYONE KNOWS MY NAME Walking through the lobby at any time of the day or night during the entire week cruise every person on staff addressed me by name. Whhaat? There were 132 passengers on board. How did they learn everybody's names? Surely it wasn't just me. Can they really be that good? YES, THEY CAN! And not only did they greet me but they all knew our luggage hadn't arrived and they volunteered to get us anything we needed. Stephania and a young helpful team (whose names I'm ashamed I don't remember,) tracked our luggage down and had it shipped from Munich to Lenz. We didn't need to follow up with anybody - they took care of it all for us. YOUR EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDED The cruise was spectacular in every way with delicious and healthy food. Lavish entertainment. Walking tours with local tour guides who were friendly, articulate and informative. And the beds provide the best night’s sleep you've ever had. (They are Savoir of England) Comfort takes on a whole new meaning on the S.S. Maria Theresa. And did I mention they have a menu of four different types of pillows? The ones on the bed are pretty amazing one being a down feather soft pillow and the other a supreme fiber comfort pillow. I know what you’re thinking - I didn't want to leave my room either. SHIP ACCESSORIES UMBRELLAS: The ship has umbrellas. If you're off to an excursion during the rain, they have an umbrella for you. (We used them a couple of times.) MAPS: And they provide city maps for you each day as you leave for your daily activities. BICYCLES: There are bicycles you can borrow (which we did three of the days of our trip) to go sightseeing on land. INTERNET: And of course, they have free internet in every room. If you have special internet needs (I have a YouTube channel) they have a special modem you can rent at the front desk. WASHERS & DRYERS: Oh, and did I mention that they have washers and dryers and an iron for your personal use in a public laundry room on the ship? It's true. You don't need to bring an iron or steamer on this cruise with you. Yay! All this and SO MUCH MORE. BEHIND THE MAGIC CURTAIN By Friday my observation of the cleanliness of the ship had turned to an obsession. I know how dust works. It comes in with opening and closing doors, and the AC units kicking on. And I'm on a ship for 5 days and every corner of the ship looks brand-spankin new. It was then I met Nicoleta the Housekeeping Guru who runs the place. Her specialty is in the systems she creates to get the work done on time to turn the rooms between meals and excursions. THE WIZARD OF NICOLETA She has systems for the laundry room where the guest towels and linens get washed. They label every type of linen to keep the turnover service running at optimal speed. She has systems for the uniforms the crew wear. Where it goes when it comes off and a system for its cleaning and ironing. There are systems for dishes and turning a banquet room. Systems for cleaning the common areas of the ship and hallways. And it's no surprise there are systems for cleaning the deck of the ship and removing seat cushions at dusk. The systems she has created for crew scheduling include "to do" lists as well as built-in breaks and time off for the crew. JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I'D SEEN AND HEARD IT ALL... I took a cruise on the S.S. Maria Theresa - a Uniworld sensation. My expectations and hopes were illuminated with the impossible. Imagine me at my age - thinking I'd seen and heard it all - and now this! Awe, wonder, magic, and delight - all in a week on this ship. If you're ready for the time of your life - Choose this cruise. And prepare to be outrageously impressed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Was absolutely blown away with our experience. Our exceptional Egyptologist guide Hazem Khalaf solidifies our experience . From the moment we arrived in Cairo we were well taken care of! The ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Was absolutely blown away with our experience. Our exceptional Egyptologist guide Hazem Khalaf solidifies our experience . From the moment we arrived in Cairo we were well taken care of! The Uniworld staff took very good care of us. The Tosca staff whether it was attentive details to our stateroom or assistance from the front desk. Dining experience from the helm of Chef Hamdy - to Restaurant Manager - Ehab Abdelsamd , to oversee perfection. Well done! Entertainment was unique and everyone joined in the fun:) We loved it! Special thanks and shout out to Mohamed and Sayed for the exceptional relaxing Spa treatments Nothing better than a good massage after a long day touring, including a lot of walking. To Mahmoud (Shopping experience) your pleasant personality and professional knowledge made our jewelry shopping a breeze . Love my purchases! River Tosca is a great ship . Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We love the Moselle and the lovely towns on its shores. That part did not disappoint. This was a new cruise, and we were the first group to take it. This was our fourth cruise with Uniworld, and we have always loved the elegance of ... Read More
We love the Moselle and the lovely towns on its shores. That part did not disappoint. This was a new cruise, and we were the first group to take it. This was our fourth cruise with Uniworld, and we have always loved the elegance of their product. Here’s what was disappointing: 1. no pianist on board - have always loved the sophisticated atmosphere in the lounge with a pianist taking requests. No pianist. Bummer. 2. Food was not as wonderful as usual...twice I ordered steak from the alternate menu...both times lots of gristle and tough. No ice cream offered as alternate dessert. No apple strudel or sauerbraten although we were in Germany...bummer. 3. There were 3 evening shows. One was classical string music and it was terrific, but the other two played oldies and pop music. Uniworld has always been great about affecting cultural programs in the evenings (folk music, etc), but we didn’t get any. We didn’t book a German cruise to hear YMCA and ABBA in the evening.very disappointing. Ocean cruises play that pop crap...Uniworld is better than that. 4. The Uniworld catalogue in its description of this cruise listed a lot of cultural excursion offerings, NONE of which ended up being offered. 5. Too much time in big cities...Frankfurt, Mainz, Bonn, Cologne, which could have been spent in the Riesling towns on the Moselle All this being said, the service was FANTASTIC. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We took a trip recently on this ship from Amsterdam to Basel, our thrip trip on Uniworld. Although the ship was beautiful and the crew were terrific, it may be our last such trip with this company because we found, especially at dinner ... Read More
We took a trip recently on this ship from Amsterdam to Basel, our thrip trip on Uniworld. Although the ship was beautiful and the crew were terrific, it may be our last such trip with this company because we found, especially at dinner that the dining room was so loud. We complained and were told that others have raised the same concerns. Part of the reason may be that the company has a policy of serving unlimited amounts of wine and liquor. Some people do not know how to regulate themselves. They below quite loud and obnoxious. The dining room needs major soundproofing and/or the company needs to rethink its policy re unlimited drinks. Again, the ship is very nice, and the crew was terrific. They went out of their way to meet our request for a specific food consistent with a religious holiday that took place during our cruise. Our cabin was lovely. But dinner consistently was not a pleasant experience. We have written an extensive review for the company on this issue and have received no response. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld ... Read More
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld certainly knows what it's doing when it comes to hiring the "best of the best" as we found each and every person on board to be kind, engaging, fun, service oriented and just lovely. In particular Adrian, our Waiter, was Amazing, as was a bar waitress named Sylvia. Always a smile, they remembered the smallest details: How you like your drink, or the type of coffee you enjoyed. Our stewardess kept the cabin SPOTLESS and we were so impressed with how quickly they did their work. Can't praise them enough! Food: Meal quality was a little uneven. In particular Uniworld always has some basics on the menu in case you can't find anything you like in the daily featured dishes at dinner. The "Everyday" menu included things like Chicken and Steaks and Salmon and while prepared pretty well, the quality of the ingredients seemed to be lacking a bit. Strongly suggest they look to their purveyors to up that quality of the proteins on board. The breakfast and Lunches are all buffets and they were really excellent always plenty of choices. The dining room is a bit tight with big comfy chairs but overall a very pleasant place to spend a good portion of the evening. Again, the staff shined with complimentary wine flowing. Overall dinners were OK, just not at the level we were expecting at this price point. Tours: This is where I feel Uniworld really shines and is totally the reason to pay a little more for Uniworld. We saw other lines with huge groups of people but Uniworld had these small intimate group tours around the various cities. We couldn't have been more impressed with the guides (they get the best of the best) and loved the 'do as the locals do" visiting markets, riding public transit with our guide and learning ever so much, about the daily lives of the locals. A++++. Accommodations: So Uniworld claims to have the best beds on the rivers and indeed they do. Seriously it's no joke, these beds are off the chart. It's like sleeping in a gloved hand, resting on a cloud. I could go on and on but suffice to say, you will want to try, as we did, to figure out how to get this bed home with you! The decor is really quite something, shall I say " Over the Top". Makes you feel like you are staying in one of the palaces that you've toured each day. Initially I was a bit taken aback, but quickly realized it was replicating the experience of old Europe and very quickly I fell in love with it all the tufts and frills. while I wouldn't decorate my home this way, the style and glamour immersed you in the European style and we loved it! Ambiance: Sadly on our sailing there wasn't a piano player in the lounge and that was a miss, as a little music during cocktail hour and afterwards would have made the product come to life a little more. Uniworld does bring on entertainment in some of the ports but would have loved a little more consistency in this area. I found the other guest on board to be quite social and we met tons of new friends. Bottom Line: It's worth the extra $$. You will be wowed and super comfy! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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