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604 Uniworld Cruise Reviews

The Cruise Critic reviews helped me tremendously prior to taking my cruise so I am now giving back with my thoughts to help others! Unfortunately, our cruise did not have a good start- most of the passengers had booked this Nile River ... Read More
The Cruise Critic reviews helped me tremendously prior to taking my cruise so I am now giving back with my thoughts to help others! Unfortunately, our cruise did not have a good start- most of the passengers had booked this Nile River cruise based upon the cruise being on the brand new ship, the Sphinx. After unexpected fire damage on the Sphinx in December, we were told that our January cruise would be on the old and worn, Tosca. After my travel agent and I both requested that Uniworld provide compensation to me, considering that the contract was based upon a new ship, not a worn older ship, Uniworld declined. I guess they knew that my travel insurance would not cover cancellation in this circumstance and they had my money. So when I boarded the ship, and so many passengers told me they had received compensation from Uniworld for the ship change (one passenger got $600) , it soured my Uniworld experience. Ok... now going forward with the cruise- Tour Leader: We were fortunately assigned the best Egyptologist - his name was Hani. I think a good tour guide can make or break your trip as you are touring with your whispers most of the day. Hani is excellent and a true asset to Uniworld. Schedule: I had asked Uniworld prior to the trip for a time schedule and they were unable to provide one. Now I know why- Most mornings you have to be on the bus at 7 am so for me that meant getting up at 5 am so I could shower, and make it to breakfast. The day we were leaving Cairo to fly to Luxor, bags had to be out your door at 5:15 am so I had to get up at 4:00 am that morning. Afternoon: The Uniworld hotline had told me that most afternoons we would be relaxing on the ship. That is not so - we were on the run for most of the trip. You get to see a lot, but you will return home really tired. Packing: I suggest that you pack a hat, sunscreen, lip balm, and base layers - temperatures were chilly in the morning then warmed by noon. You may want to take crisp dollars for bathrooms at temples and also for the small children who break your heart begging to sell you something. Staff: Staff on the ship are hard working and eager to please. Ship Condition - Is worn and tired, as you would expect for an older ship. Food- Very good! Waiter Bassam was our favorite. Giza Light Show: This was another sore spot for our group. When we contracted with Uniworld, the itinerary on the Uniworld website showed that the Giza light show was included in the cost of the trip. But when we arrived in Cairo, Uniworld told everyone that the Giza light show was now $55/person. This soured the trip as well. When we requested an adjustment, Uniworld’s attitude was too bad , it’s now $55/person . Extra excursions: While the Uniworld hotline had told me that the Hot air balloon ride and camel ride had been discontinued, I was pleased to find once on the ship that you could book these events - they just no longer were being offered through Uniworld for liability reasons. Abu Simbel is a must do - and of course, it is an extra cost. Safety: Uniworld did a good job keeping us safe with armed guards and police escorts. Buses- The bus rides were frequent and tiring and almost daily modes of transportation. I would have enjoyed more walking but the cruise group was a much older group so the buses worked fo them. Bus driver, Nassar, did a good job. So overall for my review, I think that Egypt is an interesting place to travel. While the Uniworld cabin staff, kitchen staff, and tour leader did a great job, I do not plan to book another trip with Uniworld. I don’t think it was honorable the way they handled my booking contract in regard to the ship change and the Giza Light show change. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Our TA did this tour and his reviews have always been spot on for us. So 5 couples who have traveled widely and together went. I have read previous reviews that were critical of the information given by their Egyptologist. We had Tarek and ... Read More
Our TA did this tour and his reviews have always been spot on for us. So 5 couples who have traveled widely and together went. I have read previous reviews that were critical of the information given by their Egyptologist. We had Tarek and he was great! As my wife told him when we said good bye, we were 10 educators by profession, and he was a master educator for all 10 of us. We were met by the Uniworld rep BEFORE passport control. Our TA said that was new. The 5 couples came in on different planes, but our experience was similar, even for those BA flights that get in early. We all met up at the 4 Seasons for an in room Happy Hour. We brought some duty free wine in from FRA, as did others and no one had a problem bringing it in. Security was outstanding, and quite frankly we felt safer there than anywhere in Mexico or Quito recently. The light show at the Pyramids was cheesy and could be skipped, but if you have night shot capabilities, there are some good opportunities. The very first thing on the bus, Tarek handed out 5 pound notes for toilet tips. He was available for 5 pound refills as needed. He also tipped all the people along the way so you don't have to if you don't want to. The ATM to the right of registration at the 4 Seasons will give small bills if you get smaller amounts and large bills if you get larger amounts. If you are going to shop then you should get the money recommended by your greeter, but we don't shop much as a group and the ATM visit for a large amount was really not necessary. We also brought a lot of $5s and $1s which were appropriate and welcomed. We flew the charter to Luxor. There were 66 on the ship. We were in 202, another of our group were in 201, and we were able to host happy hours for the group in our suites, all included. This may not be available when the new ship launches at the end of 2020. Some time after November 2020 would be a good time to go since the new ship should be launched and the new Egyptian Museum should be open. We were in 3 buses of 22 each so plenty of room to spread out. It was 45 F in the morning, and we would shed layers in the afternoon and leave it on the bus. Nobody in our group got sick and we all eat a lot of leafy vegetables and fruits. The wine was perfectly acceptable, all Egyptian or South African. It was too windy to do the hot air balloon on the day available, but on our last day we saw 11 balloons up, over the west bank, so it does happen. You can skip the Luxor light show without a problem. Abu Simbel was worth the expense, but go right in to the interior and take exterior shots later because the 60 bus caravan from Aswan will be right on your tail, and it will get packed if you wait. On the day you go back to Cairo, they offer a stop at the "market" with the option to go right to the hotel. Two thirds went to the market, and said it was largely for tourists and the real local market was over 2 streets. Also the 1 hour bus ride for the evening "buffet" farewell dinner was completely unnecessary, and if we did this again we would skip it and eat at the 4 Seasons. The last day of touring was an all day trip leaving about 7 am and getting in about 5 pm with lunch on the bus if you brought it with you. We had a big breakfast and just had fruit at lunch, which worked out well. One of our group had the inspiration to upgrade to a Nile River view room at the Four Seasons, which worked out great. Departure was very easy, but early. You are escorted by a Uniworld rep all the way to the second security check point. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Quite simply, for the money, river cruising is not worth it - for US. For others it may be, but when you calculate what you are paying daily (approx $1k EUR for our upgraded (VERY SMALL) room), we feel it's definitely not worth it. ... Read More
Quite simply, for the money, river cruising is not worth it - for US. For others it may be, but when you calculate what you are paying daily (approx $1k EUR for our upgraded (VERY SMALL) room), we feel it's definitely not worth it. I would highly recommend researching everything in detail before doing a cruise. Without writing an essay, examples of disappointment include: - Food was mostly good, but I had a steak I almost couldn't eat as it had sinue all the way through it; Coffee was not nice to me due to long life milk - when we were led to believe that local produce would be purchased and loaded at the different stops along the way; this is not the case, same with Beer, I only had a choice of 1 type of generic branded wheat beer, when I thought I would get to sample many along the way - being in Austria/ Bavaria... VERY DISAPPOINTING. Furthermore, wines etc., are, supplied by the owners / relatives own vineyards - Room was tiny - and I like cozy rooms... but when you can't even walk past each other at the end of the bed between the wall and bed, it's ridiculous; Bathroom was also a major let down - felt like a cubicle... - Most "cruising" was done at night - meaning you don't really see much countryside (consequently you miss out on some important landmarks - i.e. some castles I saw by looking out around 11/12pm!)... Furthermore, whilst cruising you can hear the engines, and if a light sleeper like myself is slightly annoying... - The "bed" we had was 2 x single "joined" beds - with no overlay, meaning you had an annoying ridge where they met... For $1000 EUR per night??, really? - Excursions were a little lacking - we visited a few beautiful towns and had great guided walking tours, but apart from 1 day bus tour to glass factory / distillery , and another bus tour of Vienna, there wasn't really anything else "included" - Moreover, you are sold experiences, at your own added expense! GYM Was way too small also. POSITIVES Friendly, professional staff, very nice common areas - impeccably clean, generally good food - but no better than cheaper cruise companies (as per other customer feedback), beautiful towns/villages and some scenery along the way - All of which could be done for a fraction of the price if you didn't have to do a river cruise per se. Whilst the cruise itself is obviously convenient, I would just spend the time researching and planning better next time and save a fortune for mostly the same experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose Uniworld as friends said their experience is ultimate pleasure and luxury. That said, we also wanted a total cultural experience of the wonders of Ancient Egypt. We read reviews that extolled the Uniworld Egyptologists as ... Read More
We chose Uniworld as friends said their experience is ultimate pleasure and luxury. That said, we also wanted a total cultural experience of the wonders of Ancient Egypt. We read reviews that extolled the Uniworld Egyptologists as knowledgeable and entertaining. We were excited to experience this as we wondered at the marvels of the temples, tombs, etc. This was a family trip and we loved the River Tosca and its aging gentility. The crew/staff were most accommodating and friendly, with attention to one’s every need. We had a Royal Suite and were able to have private relaxation times with our family there - this is a really comfortable and large cabin with an additional sitting room. Egyptian whisky, gin and vodka and all soft drinks are available free of charge as well as three pots of snacks - one usually nuts or roasted corn, one of Egyptian chocolates, and one with potato crisps in packets. There is also a fruit bowl and laundry is thrown in. My husband says he may never recover from having his scants ironed! We are accustomed on guided trips to have hour long presentations of the periods and places of the next day presented each evening. Our “Egyptologist talk” each evening was when we could need to be ready, where we were going, and when we could be back - and oh yes, where shopping would be available. No real information! The documentaries on the TV were outdated documentaries of how movies were made, a story of some Egyptian conscripts at the time of the pyramids (all based on guesswork), and some ancient stuff from the BBC - and the Peter Ustinov version of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. Our Egyptologist Sameh was repetitive and very good at shepherding his flock, but we were there for the cultural experience and we kept getting the feeling that everything was boiling down to “the boy king” and a limited number of “stars” that they had decided would make good storylines. We were frustrated in the extreme. We are not idiots and the stuff we were being fed was pure Hollywood/`Disney. King Tut, Nefertiti, Amenhotep, Hatshepsut and the odd other walk on part. These were minor players in the grand scheme of things, but we learned nothing more than we already knew from previous research, and that was bitterly disappointing. So Uniworld - Get serious and bat with the heavyweights like Regent and Azamara. Have proper detailed briefings each evening prior to the visits - Egypt demands this!! Egyptian tourism has decided to pander to the Hollywood and Disney superficial storylines. Don’t bow down to this (remember your South African heritage, dammit). Give us the real thing please. Your boat and crew are delightful. Your packaging of the ancient Egyptian historical experience needs serious review - unless we got the dregs of your Egyptologists? Perhaps we did. Who knows. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My husband and I just completed the Uniworld “Splendors of Egypt & The Nile” twelve-day cruise/tour of Egypt. I would like to elaborate on our experience, which was for the most part very positive. EGYPTOLOGIST I’ll ... Read More
My husband and I just completed the Uniworld “Splendors of Egypt & The Nile” twelve-day cruise/tour of Egypt. I would like to elaborate on our experience, which was for the most part very positive. EGYPTOLOGIST I’ll start with the most important element of this trip, our Egyptologist. His performance was crucial to the success of the trip. Without a qualified guide the journey would have been pointless. Akram, our guide, did not disappoint. Before the start of the official tour Akram took us to see some of the more minor pyramids and then to visit the Bazaar. I knew after spending that first half day with him that we were in for a treat over the coming days. He was so well qualified and versed on all aspects of ancient Egyptian history and modern Egyptian culture as well. Even more important, his enthusiasm for “all things Egypt” was contagious. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on the Pharoahs, temples and pyramids but I certainly have a much better understanding of the subject after spending a week and a half with Akram. Akram’s official duty was to guide us through the magical country of Egypt; in reality he “wore several other hats”. He also took on the responsibility of helping two passengers with mobility issues that both required wheelchair assistance. It was a daunting task he tackled head on. The various sites posed unique challenges as far as handicapped access goes but Akram handled the often-awkward situations with aplomb. I spoke at length with one of the handicapped passenger’s relatives who had nothing but glowing praise for the help Akram had provided in order that their spouse could fulfill their lifelong dream of an Egyptian cruise. In addition, he took charge of tipping the bathroom attendants at the various sites for the entire group. Handling all these tasks often demanded he be in two places at once. There was a lot of pressure, but he never lost his cool. One change/addition I might suggest is to provide Akram with an assistant to handle the rest room duties and enable him to concentrate on his guiding. Perhaps the bus driver could assist in this area. ITINERARY The itinerary was well designed to maximize the number of sites visited. Some of us commented that we felt we had packed a month’s worth of touring into eleven days, To be honest the pace was brisk and we were pretty tired at the end of the day; however, it was completely worth every 7:00 a.m. starting time to reach the temples before the crowds descended. Many reviews of this cruise addressed the action-packed nature of the cruise but still some people complained to Akram about it, even though the logistics involved were not within his control. In our opinion the optional excursion to Abu Simbel was the highlight of the trip. It was well worth the extra effort and expense involved getting there. We were told that going forward it will be incorporated into the regular itinerary. This is excellent news as anyone interested in Egypt would really miss if they passed over these amazing temples. The subcontractor handling the entire trip for Uniworld was Spring Tours. I felt they did a good job. The bus drivers were professional and the buses were clean and comfortable. RIVER TOSCA SHIP I will admit to being pleasantly surprised by the ship especially after reading quite a few negative reviews of the ship. Granted it is an older vessel but our cabin appeared to have newer, clean carpet and fresh paint. We found it quite cozy. The staff on the boat was lovely. They were always pleasant and helpful. We loved the food. They had a lot of variety and daily offered some local dishes to sample. The highlight was the evening they served an Egyptian buffet—delicious. PRE- AND POST CRUISE STAY Of course, it is hard to criticize the Four Seasons. It is a little pricey for meals but with a sumptuous breakfast buffet included, it was easy to get through the day on the calories provided by that meal alone. UNIWORLD TRANSFERS/LOGISTICS This is the area where I have my one criticism of our trip. We booked our flights and initial incoming transfer independently as we spent several extra days in Cairo at the Four Seasons before start of Splendors of Egypt & The Nile” twelve-day cruise/tour. Despite numerous to communicate our arrangements with Uniworld corporate they were not at all helpful in facilitating our liaison with the other passengers on our excursions. A serious of lengthy phone calls with both the Four Seasons and Uniworld in the US were required to finally sort things out. Apparently, Uniworld is really only set up to deal with customers who buy their entire package—air/cruise/hotel. They are not motivated to provide assistance to the independent travelers. I recognize that you must differentiate between the corporation and the actual subcontractor, Spring Tours, in these situations. All in all, it was a marvelous cruise and I would recommend it without reservation to anyone, who like us, has Egypt on their “list”. PS: One more negative comment about corporate Uniworld. I made considerable attempts to post this 98% review directly on Uniworld's web site. First they told me it had to be "researched". Then when I called directly they said I had to be "invited" as it was submitted through a third party. Finally, they e-mailed me and said to submit to them directly--what I wanted to do in the first place. What are they afraid of? Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I had always wanted to see Egypt and the Nile. A wonderful friend took me on this cruise for a special birthday. The sites were truly spectacular, especially the Pyramids of Gaza, the Valley of the Kings, and especially Abu Simbel. We ... Read More
I had always wanted to see Egypt and the Nile. A wonderful friend took me on this cruise for a special birthday. The sites were truly spectacular, especially the Pyramids of Gaza, the Valley of the Kings, and especially Abu Simbel. We had early departures for many of the tours off ship, but that was not a problem. We had to pay extra for the trip (involving a flight) to Abu Simbel - but it was truly worth it. To be on the Nile was truly spectacular and we loved every minute. The Tosca was a very nice ship, and the service was outstanding. There were only 62 on the cruise and we were divided into 3 bus groups. Be aware that this cruise involves several flights getting to destinations. You start off with a few days in Cairo. We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel and it was amazing! We then were flown down to Luxor where we boarded the Tosca. Our tour guide Tirek was outstanding and certainly knew his Egyptian history! On reaching Aswan we were flown to see Abu Simbel for the day - well worth it. We found all of the tours excellent, loving each one. On returning to Luxor, we were flown back to Cairo for our visit to the Pyramids, and once again stayed at the fabulous Four Seasons Hotel. We had chosen to do the Jerusalem Extension at the end of the cruise, but, to be honest, it was not worth the price that we had to pay to do it. There were eight of us on this portion of the trip and our guide in Jerusalem was only adequate. As said, the cost was too high for this 5 day excursion and we didn't really leave the city at all, except to go to Bethlehem, which was another disappointment. HOWEVER, the Nile Cruise was outstanding and will always be remembered. Would I go back again? Definitely. Note the use of several adjectives several times throughout the review! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have sailed with Uniworld twice before and with Viking a few times. I chose this sailing because of the beauty of Portugal and the friendliness of its people. Although the scenery was lovely, people do need to understand that the ... Read More
I have sailed with Uniworld twice before and with Viking a few times. I chose this sailing because of the beauty of Portugal and the friendliness of its people. Although the scenery was lovely, people do need to understand that the regulations on the Douro only allow for sailing during daylight hours. This means very limited time in port and a lot of time on the ship. Also, except for Porto, the ship docks in the middle of nowhere. Thus, one of the joys of walking off a river cruise and into a city or town is nonexistent. There was a lot of bus travel. I believe this applies to all Douro River Cruises and none of that was a problem specific to Uniworld. Uniworld promotes itself as a luxury boutique line. It’s motto is “Nothing but the best for you” and you pay for that level of attention. The staff was lovely and the food was good. The problem lies with the ship. Uniworld is supposed to have another ship sailing this itinerary next year, but that didn’t help us. 1. The new reusable water bottles that were left on our bed we clearly used and contained liquid - one of them brown. 2. The sink had a large chip in it and a mess of caulk on the back. 3. We only had hot water about half the time. This was not just during busy times but at any time of the day. 4. We heard the sound of every toilet on the ship flushing in our cabin. Hard to believe, but true. More details in cabin review. All of this was reported to the manager. On seeing the condition of our sink, he offered to move us across the hall. He said he could move us to another level for another 1400€ each. We decided to stay. We did not yet know about the toilets. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see Egypt, and we found this cruise after a Uniworld cruise down the Danube. We had 2 days in Cairo with the tour guide before joining the boat. When we arrived on the ship we were welcomed by the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see Egypt, and we found this cruise after a Uniworld cruise down the Danube. We had 2 days in Cairo with the tour guide before joining the boat. When we arrived on the ship we were welcomed by the crew and escorted to our cabins which were larger than expected, and very comfortable. The crew were very welcoming and helpful. We were welcomed and well cared for. The whole experience was fun. Our tour guide had an amazing sense of humour and really knew his history and was very informative. We became friends and will continue to correspond. The temples were amazing and finding out all the history was great. We met a great group of people who jelled really well. The entertainment on board was great with local talent and our Egyptian night was fun. I particularly liked the fact that the crew looked like they had fun as well. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our fourth river cruise with Uniworld over the past couple of years. We like Uniworld because they always deliver on their promise of beautifully decorated rooms, great food, delicious wines and topped off with consistent ... Read More
This was our fourth river cruise with Uniworld over the past couple of years. We like Uniworld because they always deliver on their promise of beautifully decorated rooms, great food, delicious wines and topped off with consistent exceptional on board service and first class pampering fit for a king and queen on every trip. The staff have always been 5 star plus, but on the Maria Theresa they were 5 star 3x plus. Uniworld cruises attract an educated class of travelers we have enjoyed meeting and sharing experiences. Meeting fellow Uniworld travelers on these journeys has always been the icing on the cake for me. Many are well traveled professionals and business people, whom I have enjoyed not just good conversation but even better life experiences. We have meet politicians to even Olympic Gold Medal winners on these trips, which always makes for good dinner conversation. We flew into Munich, Germany two days early just so we could do a full day private bus trip through Viator to see Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof Palace and the Shirley Temple of Bavarian villages, Oberammergan. I was surprised to discover that Linderhof Palace interior has almost as many gold decorations, furnishings and beautiful chandeliers as Versailles, France. The gold organ is stunning and worth the price of admission. Checking off that bucket list places to see was already worth the trip so the voyage on the Maria Theresa was just icing on the cake. Since we had arrived a couple of days early, Uniworld was unable to help us with the two hour transportation to Passau. My Pravlus travel agent Kymm was kind enough to get us scheduled with Blacklane transportation to the Maria Theresa from Munich. They picked us up on time, and delivered us to the ship. Our ride in that comfortable black Mercedes was so good, we feel asleep. All the Uniworld ships are all different, but the Maria Theresa is like a floating museum of baroque beauty. It’s a floating palace fit for a king & queen! Lots of gold and mirrors to make you feel like royalty. Its pure luxury on the Danube. We were in 412, which is a balcony room. The balcony is not an outdoor balcony and may not be worth the extra price but made a great place to store and hide luggage (so did under the beds). Our first day began with a walking tour of Passau, the City of Three Rivers. It was a cold and cloudy day, but our tour guide was so interesting that is was easy to ignore the weather. She took us to visit St. Stephan’s Cathedral, which was absolutely beautiful on the inside. The organ is the largest in Europe and we listened to 30 minutes of beautiful organ music. My wife found numerous shops to buy souvenirs so we were late returning for lunch. All the seats were almost taken in the dining area so we decided to sit at the table with a brass bell on it. No one was sitting there so we sat down. It was funny to see the reaction of the service staff when we made that decision. The server, who was in a black tux with tails bent over and whispered in my ear, “Sir, this is the Captains table, and only the captain and crew are allowed to sit here, however they have already had lunch so if no one says anything, you can continue to sit here”. Let me tell you, the service at the Captains table is the best on the ship and I highly recommend it if you can get away with it! It was the only time my wife and I were able to dine alone and we really enjoyed it, especially the wine. Certainly understand why the captain of this this ship is always smiling and happy. We really enjoyed our excursion in Mondsee, Austria to see St. Michaels Basilica where Maria and Capt. Von Trapp were married in the movie, The Sound of Music. The church is absolutely beautiful. It was fun getting our pictures taken at the entrance of the row of trees the children were climbing in, though I was disappointed the trees had grown too tall for me to climb. We decided on taking the full day excursion to Salzburg, Austria and were lucky enough to have Trudy as our tour guide. She was a beautiful voice and had everyone on the bus singing along with her various tunes to The Sound of Music. Again, it was a cold and cloudy day, but she made the trip so enjoyable that we did not even notice. We loved the Mirabell Gardens and enjoyed a quick tour of the Sound of Music Museum that we did during our spare time. The sun came out, so we were able to get some good pictures on the famous Sound of Music Steps and Pegasus Fountain. Seeing the home Mozart was born at was really neat. Our stop and excursion in Melk was amazing. The Melk Abby, is decorated like a palace and has numerous beautiful and ornate rooms that reminded me of Versailles, France. The library is absolutely beautiful, and the open books are so precise and colorful, it’s hard to believe they didn’t use a printing press. Some of those texts took the monks a life time to complete and are truly works of art. One of our excursions was a wine tasting in the Wachau Valley at Nikolaihof organic wines where they still use an old wooden wine press. This was one of the most informative and enjoyable wine tastings my wife and I have ever experienced in our travels. Highly recommend just for the wine! In Vienna, Austria out favorite was not the beautiful St. Stephens Cathedral with the roof covered in beautiful tiles or all the historical buildings, but the Kunsthistorisches Museum! It was full of beautiful art by the masters, marble statues and solid gold treasures like the famous Benevenuto Cellini’s salt cellar. The tower of Bable by Pieter Brueghel was something to behold. The large Theseus Clubbing the Centaur at the entrance was my favorite statue. I needed two days to see everything this museum had to offer. The Hungarian Parliament building was absolutely something to behold. It was decorated more like a palace than an assembly hall. Budapest is full of beautiful building and architecture. My wife really liked the shopping there because things were about 30% cheaper than Munich. Lots of beautiful places for pictures, especially at Buda Hill and the Liberty Statue of Freedom where you can overlook the city. We took the time to visit the House of Terror Museum that was full atrocities by the fascist and communist regimes that once controlled Hungary. Budapest looked to be booming since its left the control of the Soviet Union. Twenty five years into their young democracy, the Hungarians I meet were extremely optimistic and happy to be free. Capitalism is really working for the Hungarians who are willing to work hard to get ahead. Beautiful city full of beautiful people. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first uniworld cruise, and to be honest I did not like the ship. It was very claustrophobic: low ceilings, outsized furniture in small spaces, I always felt like I was sqeezing past other guests, especially at the buffet. That ... Read More
This was our first uniworld cruise, and to be honest I did not like the ship. It was very claustrophobic: low ceilings, outsized furniture in small spaces, I always felt like I was sqeezing past other guests, especially at the buffet. That said, service and food were always excellent. We had an amazing art historian leading many of the tours and it was nice to have a choice of tours included every day. (Avoid the mussel cruise at all costs, though; it was totally lame). Having all drinks included, not just with meals, was a nice plus. We took the option of starting in Milan and were very happy we did. The hotel there was very good and stopping at Verona on the way to Venice was quite pleasant. We took the optional tour to the top of the Milan Cathedral which was dangerously crowded since it was a holiday weekend but still spectacular. I especially appreciated that Uniworld arranged for private group viewings of the Last Supper and St Mark's cathedral so we could avoid the crush and appreciate those places. The onboard enrichment ranged from pathetic (tiramisu demo). To very good ( narrated tour of the lagoon); onboard entertainment was very good, especially the local musicians and singers. The cruise director, Ricardo, was always ready to lend a hand to anyone who needed it, and was very pleasant and competent. He kept us well informed of changes in the itinerary. Although we never reached the Po due to weather, cruising the lagoon was wonderful, and exploring the islands was a treat. If we hadn’t been to Venice before I would have wanted more of the area around the square, but for us it was a wonderful trip All in all, I would travel with Uniworld again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked our bucket list cruise to Egypt last August. Having River cruised before and not liking it for various reasons as well as reading some of the reviews on the Tosca we were cautious booking but the only way to really do Egypt is by ... Read More
We booked our bucket list cruise to Egypt last August. Having River cruised before and not liking it for various reasons as well as reading some of the reviews on the Tosca we were cautious booking but the only way to really do Egypt is by the Nile. I have to say we just returned from one of the best ever vacations. The Tosca is a beautiful vessel with old world beauty and charm. I felt like I was in a Bogart movie. The rooms are surprisingly large and the bathrooms terrific albeit the shower is small. The staff cannot do enough for you. The food is wonderful. The Uniworld itinerary covers all the high points and then some. I highly recommend you add the hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings. Our tour guide,Mohamed R far exceeded expectations in both knowledge, compassion and intelligence. Highly recommend Egypt. We always were safe and the Four Seasons in Cairo is also terrific which is where the front and back end of the tour start and end. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose UniWorld as it had been recommended to us by a friend and were interested in river cruising. We had only been ocean cruising before and were interested in the smaller, all inclusive value of a river cruise. We were not ... Read More
We chose UniWorld as it had been recommended to us by a friend and were interested in river cruising. We had only been ocean cruising before and were interested in the smaller, all inclusive value of a river cruise. We were not disappointed at all. Boat: It's nice, clean. We enjoyed the common area, the dining room and the sun deck up above. I will say that when everyone gets in the dining area or bar, it can get very noisy because of the low ceilings, but it wasn't really a problem or us. We had lovely weather and quite enjoyed the sun deck. Room: It was small - very small, but once again not problem. We did expect a small room and were already informed about the lack of a balcony. There is a floor to ceiling window that can be opened. There are often other boats docking with you, so the view can be into another boat, but probably more than half the time, we had a wonderful view of the Danube and it's beautiful scenery. Food: We loved the food. There were many options and everything we had was very good. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet and had no issues with the times to eat or with finding a table for 4 at any of the dining times. Staff: The staff was outstanding. They all worked very hard to make our cruise wonderful. We enjoyed getting to know the cruise director and captain. Excursions: We only took excursions that were included in the price of our cruise. We didn't take the Master Class excursions. They were all good. Some were great - others just very good. Everyone in our group loved a different excursion to a different town as their favorite, so Uniworld did a good job at offering variety. We would definately take another Uniworld cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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
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