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3 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise ever. Was somewhat hesitant on cruising as we thought we would not have enough to do and things would be too micro managed. This boat was wonderful. Once met at the airport, Uniworld took charge of the bags ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever. Was somewhat hesitant on cruising as we thought we would not have enough to do and things would be too micro managed. This boat was wonderful. Once met at the airport, Uniworld took charge of the bags and upon boarding the boat all bags were brought to the room. Room and boat were wonderful. All our needs were met on board and tours were arranged with very knowledgeable guides of the various cities. Our tours were well set up and there were options available depending on what your interests were. Our ship had some children on it and there was enough for them to do. We traveled at times during the day to take in the beautiful scenery, although some of the travel was done in the evening. The food was delicious. There was so much variety. Breakfast was buffet, with also an special order option. Lunch buffet with every day a special chef's carving station. Wine and drinks all day. Staff was just wonderful Special bar area for relaxing between meals and after a day of touring the various cities and several evening entertainment. Sun deck had lounge and tables available with bar set up during the day. Room was beautiful and heated bathroom floors and towel rack. My husband said he had never wanted to go on any type of cruise and here he is planning the next one. We can't say enough about how great this trip was!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose the Enchanting Danube cruise mainly because my husband wanted a trip for his 50th birthday which included a river cruise in Germany and the Neuschwanstein castle. Uniworld offered both, plus a Generations cruise for these areas so ... Read More
We chose the Enchanting Danube cruise mainly because my husband wanted a trip for his 50th birthday which included a river cruise in Germany and the Neuschwanstein castle. Uniworld offered both, plus a Generations cruise for these areas so that our 13 year old son could have other kids on the ship to play with. We opted to arrive a day early to spend extra time in Munich. The hotel which Uniworld selected was Roomers. While the hotel was obviously fairly new, clean and had great staff, there were a lot of down sides. First, it was nowhere NEAR the center of town. That was very inconvenient unless you enjoy walking for an hour to get to the main part of the city. Second, the beds were hard and very uncomfortable. The hallways and elevators were very dark and there were a lot of mirrors. We found it a bit creepy, actually. The only restaurant at the hotel was very upscale Asian food with a strict dress code. Not the place to go after a long day seeing the sights. Now to our biggest disappointment. As I said earlier, our MAIN reason for choosing this cruise was for the castle. At the briefing the night before the trip started, we were informed of the land itinerary. And there was NO mention of the Neuschwanstein castle! When I inquired in the session about the castle option, I was told that Uniworld had decided to drop that option from the itinerary as they rarely had enough people who wished to go. There were 15 people in the room that day who had planned on going to the castle. I told her that I had inquired 4 times on the phone to Uniworld to make sure that the castle was still offered, and was told it was. The Uniworld representative was quick to point out that Uniworld has the right to drop any option and has no liability. I told her that I understood that, but with NO warning? I could have made our own arrangements if I'd had even a couple of days notice. The Uniworld rep stated that Greyline Tours offered the castle trip and the front desk of the hotel could help. So, my husband and I went immediately to the front desk. Greyline was, of course, completely booked for the next day. Our LAST day in Munich. We spent hours trying to find other options. By 10pm we had to give up. All the tickets were sold out for the castle tours. My husband had that castle on his bucket list for decades. And for him, THAT was the highlight of the trip. And now that was off the table. Next we went to Passau, a lovely city. We boarded the Maria Theresa there. We were brought right to the ship, and embarkation and settling in was easy and delightful. Lunch was being served so we could have a leisurely lunch while our luggage was brought to the room. The ship is lovely. Very ornate, gilt and mirrors, etc. The beds were outrageously comfortable. The staff, every single one of them, were helpful and cheerful. The food was a bit of a let down for us. It certainly wasn't bad, it just wasn't as good as the reviews led us to believe. The desserts were ok. Not as good as some I had in local bakeries. There weren't enough German food options, which is what I was hoping for. I wanted sausages, cheeses, dumpling variations, schnitzels with various sauces, etc. And while there were a few items, not nearly what I would expect for a German cruise. We did enjoy the open air balcony in the room very much. Lovely touches included fresh chocolates in the room and 2 large glass bottles of water with the turndown service every evening. The activities ranged from amazing (a Mozart concert with opera singers in a small, intimate venue in Vienna, a city tour of Bratislava (a hidden gem!) and Budapest), to bleh (a tour of the church where Maria married Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music in the film took WAY too much time in Salzburg). This was a Generations Cruise, so they had activities for the children. There were about 30 children, I think, onboard. And the majority were between 11-15 years old. And one option was to …..draw and color in a monastery garden. Really? The activity said : Painting in the monastery garden. I thought that sounded great. My son and I could paint on a canvas in a wonderful spot, maybe learn a technique. But..no. Drawing and coloring. There were many bike riding options offered, but most of them were over 15 km. And that was a bit much for our 13 year old to do. And a parent would need to go with our son on any excursions. Adventures by Disney had many excursions for the children to do, AND had dedicated guides with them so the adults could do a different excursion. I had expected something similar, so that was disappointing. On the next to last day they finally offered some activities our son enjoyed. A mixology class onboard where the children could create their own Mocktails. And then a scavenger hunt. There was a pool onboard, but it was VERY small. You certainly couldn't actually swim in it. A cinema room was on the lower deck. A small room with seating for maybe 20, but that became the kids room during this cruise. There was a nice Viennese salon on the lower deck where a hot dog bar, television and a variety of cookies and cakes were always available. The salon also had a great self serve machine for macchiatos, espresso, coffee and hot chocolate. I really enjoyed that space. Our son, who tried the hot dog bar, said the hot dogs were good, but the buns, even when heated, were hard. There was a self serve washer and dryer as well. I didn't use it, but many of the passengers did. Summary: The hotel was not enjoyable. The ship was beautiful. The food was average. The staff was wonderful. The shore excursions were hit or miss. The room was excellent. Canceling a HIGHLIGHT of the tour with NO notice was inexcusable. We would not travel with Uniworld again. The prices were very high and if the experience matched it, my review would have been very different. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our 3rd Uniworld cruise and our last. The food was passable at best, with poor meat quality, limited fruits, and the worst bakery products ever. The chef is into recycling and as an example we had duck with sweet/sour red ... Read More
This was our 3rd Uniworld cruise and our last. The food was passable at best, with poor meat quality, limited fruits, and the worst bakery products ever. The chef is into recycling and as an example we had duck with sweet/sour red cabbage at night; the next day the remaining red cabbage was mixed with white rice. Another example of the quality is a snack when we returned from the Strauss Concert; hotdogs. pretzel buns, and goulash soup at 10:30 pm The buffet has limited hours and about 1/2 way though the opening hours items are combined to one side, cheese board never replenished, etc. Not one dinner entrée was outstanding ; the veal and beef items were tough. Soups were either salty or watery. Cakes were dry, breads choices repetitive and wine selection adequate. Service on Uni continues to be their best product. Our waiter "Z" was superb as was the entire staff. Excursions were a mixed bag with a superb tour of Linz, a spectacular concert in Vienna, and the remaining ok. Tours tend to stop for hours at churches eliminating the time in the cities. The guides were good for the most part; I am sure it is Uniworld who plans the itinerary. By the way Brataslavia is a find, and Uni would do well to spend more time there and less in Durnstein. Uniworld has decimated their value and you might as well take a mid range line with the largest cabin . Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife has always wanted to travel down the Danube so for her birthday I booked a suite on Uniworld's SS Maria Theresa departing from Passau. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and spent the first night in Munich at the airport ... Read More
My wife has always wanted to travel down the Danube so for her birthday I booked a suite on Uniworld's SS Maria Theresa departing from Passau. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and spent the first night in Munich at the airport Hilton, arranged by Uniworld. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of accommodations (for an airport hotel) and the breakfast buffet was among the best we have experienced anywhere. The SS Maria Theresa is a stunning vessel. The decor is a bit like what might happen if Laura Ashley and Liberace had a love child but having said that, the detail is high end, inviting and comfortable. Our suite had two floor-to-ceiling picture windows, one at the foot of the bed and one fronting an adjacent sitting area that could be opened to waist level. When the ship was moving it was like having your personal travel video scrolling in front of you. If you book a suite, butler service is included, which we found to be a nice touch. The Uniworld staff were clearly selected and trained to provide service excellence. They were adept at solving problems and were committed to making the trip memorable for everyone. I had heard that the food selection and quality was excellent on Uniworld but again our expectations were exceeded. Much of the food and wine were locally sourced and the attention to detail in terms of prep and presentation were what you would hope to experience in a fine dining restaurant. Wines were local and thoughtfully chosen to match the food. Liquor was top shelf. If you absolutely had to have Dom Perignon or a rare brandy not included in the main bars they had a "diamond collection" at an additional charge. Shore excursions were selected for all levels of activity from "gentle" tours that featured slow paced walks and buses to more strenuous bike tours, hikes, and "do as the locals do" walks. My favorite was a 20 mile bike ride from Melk to Durnstein. The relatively flat course wound through forests, vineyards, and small towns, and then ran along the Danube into Durnstein. It was truly magical. The guides at each destination were local, knowledgeable, their love for their respective cities was contagious. Enrichment activities made each stop even more memorable - visiting with a gentleman trying establish Saffron as a crop in Durnstein; a family who runs a cider farm outside of Linz (who also make some of the best Schnaps I have tasted); an historical scholar from Vienna who gave a mesmerizing talk on Maria Theresa. Bottom line - we are already planning our next cruise with Uniworld. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Please note that our family has lived overseas on three different continents, and we traveled a great deal in each area, usually on our own with children. We decided on this small cruise for several reasons: friends joined us, the area ... Read More
Please note that our family has lived overseas on three different continents, and we traveled a great deal in each area, usually on our own with children. We decided on this small cruise for several reasons: friends joined us, the area interested us, and the definite ease of travel. For the record: I will never, ever, ever take a cruise on a larger ship. Massive amounts of people make my skin crawl. We are of a certain age (me especially) and watching the world go by at a leisurely pace with everything arranged suited us immensely. The staff, crew, and guides spoiled us; this can be disconcerting at times because it is not how we live. Granted, they were not helicopter-intrusive, but they were always present. The food on board was always very tasty and always featured local foods and very fresh ingredients. There were American/English staples for the breakfast and lunch buffets; then they also offered a variety of native items. Dinners were a la carte with three choices: meat, fish, vegetarian. There were other options--but, never taken. Our chef was a youthful Portuguese gentleman who took pride in our table fare and every plate was picture-perfect. Because we were traveling along the Danube, many local wines were poured. They were generally not to my taste and the wait staff was at the ready with alternative choices. Our outings were, of course, well-planned. Local guides met us and filled our heads with dates and names and histories galore. They all spoke very clearly with charming accents. We were given portable ear pieces so that hearing them was not a challenge. Generally, our crowd was a little more geriatric and they accommodated us nicely. Those with great spirit and good health had the option of bicycling from port to port or taking more vigorous tours. Bless their hearts. I was impaired after our three day stay in Prague and the ship had the common sense to have walking sticks available for those of us with mobility challenges. With my ‘magic stick’, I was able to conjure easier paths, elevators, chairs, kindness, and great respect (always after the threat of a wallop). Early June and it proved to be tourist season for the whole world. Some sites were over-crowded and almost claustrophobic--Disney World jammed, you know what I mean. I enjoyed it when arrangements were made for early tours, private entrees, and alternative destinations. River cruises have become quite popular; in larger ports there could be up to 20 ships docked in close proximity. At times our luxuriously large window was blocked by another ship docked next to us. Note to cruise executives: if you are charging us for an immense window, please make sure the view is worthwhile. My husband and I struck out on our own several times with good directions and some helpful hints about the local city. This is what I truly enjoy doing: exploring and observing without a definite timetable. We have been on guided tours, but the venues were more volatile and we had small children with us (Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey). Moving about en masse with about 20 people became a little tedious even though everyone was pleasant and as enthralled as we were. My mailman asked me what my most favorite thing about our trip was. For me, it was talking to those citizens who had lived behind the Iron Curtain and were now venturing into capitalism and their surge into freedom; feeling the history of their countries through stories of change and fear and loss and resurgence--always with pride in their voices. Being on the ship was peaceful. You could relax in the quiet of your room (it was well-insulated) or find a spot in a common area that gave you a view and few people. If you were so inclined, there were people ready to converse, order drinks with you, or engage in rollicking fun. In truth, I am imagining the rollicking fun part as I was usually very tired and ready for my comfortable bed. If I take another cruise, I think it will be one with a theme. Not a drinking or history tour, but one of a more eclectic subject: Northern lights and the fjords of Norway may be calling me as I dine with astronomers. My guess is, Scrabble tours would probably just get ugly. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This trip surpassed my expectations - big time. I have cruised extensively and hadn't really considered a river cruise since Viking 10 years ago, from Moscow to St. Petersburg. That was a wonderful itinerary. River cruising has come a ... Read More
This trip surpassed my expectations - big time. I have cruised extensively and hadn't really considered a river cruise since Viking 10 years ago, from Moscow to St. Petersburg. That was a wonderful itinerary. River cruising has come a long way since then....the ships are far more comfortable. First off - let's get one thing out of the way: the decor of the Maria Theresa. It's like Liberace had a fever dream -- very Hapsburg brothel. Not to everyone's taste to be sure, but it grows on you. And being only two years old, it is very high tech (iffy wifi notwithstanding) and well thought-out. I beg to differ with a previous reviewer who said that most of the walking tours could be done sans tour guide. True enough. And I usually eschew tours. But since they were included, why not? Glad for that - they were generally excellent, and the blue tooth technology allowed one to wander away from the local guide and still hear the commentary. And there was free time to do more exploring on your own from time to time, such as Day 2 in Vienna or Passau by night. Groups were kept small. Kudos to all the staff, who were approachable and and informative. The spread sheet given out at the start of the cruise, with each stop showing available tours, was just what was needed. We were immediately able to book tours for the entire week. The cruise director, Jeonji (sp?) was herself from Budapest, and she was simply outstanding. The one tour we paid extra for was the Ruins Pub tour in the former Budapest ghetto - and it was a lot of fun and worth the money.The food was really good. They did a fine job of including regional specialties whenever possible, and some were spot-on, such as the Wiener schnitzel and sausages. Last but not least: even the weather cooperated. The 20 mile bike ride from Melk to Durnstein was rain-free, and seeing the Maria Theresa pass us as we picnicked on the Danube was a treat. Arrival in Budapest was on a brilliantly sunny (and windy) morning. Gorgeous. And that night the captain sailed the Danube to see the illuminated city at night. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We have done Uniworld cruises before but each time it just gets better. They understand how to make the experience truly relaxing and memorable and I love the design of their boats. We have just returned from doing the 8 day Danube cruise ... Read More
We have done Uniworld cruises before but each time it just gets better. They understand how to make the experience truly relaxing and memorable and I love the design of their boats. We have just returned from doing the 8 day Danube cruise from Passau to Budapest. The cabins are spacious and there is enough storage to store away toiletries and clothes. The beds are super comfortable and they always offer great amenities. The shore excursions are excellent and are included in the price. For example in Vienna they arranged for a private concert in an old castle with a chamber orchestra. It was a lovely evening. You visit museums an hour before opening so you avoid the crowds. If you sit on deck on a cool day they will bring you blankets, hot chocolate, gluwein etc. I also enjoy the quality of the onboard entertainment. The staff are really top notch and attend to your every need. I love the fact that all gratuities are included and I am not having to worry about tipping all the time. The food and wine offered is also amazing. I think their attention to detail really set them apart from other cruises. Nothing is too much trouble and they go out of their way to accommodate every request. I cannot recommend them highly enough if you are looking for a top quality cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our 4th river cruise with Uniworld, having been on the Castles of the Rhine, Bordeaux and Provence trips previously. We chose the 11 day Enchanting Christmas & New Year's Cruise on their newest ship SS Maria Theresa. We ... Read More
This was our 4th river cruise with Uniworld, having been on the Castles of the Rhine, Bordeaux and Provence trips previously. We chose the 11 day Enchanting Christmas & New Year's Cruise on their newest ship SS Maria Theresa. We wanted to celebrate my 60th birthday, and to experience Christmas in Europe. Being from Australia we hoped to see snow but this was not to be this year. In fact the water level in the Danube was so unusually low that the ship was unable to sail further than Vienna, so we spent the last 2 nights in Budapest in a hotel. More about that later. We were interested to compare this ship with her sisters SS Marie Antoinette and SS Catherine, both of which we had loved. We were not disappointed. Her decor features a more restrained soft colour palette but is otherwise similar and equally beautiful, some would say more elegant. The large dining room, salon and smaller lounge with enclosed swimming pool remain. We found the new tiny "cafe" room on the lower level to be handy and were surprised we didn't encounter more passengers there. Self-serve hot drinks, iced teas etc and a small range of snacks were available around the clock, with little tables and seating enough for 10 or so people comfortably. It also has a larger version of the mirror TVs present in our staterooms. Two of us enjoyed relaxing there one afternoon watching a recent on-demand movie without having to sit on a bed. Our Category 2 staterooms at 194 sq ft (18 sq m) were an adequate size, all the more because of the generous and clever storage space, including huge drawers in the en-suite vanity. There was a small table and chairs next to the french balcony. We actually prefer this arrangement over the full balconies in Category 1, as they reduce the size of the room itself. We thought the standard of on-board dining was better than ever on this cruise. We particularly marvelled at how perfectly done and tender the meat was every time, with the meal quality and presentation worthy of any top restaurant. The service was great and drinks generously served at all times. Christmas Day involved a day trip to Oberndorf and Salzburg, where we had a catered lunch which unfortunately was a let-down. It was only a small part of the day though. With the crew and passengers' carol singing and special dinner on Christmas Eve, and then Christmas Day dinner on board it didn't matter. In fact we were pleased not to have over-indulged at lunch. New Year's Eve at the Ethnographic Museum in Budapest on the other hand was a perfect combination of stunning surrounds, fantastic entertainment all evening and 5 star caterering. Bravo to the Cruise Manager for organising this event. Entertainments on-board again were of excellent quality with a good variety of types. We were also treated to wonderful private concerts in Vienna and other smaller locations. While we were sad to leave the beautiful Maria Theresa prematurely, we were very happy with all the alternative arrangements made for us by Uniworld. We were bussed 4 hours, including 2 comfort stops, to Budapest. We arrived in time for lunch in the town before checking in to one of 2 hotels which miraculously had enough rooms us all. We were happy with our 2 nights at the Intercontinental Hotel, especially its location on the river with wonderful views. If we are lucky enough to go back Budapest one day I would happily book there again. Uniworld covered the cost of the room with breakfast and free wi-fi and gave each of us an amount of cash to help cover other meals we would have had on board. In addition we were given very generous discount vouchers to offset the cost of a future cruise, even though the circumstances were completely beyond Uniworld's control. We hope to be able to use our vouchers within the 2 year period specified, but would book again with Uniworld even without the them. They truly are a quality company. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Christmas had gone (so markets were closed, that was fine - just a question of product title) enchanting it was not, a river cruise it was not, the ship only sailed at 1am when everyone was asleep, just one daytime half day cruise. We ... Read More
Christmas had gone (so markets were closed, that was fine - just a question of product title) enchanting it was not, a river cruise it was not, the ship only sailed at 1am when everyone was asleep, just one daytime half day cruise. We were robbed of the second one AND the entry to Budapest (albeit at 6am in the morning!) because of lack of sufficient water in the Danube. This was incredible since there had not been enough water since before autumn and we could have been warned and could have then chosen another cruise. So the cruise was just a glorified Coach Holiday, with the ship as hotel, coach trips and walks into villages. I loathe coach trips and am not very fond of hotel holidays. Insult to injury, the group was put into two different hotels, we were furnished with inadequate Euros for lunch and dinner and drinks in Budapest. two and a half days without the much advertised free drinks!!! A coffee or chocolate in Bratislava (coach from Vienna) was nearly £5! There were good things too, but for the huge amount such a trip costs it was a cheat. Read Less
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