6 Uniworld Queen Isabel Senior Cruise Reviews

We were traveling with a group of friends on a trip organized by a local vineyard wine club, of which we are members. This was our first European adventure and our first riverboat cruise, so we were very excited. Flying into Lisbon and ... Read More
We were traveling with a group of friends on a trip organized by a local vineyard wine club, of which we are members. This was our first European adventure and our first riverboat cruise, so we were very excited. Flying into Lisbon and having 3 days to explore the Portuguese capital city and acclimate to the time change was very well-planned. The Corinthia Hotel was outstanding and their included breakfast buffet was simply amazing. Our Uniworld hosts and tour guides were very impressive, experienced, friendly and helpful at every opportunity. Once we were transferred to Porto to board the Queen Isabel and embark on our tour of the Douro River Valley, we were once again very impressed with the ship and especially the staff members. Without exception, everyone we interacted with were overwhelmingly helpful and focused on quality guest service. Being on a small boutique cruise ship offered the opportunity to meet and interact with everyone onboard. We appreciated the personal interaction and familiarity we developed with the crew members. By the second day onboard, many were already greeting us by name! Simply amazing. Each day offered us different engaging adventures that were well-planned and enjoyable at every port of call. The onboard dining was simply outstanding and the entire dining room staff was always focused on providing great service to all guests. We also were amazed at the lounge staff, especially our favorite bartender, Alexandra. She was wonderful and by the end of the cruise, we felt as if we'd made a new friend! Ours was the final cruise of the 2018 season and we were consistently impressed with the pleasant interactions we experienced with everyone onboard and the friendly service we received, usually accompanied by a bright smile. Thanks to the entire staff and crew of the Queen Isabel for a relaxing and memorable vacation! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different ... Read More
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different venue....the makeup of the Seine vs the Douro but a lot of it was just a poorly orchestrated itinerary. As I’m sure you’re aware, unlike the Seine, the river boats can’t cruise the Douro at night which probably presents some logistical issues. That said, as a more upscale provider, I would have expected UniWorld to have figured out how to compensate and address this. The other issue is that while the Douro is lovely and the scenery beautiful, there isn’t tons to do. Unlike the Seine, there are few cute little villages (except Porto) to explore along its banks so understandably, every sight or at least most, we were bused to. However, they did these bus rides/tours in the morning which meant rising at 6/6:30 to dress and get breakfast so we could be on the bus usually by 8:30 (one morning may have been 9). Then they’d get us back on the bus and back on the boat midday for lunch and an afternoon of sailing. Nothing of real substance to do except drink (btw the wine is delicious!). I should note that one day was a full day trip to Salamanca so of course we had to be up and out early but the others were half day excursions. If memory serves me, 3 of those morning / half day excursions involved wine tastings! Really....at 10am!!!!! Had they flipped the schedule and allowed for more leisurely mornings to eat breakfast and watch the countryside go by, the whole experience would have been more enjoyable and relaxing. We finished the cruise depleted and exhausted! Two other points. Lisbon. They put us up at the Corinthia Hotel on the outskirts of the city. The hotel was fine but the location made it difficult to get out and easily enjoy the city. On the return we stayed in the heart of the city (unfortunately it was only for one night). How much more delightful our Lisbon experience would have been had we been there for 3 days at the front end! I’m not sure if other tour companies offer a more centrally located hotel. If this is typical then I would urge you to suggest that people make their own hotel arrangements in Lisbon so they can take advantage of the city. There are plenty of local guides and a hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the city and then people can get out on their own and explore. The Douro is very dependent on the weather. Our week was cloudy, cold and rainy. The week before was lovely. But since there is so little to do, it’s extra important to have good weather. I wouldn't book beyond mid October. The food was inconsistent so disappointing. The buffet food at lunch was not always hot. Ama had a few things you could order from the kitchen, such as pasta, that came out hot. Uniworld was only buffet and carving station. Seafood was usually over cooked. They didn’t have some Portuguese specialties like shrimp in garlic or large prawns. Or even lobster. I expected this on a luxury line. It did seem like they were serving less expensive foods. The pork tenderloin the first night was excellent. The rest of the dinners were not memorable. Red Wines were excellent even though they were pretty inexpensive (we looked In stores). Our waiter, we had the same table all week, was outstanding. The Sandeman trip was a highlight - beautiful ride up. Would recommend the duo the last night in Porto be put on the first night in Porto - they we’re outstanding. Kirsten, the cruise director, was ok but a little misleading on what a disabled person could do. Also, the wine guy who explained the wine was worthless. It didn’t really tell us anything so I’d just eliminate that part. I would also recommend that Uniworld send more information in advance of the cruise. We skipped the dinner at the local winery, because we didn’t want the bus ride in the dark, or more cabbage soup. The dinner on the ship that night was mediocre. People said the winery dinner was not very good but the evening was fun. Coimbra was lovely, even though it poured. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose the Uniworld tour on the Douro River in Portugal because we were looking for another adventure with Uniworld. Three years ago we did a river cruise with Uniworld in France and greatly enjoyed it. When we chose this adventure we ... Read More
We chose the Uniworld tour on the Douro River in Portugal because we were looking for another adventure with Uniworld. Three years ago we did a river cruise with Uniworld in France and greatly enjoyed it. When we chose this adventure we knew very little about Portugal. Our cruise started in Lisbon and this included not only a guided tour of Lisbon but also a day trip to Sintra and Queluz, two very different and interesting castles presenting a very interesting contrast. On our way by bus from Lisbon to Porto we stopped in Coimbra for a tour of the library. Once in Porto we were immediately welcomed aboard the ship and were presented a short introductory talk. When we reached our cabins our luggage was already there. The days were a very comfortable combination of time sailing through the lovely rural scenery and excursions to wineries and other points of interest. Our guides were always knowledgeable and friendly. The dining room was very attractive and always a large array of choices at the breakfast and lunch buffets. Dinner was a little more formal and the menu included an ample number of choices. Some local specialties. Uniworld really takes care of their passengers. Everything is included and it is all topnotch. Their staff members are friendly, and work at making sure their guests are happy. I highly reccomend traveling with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Started Wed June 13 in Lisboa. Met at airport and transferred and given handout for restaurants etc around hotel. Site representative and most folks start the next day. We visited the zoo on Thurs. Briefing was Thurs night. Fri was city ... Read More
Started Wed June 13 in Lisboa. Met at airport and transferred and given handout for restaurants etc around hotel. Site representative and most folks start the next day. We visited the zoo on Thurs. Briefing was Thurs night. Fri was city tour in am and on own in PM (too few picked extra cost optional). Sat was on own or optional extra cost guided tour. Sun transforms to visit with stop at Coimbra Univ. Then finally on ship at Cais Gai. Trip ok. Problem for me is other than visits to Port vineyards and hearing about port wine, there didn't seem much of interest on the Douro. Maybe that is why the start in Lisboa and day trip to Salamanca. And after getting to Salamanca we were mostly by ourselves. Memorable events were the visit to the Archeolgical site at Coa (NOT for folks with mobility issues), going through the Carrapatelo dam (2nd upriver from Porto) the deepest in Europe and "Mr Bean" at the dinner at the Enoteca da Avessada. The most memorable was an accident. The ship was docked at Cais Gai the evening of June 23 before Sai Joao day. Great fire work display at midnight right in front of us from boats in midriver and the bridge. Unlike others I really like the diff Portuguese food. And one could always ask for e.g. the striploin steak and fries etc from the alt menu. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I am a three-time Uniworld cruiser and have been on about a dozen river/ocean cruises and never have I had a more terrible experience than this one. On the first day, my cabin smelled like something had died in there. The crew confirmed ... Read More
I am a three-time Uniworld cruiser and have been on about a dozen river/ocean cruises and never have I had a more terrible experience than this one. On the first day, my cabin smelled like something had died in there. The crew confirmed this to be true. The terrible hotel director Andre (who seems to have a chip on his shoulder that he isn’t using his law degree) refused to acknowledge or confirm there were any issues on the ship. For the first night they had to put me up in a hotel the smell was so bad. My dad went in my place as he didn’t like the idea of me in a random hotel by myself. The next day the smell was gone because they masked it with a heavy floral perfume scent. No other cabins had this scent. The hotel director offered to put me in a crew cabin instead but the crew member pulled me into her cabin to show me her room smelled too. Although frustrated I didn’t want to spoil my trip so resolved to stay out of my room as much as possible. Unfortunately, there was an Australian couple who told me “they weren’t racist”, but they were inclined to think poorly of my family and friends because we were all Asian. The couple, explained that there were a lot of Chinese people in Sydney, where they were from, who were so rude so they expected us to be the same. Later on, while on tour, the husband got in my face and screamed at me to “go away” and then shoved me. I can only surmise what I did that enraged him but I was speaking to his wife and I think he somehow interpreted it as a threat. Uniworld’s response was ambivalence. So here I was, unable to go into my cabin because of the horrid smell and unable to leave because of fear that this violent racist man (who was located on the same floor as me) would do me further harm. Both during the trip and after, Uniworld corporate lied to our travel agent about what was happening on the ship (they said everything was fine and indicated concessions (a bottle of win, chocolate) were made that only materialized after we showed the email stating they had done so to the hotel director. Additionally when our travel agent told Uniworld to reach out to us directly by phone after the trip they told her they would not. Instead they sent us a form letter apologizing for the lack of A/C . (The A/C was never at issue) and a $250 future cruise credit and $400 check for the inconvenience. I have no desire to spend luxury dollars on a uninhabitable living space only to be shoved by violent racist guests. I understand Uniworld has no choice in their guests but that doesn’t mean I should have to put up with them either. For those who feel inclined, especially if you are a POC, avoid, avoid, avoid. This cruise line doesn’t deserve your business. Additional info: -I did explore Porto before the cruise. It’s a lovely city and deserves plenty of time. -embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly -dining: food was average but service was excellent. All the waiters attempt to outdo each other in service. -entertainment and activities: it’s a small ship and short cruise so there’s not much in the way of activities outside a general pianist/entertainer who plays retro hits after mealtimes. There’s a performance by a “tuna” (Portuguese a capella band) and a pair of singers one other night. -ports and shore excursions are subject to last minute changes but that is the nature of cruising so as long as you aren’t 100% set on the itinerary posted you will enjoy yourself. Our cruise director was thoughtful, well-spoken and kind. The excursions are a nice mix of free time and information making for an overall relaxing experience. -I did not travel with any children -given the other issues mentioned in the bulk of the review, I would not go again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was the second to last cruise of the year. Things ran smoothly, and the crew were a well-oiled machine. They were faultless, professionalism and enthusiasm were apparent. We felt cared for. Food was to a very high standard. Not ... Read More
This was the second to last cruise of the year. Things ran smoothly, and the crew were a well-oiled machine. They were faultless, professionalism and enthusiasm were apparent. We felt cared for. Food was to a very high standard. Not classic but excellent which is what you want on an unpretentious cruise like this. Evenings were smart but laid back and most of all fun. I expected to find the staff looking forward to their break and being a little bored with the guests, but that was not the case. Ana in the dining area is exceptional, Ricardo as cruise director knows his stuff and the Captain very professional and caring. I had one issue. The crane above our cabin was used at 2am to shift the gangplank. Only one night and once explained we got on with it. I would say a cruise on the Duoro is perfect early autumn like this. Temperatures were cool but good enough for anyone from the UK. 20c being the average. The trips off the ship were excellent. I particularly liked the visit to Sandeman and Mr Bean (Go, you will understand). The river is just stunning at this time of year. The colours were amazing. It must be one of the most picturesque of all river cruises as you are always in touch with the riverbank and wildlife. Thanks, Uniworld, I loved it..... Keep up the good work! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Queen Isabel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 2.0 2.9
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 1.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.1
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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