19 Uniworld River Countess Luxury Cruise Reviews

This was the fifth Uniworld cruise for my wife and me and it immediately followed the Highlights of Eastern Europe on the S.S. Beatrice. Our experience on the Beatrice did not meet the Uniworld standards so we were anxious to see if this ... Read More
This was the fifth Uniworld cruise for my wife and me and it immediately followed the Highlights of Eastern Europe on the S.S. Beatrice. Our experience on the Beatrice did not meet the Uniworld standards so we were anxious to see if this cruise met the Uniworld standards. This cruise was excellent in all areas: the staff, service, ship, food and excursions. Be advised that this is not your normal river cruise. There is some cruising but much of the time is spent docked in the Venice Lagoon and traveling by water taxi. It’s a great way to visit Venice. The trip started with two nights at the Rosa Grand Hotel in Milan. There was a welcome meeting at 5 pm where the local Uniworld host explained the schedule for the next two days which was followed by a vicinity walk around the hotel area. Uniworld made dinner reservations at a local restaurant (at your own expense) or you could have dinner on your own. Uniworld did this for both nights and it was very convenient to have the reservations made because Milan was very crowded because it was Design Week. The next day following the included breakfast at the hotel (which was a delicious selection) we had a walking tour of Milan. The group size averaged about 25 people. Our first stop was a private viewing of the Last Supper. Our group was alone in the viewing area for about 30 minutes while the guide discussed the painting. Our last stop was the interior of the Milan Cathedral (Duomo). That afternoon there was an optional Duomo Rooftop Tour via elevator (55 € per person) which included an aperitif after the visit. You could also purchase a tour ticket and do the tour on your own. I would recommend doing it with the group because it includes a very knowledgeable guide. This tour was very interesting but not for anyone with a fear of heights or mobility issues. It includes a lot of walking and stairs. The next morning following breakfast, we traveled to Verona where we had a walking tour followed by lunch and wine tasting at Serego Alighieri Wine Estate. We arrived in Venice about 4:30 pm and boarded the River Countess. The next day we had a 3.7 mile walking tour which included a visit to Doge’s Palace and returned to the ship thru the back alleys and streets. The groups were small and the guide was excellent. Several different excursions were offered each day. That afternoon we sailed the Venice Lagoon. Our group visit to St. Mark’s Cathedral was cancelled due to Easter preparations. An after-hour visit of Scuola Grande di San Rocco was substituted. Many guests, ourselves included, felt this was a poor substitution. It involved a lot of walking over uneven ground in the dark and once we reached the building, the paintings weren’t that interesting. The next day was one of two when the River Countess crossed the Adriatic Sea and Italian Maritime authorities do not allow passengers to remain on the ship. We enjoyed a walk through Chioggia and a boat tour through the lagoon to hear about mussel harvesting before enjoying a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. That afternoon we sailed the Po River. The next day we had a Bologna walking tour, pasta making demonstration and Bolognese lunch. That evening we sailed the Po River. The next morning we visited the local market in Chioggia and sailed the Venice Lagoon in the afternoon. The next day we visited the “Magic Islands of Venice” (Torcello, Mazzorbo and Burano) via private boat. The following day was one of our favorite excursions: a water taxi ride to the Rialto market with the ship’s chef to purchase produce, meat and fish for today’s lunch and dinner. We also had time to take a gondola ride. In the afternoon we visited the AVG Murano glass factory for a glass-blowing demonstration and opportunity to purchase Murano glass pieces. Early the next morning Uniworld took us to the airport for our flight home. A Uniworld representative took us to our check-in counter and then to the security check to make sure everything went smoothly. The River Countess is a wonderful ship. We enjoyed all of our meals in the Savoy restaurant and there is Osteria Siena which seats about 20 people and serves delicious pizza. There was an on-board musician that played during the afternoon and evening hours when local entertainment was not brought onboard. Our cruise director was wonderful and made sure everything ran smoothly. The walking groups averaged about 15 people, the local guides were excellent and a gentle walkers group was offered. Since we were past passengers, we each had one bag of laundry done. The turnaround time was quick and everything came back nicely folded or on hangers. There was a lady on this cruise that used an electric scooter. The Uniworld staff members went above and beyond to accommodate this passenger, carrying her scooter on and off the boat for excursions and assisting her in every way imaginable. They went above and beyond. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Had been on a number of Uniworld River Cruises and really enjoyed them but this was definitely not a cruise. The boat only moved about 4 times, and twice everyone had to be off the boat. Most of the time the boat was docked and sitting in ... Read More
Had been on a number of Uniworld River Cruises and really enjoyed them but this was definitely not a cruise. The boat only moved about 4 times, and twice everyone had to be off the boat. Most of the time the boat was docked and sitting in the swells provided by other traffic so the boat rocked around a lot which is not what happens on actual river cruises. Some of the shore trips were OK but most were not. They started early and there was no plan B for the extreme heat or if it rained. Two of the shore trips were on buses for at hour to hour and a half and we were shown a market and a church and then given "free time" for between 1.5 to 2.5 hours in 40 degree heat and no help in finding shelter. On one occasion people were told if it was too hot to walk the 20 minutes back to the bus they would get them a taxi which would cost them. It is quite usual for these cruises to have bus trips but our experience has been that the guides stay with the group unless people choose to "do their own thing" and that lunch has in the past been included. In this case it was "come back to this point after lunch" with no idea where was a good place to eat and if there were any air-conditioned cafes. I am sure some people want to shop all the time but most of us did not so the long free time was annoying. In the advertising nobody tell you that you will have to get off the boat twice while they move the boat. This occurs when the boat moves from the Venice Lagoon to the Po River and you then rejoin the boat at an isolated dock and proceed up the river for a couple of hours and dock at another isolated dock in an area full of mosquitos. The area you cruise is basically swamp with nothing much to see but river is apparently navigable for 100 miles up to a town called Polesella. It could have been that the river was too low for us to go too far but nothing was said at the time. I believe we only went to the end of the Po so they could call it a river cruise. The rest of the time the cruise involved moving from one wharf to another which took half an hour, sitting at the dock, a nice cruise up the lagoon for a couple of hours and then back to the wharf and then the short cruise up the Po. The rest of the time the ship did not move and we were transported by water taxis and a hired launch. Three of the tours were worthwhile. The two trips to St Marco, particularly the evening tour of the basilica and the optional tour of the Galleria and the launch trip to the island of Burano although the latter involved 2.5 hours in 40 degree heat and find your own lunch and no instructions of which cafes were good. We would definitely not go again and would advise people that if they wanted to see Venice they would be better off taking a tour which was based at a hotel and taking water taxis and the like to get around the lagoon. Give the mosquito infested Po a miss. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Venice and a canal boat experience was on our bucket list therefore choosing Italy gem tour fitted these two points. Having a trip with all inclusive costs was appealing especially when considering budget. All of the staff on board were ... Read More
Venice and a canal boat experience was on our bucket list therefore choosing Italy gem tour fitted these two points. Having a trip with all inclusive costs was appealing especially when considering budget. All of the staff on board were amazing, exuded professional service and interactions at all times. They were happy to meet our needs and some went over and above to provide a specific and thoughtful service. There were interesting and a variety of excursion options offered. The guides provided by Uniworld were professional, knowledgable and aware of their group. It was appreciated that there was always a person at the end of the group ensuring no one was lost or left behind. However this was not always the case with the local guides. Dining on board was a pleasant experience, good food and drink, great service and helpful and friendly staff. We met people from different walks of life and enjoyed their company. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Port of Embarkation, above, is incorrect. It was Milan, Italy, but this is not an available choice! My wife and I chose this cruise because we wanted to see the magnificent art of Italy and we wanted to return to Venice before it is ... Read More
Port of Embarkation, above, is incorrect. It was Milan, Italy, but this is not an available choice! My wife and I chose this cruise because we wanted to see the magnificent art of Italy and we wanted to return to Venice before it is under water due to non-existent Global Warming. We chose Uniworld because they are the only river boat company that "cruises" Northern Italy. EXCEPT THAT THEY DON'T! MOST of the travel on this trip was done by BUS. There was a SMALL attempt at cruising by giving us a tour of the Venice harbor. At one point, the boat had to move outside the Venice harbor but for safety reasons, passengers were NOT ALLOWED. The food aboard this "cruise" was disappointing at best. Steaks were tough. Fish and Chicken were badly overcooked. Steaks ordered as Medium Rare were served WELL DONE. The wrong food was served to the wrong people. There was a half day optional tour to Ferrara that we took. We were afforded a guided walking tour of the city in the morning that ended by 11AM. We were left there until around 3PM (NOT a HALF day, as advertised). Problem was that the town is CLOSED from 1-4PM except for ONE store and a couple of restaurants. There was NOTHING to see or do for three hours except for lunch! The one outstanding part of this tour were the places visited. NOTE that I do NOT call them "ports of call" because many of them were visited by BUS. Chioggia was interesting. The day we were there was market day. Wall to wall shopping for a mile or more. Venice, of course, is MAGNIFICENT. This was our 2nd or 3rd visit. Everyone should see Venice. All should go to the Jewish Ghetto to learn what was done to decent citizens for NO reason other than the Pope said so. Milan is a FANTASTIC city with wonderful people and magnificent art. The Duomo is inspiring. You can catch an organ concert there for 5 euros! The Duomo museum is worth seeing. It is worth extra days! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I had been on two river cruises before with AMA Waterways but this time chose Uniworld as it offered an Italian experience. The River Po is not itself particularly interesting although it does offer a change from the Venetian lagoon, ... Read More
I had been on two river cruises before with AMA Waterways but this time chose Uniworld as it offered an Italian experience. The River Po is not itself particularly interesting although it does offer a change from the Venetian lagoon, which in itself is spectacular. The ship, crew, captain were all excellent - clean, well managed, like a well-oiled machine. I was exceptionally lucky as the overall group seemed to be happy and well disposed. A highlight of the trip was an evening visit to St Mark's Venice with the eminent art historian Dr Steer, whose exposition of the cathedral was memorable and very entertaining. There is a daily choice of either on-board activity or tours and I chose (after Milan where we were for 1.5 days), Verona, Padua, Chioggia, Burano and Ferrara in addition to the days spent in Venice itself. Viewing the restoration of Da Vinci's Last Supper in Milan is also of interest to art lovers. Venice never disappoints and this time I booked a gondola ride, with a small group. The crew do everything in their power to make your stay enjoyable and deserve high commendation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our third Uniworld cruise so we had two others to compare. As with the others, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. That is not to say there weren't a few negatives which I will get to later. My comments are intended to be ... Read More
This was our third Uniworld cruise so we had two others to compare. As with the others, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. That is not to say there weren't a few negatives which I will get to later. My comments are intended to be constructive and I would not want to let them dissuade you from taking this cruise. First though, I need to acknowledge the exemplary crew. They were always at the ready to happily do whatever was requested. They are very personable and go out of their way to make sure you aren't lacking for anything. Even up to the Captain who joined us for a drink and a bike ride (on separate occasions). Nobody knew each other before the cruise but we soon formed a group of ten. Being part of such a group goes a long way to making the cruise that much more fun and enjoyable. I would encourage anyone to quickly make some friendships rather than go it alone as a couple. Food was always very good. Presentation and service was excellent unless, of course, you opted for the buffet (breakfast and lunch) then you know who to blame. There is a fixed menu for the Captain's Welcome and Farewell dinners. We can't agree with the few criticisms regarding lack of choice as the meals were top notch. Maybe those with a food restriction of some sort could possibly find it less than ideal. Even though the Po River had dried out and we were 'confined' to the Venetian Lagoon, we did not feel we missed out on too much. Only one day was impacted when we had a longer bus ride to Bologna than what would have otherwise been the case. Being all inclusive is the way to go. You are not forever signing charge slips, paying for tours and/or handing out tips as on an ocean cruise. The decision becomes which tour shall we go on rather than how much is it going to cost us. "Front of the line" and/or exclusive openings is terrific - no mobs and long lines to have to tolerate. The local tour guides were impressively knowledgeable, maybe to a fault. Sometimes we felt a little overwhelmed by long history lessons - but there is so more than what we have in North America. It may well be a case of what is too much for some is too little for others - damned if you do and damned if you don't. The guides' English vocabulary was really good and I was often surprised at some of the words I wouldn't have expected from someone using a foreign language. But they all seemed to have been trained at the same school where they learned our words properly should have an extra vowel tacked on the end. Something like "Nowa, let'sa walka this waya" or "Crossa over the bridgea". I'm not being critical as it got to be somewhat humorous at times. I guess it's a part of the Italian DNA. Admittedly, we didn't get the book out and compare square footage. But the cabin gave us a sense that it was smaller than, for instance, the same cabin on the River Princess. Maybe, the positioning of the bathroom door was a factor. Someone could easily lose a knee cap if s/he was sitting on the edge of the bed and the other person unknowingly came out of the bathroom too quickly. Having said that, the cabins are very well appointed and clean. The fairies who come into your cabin when you aren't there to make your bed, etc., do an excellent job. The big negative? The horrible internet service (and I use the term 'service' loosely). More often than not there was intermittent service or none at all - even if the ship had been tied up all day. Then, if and when you could get access, it was very slow - reminiscent of the old dial-up days. More than once I encountered a service drop in the middle of my trying to do something. A relatively minor point: I'm not sure if it was the particular driver at fault or the schedule. The long drive from Milan to Venice was very slow. It was very unusual for us pass another vehicle - they all passed us. The other bus with us had long disappeared out of sight. If it was a scheduling matter, I don't think it is necessary to leave Milan quite so early. We opted to not do the Rome extension. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose a River Cruise as it was recommended to us by our Travel Agent. In addition to the river cruise, part of our vacation was a Land Tour before and after the cruise. Staying on the River Countess was the best part of the trip ... Read More
We chose a River Cruise as it was recommended to us by our Travel Agent. In addition to the river cruise, part of our vacation was a Land Tour before and after the cruise. Staying on the River Countess was the best part of the trip although we were unable to sail on the Po River due to low water levels. We actually only sailed the Venice Lagoon twice. The service by the staff was excellent namely Andreea, Crisitan and Tibor. On one of the sailing days, one of our tour guides, Tamara, described the lagoon and islands as we sailed. She also provided us with an educational wine tasting afterwards in the lounge. We were able to select and participate in many excursions based on our interest level. One of my favorite days was visiting Torcello, Burano and the Venissa Winery! The four hour round trip to Bologna was difficult for the short amount of time spent there. I did enjoy the pasta making workshop and appreciated the opportunity to participate in the making of the tortelloni. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly~the crew is well organized and professional. I would definitely book another River Cruise in the future! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
My husband and I booked the Splendors of Italy cruise which has pre and post-cruise extensions in Milan, Florence, and Rome. We made the choice based on the exceptional/very good reviews of others and the itinerary. We are experienced ... Read More
My husband and I booked the Splendors of Italy cruise which has pre and post-cruise extensions in Milan, Florence, and Rome. We made the choice based on the exceptional/very good reviews of others and the itinerary. We are experienced with ocean cruises, but this was our first river cruise. We are not wealthy, but we splurged for a suite (#411 which was 1 of only 4). Overall, while the experience was very good as far as cuisine and drinks, it fell short on basic expectations. Would I recommend? If the itinerary and excursions are your #1 priority, there are better and far less expensive options to consider. For others for whom cuisine and liquor are priorities and who are impressed by a beautiful boat, and do not care where they are cruising, I would say "go for it." What do I mean by basic expectations not being met? The cabin had no working telephone for all 7 nights of the cruise. Suites include the services of a butler, but it is hard to utilize that benefit when there is no way to communicate. I can understand a technical problem for a day or two, but an entire week? More importantly, the issue was met with shrugs as if "it is what it is." No apologies. The sign up process for shore excursions was a one-time "dump" of details and first-come, first-served. There were typically 2 options per day; however, there was often a capacity of 25-30 people per excursion. There were about 110 people aboard. The math speaks for itself. If Plan A and Plan B were booked, you were on your own. I understand when a minimum number of people do not sign up that an excursion would be cancelled; this is about having too small capacity. Tip: Be prepared to elbow your way to the front of the line. Overall, a poor process. Excursions also can differ in reality from the on-line description and final documents. Details come late which is a big problem if planning private excursions during what you believe to be "free time." Many of the popular museums such as the Uffizi in Florence and Borghese in Rome require reservations at least weeks in advance. I even confirmed details with the Uniworld office before leaving home so I booked several private excursions with confidence only to be surprised with major changes that made our plans impossible. What they list as a 1/2-day tour is often only a 1.5 hr. walking tour with pointing at major sites. Many of the older, less mobile passengers were caught offguard when dropped at the center of town by bus or water taxi and not returned to the ship or hotel, requiring a walk of up to 3/4 mile. Not a problem for us, but hard for some in heat. Because the tour guide in Rome was not licensed in that city, she could only walk with the group and could not raise a flag or communicate by voice box, making it hard to hear and follow her in a crowd. Giving credit to the excellent food, I feel it important to point out that variety and choice are limited, especially at the Welcome and Farewell dinners when there is a set menu and no alternatives are printed on the menu. If asked, they will reluctantly provide alternatives, although they acted clearly unhappy about making accommodation even though a food allergy was documented at booking. In summary, Uniworld is excellent at some things, but not some of the things that are important to us. It was an expensive learning experience. Ratings do not always paint the entire picture. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This is our 5th river cruise and Uniworld by far exceeded all expectations. All inclusive gratuities, drinks, choice of daily excursions were all contributing factors for choosing Uniworld. With many other cruise lines you are constantly ... Read More
This is our 5th river cruise and Uniworld by far exceeded all expectations. All inclusive gratuities, drinks, choice of daily excursions were all contributing factors for choosing Uniworld. With many other cruise lines you are constantly being nickled and dimed with every step. Not so with Uniworld. Their local guides were extremley knowledgeable,friendly and made the daily excursions so much more interesting. Chiara in Milan just made our day with her upbeat personality. Susan, on our Venice excursions was extremely knowledgeable and her detailed descriptions of the Venetian artwork and landmarks were the best we have ever encountered. The staff on the ship were all personable and did everything they could to meet the customer expectations. The evening meals were first class and a large variety of options for lunch, including a pizza bar in the top deck lounge. We are seriously considering doing this trip again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
The Uniworld cruise in the lagoon of Venice turned upside down any preconceptions we had of the region. The number of islands, the extent of the waterway and it's environment was a revelation. The cruise itinerary was excellent ... Read More
The Uniworld cruise in the lagoon of Venice turned upside down any preconceptions we had of the region. The number of islands, the extent of the waterway and it's environment was a revelation. The cruise itinerary was excellent allowing us time to visit the historical sites around the Grand Canal (including some out of hours special tours) and to explore several of the islands and wetland areas that provide much of the history, culture, food and colour of Venice. The River Countess proved an excellent " home away from Home" with comfortable cabins, an excellent dining room, bar and lounge. Meals were excellent and there was a good choice of wines with each meal. The staff ensured all passengers needs were met and we had a Tour Manager well versed in the history and contemporary features of the region. As we have found with Uniworld cruises of the past they ensured that our local guides were well informed. Some of our on shore visits started reasonably early in the morning and occasionally out of hours when all other tourists had had left for the day. This was a bonus because even though our visit was out of peak season the crowds at the key sites were large. A visit to Venice is highly recommended and the best way surely is to stay on board a comfortable river cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our 2nd trip on a Uniworld cruise and just as the first, we were certainly impressed with the entire experience. As a matter of fact, our luggage was lost and had it not been the persistence of a Uniworld employee in Venice (I ... Read More
This was our 2nd trip on a Uniworld cruise and just as the first, we were certainly impressed with the entire experience. As a matter of fact, our luggage was lost and had it not been the persistence of a Uniworld employee in Venice (I think her name was Conswella - not sure but I know her name started with a C) we would not have had our luggage until we returned home to Slidell, LA. This cruise line, and we have been on others, is by far the BEST in river cruises. The entire staff all went out of their way to make our experience the best ever. The captain was personable and the dining experience absolutely could not be beat. We have recommended Uniworld river cruises to a lot of our friends and my husband and I are planning another cruise on the Danube in the fall of 2017. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most ... Read More
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most knowledgeable local tour guides available. From the moment you step onboard, the company's signature style of fabulous elegance is presented in full force. A large chandelier and leopard-skin circular sofa dominate the lobby, and natural light, fresh flowers and two parallel staircases combine to give passengers a warm welcome. River Countess might be elegant in style, but the dress code is resort casual. It caters to a predominantly English-speaking, retired clientele. After 10 years of service, River Countess underwent a total transformation in 2012, with more than $5 million worth of refurbishments. Immediately prior to its Italian debut, the ship received a few extra touches, including a pizza oven and a new tapestry behind the reception area. One of the most impressive spaces is the Sienna Salon Sky Lounge, a glass-walled conservatory-like cafe decked out with plants and outdoor furniture. On a blue-sky day, the cozy room lights up with sunshine. The main restaurant is also a sight to behold, with white leather booths, white tablecloths and white-tuxedoed waiters. Seven-night sailings are offered between April and November, with four nights spent in Venice, using the ship as a base. Other shore excursions -- to the historic and cultural delights of Verona, Bologna, Padua and Ravenna -- require coach trips of one to two hours. For these reasons, the itinerary may suit couples who can't decide whether to see Italy by road or river, as there is less sailing time than on the average cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was my 7th cruise with Uniworld and was by far the best -- and I did not think it was possible to get any better than my recent one in Bordeaux on the River Royale. Once you have sailed Uniworld, the other river lines pale in ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise with Uniworld and was by far the best -- and I did not think it was possible to get any better than my recent one in Bordeaux on the River Royale. Once you have sailed Uniworld, the other river lines pale in comparison, and I doubt I will do another with Viking, et al. Too mass market for me. We opted for the cruise which had a pre-extension tour to Milan and a drive to the boat via Verona and a stop for a delicious lunch at a winery on our way to the ship. The hotel was excellent and very central. We had an excellent walking tour of the city and a moving visit to the Last Supper. We paid for an optional tour to La Scala and it was terrific -- our guide knew a lot about music and her enthusiasm was infectious. Afterwards we stopped for a Bellini and some snacks. Befitting the sunny region, the ship colour scheme is attractive. As awals the quality of the Uniworld fittings was superb. I had sailed with many staff on previous cruises and I received a warm welcome. The food was uniformly excellent, esp. the marvellous soups and the wonderful array of salads at lunch. The excursions were all outstanding with the exception of oe to Padua which seemed ill-timed. It took place when mmost places were closed for a long lunch and many were frustrated at having to spend precious time just sitting at a café. I however wanted to arrange private itimerary and the tour director and local guide were terrific in sorting this out. I am booked for another cruise next April, but will repeat this same itinerary next fall Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This is only our second river cruise, but, we are total converts. We may never set foot on a "big" ship again! The staff is well-trained, attentive, genuine and personable and the ports and excursions are exquisitely ... Read More
This is only our second river cruise, but, we are total converts. We may never set foot on a "big" ship again! The staff is well-trained, attentive, genuine and personable and the ports and excursions are exquisitely well-planned and executed. We had only 88 people on our cruise. No crushing rushes or long waits to get on and off the ship. Ages ranged from a honeymoon couple in their 20's to experienced senior travelers. Age, mobility and interests are all factored in to the planned excursions. We rode bikes twice: in Chioggia and in Ferrara. Others chose not to pursue the "active touring" options. We like the bike rides with tour guides because you can see so much more; you get "off the beaten path" and can cover so much more territory than you can on foot. You can see and experience more than if you are doing a "windshield" tour in a motor coach. Uniworld arranged coveted tickets for the entire group to visit Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper in Milan and we had a private, evening trip to St. Mark's Basilica with an expert on the art, theology and history of this magnificent architectural structure. The three-island tour to Torcello, Mazzorbo and Burano was exceptionally well orchestrated, including our second exclusive wine tasting. The first was in Valpolicella where we visited the winery founded by the son of Dante Aligheiri (author of Dante's Inferno). This winery remains family owned today. Really amazing sights, sounds and tastes. On board, the Executive Chef, cooks, wait and bar staff were very professional and attentive, but never over-bearing. The quality of training is obvious! The house-keeping staff was quick, thorough and thoughtful. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on our cruise, and the housekeeping staff transformed our stateroom while we were at dinner. Very memorable! Another thing we truly love about Uniworld is the payment policy. When you've booked and paid for your cruise, you're done. Everything is included. Food, drinks, excursions, tips -- everything. There is no debating about whether or not you want that second glass of $9 wine at dinner. They just pour it. There's no struggling over whether to take the $150 excursion or the $400 excursion or whether to try to explore on your own. They have it covered. It's included, and you don't disembark signing for an additional 2 grand on your credit card. We love that, and, did the math. It's "more expensive" up front, but, we believe that for what we saw and did, and the many private experiences we enjoyed, we would have paid more -- in a far more aggravating and annoying manner (swiping that cruise card 10 times a day every time you want a drink, or trying to keep up with a separate drink card, if you purchased a package) -- than we did booking and traveling with Uniworld. Love this! All in all, this is the way to travel. Small groups. Excellent tours of important locations and sites. Sufficient free time. Exquisite meals. Great people. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have sailed with Viking on 5 different cruises and will do more in the future but the itenerary offered by Uniworld was one we could not pass up. We did the Splendors of Italy tour which was a combination land and boat tour. We ... Read More
We have sailed with Viking on 5 different cruises and will do more in the future but the itenerary offered by Uniworld was one we could not pass up. We did the Splendors of Italy tour which was a combination land and boat tour. We understood that it wasn't really a river tour but a floating hotel in the Venice lagoon. The land portion of the tour was excellent. The quality of the hotels was better then anything we experienced with Viking. The only negative was the food service at the hotel in Florence. One meal was so bad that everyone in our group complained and we joked about it during the rest of the trip since everything else was superb. The really great meals were on the tours at the wineries and small restaurants we visited. The guides were excellent, informative and easy to understand. From Mylan to Rome we couldn't have aske for a better experience. The experience in Venice was also very good but the service on the River Countess did not measure up to what one would expect from Uniworld. The dining room staff did not appear to be ready for a full boat. We had two meals where we waited over an hour for our food. The air conditioning could not adequately cool the dining room so the wait was a hot one. At the captains diner those who dresses up regretted the choice, shedding jackets etc. to try and be comfortable. This problem was also true in the lounge as it was difficult to get a drink in a timely fashion. We noted that more staff were in the lounge as the week went on. We were told that they only had about 60 people on the previous cruise and may have not been prepared for a full boat. It was noted that there was a large contingent of people on board that had booked the trip with a discounter who sold a big block of rooms at a huge discount. You would think that Uniworld would upgrade those who paid full price before giving rooms to a discounter. But for the problems mentioned above the tours and guides were great. The evening at St. Marks was special and the quality of the guides, especially Susan, the art historian was top notch. The boat docked 7 bridges from St Mark's square so it was great for touring Veniice. All in all, this was a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My husband and I just returned from the Uniworld River Countess cruise in Venice and Northern Italy. This was not a traditional river cruise, since the Po river is not always accessible, but we sailed on the beautiful lagoon and traveled ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the Uniworld River Countess cruise in Venice and Northern Italy. This was not a traditional river cruise, since the Po river is not always accessible, but we sailed on the beautiful lagoon and traveled by bus to the many cities we visited. Some days the bus rides were a bit long but not a problem. We visited Padova, Verona, Ravenna, Bologna, Venice, . We had a pasta making demo and lunch in Bologna. The cruise line provides a group for slower walkers when touring which is admirable. The River Countess was lovely. The all inclusive Uniworld tradition is marvelous. Everything about the cruise was top notch. The staff was fabulous, always ready to meet your needs. The food and dining room was excellent......the presentation and quality always terrific. The evenings could have had a bit more entertainment....a musician was on board and they brought a singer on for one night. Embarkation and debarkation was handles with ease. Once you've gone with Uniworld you are spoiled for anything else. This was a fabulous experience and we can't wait to go with Uniworld again in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was the first ever cruise I had been on and it did not disappoint. From the word go (collection at the airport) we were treated like royalty. Everything was organised to perfection. Staff were welcoming and could not do enough to help ... Read More
This was the first ever cruise I had been on and it did not disappoint. From the word go (collection at the airport) we were treated like royalty. Everything was organised to perfection. Staff were welcoming and could not do enough to help us enjoy our stay - but they were also able to have a chat to us also which made it more personal and friendly. The week was pure luxury - our cabin was exceptional and everything had been thought about - plenty of storage space for all our goods plus our extra shopping! The housekeeper Andrea was delightful and when she heard we were celebrating our 25th created a beautiful atmosphere with candles(safety ones of course!!) one evening after our return from dinner. The restaurant manager also did the same on another evening with a bottle of champagne. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Thank goodness we were on the River Countess and not one of those horrendous monster ocean cruise ships that kept passing us with thousands on board. At least we were able to meet a good mix of people and get to know them. The cruising of the River Po was relaxing and beautiful and we got to see parts of Italy most tourists would never see. The daily trips were optional and very well organised with the most friendly and informative Guides - loved it all. Thanks Martin for all the organisation - you certainly knew your customers. We were sorry to leave the boat but were then treated to a weeks visit to Florence and Rome - hotels were very good but not to the standard we had become used to on the boat but the daily trips were just as good with a couple of highlights being to a few wineries. The only negative was the 3pines restaurant - beautiful location but food was not that great and the coffee was dreadful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My wife and I are seasoned travellers and spend more than 100 days per year on vacation. We have undertaken many cruises both at seas and on rivers and we have never failed to be impressed by the overall standard of the service we receive ... Read More
My wife and I are seasoned travellers and spend more than 100 days per year on vacation. We have undertaken many cruises both at seas and on rivers and we have never failed to be impressed by the overall standard of the service we receive on all Uniworld cruises. This was our 10th Uniworld cruise and this may suggest that we have a blinkered view of the company. This is not the case as we are always on the lookout for other avenues and compare value for money. We have yet to find a comparable value for money package. We had sailed on the River Countess in 2008 and since that time it has undergone a major refurbishment. When we boarded at Vienna the ship was almost unrecognisable. Our suite was spacious, impeccably clean (and remained so throughout our stay) and the shower room was state of the art with power showers, under floor heating and every other amenity. The room came with in-house internet access via the TV and a comprehensive entertainment system also operated via the TV, a coffee machine and drinks making facilities, stocked fridge and daily fruit, hors d'oeuvres were appreciated, nothing was left wanting. The food was of the highest standard, quality and fresh ingredients. often bought by the chef himself from local markets and suppliers and the choice and presentation could not be faulted. This was all complimented by "free" wine/beers etc at meal times but more importantly by the highest standards of service from the waiting staff led by an impeccable Maitre D'. There are many included excursions, at least one at each port, but my wife and I like to go it alone as we are putting off having to follow an umbrella or number on a stick for as long as possible. However all we spoke to on board had no complaints in relation to any of these tours and were impressed by the organisation of them shown by the onboard Cruise Manager. The ship is billed as "boutique" and as such there are no organised games etc on board - thank goodness and the entertainment is appreciably low key. There is an onboard musician who was most versatile and could play almost anything requested from him- the state of the art keyboard enhanced his abilities and much music was enjoyed by the guests. Embarkation and dis-embarkation was well organised and everyone In summary, the facilities, food, accommodation and service are great value for money- the age group of the guests reflects the "grey pound" and on this particular cruise was well over 65. However this is unusually high for Uniworld Cruises. I believe that this was due to the time of year and the destinations of the cruise. The true test, would my wife and I book again? Already done that, are spending Xmas and New Year on board the River Empress!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We sailed on the River Countess on a Rhine and Main Rivers ("Rhine Discovery") cruise in July 2010, from Basel, Switzerland to Nurenberg, Germany. We arrived on our own in Basel a few days early and toured on our own. The day ... Read More
We sailed on the River Countess on a Rhine and Main Rivers ("Rhine Discovery") cruise in July 2010, from Basel, Switzerland to Nurenberg, Germany. We arrived on our own in Basel a few days early and toured on our own. The day of departure, we took a taxi to the dock around Noon. The crew took charge of our luggage. The Hotel desk staff had us checked in (in) less than one minute and sent us to the lounge to wait for our cabin to be ready. There were sandwiches, pizza and cheese for us to snack upon, with free tea, coffee, iced tea and water. Soft (and hard) drinks were available from the bar. Sodas cost about 2.50 (Euros) while drinks ranged from 4.50 to 6.50. We explored the ship as well. As you can see from the floor plans, it is small. It has: Lounge in the bow; a small library with 2 desks with PC's, two 4 person bridge-style tables and two 4 person easy-chair groupings; reception area with "hotel" and Cruise Director desks; 4 decks of cabins; "shop" (10 x 10 feet) with jewelry and kick-knacks; a coffee station with espresso, teas, hot chocolate and iced teas; a fitness room with 2 x each of treadmills, bikes, ellipticals; (free) passenger laundry with 2 x washers and dryers (soap available for purchase at the Hotel desk); massage room; and restaurant aft. We met a few other couples while we waited. The other passenger groups ranged in size from couples to a group of 8 neighbors from the States. There were two families with teens, but I strongly recommend against bringing kids. The company and tours are not geared toward them at all. The age range of adults seemed to start at 45 and went up to 93, with two couples seemingly in their late 30's (or with much better plastic surgeons). There were 138 passengers on board for our cruise. An aside: One couple, from Australia, told us Uniworld had lost their reservation (yes, they had their confirmation paperwork) and had to scramble to find them a cabin. They were booked in a Cat 4 cabin, but were given a Cat 1 for the first ½ of their cruise (7 days). For the inconvenience, they were invited to the captains table and given a suite for the second ½ of the cruise. We were given our cabin keys at around 1:30. The cabin was a little smaller than most other cruise ship cabins we have had. It had 4 large drawers, 2 half-height and one full-height closets...plenty of space for our clothes and a tall space under both double beds for our luggage. One of the closets had a large safe, able to hold a large camera, wallets and laptop. It also included two fluffy robes and a large umbrella. There was a "makeup" area with mirror and stool with its own light as well. The TV was about 13 - 15 inches seemed to have lower resolution than SD, making it very hard to read the daily announcements, menu's, etc. The ship has satellite service which went in and out as we passed bridges, trees, clouds, etc. It worked fine while we were docked. Channels included CNN International, BBC, Discovery Channel, Cartoon Network. Two different recently released to DVD movies which changed daily played as well. For our cruise, they included Alice in Wonderland, Dear John and Shutter Island. As with our other cruise experiences, the bathroom was just large enough for a sink in a small vanity with mirror and lit magnifying mirror, toilet and shower. The shower was surprisingly large, considering the rest of the bathroom. The crew is simply the most cheerful, helpful group we have had the pleasure to meet. Everybody was smiling and seemed genuinely happy to help in any way possible. The Captain and Hotel Manager (married) were professional and very funny throughout our interactions. The Cruise Director (Claudia for this cruise) was very knowledgeable, helpful and kept close track of all 140 of us through our excursions. Unlike most of our other cruise experiences, the food ranged from very good to excellent. Even the breakfast and lunch buffets were of excellent quality. Lunch and Dinner menus were posted the night before on the TV and before each meal at the Hotel desk. Wait staff were all friendly and attentive, serving and refilling drinks at all meals and helping the mobility-challenged of us. Breakfast included a daily special, like crepes or eggs benedict, eggs/omelets cooked to order, a great selection of breads, juices, smoked salmon, cheeses, cereals and a variety of hot foods: scrambled eggs, bacon (crisp AND soft separately), pancakes. All meals were served in one sitting, without any assigned seating. All passengers fit at once(obviously). Tables held from 2 - 8 (10?), all with views out floor to ceiling windows side and/or aft. You could either sit at a table the size of your party or dine with other groups. Each meal most people either sat at tables with empty spaces or asked to sit in said empty spaces. If you wanted to "reserve" a large table for a large group, you simply got there as early as you could to hold it. The variety of people we met made for the best part of the cruise. We met families from US, UK, Australia and Canada. Most people were happy to meet each other, though there were a few groups more insular. Over the course of the cruise, we met about 16 different couples over meals and found a number of friends with whom we plan on keeping in touch. Lunch changed daily and always included a different carving station entrEe, such as a German version of a Pot Au Feu (the best offering, in our opinion), salmon with a lemon cream sauce and carved beef. There were also different soups each day, all made in-house. Every single one was excellent. There were a variety of cheeses, three different salads (changing each day as well...chicken and Caesar salads were great), two different hot entrees, vegetables and starches. Finally, there were always 2 or 3 desserts created by the in-house pastry chef. Her creations were always beautiful and had excellent flavor. Finally, if you did not like her creations that day, there was an ice cream sundae station. Dinner was served, as opposed to the buffets of the other meals. You were given a menu listing the (4) courses, with a choice of entrEe and occasionally a choice in appetizer. Appetizers included I am not going to discuss the tours at any length. They were a good compromise, given the range of passengers. All guides were friendly and easy for us English speakers to understand. Some thought the guides were long-winded, others thought they gave an excellent level of detail. Our only real complaint: Internet access was as close to useless as I have ever seen. At least dial-up provides you with a consistent connection, slow as it may be. The wifi network was only usable from the lounge and library (and on the rear sundeck, I think). Once you signed in to get access, you were usually unable to get any further to the Internet. There are also two desktop computers to share, which had exactly the same lack of Internet service. While I understand the spotty nature of Satellite Internet service, it should have at least been available while we were docked. The whole week, all of us would stick our heads into the library and ask the current set of frustrated EMailers if the "Internet was working". 75% of the time it was not, 10% of the time it seemed to move at 1 Kbps (Yahoo/G/Hot- mail would take about 5 minutes to load), and 5% of the time it was "normal". Mind you, that 5% of the time, maybe 2% gave us speeds fast enough for ANY media access. One poor woman worked for an hour to view pictures of her grandson and family online. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
River Countess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 1.0 3.9
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 5.0 4.8
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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