Sail Date: May 2018
Fabulous cruise with delicious local fresh food and very well presented. Plenty of variation to choose from each day. The red and white French wines were great however when we asked for French Champagne on arrival we were only offered ... Read More
Fabulous cruise with delicious local fresh food and very well presented. Plenty of variation to choose from each day. The red and white French wines were great however when we asked for French Champagne on arrival we were only offered sparkling wine. It wasn't until we enquired further that the sommelier then offered us French Jacquart Champagne. I would have expected French champagne to be offered as a staple when travelling in France on a 4/5 star all inclusive luxury cruise. The entertainment was very disappointing. The singer who sat at the piano singing voiceovers and occasionally playing a couple of notes would finish well before patrons had left the bar/lounge area each evening. We had expected lively entertainment that encouraged people to get up on the dancefloor and dance. The speaker sound system in the lounge/bar didn't work properly as we had to resort to playing music from our iphones once the entertainment had left for the night. Overall the staff were very friendly and helpful on board, particularly our sommelier and dining room manager, Plaman who arranged a special evening for us on the top deck with our selection of vintage French Champagne and canapes. Our tour manager, Adrian (AJ) was outstanding. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the tours. The Chateaux owners were very passionate about their wine making and incredibly generous with sharing their knowledge with us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had a family event in Europe and I wanted to add a river cruise to our trip. We booked just three months before departure, and my only regret is that I am still not on the ship ! I was very attracted to Uniworld's small size (there ... Read More
We had a family event in Europe and I wanted to add a river cruise to our trip. We booked just three months before departure, and my only regret is that I am still not on the ship ! I was very attracted to Uniworld's small size (there were 119 passengers on our cruise) and all inclusive price, and it was wonderful not to have to think about tipping all the service people and guides, paying for shore excursions or paying for a pre-dinner cocktail or my beloved Diet Coke in the salon or on the sundeck. I think this encouraged people to mingle more before, and after dinner. Lovely dining salon and lounge, with a grand piano and comfortable tables and sofas. The ship was immaculately clean. We were blessed with great weather and enjoyed some cruising topside on the sun deck on very comfortable padded lounge chairs. There are also tables available. The waiters were quick to take drink orders and keep them coming if you desired, along with little silver bowls of salty snacks. My husband enjoyed trying a variety of different beers and scotches. There was a small hot tub we never used on this deck. There was also a small work out room with a nice view at the front of the ship, and morning exercise classes were offered. The food was outstanding. I was told they would be featuring 43 different kinds of cheeses during the cruise. I love cheese, and they did not disappoint. Breakfast and lunch buffets with made to order omelettes and other goodies. Dinner was multi course table service with at least three choices for all courses. If you did not care for what was being offered, there were other choices that were always available including steak, salmon and a vegetarian dish as well as different starters and salads. I am allergic to mussels, and they went out of their way to make sure I had a satisfactory substitution when these were offered. The desserts were incredible, and the sweet pastry chef was standing by to describe each one and encourage you to try several. You could also book a dinner in The Blue Fox which was an intimate room for 12 serving the same menu as the regular dining room or a glass enclosed room for about 20 on top of the ship which served the same set menu the whole trip. This was very pleasant on a beautiful fall evening while cruising and watching the beautiful sunset. We did both and enjoyed them. I would recommend signing up for these on the first day, before the general announcement. They fill up quickly. Casual dining was also available on the sun deck with a limited menu of items. We did not try this. The service was top notch in every way. A nice touch was the stewards standing by when you came in from an excursion to hand you a cool cloth with silver tongs to refresh yourself, and another with a tray of fresh squeezed juice or iced tea. Sharon, our cruise director was wonderful, as was the hotel manager Sebastion. The dining room servers and housekeepers could not do enough for you. I think they have been trained to never say no. If you want something, they will make find it, or make it happen. Since this was a Vineyards and Chateaux cruise, there was a lot of focus on wines. We explored several wine making regions. I never knew such different wines were produced so close together. I enjoyed the winemakers lunch we had in a Chateaux where we were greeted by the owner and had a three course lunch with three different wines to complement each course. This was the only the only excursion we all went to together, the others were broken up into smaller groups.The guides were very good. I particularly enjoyed Sarah, an Irish girl married to a French national and raising a family in Bordeaux. The tours never felt crowded and the buses to transport us were very comfortable. There were three different days where there was an option to do a bike tour, which my husband loved. Bikes were available at all ports to explore on your own if you did not wish to do the excursions. He enjoyed the Bordeaux by bike tour, while I went on the walking tour. This is not a tour for children or teens, and there were none on the ship. Ages ranged from mid 30's to upwards of 80, I would have to guess. There were two guests with walkers, there is an elevator on board and they do have "gentle walking" excursions. The guest were primarily Americans, with Canadians, English, Australians, Brazilians and Spanish in the mix. We enjoyed most of the passengers and became friends with a couple who we hope to meet up with again. Would I go again ? IN A HEARTBEAT ! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our third Uniworld cruise and like the others, it was very nice and good fun. We traveled with three other couples for a group of eight and were accommodated well with a table at each meal. This cruise had a younger crowd than ... Read More
This was our third Uniworld cruise and like the others, it was very nice and good fun. We traveled with three other couples for a group of eight and were accommodated well with a table at each meal. This cruise had a younger crowd than the others and the dance floor was swinging most nights. The food was well prepared and two of the dinners were outstanding. Staff was super attentive and friendly. The River Royale was in top shape and except for a bit of trouble with the door lock everything worked perfectly. The on board entertainment was ok, but the local entertainment was very good. That said, the entertainment we have had our=out Tauck cruises has been superior to that on Uniworld. The daily excusions were well run and the guides well informed, interesting and easy to understand. The chateaux we visited were lovely. The city tours were causal and easy to walk. Highly recommended. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
I was invited by a friend to go on this river cruise and was a bit nervous as I suffer from motion sickness. The good news.......no motion sickness and it was an amazing experience. I would have to say the highlights were the Cruise ... Read More
I was invited by a friend to go on this river cruise and was a bit nervous as I suffer from motion sickness. The good news.......no motion sickness and it was an amazing experience. I would have to say the highlights were the Cruise Managers (Adrian) planned excursions which included cooking classes, bike rides through the vineyards and wine tastings. My favorite........St. Emilion, I could have spent a week there just strolling the ancient cobblestone streets and exploring all of the amazing little wine shops. The staff and crew were outstanding, I couldn't have asked for better service and they went out of there way to accommodate all of us. The food could have been a bit more "exciting", I'm a bit of a foodie and I feel that that's one area that they could improve. The wine selection was good, the pastry chef was outstanding. I would definitely sail with Uniworld again, they go above and beyond to make your vacation memorable and enjoyable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary, reputation for luxury, food and wine, and the date of sailing. Ship: The ship's decor was okay but definitely could be updated in my opinion. There was a nice area upstairs that was used ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary, reputation for luxury, food and wine, and the date of sailing. Ship: The ship's decor was okay but definitely could be updated in my opinion. There was a nice area upstairs that was used for alternate dining (the Blue Fox). It would be nice if this was an upper level bar, at least for part of the day. Cabin: The room, for a luxury cruise, was tiny, as was the bathroom. My husband and I are small people and we had to wait for the other to pass before moving about the cabin. The bed and linens were very comfortable though. Dining: The food was usually excellent, and if something occasionally was disappointing there were always other choices. We were however, very disappointed with the "fine" wine included with our cruise and the cost for premium wines was steep. Entertainment and Activities: There was an oyster tasting event on board which was excellent and a cooking demo on Caneles. It was nice to have a piano player in the lounge but the music was pretty much the same every night with the exception of a couple of nights of scheduled singers. The cruise manager did a great job of scheduling activities of varying levels, optional filler events, and downtime. Service: Our cruise manager was fabulous, she even assisted us in scheduling an excursion of our own. The staff was excellent, very friendly and accommodating. Ports and Shore Excursions: Excellent! It was nice that there were choices for different ability levels. The groups were divided into very manageable, comfortable sizes. The ports and shore excursions were very interesting and Uniworld hired excellent guides. I would definitely consider a Uniworld Cruise again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This cruise was above first class all the way. They made sure you got to and from the airport which was fantastic being in an unfamiliar area. The crew went above and beyond to make sure we had a wonderful experience. The tours were ... Read More
This cruise was above first class all the way. They made sure you got to and from the airport which was fantastic being in an unfamiliar area. The crew went above and beyond to make sure we had a wonderful experience. The tours were interesting and just the right amount of time that you still had plenty of free time to relaxant do your own thing. The Hotel Manager Sebastien took wonderful care of all the guest, the Restaurant Manager Walter and the Chef Joao made sure we experience the finest french cuisine with Ailine pairing all the wines. We were very lucky to have Nathalie for our Cruise Manager she kept us not only informed and entertained but threw in french lessons daily. We met our captain Pierre and realized he was the same captain from our previous river cruise on the River Baroness several years ago! Until you experience a cruise with Uniworld you will not have had the experience of going first class all the way, they will spoil you! We had exceptional weather and all the ports were beautiful, we really enjoyed the wine tours and all the markets at each stop. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
A wine cruise in Bordeaux , what could be better. Learned a lot about Bordeaux that I had not experienced before. Great wine, cooking classes ,entertainment, excursion and great people on our river boat. Out crew was excellent. Always ... Read More
A wine cruise in Bordeaux , what could be better. Learned a lot about Bordeaux that I had not experienced before. Great wine, cooking classes ,entertainment, excursion and great people on our river boat. Out crew was excellent. Always their for us. Took care of every detail, very organized. Never lost anybody or anything. This is a small boutique ship. Which makes it very intimate. Every one gets to know everyone. Sitting on the lounge chair in after noon with a glass of wine served to you as you watched the castles. So beautiful and relaxing. Small but very nice appoint room. Draws under bed. Table and two chairs. Queen size bed. Hair dryer that gets plugged into plug under shelve. A safe too high to reach always needed a chair to get to it. Caterers to everyone food likes. A wonderfully buffet for lunch and breakfast. Always a special in morning and a chief to cook omelet of your choice. I especially liked all the home made bread and deserts. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We started cruising European rivers a few year ago after over 40 ocean cruises and more than 10 land tours. Our last river cruise was the Rhine and Moselle with Uniworld. This time we choose to go with Uniworld again to cruise the Bordeaux ... Read More
We started cruising European rivers a few year ago after over 40 ocean cruises and more than 10 land tours. Our last river cruise was the Rhine and Moselle with Uniworld. This time we choose to go with Uniworld again to cruise the Bordeaux region of 3 rivers and an estuary. Our wanted to see the heartland of France and visit the famous wine regions in the world. Our home is about 2 hours from the Napa Valley and I have some interested in wine. We were rewarded with a memorable experience that I feel the need to share it with others. Our cruise had an ominous start. We mistakenly connected with a driver who turned out not the Uniworld transfer. He took us to the river bank and pointed to a ocean cruise ship, "The World," and said to us, "Here is your cruise ship." When we both realized the mistake, the driver got all excited, talked on the cell phone for a long time and demanded 50 Euro. Finally I managed to convinced him to take us to the Uniworld ship which was only 50 yards away. The hotel manager of Uniworld, Sebastian, came out and greeted us, assured us that he would take care of the driver and told us to relax and enjoy our vacation. We never got the bill for 50 Euro. This is indicative of the high level (5 star) service throughout our cruise. Meals services were very good in general. You can asked for what you would like through the waiter or the ever-present restaurant manager. We asked for sautéed spinach with our dinner nightly. The chef comes by nightly for feedbacks. Every night there is a pasta, a meat, a fish and a vegetarian main course to choose from. Some meals are of local flavor. For cheese lovers, there are 40 varieties on the ship. Every night. One red and one white wine are available to accompany your mean. You will be given another wine if don’t like the selection. Champagne is always available for breakfast along with juices. There are two additional dinner venues to the main dining room. One can sign up to have dinner in a private dining room for up to 12 people or dine on the sun deck. We did the private dining room the second night with 2 other couples. Same food, just different atmosphere. We had not tried the other venue on the Sun Deck. A lady told us that she had the best Beef Wellington there. Of course, the exciting part of this cruise, entitled, "Bordeaux. Vineyards and Chateaux" is the shore excursion. We could see from ship upon arrival that Bordeaux was a good size city with many big and tall buildings of 18th century architecture. It was an important port for the wine trade of old. Starting the next day, we visited the Sauternes region that is famous for sweet wines. Chateau Latour Blanche was classified as First Growth in 1855 and it has 26 non-fee paying apprentice wine makers. The last owner had bequeathed the winery in 1907 to the government with a stipulation to create a free school. We learnt about how grapes rotten with fungus were handpicked to produce the sweet wines and tasted three ones. Lunch was in the Royal Castle Cazeneuve with a wine-matching three course meal. A tour of the castle where King Henri IV had lived was followed after lunch before returning to Bordeaux for the night. Next day's highlight was an afternoon visit to one of the wineries in the prestigious Pauillac region of Medoc. Uniworld divided the passengers into 6 smaller groups to visit different wineries. After the morning lecture presentation, I made a request to the cruise director, Adrian, to be assigned to the group that visit Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Not only that he could not promise but sounded far from promising. He pointed out that we may not get invitation from Chateau Lafite Rothschild and that any appointment would take at least 6 months in advance. In the afternoon, when we were boarding buses for the winery visit, Adrian was there to direct us to bus number 3. Soon after departure, the local tour guide handed me a piece of paper which was an invitation to winery #6. Opened it up and much to my surprise it was an invitation to visit Chateau Lafite Rothschild! That made my day and pretty much my cruise! To have a exclusive private tour and tasting of a if not the most prestigious winery in the world was a wonderful feeling. The 16 of us went with the tour guide to Chateau Lafite Rothschild and dropped off at the back as the winery does not like to have tour bus seen in their front gate. A sommelier of the winery greeted us and act as our guide. The tour ended with tasting a 2007 vintage Chateau Lafite Rothschild in the round rotunda which is the "nursery" where wine is stored in barrels for 3 years before being bottled and released. The sommelier said the Lafite Rothschild wines could takes 20 years to reach its peak. Day 4, starts the morning with a scenic drive along the river followed with a visit to the UNISCO listed citadel in Blaye. The fortress was built in the 17th century to protect the wine trade of Bordeaux. The highlight for the day, however, was an optional visit to the Rémy Martin distillery in Cognac where famous brandies are produced. We visited the building where barrels of brandy of different ages are stored and was told, blending of the expensive brandy can involve over 100 different barrels of up to age over 100 years. In the tasting room, only a VSOP was tasted with three different nibblers that resulting a quite different taste of the brandy. The tour ended in the shop where brandies of different blend and labels were shown together with the price tag except in the little back room where there is an elaborate display of Louis XIII. I found out that a 70dm bottle of Louis XIII in a crystal decanter could be had for 2,700 Euro. Why so expensive? Here is what Rémy Martin says, "A Century in a Bottle: Results of 100 year of passionate work and patience, LOUIS XIII is a unique blending of 1200 of the rarest and oldest eaus-de-vie from Grande Champagne. A firework of intense and delicate aromas, a celebration of floral notes, undertones of candied fruits and touch of spices. An ultimate precious moment in life." I can vouch to that! In the morning of Day 5 we went to Saint Emilion which is on the right bank of the river where climates are different from Médoc which is on the left bank. The wine grapes here are predominantly Merlot whereas in Medoc it is Cabernet Sauvignon. The Saint Emilion vineyards have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vinery classification here are also different from Medoc, it is every 10 years instead of only once in 1855. The cobber stone lined village had plenty of wine shops, a monolithic 12 century church carved into the cliff that is under restoration, a nearby grotto that is reputed to be where Saint Emilion lived. The morning tour ended with a wine tasting in a nearby, modern, Grand Cru class winery: Chateau Larmande. The pleasant surprise of Saint Emilion was a little shop brought us there by the local guide. This small, unimpressive little shop claimed to be the legitimate heir to the original recipe of macarons. We bought some for our connoisseur friend who told us excitedly that she had never tasted macarons that good. Uniworld provided shuttle for people wanting to go back to ship for lunch and return to Saint Emilion. I chose to walk around the city of Libourn in the afternoon. It is a small city with her days of glory behind her. Only students from the campus nearby provided some sight of life. The next morning, however, the city center came alive with a farmers market. The morning excursion was to visit the market before going to a mysterious destination. I always found the market an exciting place to see what produce are available locally. Our mysterious destination was a boutique, organic winery, Chateau Boutinet, run by a wine educator wife and an experienced wine maker husband, blend into a family with each having two children from different marriage. It was interesting to hear the lady told their story and future plan of rebuilding the ruined castle and to operate 5 rooms for B & B. They are selling 3 wines now: a sweet light red, a ready to drink red, and a better-to-drink-later red. The sweet light red wine, they called it Claret, was offered for tasting. The ship returned to Bordeaux after lunch with a cooking demonstration and tasting of the Canelés de Bordeaux on board. This native dessert of Bordeaux is often found at coffee bars but now I also know its origin, the history and ingredients. A twilight tour of the city of Bordeaux was arranged in the evening. The tour, started at 9 pm, was conducted on open top buses. It presented a romantic and interesting light of the city and would be even more enjoyable when done in June and July. The last day belonged to Bordeaux. The "Do as the Locals Do" walking tour of the city started with a tram ride. The tram stop was only a short walk from the ship and 3 stops later we were in the city center. The modern city of Bordeaux had undergone a Pygmalion transformation by the current mayor 15 years ago that change her from an "wretched flower girl" into a "fair lady." The black coating of the 18 century sandstone buildings were cleaned up, dirty river bank renovated with walkways, bike/skate-board lanes, garden and museum, a high-tech tram system built to speed up the transportation, parks were created, the historic core of the city became an UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition, a number of world class chef have establish their presence here and Paris is only two hours away by high speed train. It has become a destination of choose and attracted the luxury residence at sea, "The World". Bordeaux in many ways similar to my favorite city Vienna: it is by a river, it has an opera house, a large pedestrian shopping street, a tram system, a distinctive Gothic church (Saint Andrew), sandstone buildings of 18 century architecture, and a dessert of its own (Canelés de Bordeaux). The walking tour started before shops were open and few other pedestrians were there to obstruct our progress. We admired some of the beautiful architecture along the walk, stopped for Kodak moments, and some people watching. An hour or so later, the shops began to open and the fun part comes. Our first stop was at Baillardran for a tasting of their Canelé. I purchased some for gifts back home. The second stop was a pastry shop, David, where I tasted a most delicious cream puff like dessert that was created with inspiration from Dune of Pilat on the seaside about an hour away. They named it "Sand Dune" and I called it delicious. Unfortunately they must be consumed fresh and could not be brought home. So that may be reason enough for a repeat visit to Bordeaux! After consuming most of calories from the two desserts, we ended up in a chocolate shop, Saunion, where they hand make delicate chocolate since 1893. Here again it was sample and purchase. In all, it was an very interesting sightseeing walk with great discoveries of the delicious desserts in town. Day 8 came soon enough: it was time to disembark. We vacated the room as instructed by 8:30 and relaxed around in the lounge until 11:00 when we were bused to the airport. There were self-help coffee/tea and some light snack. The bar was open too. The hotel manager was around and came said goodbye to us. I made an request for an extra box of mint so I can save the metal box with the Uniworld emblem for pill case. Two boxes were delivered to our seat by the house keeping manage few minutes later. That again exemplified the service. We are looking forward to another Uniworld cruise Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Uniworld has a fantastic product! We went on the Bordeaux Chateaux and Vineyards cruise and though we have cruised on Seabourn, HAL, Princess and Regent in the past., this was our first river cruise. The River Royale is a very lovely and ... Read More
Uniworld has a fantastic product! We went on the Bordeaux Chateaux and Vineyards cruise and though we have cruised on Seabourn, HAL, Princess and Regent in the past., this was our first river cruise. The River Royale is a very lovely and comfortable ship. There is a large lounge, a smaller library area, gym, sauna, hot tub and a full seating area on the top deck where one can enjoy the great weather. The crew is absolutely wonderfulc. The cruise director, Sharon, was just a really nice person who was always focused on making sure everyone had a great time, did what they wanted to do and just enjoyed themselves. The hotel manager, Ivana, also did a great l job (as did our room steward Ivan). All of the staff were pleasant, professional and courteous, no request was too big. The food was outstanding due to its high quality and variety. The meals reflected the local specialties with an emphasis on fresh local products. We visited the local markets so we saw firsthand the local foods. Breakfast and lunch is buffet, with breakfast one could order specials of the day. Lunch was a buffet with a carving station for the special of the day. Did I mention the fabulous deserts and cheeses? Well, they are fantastic. Every day there was an excursion (these are included in the cost of the cruise, though there are additional excursions one could take for an additional fee). This was the Bordeaux wine cruise, so we went on visits to vineyards including wine tastings, local towns and historic sites. We also visited some local markets and had a surprise visit to a local industry. We were in cabin 202, and although a little smaller than standard ocean cruise cabins, it was comfortable and the bed was very, very comfortable. The rooms have really nice blackout curtains. We went on this cruise with high expectations, and this cruise met and exceeded them. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I'd camped a few times around the Bordeaux wine region back in the '70's so when I was offered the perspective as seen by the other half, I jumped at the chance! We were picked up from home, just four of us in all, in a comfy VW minibus ... Read More
I'd camped a few times around the Bordeaux wine region back in the '70's so when I was offered the perspective as seen by the other half, I jumped at the chance! We were picked up from home, just four of us in all, in a comfy VW minibus with courteous, friendly driver, travelling to Gatwick for overnight before an early scheduled flight to Bordeaux. Great standard room at the Sandman Signature, tasty food at elevated prices, captive audience priced drinks! The usual two hour minimum heel kicking to maximise airport sales exposure, prior to an underwhelming flight, courtesy of BA, not helped by a breakfast of gooey stodge masquerading as muesli and a dry bread roll even McDonalds would have been ashamed of, with microns thin cheese slice washed down by orange juice and coffee. Promptly picked up from Bordeaux airport in a well appointed coach with helpful friendly guide, delivered effortlessly to a smiling welcome party aboard the luxury River Royale berthed in Bordeaux on the Garonne. Uniworld's well rehearsed staff soon had us registered and furnished with an introductory programme and cabin keys. We had lower deck cabin on a level with the dining room, very well appointed but no space to spare! The board was fully inclusive of all food, drink and excursions and bicycles for loan, to boot! Every evening during cocktail hour, there was a greeting from the director of cuisine, an review of the night's cocktail and wines by a hilarious sommelier and an entertaining delivery by the Cruise Manager on the next day's voyage, evening entertainment and of course the next day's vineyard tours and tasting events. Dinners could be booked in the Claret Room, for twelve or fourteen or in the Blue Fox deck diner, topsides and wine tasting sessions could also be booked! Breakfasts, lunches and dinners were all scrumptious and most imaginative, a range of drinks without equal and service was impeccable and friendly throughout. Wine tours included vineyards in the Medoc, St Emilion, Sauternes (inc a stop to worship at Chateau d'Yquem!), Cadillac, Bergerac, Bourg and Blaye. Guests were from UK generally but probably majority from USA and Canada, plenty of friends to be made and non stop activity of some kind. There were opportunities to explore the City of Bordeaux, vibrant, clean and full of history. This was a holiday not to be missed, if you're a wine drinking Francophile! :-) Read Less
River Royale Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.8
Family 1.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.6
Enrichment 3.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4
Rates 5.0 4.2

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