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450 Uniworld Europe - River Cruise Reviews

Our travel agent recommended this cruise line over others. We had had a wonderful experience with Tauck’s musical cruise on the Danube but she said there’s no comparison in terms of Uniworld being a better experience. My first ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this cruise line over others. We had had a wonderful experience with Tauck’s musical cruise on the Danube but she said there’s no comparison in terms of Uniworld being a better experience. My first reaction upon entering the boat’s lobby is that it looked cluttered. There is a large blue chandelier that overpowers the small area. Downstairs in the reception area there is a table with blue and white vases and green apples that provided a pleasing vignette. The stairs themselves are rather steep and curved, which to me seemed like a recipe for a fall if not being very careful. About a month prior to departure we were offered an upgrade to a suite, which we were glad we took, since it offered much more space than the French balcony. That classification offers butler service, but we rarely took advantage except for laundry, which always came back later in the day and was beautifully done. The “balcony” is actually an inset into part of the room with two small chairs and a table plus a window that will open half way. It was nicely appointed including a live orchid. There was limited opportunity to use the balcony, as most of the time the boat moved at night and when docked, we were either up against another boat, a concrete wall, or similar uninteresting view. The room decor seemed a bit heavy but the bed was very comfortable and we like the size of the bathroom and the storage under the two sinks, plus towel and floor warmers. The shower often backed up into the main floor area. One major disadvantage to that particular cabin (402) is that it can be noisy with lots of footsteps outside and overhead, evening during the night. It is near the main gathering area, which added to the noise, plus the neighboring room played their TV hanging on the wall adjacent to our bed loudly playing past midnight. I mentioned something to the hotel director, suggesting that our neighbors play the TV by their bed instead. That worked one night only... . One of our major complaints about this ship is that the gathering areas were very noisy...We traveled with another couple and could barely hear each other while dining. Upon request, they reserved a table in the back of the room, which helped. Even with the room partially filled, the sound level was very high and one could clearly hear conversations from two or three tables away. It did seem as if the there was fairly steady drinking among this crowd, which may have added to the decibels. Another serious issue was our experience at dinner. First, the waiters were understaffed, meaning that there was a sense of frantic about them (tho they were very pleasant and tried to be accommodating.) Often they tried to serve us the wrong order and usually it took well over 30’ to have our dinner plates removed. The food itself was sub par. There was only one night that I thought the entree was edible. Every other night I couldn’t eat it. When asked why my plate was full when they removed it, I told them and they responded “I’ll let the chef know”. All four of us on the cruise felt that the quality of food at dinner time tended to be dry as if sitting for too long before being served...and often without much taste. The breakfast was very nice and lunch was okay, tho repetitive. The offered cheeses, many of which were not of high quality...almost stale in some cases..and the fruit was usually unripe. We have been on several tours and sea cruises (Tauck, Lindblad, Crystal, Celebrity) and in all cases their food quality and service were superior to this. The cruise director was upbeat and accommodating. That said, we thought the guided tours were rather bland and generic. We suggested to him it might be nice to include more information about the architecture and art/music in the particular areas and he said this “market” wasn’t interested in this. I want to reiterate that the crew were all very pleasant and worked hard. It seems that perhaps the corporate section of Uniworld needs to consider addressing some of these concerns, as I see that many other reviewers with similar comments. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I just returned from our second Uniworld cruise. The first was on the S.S. Catherine going from Lyon to Avignon in 2016. It was excellent and initially we were a bit concerned that the Castles along the Rhine (Amsterdam to ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from our second Uniworld cruise. The first was on the S.S. Catherine going from Lyon to Avignon in 2016. It was excellent and initially we were a bit concerned that the Castles along the Rhine (Amsterdam to Basel) cruise might not live up to our experience in the south of France. But it certainly did! We spent 4 days in Amsterdam before boarding the S.S. Antoinette for the cruise. (a perfect beginning we recommend for everyone) We've read a few reviews complaining about the condition of the Antoinette - we have absolutely NO complaints about the ship. We booked a French balcony cabin which was very nice. On our first trip we opted for a full balcony - which, as far as we are concerned was a mistake. The French balcony configuration on the Antoinette is exactly the same square footage as the full balcony. As on all river cruise lines, the staterooms are small but very functional. We had no complaints about the cabin, amenities, bath, AC, steward service, or anything else. All Uniworld ships are non-smoking except in specific above deck areas so there was no smell in the cabin. As a safety engineer, I was pleased to see that all areas of the ship are sprinklered with smoke detectors. Dining was excellent - plenty of choices for all meals. Uniworld is all inclusive so all beverages were included. Other reviewers have commented on the noise level in the dining room - and we experienced a similar issue. But, it was NOT awful, contrary to other comments we've read. However, we do suggest that the noise level in the dining room be evaluated to see if anything could be done to attenuate the noise. (There was a large group (40+) of passengers, all on a sponsored excursion from one US State, who added greatly to the overall noise level.) The excursions were also excellent, and the local guides were very knowledgeable. The excursions themselves were very interesting and we really enjoyed the small towns we visited. Strasbourg is a don't miss experience. Definitely don't miss the vinegar tasting excursion! The castles along the Rhine were beautiful. The Cruise Director ("Pete"), told interesting stories about the history of each one. In a nutshell, he did a fabulous job. We chose to do a progressive dinner (small group) which included appetizers and a full meal and dessert while taking a guided tour of the ship including the kitchen, engine room (spotless!), and bridge. It was very interesting seeing the inner workings of the Antoinette. We had read about the low water level problems on the Rhine. Although it was low, it was still passable and our sailing was just fine. Fortunately, our weather was perfect the entire trip. Bright sunshine all the way. The crew was great - professional, helpful, and friendly. All spoke English very well. We didn't go on a river cruise expecting Las Vegas style entertainment. But what there was, was nice. Especially the guitar playing "guy with 2,000 songs." Finally, we love the fact that river cruising is on small ships with far fewer passengers than on those ocean going monsters. There were probably about 150 passengers on the Antoinette. We met lots of very nice people, some of whom almost instantly became good friends. In short, we had an absolute ball and we will be taking future river cruises in Europe with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The Outstanding: This was a themed cruise and our hosts and fellow passengers were interesting, conversational and knew how to have a good time in spite of the vessel. The Good: Hotel Director Ivana was outstanding in resolving any ... Read More
The Outstanding: This was a themed cruise and our hosts and fellow passengers were interesting, conversational and knew how to have a good time in spite of the vessel. The Good: Hotel Director Ivana was outstanding in resolving any issues and providing assistance. Servers all worked very hard and remained pleasant even though they were overwhelmed. The Captain was very personable and happily provided a tour of the bridge/wheelhouse. The Bad: Public areas including the dining room were understaffed to provide the promised 5-star service and always hot because of inadequate HVAC (the staff admitted this was a problem). Buffet area woefully small, resembled an anthill and difficult to maneuver. Food quality in general was marginal at best. It seemed the Executive Chef was scrimping on product or his budget was inadequate. I am assuming he is purchasing food locally. The Ugly: The very expensive food and wine pairing dinner was a disaster. Private room was extremely hot. Lobster tail was a fragment of a lobster tail, tough maybe 1 once (this is no exaggeration) and appeared to be a leftover from a previous evening's main dining room meal. Lamb was not lamb but rather pork. Conclusion: Never again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Just completed our first river cruise on the Rhine with Uniworld River Queen. Purchased a french balcony; not sure why it is called a balcony as this is a floor to ceiling window which doesn't open out onto a balcony at all, indeed ... Read More
Just completed our first river cruise on the Rhine with Uniworld River Queen. Purchased a french balcony; not sure why it is called a balcony as this is a floor to ceiling window which doesn't open out onto a balcony at all, indeed there were no balconies onboard. Extremely disappointed in the position of the room which is situated right next to the restaurant, subsequently prior to the restaurant opening there is a cacophony of noise outside this room as people queue until the restaurant is opened making it impossible to sleep in in the mornings even if we wanted to! The restaurant itself is on the small side and can be very cold if sitting next to a window. Everyone tends to desend on the restaurant as it opens in the evening and the noise is unbelievable, you can hardly hear the person next to you speak. Although the food was good, if not repetitive in terms of the soups on offer, the plates are stacked cold for breakfast. There is no tea/coffee making facility in the cabin, the only place you can get a drink outside of restaurant opening is a machine midship. I believe entertainment was offered on 3 nights out of the 10, violin music. The ship does have a boutique feel, and the staff are helpful and polite at all times. There are bikes to take off the ship as well as guided bike rides on 3 occasions. Guided hiking was also offered on a couple of occasions. Otherwise the ports and shore excursions were all of adequate standard, offering a "Quiet Vox" for everyone making it possible to hear commentaries very well. On sunny days it was very uncomfortable to sit on the upper deck as the chairs and sunbeds were not padded. Overall extremely disappointed, wrong boat and worst of all, wrong room!! Room 422 opposite must suffer the same noise issue, though I cannot advocte for that here. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After having experienced the middle deck room in Uniworld’s Venice Cruise, the next year my husband and I were ready to sail the Danube from Passau to Budapest, but on the lower level. For the most part, I was happy with the room, ... Read More
After having experienced the middle deck room in Uniworld’s Venice Cruise, the next year my husband and I were ready to sail the Danube from Passau to Budapest, but on the lower level. For the most part, I was happy with the room, food and staff. The excursions could have been better described. Most guides but the one in Passau were quite knowledgeable about their subjects. The organization of passengers onto busses and back again was streamlined and easy. I’d highly recommend all the tours except Schönbrunn Palace. It was too warm with too many people and not particularly interesting. I was quite tired after that and skipped the Mozart concert, which everyone said was fantastic. The bathroom had a heated marble floor and towel rack, which was great. The beds and pillows are sooo comfortable, although the AC wouldn’t cool quite enough for me at night. An article of clothing “disappeared” from my room’s closet. I wish I had thought to lock my clothes in my suitcase and then slide the suitcase in the space provided under the bed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I chose the Uniworld river cruise as it was recommended by our travel agent due to the supposedly very high level of their food. We were looking forward to cruising down the Rhine, while viewing beautiful scenery, castles, and ... Read More
My wife and I chose the Uniworld river cruise as it was recommended by our travel agent due to the supposedly very high level of their food. We were looking forward to cruising down the Rhine, while viewing beautiful scenery, castles, and making interesting stops along the way from Amsterdam to Basel, all along being served first class food. It did not turn out that way. Let me first state the ship was very well maintained, although the decor is dated. The professionalism and friendliness of the staff could not have been any higher. We happily give the staff a five star rating! The weather was excellent throughout our cruise. However, there are several things about our Uniworld River Empress cruise which were definitely disappointing. As mentioned above, we looked forward to cruising down the Rhine while taking in beautiful scenery. However, the cruising time while viewing the scenery basically lasted one and one half days. The afternoon of the first day, and the full following day. The rest of the time the cruising was done during the evenings (while sleeping), which significantly short changed our expectations, as well as those promised by cruise advertisement images showing a ship serenely cruising by ancient castles and impressive mountains. With this having been our first river cruise, my wife and I obviously failed to "read the fine print" of the schedule which would have alerted us to the fact that impressive scenery would be extremely limited. Most of the days we would wake up in a different small Rhine-area town, disembark, and be given a tour of the immediate area. These small towns differed little from each other, with the shape of the local cathedral most often being the main difference. After a couple of stops they become interchangeable, since there was little local art (none at all), food, scenery difference to appreciate. These towns seem to exist currently simply due to the river cruise industry. To say the stops became repetitive is as kind a description possible. If the cruise had lasted half of the time it would have been an improvement, as it would have cut down on the boredom. Uniworld should choose stops which offer individual experiences, not simply more of the same, becoming repetitive. As far as the food is concerned, the flavor segment of the cuisine was underwhelming. The selection of food was definitely ample and well presented. Breakfast, and also desserts at lunch/dinner, were excellent (the pastry chef should be highly commended). However, the taste of the starters and main courses was definitely Disney quality - bland. This was a very, very significant disappointment for us, as the endorsed (by our travel agent) high level of the cuisine was the basis for our Uniworld choice. Food quality was good, food flavor was mediocre. Sadly, the entertainment (which we did not expect to have) was completely forgettable. My wife and I lived in Europe for several years some time ago, and perhaps our trip expectations were too high. This trip did not leave us eager to book future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second Uniworld cruise (our first was on the Rhine) and my first time in Paris! I don't think it's possible to not have a great time when you start and end in Paris. The boat was beautiful! Not everyone likes ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise (our first was on the Rhine) and my first time in Paris! I don't think it's possible to not have a great time when you start and end in Paris. The boat was beautiful! Not everyone likes the Uniworld decor but I felt it was reflective our where we were touring. The food was delicious and service was great. I thought the cruise director, Theirrey (I'm not sure that I spelled his name incorrectly), was very good and encouraged us to take a few tours that really made our trip (motorcycle side-car tour of Montmartre). I'd also like to thank, Augustine, who was professional, pleasant and witty, and always served our late night drinks with a smile. Overall, our fellow travelers were very friendly and social. Our party made friends with a great couple that we keep in contact with and will see this year in Florida. Groups seemed to mix very well on this trip. There was a lot of socializing after dinner and the entertainment for two nights was very good and had the dance floor packed. This was a very tour intensive trip. I did not realize that the Masterpiece Selection tours were going to be available, albeit for an extra cost. There were so many noteworthy things to see as I have outlined below. Unlike the Rhine, there did not seem to be a lot of traffic on the river. Most of the time, there were no boats visible as we were cruising. We arrived a day before embarkment and stayed in the beautiful St. Germain area, or 6th arrondissement, at the Hotel Esprit St. Germain. We loved this boutique hotel and we stayed for a reasonable price, probably due to it being the end of August. We walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg, walked by Notre Dame and toured Sainte Chapelle right before closing, so it wasn't busy. We ended the day dining outdoors at the restaurant recommended by the hotel. The next morning we enjoyed breakfast with our travel companions at Cafe de Flore. After that, we headed over to the boat around 10:30am. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. While it wasn't on the agenda for the day, we went on a cruise of Paris on one of the main tour companies, perhaps because so many people showed up on the early side. Unfortunately, it was very hot, over 90 degrees and the boat was very crowded. No fault of Uniworld but this would have been much more enjoyable on a different day, when the temperatures were more moderate and the crowds lessened. Day 2 of Seine Cruise: We had two excisions with the first being Chateau de La Roche Guyon, an interesting castle first built in the 12th century with additions in the 14th and 18th centuries. In 1944, Rommel requisitioned the castle and used it as his headquarters. After the tour, back to the boat for lunch and then a short bus ride to Giverny to visit Monet’s house and gardens. Some folks from the cruise biked about 4 miles along the Seine to the property. Beautiful! Day 3 of Seine River Cruise - Normandy Beaches The Normandy beaches were a three hour bus ride from where our boat was docked but was well worth the trip. We visited two of the five landing beaches of the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Utah and Omaha Beaches (the American landings). The Canadians in our group visited Juno Beach. We also visited Pointe du Hoc, the highest point of the American landings which was scaled by rangers, Sainte Mere-Eglise, and the American cemetery. Day 4 of Seine River Cruise - Golfing at Etretat and shopping in Honfleur The guys golfed at Etretat, a course with spectacular views of the Normandy Coast while the ladies chose to visit Honfleur, a picturesque village, the subject of many painters. Loved Honfleur! We finished the day off by walking to the cathedral at Rouen at 10:00pm, to watch an amazing light and sound display. Rouen is the city where Joan of Arc was martyred. Days 5 & 6 on Seine River Cruise - Mont Saint-Michel and Versailles Drove several hours to UNESCO site, Mont Saint-Michel, an island that is home to a medieval Benedictine monastery and a former pilgrimage destination. We took the shuttle but independent travelers, not on our cruise, can hire a guide to walk in during low tide, which is dangerous due to quickly changing tides and quick sand! The following day we visited Versailles. No lines and we toured the private apartments. Only 3 kings lived at the palace, Louis XIV, XV and XVI. Final Day of Seine River Cruise - Retro Sidecar in Montmartre and an evening at the Moulin Rouge No history or culture today! Started the day with a little shopping and stroll along the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. Headed back to the boat to take our motorcycle-sidecar tour. Loved the ride and our brief time in Montmartre. Returned back to the area at night to go to the Moulin Rouge. Quite an experience! Sorry, photos of the show are not allowed! We spent a few more days in Paris after the cruise and toured the Louvre, L'Orangerie (to see Monet's waterlily panels), Jardin de Tuilleries, and ate at the Jules Verne restaurant in the 2nd platform of the Eiffel Tower (made a reservation months prior). My theory on river cruises is that so many different things can impact your experience. The weather, crowds, water levels, people on board, service,... However, so far, we've had two great cruises on Uniworld and are booked for the Danube next year. The River Heritage Credit for being return customers and the early booking, pay in full, 10% discount has made Uniworld and attractive option for us (plus a couple of complimentary bags of laundry). I hope future travelers have a great experience on the Joie de Vivre as well! Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Good points - Savoir Bed great, cabin small but good standard overall, boat clean and outside areas very comfortable and plenty of shade, small hot top, trips ok, guides very good, drinks included, extra trips were the best ones - trip to ... Read More
Good points - Savoir Bed great, cabin small but good standard overall, boat clean and outside areas very comfortable and plenty of shade, small hot top, trips ok, guides very good, drinks included, extra trips were the best ones - trip to Remy Martin really good. included trip to St Emillion not to be missed. Bad points - at airport we had to wait an hour for another couple who never arrived - we were the last couple to arrive on the ship just in time for the safety drill - could hardly get unpacked - could not get a seat in the lounge and generally could not hear the drill or speech by the Captain - felt very rushed. breakfast - described as sumptuous by Uniworld - think this is a misnomer - just a buffet and no chance of fresh cooked eggs - one chef with two electric rings to cook for over one hundred guests - think this is really poor as this is an expensive cruise and the egg station situation in my view was pathetic. Breakfast ended every day at 9am in the main dining room and on day at 8.30am with no explanation as to why early. Time of daily trips - all started at 9am - too early - even 9.30am would have given you the feel of being on holiday -most trips were only for a couple of hours and not that far away. this made breakfast rushed and not enjoyable start to the day - this is a holiday after all!! Daily updates - there was a talk by the excursion manager at about 6pm every night. If you did not attend you did not know what was going on. We did not attend as couldn't get a seat and couldn't hear on our first night - thought it would all be repeated in a daily newsletter or on the tv - no mistaken - so we missed out on a trip to a wine tasting which happened after a walking tour to a mediocre local market -no idea it was on!!! Again we are on holiday - who wants to be dressed for dinner by 6pm and listen to a talk for an hour and then go straight down to dinner at 7pm? All a bit regimented for us and a bit early. Food/drink/ service The food in my view is just ok - had far better on Cunard. The wine served was mediocre. The waiting staff were ok - one overstepped the mark with us at breakfast by making quite a political comment about our home town - I was shocked - never have had this on a cruise - quite upset - didn't want to cause issues on the cruise - but still really annoyed. Not good to be insulted first thing in the morning on a cruise! We stayed on the ship one day instead of the daily excursion - the food/drink service then is very patchy - they really want you all to get off. Port visits - Just ok - apart from Bordeaux and Libourne there is literally nothing there to get off and look at unless you go on the organised excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were originally scheduled to do Gems of Northern Italy but the ship was damaged in a port accident so we switched to the Grand France tour. The first week was on board the S. S. Catherine (reviewed separately) with a high-speed train ... Read More
We were originally scheduled to do Gems of Northern Italy but the ship was damaged in a port accident so we switched to the Grand France tour. The first week was on board the S. S. Catherine (reviewed separately) with a high-speed train connection between Lyon and Paris to begin the second leg. The train trip to Paris was fantastic. Everything was looked after by our lovely escorts and we arrived without incident. The ship: Decor was classic; beautiful and well-maintained. The maintenance staff worked hard to keep everything clean and shiny. Because we switched at the last minute, we were not able to get the same category cabin as we had booked on the Venice cruise so we were in the "basement". The room was larger than the one on the first leg of the trip. We didn't spend a lot of time in our room, so the size and location wasn't a huge issue. The guest laundry was located on this floor which was very convenient. However, the only coffee station on the ship was next to the bar on the other end of the boat which was very inconvenient. We had the same issue with the a/c on the Joie de Vive as we did on the Catherine; it was not nearly adequate given the temperature in France at the time. Even with the thermostat set as low as possible (5C), the temperature in the room never got cool enough. I was extremely uncomfortable, especially at night, and even though I requested a fan, none was provided. The pool was indoors in the middle of the bar - very unappealing location. It was covered over at night. The main lounge and rooftop deck were comfortable and it was wonderful to sit there and watch castles float by. The staff: By and large, we found the staff to be excellent. Most of them are from Eastern Europe but speak English well. I took the time to learn a few pleasantries (good day, please, thank-you) in Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian which they seemed to really appreciate. It was an ice-breaker that got them chatting about their countries and families. The food: I had high expectations for the food and was rather disappointed. It was fine, but not great. We took a cruise up the coast of Norway on Hurtigruten in 2018 and their chefs sourced local ingredients throughout the whole trip; the food was outstanding. We expected elegant French cuisine but it was all rather uninspiring. Service in the dining room was excellent compared to the Catherine. The ports: We loved all of the ports but did run into a couple of hiccups. At Giverney, there was an option to bike to Monet's gardens or take the bus. During the port talk, I asked if the biking was on level, paved trails and we were told it was. I am a casual biker, used to riding on level, paved trails, so I decided to sign up. At the muster point, there was a huge van dumping off bikes and bags of helmets. No one was available to help adjust seats or generally get you ready. The first thing we had to do was ride uphill onto a very busy bridge that was under construction. One of the participants fell off and suffered from bad road rash but he had to continue to walk his bike to the destination as there was no way to get back to the boat or the gardens. When we approached Giverney, we had to pedal up another steep hill, all the while dodging cars and pedestrians. Needless to say, I shouldn't have been on this tour and never would have participated if it had been adequately explained at the port talk. The tour guide was very frustrated with the inexperienced riders on the tour and complained about us to the more experienced riders. Monet's gardens were absolutely mobbed with tourists, but they were beautiful and it was worth the harrowing bike trip to get there. I got some amazing pictures. My takeaway is don't attempt a Go Active tour unless you are a real sports enthusiast :) We were looking forward to the tour to Juno Beach and the Canadian cemetery in Normandy. Unfortunately, these were add-ons to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery and we just didn't have enough time. We understand that most of the passengers are from the US and it probably doesn't make financial sense to have a Canadian beach tour. Our suggestion to Uniworld is they have an optional tour to the Canadian and UK beaches. It could probably be covered in a couple of eight-passenger vans and I certainly would have paid extra to have time to fully enjoy the experience. The opportunity to visit our beaches was a very special memory of our trip. We had an onboard credit that we decided to use to go to Moulin Rouge. The show was professional and very entertaining. However, six people were jammed together in tables meant for four which made it hard to fully appreciate the dinner and show. The food was mediocre and some of the champagne served at our table was flat. The entertainment: We usually spent some time in the lounge after dinner each evening and enjoyed the singers. There wasn't as much passenger participation on this cruise as the Catherine. The experience: This was our first river cruise and we will definitely do another one but not Europe in July or August; it's just too hot The all-inclusive policy on Uniglobe is very appealing as you aren't constantly being dinged for every drink, tour and tip. This was a lovely introduction to river cruising; it's going to be hard to top this experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first cruise and we were celebrating a special occasion. Everything was great - cabin layout quite adequate with lovely big comfy bed, lovely en suite with great shower, all sparkling clean. Food was fantastic, loads of ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were celebrating a special occasion. Everything was great - cabin layout quite adequate with lovely big comfy bed, lovely en suite with great shower, all sparkling clean. Food was fantastic, loads of choice for breakfast and lunch, more formal meal in the evening but still with three or four choices on the four course menu. Masses of choice in drinks including malt whiskies, all staff were friendly and professional. Trips varied but generally good and there was usually a choice. So what was the problem?? I have to firstly state that I am a poor sleeper. So, we had paid for a 'deluxe' cabin, which meant we had a good sized, non opening window and were located at the front on the second level. All cabins are the same size and layout, you pay for the window, ours was fine from that point of view. What was definitely not fine was the hellish noise we experienced from the engines at the front, located maybe six feet from our door, which was the second last in the corridor. The last door between us and the engine room was the bottle store. 100+ passengers on an all inclusive cruise get through a lot of bottles so the staff were constantly in and out during the day and in the evening, clattering and clanking as they restocked. But worst by far was the engine noise. Apparently the engines at the front are the ones which deal with sideways positioning and are therefore heavily engaged when passing through locks. There are a great many locks between Basel and Amsterdam, and we sailed through the vast majority of them overnight, mainly on nights 1 & 2. This meant that I barely slept during either of these nights doe to the roaring of the engine. We spoke to passengers who were in the cheaper cabins one level down but who heard nothing. We were very unfortunate in the location of our room. And to add insult to injury a couple of nights later we had dancing in the lounge from 9.30pm. Guess what, the lounge turned out to be directly above our heads. We ended up going ashore and walking along the towpath for an hour or so in the pitch dark, thankfully when we returned after 11.00 the band was finishing. Lots of apologies and a bottle of fizzy wine the next day from the hotel manager on board. So apart from the noise the cruise was 5*. Unfortunately if you can't sleep at night you can't enjoy the days. I have since been in touch with customer services who tell me that noise is not unexpected. Well it was completely unexpected for me and served to seriously detract from our holiday. Should you have a problem I cannot recommend Uniworld customer services. So yes, go on the trip but only if you can be absolutely certain you will not end up in CABIN 202! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We've done ocean cruises for years and decided to try a river cruise because we always wanted to see the Danube. We chose Uniworld since it was a boutique line with good reviews. We did the 9 night Delightful Danube and Prague on ... Read More
We've done ocean cruises for years and decided to try a river cruise because we always wanted to see the Danube. We chose Uniworld since it was a boutique line with good reviews. We did the 9 night Delightful Danube and Prague on the SS Beatrice on July 24, 2019. We opted for the 2 day pre-extension in Budapest. Overall the vacation was good. But given the price, I would say it failed to live up to our expectations. The Good: - Food was excellent. That part was very much in line with our expectations. - Itinerary was excellent. I liked river cruising and especially the locks. I wasn't sure if I would like river cruising (being an ocean cruiser), but it was nice. - Ship was nice. - Staff was for the most part very good. - All tips included which was nice. - All drinks included (but I'm sure we paid for that with the price). - Many excursions were included (but that wasn't necessarily good - see the ugly below). - Cabin was nicely decorated. It was pretty tiny, but we knew that going in. Just be aware that it is very small. The bathroom would be hard for an elderly person (in my opinion. One annoyance to me was that light from the hallway came around the door on all 4 sides so the cabin was never really dark at night. French balcony was nice. - Pre-Cruise in Budapest. I would definitely recommend extending your trip in Budapest. Amazing city and you really need more time to see it than you will otherwise get on the 7 night cruise. - Post-Cruise in Prague. I would also recommend this as well. I loved Prague. Would definitely do this since you should see it. The Not so Good: - Public areas were limited. There weren't too many places you could go on the ship the get out of your small cabin. The top deck is closed between Nuremberg and Regensburg so that took away a nice option leaving only the lounge. If a talk was going on in the lounge, you then really had no options. That final day (when the sun deck was closed due to low bridges), the ship felt much, much too small to me. - Excursions were not that great. I actually thought they were pretty poor. Nothing amazing and certainly nothing close to what we paid for with Celebrity in Greece. We even paid for a Masterpiece excursion one night and even that wasn't really that amazing. I was disappointed with the excursions. We could have done much better on our own and if I did this cruise again that is exactly what I would do. - Information was poor. I've never been on a cruise before with such little information being provided. We didn't realize until we were on the ship that the ship was leaving Budapest the following morning. We thought we had a day to see Budapest and all we had was a bus tour (included) which did not give a very good overview of Budapest. Had we not done the pre-cruise stay in Budapest we would have been very upset. - Excursion groups were HUGE. Ship may have been tiny (130 or so passengers), but the excursion groups were very big and many did not break up in to smaller groups. We did a bike tour in Austria that had 65 people riding in one large group. Our last cruise was with Celebrity in Greece with thousands of passengers and we never had groups this big. To me it ruined the small ship feel since the excursions were anything but small. - Open seating was a pain for a group of 4. Being a family of 4 in two cabins, we wanted a table of 4 for dinner. It was hard to ensure that since there were not many 4's and some of those were reserved by larger groups (which is annoying). So we always had to be at dinner right as it opened to ensure we got a table of 4. Not the most relaxing feeling when you have to worry about that each evening. Not sure why they allowed so many tables to be "reserved" like they did. The Ugly: - Cruise Manager was poor. This was our biggest gripe on the cruise. The cruise manager several times gave out false information about tours. It almost seemed like she had never done this before (but I know she's been doing it a while). On the biking tour from Austria to Passau, we were under the impression that drinks at the "Beer House" stop were included in the excursion. Prior excursions included water so we figured this would be no different since we were biking 18 miles. We only got water for ourselves and 2 kids at the Beer House. Prior to biking away, we were told that some tables hadn't paid their bill. Turns out we had to pay for that water. It was rather embarrassing - especially for another guest who didn't have euros on him to pay. I mentioned to the Cruise manager immediately upon returning to the ship that she might want to explain that to future guests. She said it was mentioned at the talk the night before which we hadn't attended (since we had already signed up for the tour). She seemed rather indignant to my wife and I - like it was our fault. I would think that given the cost of this vacation, they could actually mention something like this at the onset of the tour itself. I mean it's a vacation and why should we have to attend every little briefing just to hope we get the tiny details that you would think would be given to you on the actual tour itself. But it was just another sign of the poor information provided and for that I totally blame the Cruise Manager. Recommend? I don't think I would recommend Uniworld to someone who wanted to River Cruise. For the price, I was definitely not impressed and the organization on the ship was very much lacking. If we river cruise again (which I expect we will), we will try another company. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are Heritage members and sailed with Uniworld before on the S.S. Joie de Vivre from Paris to Normandy. Our experience with Uniworld in 2017 was exceptional! BUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON RIVER PRINCESS WAS NOT! Front Desk Hotel Manager ... Read More
We are Heritage members and sailed with Uniworld before on the S.S. Joie de Vivre from Paris to Normandy. Our experience with Uniworld in 2017 was exceptional! BUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON RIVER PRINCESS WAS NOT! Front Desk Hotel Manager and staff looked upset and serious if you asked a question. No smiles at anytime. It was as if all of them had some attitudes. The wait staff were arguing at times in their Romanian or Slavic language-you could see the tension. I even had to get up at dinner to ask for water. They forgot my meal and had to remind them but all they always said was it is coming and then they would turn to each other and argue. It was extremely uncomfortable. The dining room was poorly set up not allowing much choices on seating to meet others and definitely NOT what our last experience was. It was a typical dining room as if it were on a Celebrity Cruise. The food on the River Princess was below standard-not typical of Uniworld’s fine culinary fare. It tasted comparable to most large massive mid budget cruise liners. We were extremely appalled that we were served a buffet one evening for dinner. Our Food was served Luke warm or cold at table side. I sent back several dinners due to flavor and being cold. My husband ordered a simple steak and looked grey in color as if they threw it is a broiler and rushed it out. He sent it back. We waited so long for our food to come a good portion of the time. Having to remind them! Never told in the morning there was a special dish. When the omelet station chef overheard me speak to another guest he said there is always a special and showed it to me. When I asked him to order me one, he said, " sorry, you have to go to your table and ask your waiter". The waiter NEVER CAME! I had to flag them down. That was done more than just one day on a 8 day trip. The choices of food served were the same almost everyday at lunch or breakfast. Many times.I had to wait 30 minutes for poached eggs. Poached eggs take 2-3 minutes to make. I made my own toast. The Eggs Benedict in morning was cold and thick sauce I could not eat it. Our tour guides were not the best and rushed us. Even an expert lecturer who traveled on the ship and spoke about the history stopped our guide during a tour and told her she was not telling the history as per the Jewish Heritage Tour it was to be. The ship was old and tired. My advice would be to remove this ship from circulation. It is old and many issues. The trip was from Vienna to Prague. They went to Nuremberg and bussed us to Prague-(4 hours) not given water bottles and stopped 1/2 way to buy some! Our choices of tours were do as locals with a basic walking neighborhoods, biking, hiking in Bavarian Forrest or Pay for other tours that were not worth the money-Especially the Schoenbrunn Palace-we paid 66Euro per person. We were taken to 4 rooms that were an apartment of a Queen who liked tropical islands and murals on walls, no furniture at all to view. Rushe in and out. There maybe 15 minutes it was so small. Took us on a specific tour in a museum to see directly the Vermeer painting a just a few other paintings. Then told to go to the gardens and walk around for 45 minutes in the blaring heat! She was abrupt and she had 45 minutes to herself and she could have let us stay in the museum if we chose too. But we HAD to leave it! We hung around in the heat and had nothing to do. I wrote a letter to corporate office explaining our experience in detail. They had the audacity to insult us with a $150 per person credit on board to be used on our next trip and expires no later than December 2020! Other passengers who had been on Uniworld before and had good experience prior were also upset and said Viking they took once did a better job on food , staff and quality. We are done with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have been on multiple ocean cruises and wanted try to a river cruise. I have to say this was the best in terms of total relaxation. To glide along the river on the amply seated top deck with you beverage of choice is an immediate stress ... Read More
We have been on multiple ocean cruises and wanted try to a river cruise. I have to say this was the best in terms of total relaxation. To glide along the river on the amply seated top deck with you beverage of choice is an immediate stress reliever. The ship is beautifully decorated in shades of blue and green. Staff is attentive. Dining is buffet style for breakfast and lunch. Sit down meal at dinner. The relaxed vibe continues at dinner with no formal dress up required. Resort casual for men and women with men occasionally in a suit jacket at dinner. The pre-dinner talk by the cruise director regarding the next days excursions and the sommeliers description of the wines to be served at dinner was very informative and entertaining. Food was good, wonderfully prepared and presented. Big eaters beware portions are small at dinner. I felt the excursions had enough variety. Wine tastings were plentiful as were other other alternatives such as an excursion to learn about barrel making. Being able to dock close to town and the extended length of time spent in ports allow for easy on and off to explore the towns on your own. Many of the people we met were 3+ travelers on Uniworld which speaks volumes about the cruise lines commitment to the quality of service that brings people back again and again. Overall this was a great experience with the following exceptions. The French Balcony cabin is extremely small. One needs to develop a system for two people to navigate around the room without one having to crawl over the bed. I would not book this cabin again on this ship. Beautifully appointed bathroom but again small. I would not recommend the chefs specialty dinner with wine paring. The experience did not support the additional charge compared to others we have been to. While this is the most all inclusive of all the river cruises there are still some charges for premium liquors. Ask before you order. I highly recommend cruising on a river and would certainly highly endorse Uniworld as a first choice Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary on the Danube from Budapest to Passau, Germany and we chose Uniworld on the advice of a few friends. We liked the idea of an all inclusive trip, we've been on a few ocean ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary on the Danube from Budapest to Passau, Germany and we chose Uniworld on the advice of a few friends. We liked the idea of an all inclusive trip, we've been on a few ocean cruises where that was not the case. We booked the Uniworld add-on of two nights in Budapest before embarking on our cruise. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with Budapest. Our tour guide/concierge Romulus was wonderful, helped us with restaurant reservations and guidance on where to visit, as well as leading our tours which were included with the add-on. There are a couple of optional tours which were an extra fee, we did book the trip to Sznentendre, which was a lovely little town, full of little stalls with locally made goods. We loved Budapest, the food was wonderful, locally produced wines were very good, the people were friendly, I highly recommend it. Our embarkation onto the ship was extremely smooth. Our luggage went from hotel to ship with no problems. The check in procedure was simple and efficient. Debarkation was also smooth. The ship is beautiful, all the public rooms make you feel like you are staying in one of the palaces you visit along the way. We stayed in a balcony room on the 4th deck, the room is small but very comfortable, There is plenty of storage and the empty suitcases did fit under the bed. I'm not sure if it was worth the extra money for the balcony room, the balcony takes up space in the 194 sq ft, but it was nice being on the upper floor of the ship. The food is really good and there are regional specialties served as you travel along the river. There are always regional wines as well, which were very good and generously poured. The service was excellent, couldn't think of a thing that they could improve on. There isn't much in the way of entertainment at night but we were so tired it didn't matter. The ports along the Danube were beautiful, Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Melk, Linz (Salzburg) and Passau. The included tours were all great there were a few which were additional fees, like a Pub Crawl in Budapest (fun) and a tour of Schonbrunn in Vienna, both worth the extra cash. We would definitely try another Uniworld river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld ... Read More
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld certainly knows what it's doing when it comes to hiring the "best of the best" as we found each and every person on board to be kind, engaging, fun, service oriented and just lovely. In particular Adrian, our Waiter, was Amazing, as was a bar waitress named Sylvia. Always a smile, they remembered the smallest details: How you like your drink, or the type of coffee you enjoyed. Our stewardess kept the cabin SPOTLESS and we were so impressed with how quickly they did their work. Can't praise them enough! Food: Meal quality was a little uneven. In particular Uniworld always has some basics on the menu in case you can't find anything you like in the daily featured dishes at dinner. The "Everyday" menu included things like Chicken and Steaks and Salmon and while prepared pretty well, the quality of the ingredients seemed to be lacking a bit. Strongly suggest they look to their purveyors to up that quality of the proteins on board. The breakfast and Lunches are all buffets and they were really excellent always plenty of choices. The dining room is a bit tight with big comfy chairs but overall a very pleasant place to spend a good portion of the evening. Again, the staff shined with complimentary wine flowing. Overall dinners were OK, just not at the level we were expecting at this price point. Tours: This is where I feel Uniworld really shines and is totally the reason to pay a little more for Uniworld. We saw other lines with huge groups of people but Uniworld had these small intimate group tours around the various cities. We couldn't have been more impressed with the guides (they get the best of the best) and loved the 'do as the locals do" visiting markets, riding public transit with our guide and learning ever so much, about the daily lives of the locals. A++++. Accommodations: So Uniworld claims to have the best beds on the rivers and indeed they do. Seriously it's no joke, these beds are off the chart. It's like sleeping in a gloved hand, resting on a cloud. I could go on and on but suffice to say, you will want to try, as we did, to figure out how to get this bed home with you! The decor is really quite something, shall I say " Over the Top". Makes you feel like you are staying in one of the palaces that you've toured each day. Initially I was a bit taken aback, but quickly realized it was replicating the experience of old Europe and very quickly I fell in love with it all the tufts and frills. while I wouldn't decorate my home this way, the style and glamour immersed you in the European style and we loved it! Ambiance: Sadly on our sailing there wasn't a piano player in the lounge and that was a miss, as a little music during cocktail hour and afterwards would have made the product come to life a little more. Uniworld does bring on entertainment in some of the ports but would have loved a little more consistency in this area. I found the other guest on board to be quite social and we met tons of new friends. Bottom Line: It's worth the extra $$. You will be wowed and super comfy! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first cruise ever. Was somewhat hesitant on cruising as we thought we would not have enough to do and things would be too micro managed. This boat was wonderful. Once met at the airport, Uniworld took charge of the bags ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever. Was somewhat hesitant on cruising as we thought we would not have enough to do and things would be too micro managed. This boat was wonderful. Once met at the airport, Uniworld took charge of the bags and upon boarding the boat all bags were brought to the room. Room and boat were wonderful. All our needs were met on board and tours were arranged with very knowledgeable guides of the various cities. Our tours were well set up and there were options available depending on what your interests were. Our ship had some children on it and there was enough for them to do. We traveled at times during the day to take in the beautiful scenery, although some of the travel was done in the evening. The food was delicious. There was so much variety. Breakfast was buffet, with also an special order option. Lunch buffet with every day a special chef's carving station. Wine and drinks all day. Staff was just wonderful Special bar area for relaxing between meals and after a day of touring the various cities and several evening entertainment. Sun deck had lounge and tables available with bar set up during the day. Room was beautiful and heated bathroom floors and towel rack. My husband said he had never wanted to go on any type of cruise and here he is planning the next one. We can't say enough about how great this trip was!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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
We just returned from another perfect cruise with Uniworld but it’s what we expected being return customers. Every time we get on board it’s like coming home again, we always see some cruise members from a previous cruise on other ... Read More
We just returned from another perfect cruise with Uniworld but it’s what we expected being return customers. Every time we get on board it’s like coming home again, we always see some cruise members from a previous cruise on other boats. This time it was the head chef and our waiter Alexander. This particular cruise pays special attention to the D-Day landing sites in Normandy. For those of you interested in history and the sacrifices our young men made to free the world of terror, this is the cruise to take. Being there in person gives you a whole different perspective than what you got from the history books. On board we enjoyed a plethora of gourmet meals accompanied by a superb selection of quality wines. Try the La Cave du Vin for cozy, hands on, fine dining in the boat’s wine cellar. Book as soon you get on board because it fills up quickly. There is an extra charge for this but worth it. And the bar in the Salon Toulouse will amaze you with the selection of fine beverages from all over the world. Cleanliness on board is beyond reproach as is the friendliness and the service of the entire crew. Special thanks for service above and beyond go to our Hotel Manager Maria and our waiters Nikolay and Alexander. And the shore excursions are always well orchestrated and professionally guided through interesting places. But as with everything in life there are always some glitches, minor in this case but annoying. This boat was just refurbished so they added some “improvements”. The faucet in the bathroom sink has separate hot and cold water controls. The hot water is scolding hot so it takes you a while to temper it to a usable temperature with the two handles. But the bigger problem is the water spout which comes out from the wall and almost to the outside edge of the sink. It makes it impossible to bring your face over the sink and to bring the water to your face to wash it. You have to stand back and the water goes over your feet and the floor. Hint to the designers; shorten the spout by at least six inches. The other goof is the new “Do not disturb” notification. They’ve done away with the door handle sign and replaced it with an electronic touch pad inside the cabin. However, this very sensitive unit is just below the wall slot where you insert the key card to turn on the room utilities. It is almost certain that you will touch it inadvertently and alter the setting when you insert and remove the key card. And when the card is in the slot it hides the indicator light. So when we didn’t get our cabin made up for two days I went to the reception desk for an explanation. They knew immediately what was going on because it has happened to others and they very kindly explained how this new system functions. And lastly, the room thermostat control is another touch pad unit. It is preset to 23 degrees Celsius and has a wide range of temperature settings. But regardless of what temperature you change it to the room temperature never changes from the preset temp. But these minor glitches will not deter us from sailing on Uniworld again. As a matter of fact, while on board we booked the Bordeaux cruise for May 2020. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Overall excellent service. Boarding was very smooth. we were the first to board. Rooms were smaller than other Uniworld boats. We were on the lower level. this boat had a wider wall than other boats. The boat did have a problem with ... Read More
Overall excellent service. Boarding was very smooth. we were the first to board. Rooms were smaller than other Uniworld boats. We were on the lower level. this boat had a wider wall than other boats. The boat did have a problem with a lack of hot water. cold showers were not pleasant. The water problem did seem to get better later in the cruise, but only for short showers. Food service started a little rough. I was served raw salmon, and my wife was served raw chicken. I think it took a little while for the cooks to get used to the ovens. The food overall was very good. The lunches were outstanding. Uniworld offers local foods, and the chef did a great job with them. The only other misstep was during a flaming salmon presentation. The fire unexpectedly jumped and caught two passengers on fire. one was singed, the other had the presence of mind to roll on the ground and escaped with minor injuries. The restaurant staff was fantastic. the really anticipated your needs. Service was always prompt and with a smile. Problems were handled very well. Bar staff was also very good. they remembered what you liked. The only drawback was Uniworld did not include the same high quality drinks as part of the all inclusive. Many other passengers and myself were surprised to find a 9 euro fee for Makers Mark. The wines and port served at dinner and in the bar were surprisingly good. Excursions were changed because of maintenance on a river lock. This changed our itinerary. Overall I thought Uniworld did a good job redoing our ports. Our favorite excursion was dinner at a winery. the owner was a real character. The Sandman port tour would have been better if more time was added to enjoy the grounds. Front desk staff were mostly outstanding. One new person was not up to speed yet, but was very friendly. Lounge entertainer was better than other Uniworld boats. the additional entertainers were ok. My favorite part was cruising by the vinyards. The landscape was beautiful.This is not a high activity cruise. It is a great cruse for someone who wants to relax and enjoy some nice wines Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
we had expected a magical experience after watching Jane MacDonald on this Christmas Markets Cruise last year. The itinerary was wrong as it had listed an Xmas Market every day. They failed to advise us prior to the cruise that the ... Read More
we had expected a magical experience after watching Jane MacDonald on this Christmas Markets Cruise last year. The itinerary was wrong as it had listed an Xmas Market every day. They failed to advise us prior to the cruise that the shops close on Xmas Eve so the last market was on the 23rd. The ship was beautiful but the cruise was dull & boring with no atmosphere. The cabin was lovely, well decorated but did lack a mini bar. Service very good. Every night we were entertained by the same duo apart from an additional singer one night who bombarded us with non stop Xmas songs. As you can imagine, by Xmas eve we were sick of hearing Xmas songs. The food was good but we never saw a menu until we sat down for dinner. One exception was Xmas night when the turkey was awful as it was stuffed with figs! There was no onboard activities, so for those who did not get off the ship or go on an excursion, it was uneventful. For what we paid we could have had 3 months on an ocean cruise. No more river cruises for us, especially with Uniworld! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The Parisian Royal Holiday cruise travels from Paris to Rouen and back, spending more days in Paris than a similar cruise that goes from Paris to Normandy. We chose it because of the length of the Paris stay and a big plus was the ... Read More
The Parisian Royal Holiday cruise travels from Paris to Rouen and back, spending more days in Paris than a similar cruise that goes from Paris to Normandy. We chose it because of the length of the Paris stay and a big plus was the ship's berth on the Seine with a view of the Eifel Tower. We also prefer river cruising because the ships are more intimate and generally have fewer than 200 passengers. Getting to know new people and building relationships is much easier in a smaller venue. Our airfare package include transfers to/from Charles de Gaul (CDG) airport which is a good distance from the ship berth, but was accomplished with speed and comfort. The cruise includes visits to Christmas markets in Paris and Rouen, although the Paris markets were somewhat disappointing. The local tours included visits to 3 different chateaus with an evening concert at one and a private reception at another. The highlight tour was the Versailles Palace with a tour of the private royal apartments as well as the rooms open to the general public. We were also able to enter the Palace through a group tour door that bypassed the long entrance line. The ship was decorated for the holidays, the cabins were comfortable and the bathroom fairly spacious. The ship's crew was very friendly and helpful and all living areas could be reached by elevator, which was especially helpful since one member of our party had a broken foot. The injury did create some issues with tours that involved cobbles and long walks since this cruise, unlike others we have made, did not have tours to accommodate "gentle walkers". Using a wheel chair to improve mobility was not an option. The local tour guides were knowledgeable and most were fluent in English. Most days there was free time to pursue your own interests, especially in Paris, and the ship offered optional tours at additional cost including a Rolls Royce night time tour of Paris (if you were so inclined). For us, the tour highlights, in addition to Versailles, were the Rouen Christmas Market, the tour of Notre Dame de Paris, the Paris Opera House, and a night tour of Paris holiday lights in the major shopping areas concluding with the Eifel Tower light show. We also considered it a plus that the cruise was "all inclusive" so we didn't have to keep money on hand to tip the tour guides, bus drivers or ship's crew. In addition to the wine and beer served at lunch and dinner, mixed drinks were also covered making the trip more enjoyable. Most evenings there was entertainment in the lounge and before dinner the cruise director gave an overview of the next days tours. The food on board was somewhat a mixed bag. Breakfast had similar offerings each day that included eggs, meat, potatoes, cereal and a variety of breads. The food offered at dinner was generally unique and even included frogs legs and escargot on one occasion. The non-meat or fish dinner option was usually pasta which got a little monotonous. If I had to criticize anything it would be some of the lunches. It became obvious that a part of the lunch offering was recycled from the previous evening dinner. While I understand the economy of this it did get a little predictable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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
My husband and I were passengers on the Basel to Amsterdam "Castles Along the Rhine" October 14-22, 2018 river cruise with Uniworld on board the SS Antoinette. On the second night( the first night of this "7 night ... Read More
My husband and I were passengers on the Basel to Amsterdam "Castles Along the Rhine" October 14-22, 2018 river cruise with Uniworld on board the SS Antoinette. On the second night( the first night of this "7 night voyage" was the overnight cruise to Breisach from Basel), we were informed that there was a possibility that the cruise might be cut short because of low river levels. Sure enough, at the 3rd evening update we were told that we would not be traveling any further on the boat. We were offered a four day, 3 night bus trip from Strasbourg to Amsterdam to complete our cruise. This would involve 3 overnight stops at hotels selected by Uniworld and we would receive vouchers for meals at each of the stops.Uniworld also offered $1000 per person off of a future cruise in 2019. Our group of 6 felt that since we had signed up for a cruise, we did not want to experience the Rhine by bus, nor did we want to pack and unpack our bags each night or have to search out restaurants for dinner at every stop, so we proposed to the cruise director that we would stay on the boat and return to Basel with the passengers that were being transferred from a southbound boat onto the SS Antoinette to complete their cruise. Late in the day on the 4th night we were told that our request had been accepted. This necessitated purchasing airline tickets from Basel to Amsterdam at a cost of $250per person since our return flights to the US were out of Amsterdam. At the 3rd night update, when the cruise cancellation was announced , the captain stated that they had hoped that a weather system moving over the south of France would move further north and provide enough rainfall to fill the river so passage would be possible. The system never moved north. This indicated to us that Uniworld knew in advance of our departure that the river level was too low, since we had already been told within 24 hours of departure that cancellation was a possibility. We felt deceived and taken advantage of. Therefore on our return to the US we requested a full refund of our cruise faire. We were offered 20% refund and a $1000 credit for a cruise in 2019. I have also included pictures of the "upgraded" suite we were offered for the return to Basel. Uniworld promotes their cruises as an upscale, luxury experience. Somehow tattered throw pillows, a worn out lounge chair, stained bedcover and ripped curtain are their idea of luxury. The meals onboard were also a huge disappointment. While the volume of food was more than adequate, the quality and preparation were sorely lacking.( ie.french onion soup consisted of 3 pieces of onion floating in weak beef broth with a cheese crouton on the side. This was served on two nights.) Having only traveled as far as Strasbourg, we did not see any castles. I gave this cruise 2 stars only because the staff was exceptional and the optional cooking class out of Strasbourg was amazing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose Uniworld after being told by the travel agent and the Uniworld rep. that the trip that they offer would meet our "bucket list" vacation as well as our anniversary. We were told that the ships, service, excursions, etc. ... Read More
We chose Uniworld after being told by the travel agent and the Uniworld rep. that the trip that they offer would meet our "bucket list" vacation as well as our anniversary. We were told that the ships, service, excursions, etc. were first rate and all of our dreams would be fulfilled. They took our deposit in March 2017 and the $15000 trip for my wife and me was paid by June 2018. When we arrived in Budapest in October, we were told by the Uniworld rep that the water levels were low and that we would need to change ships the 2nd day. We would again change ships another time during the vacation. We found out from the captains of 2 ships that the problems were going on for over 5 weeks. Yet, we heard nothing from the Company or our travel agent prior to the trip. In fact, another passenger had an email from a rep at Uniworld 2 weeks before the trip stating there was no issues on any of the rivers. In addition, the CEO of Uniworld sent a note to all passengers the 2nd week offering 200 dollars to use on the ship and 1500 credit for a trip taken in 2019. For your information, there is a limited area for all passengers to purchase anything. We bought an overpriced swiss army knife and woman's watch. It is doubtful we or any of the passengers we spoke with will use the cruise credit. We ended up taking bus tours more than cruising. We had itineraries change. Missed at least 4 of the ports we were supposed to see. Excursions were cut short. Oftentimes, the guides weren't aware we were coming. Excuses became the norm. Nobody from Uniworld corporate came. Even after returning and writing the CEO, Ellen Bettridge, we received a canned response a month after the letter was sent. The Company took the "low road" in not meeting our expectations and not alerting us of the water issues. They could have told us. Their reps could have alerted us, but they didn't. Says a lot about the Company. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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