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Sail Date: June 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Just got back from a fabulous trip to India's Golden Triangle and the Ganges River by Uniworld. On land went to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, staying at the incredible Oberoi hotels. The hotel service, food, ambiance was the best ever. The ... Read More
Just got back from a fabulous trip to India's Golden Triangle and the Ganges River by Uniworld. On land went to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, staying at the incredible Oberoi hotels. The hotel service, food, ambiance was the best ever. The rooms spacious and elegant. In Agra from the room's veranda you can see the Taj Mahal Embarked smoothly from Kalkuta to the river cruise ship the Ganges Explorer !!, which looks like a New Orleans paddle wheeler. The Cabins were gorgeous and huge, food very good. As someone who hates Indian food I was hesitant about taking this trip, but was able to get Thai (which I love) Chinese and Continental food both in hotels and aboard ship. The soups on the ship were especially good. In our group of 28 only 2 people got sick...they ate street food ! The only secret to staying well is drink and use for teeth brushing only bottled water! The ports all had interesting temples, towns and sights along the way. Found the Indian people to be very friendly and kind. Service at hotels and aboard ship to be wonderful. Staff was dedicated to seeing you have the best trip of your life! Hemesh, our trip leader did everything humanly possible to see that everything ran smoothly. When my husband developed an awful cold and cough an Indian doctor was called by Hemesh and the manager of the cruise who came to attend him. They took care of everything and did not bill us for the visit or medicine. Uniworld did a wonderful job with this fantastic trip. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My fiancé received an incentive trip provided by Brother sewing machines. We started in Amsterdam and also stopped in Germany, Switzerland and ending in Basel, France. All the way from special dining foods and wines in what ever ... Read More
My fiancé received an incentive trip provided by Brother sewing machines. We started in Amsterdam and also stopped in Germany, Switzerland and ending in Basel, France. All the way from special dining foods and wines in what ever region we were in was a delight on this all inclusive cruise. The service by the wonderful crew was superb! Nicolay runs a wonderful dining room, any request I had he fulfilled for us. Great waiters and waitresses, all had their own special qualities Plus the bar with Mariya and Silviya working very hard to please, constantly smiling. They never tell you no. Anthony making sure we were introduced to each city we came into port on great excursions. Our cabin was wonderfully taken care of by Tihimore who had a ready smile she shared. It felt like home the entire stay. Thank you so much, made many memories for myself and my fiancé. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We contracted this cruise with others through a common travel agent and received great value. The rooms on the 3rd level are quite small, requiring my wife and I to signal each other as to where we were headed in the room in order to make ... Read More
We contracted this cruise with others through a common travel agent and received great value. The rooms on the 3rd level are quite small, requiring my wife and I to signal each other as to where we were headed in the room in order to make space for us to pass. There is sufficient closet space, few drawers, a good safe, and interestingly the wall covers have a foam base which eliminates all noise other than that in the room. The daily trips related to the Jewish Excursions throughout the week and the guides, with one exception, were among the best we have experienced. Everything was easy here, prompted by a rather modest size passenger list. The food was from good to very good, with outstanding restaurant service, especially the maître d' who provided my wife at every meal with a serrated knife since she has problems with her hand. He would come up behind us, wherever we sat, and unobtrusively replace the cutlery. And he had the cook prepare a side dish for a passenger we sat with based on her request. MOST IMPRESSIVE. There is less to do in the afternoons after the tours and other than a piano player, nothing in the evening...with one exception. While the cruise director did good work describing the castles on the Rhine, more information would have been very helpful and more entertainment in the evening would have enhanced the trip. Our room was kept spotless, and the ship itself was exceedingly clean. It was a comfortable cruise with a very attentive staff. I wish that it had some added features in order for me to recommend this excursion to others. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
You only have one chance to make a first impression. Uniworld failed, and then failed again. Yet we had a wonderful cruise and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Uniworld product to anyone. This was my 37th cruise; fourth river ... Read More
You only have one chance to make a first impression. Uniworld failed, and then failed again. Yet we had a wonderful cruise and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Uniworld product to anyone. This was my 37th cruise; fourth river cruise; third Europe river cruise; first Uniworld. My favorite ocean cruises are Crystal and Celebrity, and in Europe our two river cruises were on AmaWaterways (I’d certainly be happy to cruise with them again). We booked through an agency that puts together air and “best available” cruise cabins, close to departure, at good prices. We were hesitant to let somebody else plan our air, but we booked less than two months in advance on a cruise we had wanted to do but didn’t think we could fit into our busy schedule! This itinerary has a Jewish Heritage option for tours in 2018, which is what attracted us to it. I had inquired about whether they’d be doing the same for 2019 and they didn’t know yet. Because the planning would be minimal (just check the weather and try to pack appropriately), we decided to jump in and book. We actually were happy with the Delta flights chosen for us. We were flying to Basel to start the cruise, and we knew we’d have three ups and downs (we don’t live in a hub city) so it was fine. What was a bit frustrating is that the Basel airport has two distinct exits, one into France and one into Switzerland. We didn’t see the signs about that; we were merely focused on finding our luggage carousel. Luckily a friend who was with us saw the appropriate signs and stopped us from using the wrong exit. I thought Uniworld could’ve mentioned that for guests embarking in Basel. Then to compound the frustration, after finding the representative and boarding the bus for our group transfer, we arrive at the “pier”, with two ships parked along side. No representative from Uniworld welcomed us. Only one crew member came to get luggage, and he couldn’t take everybody’s at once. Finally a second crew member showed up and assured us he’d take our bags, suggesting that we just go to board the River Empress. It wasn’t even clear which way to choose to walk to the ship! Ok, all of that was quickly forgotten when we got on board and could relax comfortably for an hour in the lounge, or even outside on the deck, until lunch was served in the main dining room. After that, it was easy to leave our carry-ons with the front desk and walk into the center of the town, where we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the lovely market full of flowers, fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and food stalls. We saw city hall and found the cathedral, so we felt we had started our European sightseeing quite nicely. Back at the ship, we unpacked and were ready for dinner and bedtime! Before dinner each evening, the Cruise Manager gives a briefing about the next day’s activities. The lounge is comfortable and everybody who wishes to attend fits in nicely. The sommelier/bartender gives a briefing about the included wines that evening for dinner as well as the ones with an upcharge (one white and one red in both categories). That’s a good time to visit with the Cruise Manager if you have any questions about the next day. Also, when you return to your cabin, you’ll find the information about the next day, and there’s plenty of detail that kept us well clued in. We were quite pleased with all of the meals aboard the River Empress. Breakfast and lunch are buffet and you quickly figure out which things are duplicated on both sides and where to find your favorites. On a few occasions, restocking wasn’t as quick as we might hope to see, but otherwise everything was available and at the correct temperature. For breakfast, you can order from the menu if you wish, instead of picking out your own things or going to the gentleman cooking the eggs, and there’s one special dish every morning. We were a party of four, and often dined with three additional guests we met onboard, and I would say that all of us were quite happy with the food – and we were VERY happy with the service. We made a point of sitting in the same area because we knew the waiter, Milen, was so good. Special kudos to Uniworld for the nice job they did incorporating local foods into the menus. I never met our cabin stewardess but she definitely did a good job. I adjusted the little chairs the first night, or I would’ve tripped over them in the middle of the night! But otherwise the cabin was fine, although small. Still, we had enough room to unpack and we certainly had a nice hot shower every day and a truly comfortable night’s sleep. Sometimes we even had a nice view out our window! Other times, we had a view of the river ship next to us, or the walls of the locks that are used to navigate the river, or the docking area. On the little desk/dressing table, there’s an apothecary jar with small, delicious chocolates, and that went a long way to erase my frustration from our airport and river arrival. There’s a lounge entertainer before and after dinner, so there’s lovely background music and the opportunity for dancing. One evening, there was a group of three performers who were extremely well received (perhaps because they were over the age of 60, as was most of the cruising population). The cocktail waitress joined the packed dance floor when they played YMCA. The tours were exactly what we wanted. We had signed up for the Jewish Heritage tours at every port stop that offered them (six out of seven) and the sites we visited, and the tour guides, were excellent in four out of the six and just a bit disappointing in the other two. These tours require advance sign-up, and varied from 24 to 30 guests, always with two tour guides. Usually the tour guides were in two separate groups part of the time and together, all of us, the rest of the time. For the most part it worked great. There are forms to evaluate the tour guides and I certainly took the opportunity of telling who was great and who was not so great. As you may know, river cruising is very big in Europe, so there’s no doubt plenty of competition for the various companies to book the guides. Uniworld uses the QuietVox system so we can always hear the tour guides. I wear hearing aids and I had no trouble using the QuietVox earpiece with no adjustment needed. The only thing one needs to remember is to charge the system every night and take it with you the next day on tour. One day there was a really good speaker onboard, and one morning there was scenic cruising through the area with many lovely castles and legends. The cruise manager narrated, using the QuietVox system. As an aside, while we were onboard, Uniworld announced that the Jewish Heritage tours for 2019 will be offered on the Rhine again and also on the Danube. For some totally unknown reason, the Danube cruise seems not to be including Budapest. That makes no sense to me (not that anybody asked me). Uniworld is an all-inclusive cruise line. All our tours, alcohol, and gratuities, off and on the ship, were included in the cruise fare. I like that a lot. On occasion there’s an opportunity to do an off-ship experience with an upcharge. I didn’t do any, but a friend did and she was very happy with it. The only other things you might spend money for on the ship are purchases in the gift shop, massages, or the upcharge wines (only by the bottle). Our Cruise Manager was Anthony and I thought he was outstanding. He’s a huge asset for Uniworld. Actually, I have to say all the crew and staff I dealt with were excellent. All in all, a truly lovely cruise experience. I would be delighted to cruise with Uniworld again. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Highly recommend this trip. It was an amazing experience. There were 47 Uniworld customers for the entire 11 days and 17 additional customers (from Uniworld affiliated companies) joined us on the 7 day Nile cruise. Our trip started in ... Read More
Highly recommend this trip. It was an amazing experience. There were 47 Uniworld customers for the entire 11 days and 17 additional customers (from Uniworld affiliated companies) joined us on the 7 day Nile cruise. Our trip started in Cairo on 4 March. There are numerous positive things about our experience with Uniworld. There are also several things Uniworld could improve upon to make this trip even better. Highlights 1. Our guide and Egyptologist, Mohamed Ragheb (also known as Habibi), was the best guide we have had on over 30 trips throughout the world. Mohamed led our group of 24 throughout the trip. Another guide had the other 23 passengers. These are the reasons we were so impressed: --Mohammed was passionate, enthusiastic, and extremely knowledgeable about Egypt and its history. He brought Egypt’s history to life. --He went out of his way to meet each of our needs. He bought medicine for people who needed them. He kept us in the shade on hot days. He bought us fresh bread from the local street bakeries, fresh fruit, and cookies. --He cared about modern Egypt and let us see Egypt as it is today—the rich 10% and the poverty of the lowest 30%. No sugar coating--just a love of Egypt and its people. --He added a special tour to the Bent pyramid and Red pyramid on Day 10 when we returned to Cairo. Without this, we would have waited 5 hours for our rooms at the Four Seasons—-read some of the other reviews. 2. The itinerary was well paced, with sightseeing interspersed with time to relax on the Tosca. But.....be prepared for many early morning wake ups. You will be thankful. Less crowds and less heat. Here are a few highlights. --The pyramids outside of Cairo on Days 10 and 11. Seeing the Bent pyramid and Red pyramid on Day 10 gave us the history leading up to the building of the Giza pyramids. Climbing up and then descending into the burial chamber of the Red pyramid was unbelievable. Day 11 we went first to Saqqara, the stepped pyramid, and its royal tombs. Then onto the great pyramids of Giza——they are clearly the number one wonder of both the ancient and modern worlds. So gorgeous and so mind boggling enormous when you stand right up next to them. Day 11 was not finished. We still had the iconic Sphinx and the solar boat museum—143 feet of rebuilt boat beauty buried for 4300 years. --The Egyptian museum in Cairo. This is the number one museum in the world and it is fabulous, with over 4500 artifacts from King Tut’s tomb alone. A brand new and much improved museum is slated to open in the next couple of months. --Cruising the Nile while sitting on the top deck of the Tosca. The Nile is amazing and its transformation of the desert on both sides for a mile. --Valley of the Kings--We went into 4 tombs with beautiful passageways and carvings which included King Tut’s surprisingly small and unadorned tomb (with his mummy). --Ramses II’s temple at Abu Simbel carved out of a rock face. The building of the high dam forced engineers to move the whole site 200 feet to keep it above the water of Lake Nasser. --The Dendera temple was the most pleasant surprise on our journey with the best preserved colored engravings on the columns and the ceilings. 3. The Tosca was a wonderful traveling vessel. We were in the cheapest room on the reception level, room 106. It was very spacious, well furnished and appointed, with a modern large bathroom and lots of storage space. We had two huge windows looking out over the Nile. We also really enjoyed the sun deck. The service from the crew was wonderful and thoughtful. They were always smiling and welcoming. Things Uniworld could improve 1. Tipping policy is very irritating. On most Uniworld cruises tips are included, whereas on this cruise, no tips are included. It felt like we were constantly being asked to tip everyone including bus drivers, porters, local guides, tour coordinators, etc. We did not have an issue with tipping Mohamed, our fabulous guide or the Tosca crew at the end of the cruise, but seems like Uniworld could take care of all the other small tips. Be prepared to pay $450/couple for tips. 2. Day 10 back into Cairo needs to be fixed. This is one of biggest complaints on reviews. We had to leave the Tosca at 6:00 am to catch an early flight to Cairo. However, the rooms at the Four Season are not available until around 3:00. We were charged an additional $30/person for extra tour (which was fabulous) vs option to sit around hotel for 5 hours waiting for our room. Pay a bit more and get us on later flight or include the additional pyramid tour. 3. Alcohol on the Tosca. Another hidden Uniworld charge only in Egypt and maybe one other place. Egyptian wine on the Tosca ranged from undrinkable to mediocre. Plus Uniworld charged for it! Mixed drinks were watered down and expensive. Beer was fine. Uniworld needs to identify the best Egyptian wines and have them available at a reasonable price. Nearly every customer likes to drink good wine with dinner. You can do better. Need one of your wine experts to take a trip to Egypt and fix it. 4. Survey form can be improved. Very limited room for feedback. Plus survey was done before we saw the Pyramids and final two days in Cairo. 5. Skip the citadel and mosque in Cairo. There has to be something better to do in Cairo. Other positives 1. Four Seasons Nile is truly 5 stars. Large wonderful rooms overlooking the Nile, breakfast, service, lobby, restaurants. 2. Pickup at airport and deliver back to airport could not be better. So easy. 3. Trip worked like clockwork. Buses, guides, tours were always well orchestrated and on time, 4. Always felt safe. Armed guard with us always plus police escorts many places. Egypt takes tourist safety seriously. Other thoughts 1. Get e-visas online from Egyptian government site—this is new!!! So easy and quick. https://visa2egypt.gov.eg 2. Food on Tosca is very good with many choices but do not expect amazing 3. March is a great time to be on this cruise. We were 15 degrees above normal on the cruise and it was over 100 a couple of days. But...Nile river is 60 degrees and cools things off. Main sightseeing is early in am and cool. Lots of shade in temples. Very low humidity. Recently went 7 years with no rain in Aswan. 4. Be prepared for polluted air in Cairo and for haze on the Nile cruise. 5. Be prepared for a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We have travelled with Uniworld on other cruises and had found them very good. The Douro Valley was on our 'must do' list. Both the cruise and the ship exceeded expectations. Although the usual things ( mentioned below) met ... Read More
We have travelled with Uniworld on other cruises and had found them very good. The Douro Valley was on our 'must do' list. Both the cruise and the ship exceeded expectations. Although the usual things ( mentioned below) met expectations it was the attitude of the staff on board and on arranged tours that made the trip very special. The staff were more than just friendly and helpful - they were an integral part of the experience. Their humour alone was worth the trip. Shore excursions were effortless and enjoyable, the scenery along the way was magnificant. Were held a professional conference on board for 80 delegates and although the ship was not designed for conferencing the ships crew did everything necessary to facilitate the smooth running of our conference including the rearranging of furniture and the set up of conference facilities daily, rescheduling tours, meals and events to accommodate conference sessions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Items that needed improvement: 1. The on-board musicians (husband and wife) were not of high quality. Most passengers did not enjoy. On 2 separate nites, local musicians performed and they were excellent. 2. While on ship, more ... Read More
Items that needed improvement: 1. The on-board musicians (husband and wife) were not of high quality. Most passengers did not enjoy. On 2 separate nites, local musicians performed and they were excellent. 2. While on ship, more activities should have been organized such as trivia contests, in depth history mini lectures, etc. 3. Scrambled eggs at breakfast were barely warm 4. The Airport Hotel in Basel was the site of Uniworld bus pickup on Sat., July 1. When hotel front desk staff was asked to confirm that Uniworld buses were coming, they had no knowledge of this. We were very worried and concerned that we were at the wrong hotel. The communication between Uniworld and the hotel was unacceptable. Also, the hotel failed to send their free shuttle to pick us up at airport. We had to over pay, $28, for a very short taxi ride. 5. WiFi on the ship, Antoinette, was mostly poor in rooms and mediocre in common areas. Items that were great: food, service, butlers, wait staff, excursions Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Christmas Markets and specifically because we had travelled with UniWorld on 5 previous cruises. We chose this particular cruise date because it coincided with our 45th Wedding Anniversary. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Christmas Markets and specifically because we had travelled with UniWorld on 5 previous cruises. We chose this particular cruise date because it coincided with our 45th Wedding Anniversary. UniWorld decorated our state room with "candles", rose petals and a bottle of champagne. We did explore Cologne for two days prior to embarkation. Embarkation was effortless; as we arrived the ship's crew brought our bags immediately onboard. The SS Antoinette was magnificent: marble was tastefully incorporated throughout the entire ship; the draperies were exceptionally well color-coordinated to pieces of furniture; the chandelier in the main reception area was simply gorgeous; and the cuisine was 5-Star quality! Service was up to the standards that we had experienced on previous cruises. All of the staff attended to our requested and anticipated needs. The excursions were well-integrated with the Christmas Markets and the city tours. Superb guides, one of whom we had on a previous cruise. The musicians in the lounge added a very nice touch creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The swimming pool was excellent. The resistance jets added a wonderful challenge to our morning swim. The disembarkation was handled as smoothly as our arrival. The post-cruise extension at Les Trois Rois was of the same caliber of service as being onboard the SS Antoinette...including a view of the Rhine River from our room. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was my first rivercruise which I enjoyed very much the service was impeccable the staff very polite and well trained and so professional. A rivercruise is a very relaxing cruise I enjoyed the scenic view all through the cruise ... Read More
This was my first rivercruise which I enjoyed very much the service was impeccable the staff very polite and well trained and so professional. A rivercruise is a very relaxing cruise I enjoyed the scenic view all through the cruise beautiful scenery and the locks were wonderful my whole trip was fantastic I strongly recommend this to people 50 and over not for family. I will go back and do another one with a different country and itin. The food was amazing also the intertainment was fantastic. Everything is looked after in details and the itin was wonderful all the walking tours Tours excursions was wonderful and well planned the guides were very informative and was very well knowledge about their city they live in. The Coaches were also wonderful as there were some small town that we need to take coaches the drivers was nice and friendly and the coaches was very clean. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
The group I traveled with chose the cruise line. The SS Catherine was a modern river cruise ship. The dining room was spacious and comfortable. There was a lounge at the stern which also served meals at breakfast and dinner. The room ... Read More
The group I traveled with chose the cruise line. The SS Catherine was a modern river cruise ship. The dining room was spacious and comfortable. There was a lounge at the stern which also served meals at breakfast and dinner. The room had a king size bed, but there was plenty of room to move around. Lots of closet space and storage drawers. The food was outstanding! Buffets for breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. The chef recommendations for dinner were all unique and tasty. Te package included unlimited pours of wine and beers. The entire crew was friendly, courteous and efficient, especially the dining room staff. Our room was serviced regularly, always while we were away. We did a different shore excursion all but one day. The last one was really too long, but that was because of the rising river levels. The ship was not able to sail to one of the ports on the original itinerary because of the water level. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We had been on more than 15 cruises inner travels but had begun to explore river cruises back in 2009 when we took the family to Europe. Since then, we have made 3 river cruises with another coming up the end of May. Uniworld has ... Read More
We had been on more than 15 cruises inner travels but had begun to explore river cruises back in 2009 when we took the family to Europe. Since then, we have made 3 river cruises with another coming up the end of May. Uniworld has proven itself to be our favorite line. The itinerary's are exceptional, the ship's decor and ammenities lush and beautiful, and the service impeccable. Things such as mid cruise evaluations which received immediate follow-up were of notable significance. Not only did our ship have an indoor pool but the bar, salon, and dining rooms were well appointed, comfortable and pleasant. Our room was comfortable and had many features never before seen on a river cruise (i.e.: heated bathroom floor, best bed ever, exceptional ventilation, rain forest shower, mirrored TV, and wonderful storage space. The service, from in room help to mealtime servers to cruise management were most helpful. They were "how can we help make your trip better" types of people. They were empowered to make it happen. And, as I said, the mid cruise survey was immediately read and implemented, such a rare occurrence. I also want to comment on the guests. We met so many truly wonderful people. I can, honestly, say that every person we met was someone I would enjoy socially whether on or off the ship. My husband and I shared contact information with multiple people. We do believe that the people who select Uniworld are a reflection of the company. We love Uniworld and have already booked our next cruise with them for 2017. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
General Background: Uniworld’s Nile River cruise in early February 2017 was a wonderful 12 day experience. This trip included 4 nights in Cairo at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel and 7 nights on Uniworld’s MS Tosca Nile River boat. ... Read More
General Background: Uniworld’s Nile River cruise in early February 2017 was a wonderful 12 day experience. This trip included 4 nights in Cairo at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel and 7 nights on Uniworld’s MS Tosca Nile River boat. The boat sailed from Luxor to Aswan so we had to fly round trip from Cairo to Luxor and back again. There were some optional tours offered – Alexandria for early arrivals, Abu Simbel for $300 US, Karnak Sound and Light show for $38US, and a Cairo Nile River dinner cruise for $73 US. Now is an excellent time to do a Nile River cruise as Egypt has recently devalued its pound resulting in a favorable exchange rate for tourists; a trip in the early months of the year takes advantage of cooler temperatures (20-24 degrees C daytime with cooler early morning and evening temperatures); Egypt is safe for travelling in organized groups – even so tourist police accompany travelers; Uniworld offers an excellent busy itinerary using good English speaking Egyptologists; and MS Tosca, Uniworld’s river boat used exclusively by Uniworld, has excellent accommodation and food. No one got digestive problems on our trip. Additionally, if you like small group travel, now is the time to go as we only had 23 North Americans on our trip. The boat has accommodations for many more. There were several travellers in our group who had their tour dates changed in order to make a viable tour group for this departure date in February. The itinerary: Uniworld delivered on its advertised itinerary with only a few changes. We were bussed from Luxor to see the temple at Dendera which was more interesting than sailing on the low river as I got to see the villages and people up close. Secondly, Esna Temple was substituted for Edfu Temple because the company did not like how the horse and carriage people treated their horses – a necessary transportation as walking to the temple from the dock was not an option. Thirdly, we made additional visits to local craft shops not included in the printed itinerary. These visits usually started with a demo about the making of the product followed by shopping time. Craft shops visited included a carpet making school, an alabaster shop, a papyrus shop, and a perfume essence shop. There were no guided tours of bazaars. Most of us were satisfied with the goods offered by the vendors in front of each attraction as well as the tourist souvenirs the ship had for sale in its gift shop. The itinerary was a busy one with little free time on the boat – so it was a good use of our sightseeing time. From Cairo we were bussed to see the Egyptian Museum, the Mohammed Ali Mosque, the Giza pyramids, the sphinx, and solar boat museum; then on to Sakkarah to see the Zoser pyramid complex; next, to Memphis to see Ramses II statue and the alabaster sphinx. We also had an evening outing to the Giza pyramids to view the Sound and Light Show. We flew to Luxor on Egypt Air where we boarded the River Tosca. In Luxor we had a guided tour of Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, and Dendera Temple. We visited the Valley of Kings to see 3-5 tombs, Hatshepsut’s temple, and a photostop at the Colossii. Next we sailed to Kom Ombo to see the temple and then sailed to Aswan for 2 nights. Here, we visited a Nubian village, sailed in a felucca to see the birdlife in the marshes and enjoy afternoon tea in the Old Cataract hotel, saw the High dam (a photostop), the Philae Temple complex, and the unfinished obelisk. We opted for the Egypt Air flight to Abu Simbel for a morning visit to the temple there and were back on the boat for lunch. On our return sail to Luxor we stopped at Esna to visit the temple. We returned to Cairo by air. At each attraction we had 2 hours visiting time. The Egyptologist, Ahmed Taher, a young local man with excellent English and ability to talk interestingly about the reliefs, temple construction, the timeline of the pharaohs, the gods, used about 1 hour to point out interesting reliefs and then allowed us to roam around the sites for an additional 1 hour. This was a good balance for me. IMO, it would be an idea to do some pre-reading about ancient Egypt and the sights to be visited. The temples were usually in a ruinous state with incomplete reliefs that no longer had any color or just spotty coloring. Even so it was amazing to see these reliefs which were usually large – 4-5 feet inside the temple walls and much larger on the outside pylons. It was also interesting to compare the relief drawings done at different times in ancient Egyptian history - from the time of the true earlier pharaohs to the more recent Greco-Roman pharaohs. The size of these temples and the huge slabs of stone that were used to construct them were also an amazing sight. At the Valley of the Kings, we could choose which 3 tombs we wanted to visit as 3 tombs were included in the entry ticket. There was time to see at least 2 others, but these needed to be paid for from our pocket at the ticket window. Each tomb, depending on how long one lingered, took about 12 minutes to walk through. The tombs were well maintained with board walks, wide tunnels that were brightly lit (no crouching), and the hieroglyphics and images had good color. Usually there was a huge empty granite sarcophagus in the burial chamber. The walls were filled with images of the funeral procession, the gods that will provide protection in the afterlife, the offerings made, and the hieroglyphics are the prayers for the dead. The pharaohs expected to be resurrected and spend time in the heavens – their mummified remains view a starry filled sky – their destination. The stop at the Giza pyramids allowed us to walk into the smallest pyramid (takes about 25 minutes with some crouching), a 30 minute camel ride ($20 US), a 20 minute visit to the solar museum (pay 110 LE out of one’s pocket for this optional visit), and some time to walk around the pyramids to closely examine their construction. Seeing the pyramids up close made me marvel at their construction using 4 foot tall stone blocks. The sphinx was a photostop as was its memorial temple – just slabs of stone and rectangular columns – nothing special. The Giza pyramids sound and light show was included in our itinerary. The 1 hour show starts at 7pm, is in English, and guests sit on plastic chairs. Sit on the far right hand side facing the Sphinx as that is where the “screen” for the show is. The show talks about the building of the Giza pyramids, the pharaohs who built them and why they built them. Evenings are cool in Cairo so dress warmly for this show. Zoser’s step pyramid complex in Sakkara was a short stop. Here we also saw Unas’s pyramid and temple complex but not the Imhotep Museum. In Memphis we saw the prone remains of a huge broken statue of Ramses II and the smaller alabaster Sphinx. Uniworld tends to use river docks outside of the central part of the village, the exception being Esna and Kom Ombo where we walked to the temples. Thus it was rather impossible to walk into town to see museums in Luxor and Aswan on one’s own. A greyhound type bus (good condition, comfy seats, toilet on board) was used to take passengers from the dock to the temples/attractions. We could safely leave our totebags on the bus while we went sightseeing. The driver was tipped on his last day with us in Luxor as he dropped us off at the airport at the rate of 3$ US per day. Tipping expected for Tosca crew was $8-$10US per day and was paid when we left the ship in Luxor. The Egyptologist expected to receive $8-$10US per day as well and was paid the last day of the trip in Cairo. The company provides envelopes to place these tips in. Ship Information: Uniworld has exclusive use of the MS Tosca. It has a dining room below the 2 decks for staterooms. The sundeck is located on the top deck with loungers and a small pool with cold water but looked inviting and clean. The sundeck was a great place to relax in the late afternoon before getting ready for dinner, but when the boat was sailing, it was rather cool and windy up there. The ship provided excellent accommodation and we had no complaints. The ship had a reputation with our Egyptologist as being one of the best ships on the Nile for accommodation and food. The ship had a spacious lounge with many seating areas each with a coffee table holding lovely picture books of Egypt. Another small room held a few shelves of fiction paperback books; puzzles and games were included in this library area as well as a computer. Free wifi was available throughout the ship, but service did vary. The small gift shop was an alternative way to buy tourist souvenirs and the selection was great from T-shirts, traditional Egyptian folk dress, tote bags, statues, alabaster objects, gold jewelry. The owner had shops in Luxor and Aswan so could supply sizes, colors, and special jewelry orders. Dining: The ships’s dining room was spacious with a variety of table sizes, but our small group used the tables set for 8. Breakfast and lunch were buffets while dinner, from 7pm-9pm, was a la carte with 4 courses offered. The buffet had pre-prepared hot/cold foods, but also a station where the chef prepared individual requests. There were lots of foods to select from ranging from different meats and vegetables a good variety of salads, and sliced fruits. Everything was delicious! Chicken breast, grilled salmon, and beef were available each night in case you didn’t like the entrees that were offered. Wines ran about 250 LE a bottle. Afternoon tea each day included delicious finger sandwiches often with smoked salmon or caviar as trim and plates of cookies and squares as well as sliced fruit. Service and food were excellent. As we left the ship for morning excursions, the ship manager even encouraged us to take along whole fruits to tide us over until lunch and bottled water was also offered. On our return from excursions, the welcoming crew offered our hands a squirt of sanitizer, a cold wash cloth, and a cold drink. Our welcome aboard the ship drink at the beginning of the cruise was a champagne cocktail. Other alcohol drinks available at the bar in the lounge had to be paid for. Dress throughout the ship was smart casual with women opting for trousers and tops and leaving at home dresses and high heels. Men didn’t wear jackets for dinner. Fitness and Spa: There was a masseuse along who provided massage services. He also looked after the fitness machines (a couple of bikes and walking machines). This fellow provided 1 keep fit session on the sundeck one morning while we were sailing. These services were not ones I used. Ship Entertainment: After dinner was over at 9pm, there was local entertainment for about 30 minutes. Singers, dancers, a whirling dervish entertained those who could still keep awake. Embarkation and Disembarkation: A Uniworld company representative met us as we exited the plane at Cairo airport. He accompanied us through immigration, baggage pickup, and passport control. We were glad we had purchased an Egyptian entry visa at home as we certainly did not want to stand in line for it after our long flight. We were the only couple to be transported to the hotel in the minivan, but upon leaving we had additional couples who also had early flight departures. Transfers went very smoothly with the representative dealing with overly assertive airport personnel. The airport is new and is a nice place to wait for departures. Buying food is not an option at the airport – dubious hygiene practices. Wash room attendants expect a tip so keep some small Egyptian bills for the airport. Know that the airport double checks its security of all passengers. That means removing not only outer jackets, but also belts, shoes, hats, jewelry, wallets, handbags, electricals, hand luggage, luggage to be checked in –all go into bins/the conveyor belt and pass through the X-ray machine. Then each passenger gets a full body frisk before picking up one’s belongings. A guard wanted to look inside my purse to examine the money I was leaving with. One guard had trouble reading my ticket/flight information. Thank goodness for the Uniworld rep who quickly sorted out these guards. Hotel Accommodation: Uniworld uses the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Nile Plaza in Cairo which was one reason I opted to use Uniworld. This hotel is centrally located to the Egypt Museum and the pyramids thus reducing travelling time. It also is located in a posh embassy area along the Nile with rooms offering excellent Nile River views both during the day and night time as well as the setting sun. Our hotel room was clean, spacious, with comfy beds using crisp white linens and duvets; the bathroom was spa like with soap bars at every washing area and fluffy white towels. Terry cloth gowns and slippers added to the spa like touch. There was a safe, coffee/tea making facilities, complimentary bottled water, a small fridge for cold pop, and even adaptors for the appliances that didn’t fit the electrical plugs. The room had a large work desk, 2 desk chairs and a comfortable upholstered chair with ottoman. The flat screen TV had many channels offering programs in a variety of languages and a sheet provided this station information. The balcony was spacious and came with 2 comfortable chairs that had thick seated cushions. The hotel had several elegant dining options at reasonable prices, but we chose to have Room Service deliver our dinners and only used their restaurant for magnificent buffet breakfasts which were included in our package. Breakfast boxes were handed out as a poor substitute for the buffet breakfast on our early morning departures to the airport. Dinner entrees for fish, beef, chicken, lamb arranged from 155 to 270 EGP. Room service was excellent and prompt (within 30 minutes)! Meals were wheeled in with a red rose bud in the vase and a table clad with a white tablecloth and cloth napkins. The food was hot being retrieved from a warming oven under the moveable table. Servings were generous. Even a bread basket was included on the table. We dined either on our balcony or beside the sliding glass door with views of twinkling lights out across the Nile. Room service dinners were an excellent option for tired travellers. Another advantage of this hotel was that it had a small bank branch on its premises as well as 2 ATM machines for getting Egyptian money. IMO, it’s best to come with American dollars, GBP, or Euros in hand to exchange rather than using a bank card to withdraw money. The small bank, open from 11am -8pm, had a variety of lower bill denominations which were more useful than too many 200 EGP notes. Be prepared to offer a small tip (1 to 5EGP notes) to bathroom attendants at each stop on the trip. This hotel also had a spacious pool area with inviting aqua colored water and loungers. A poolside grill restaurant was conveniently located here. Staff spoke English, were numerous, and very helpful. The hotel used sniffer dogs to check incoming vehicles and every guest went through airport security type checks for bags at the entrance. This hotel was an oasis and I only wish we could have had more time to make better use of its facilities. I loved their multiple extravagant flower arrangements on the table facing the entrance – 4 dozen roses tied in one bunch which were repeated several times with different vases interspersed with other flowers! It was a wonderful Valentine display! Summary: Uniworld has an excellent product with its Nile River Cruise. The itinerary was wonderful, the stateroom was comfortable with no issues, the food was varied, delicious, and timely, the service was outstanding, the Egyptologist was personable, informative, efficient and well organized. Do not hesitate to book a Nile River Cruise through Uniworld even though company representatives focus more on their European destinations at their presentations. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Took the Uniworld European Holiday Markets cruise on the Danube, something we had wanted to do for some time. This cruise line touts this as all inclusive, and it didn't disappoint. Top shelf beverages and wines, not just at meals, ... Read More
Took the Uniworld European Holiday Markets cruise on the Danube, something we had wanted to do for some time. This cruise line touts this as all inclusive, and it didn't disappoint. Top shelf beverages and wines, not just at meals, but virtually all day. They even had a specific bottle of my favorite beverage waiting for me a the bar, which Evo, the bartender explained had my name on it. I mentioned this at booking and that's all it took. Meals were extraordinary, varied, superbly prepared and presented. Martin, the rest. mgr, visited with my wife and her sister before each meal to ensure their specific dietary restrictions had been taken into consideration, and in some cases, alternative meals prepared just for them. Chef Bogdan even provided a special off menu meal for us the last night which took several days preparation. Try that on your typical ocean cruise with 5000 of your closest friends. Oh yeah, there were only 67 passengers on this 110 passenger ship, so it was really special. George, one of the dining and lounge staff, took special care of our party all cruise long, never missing the chance to find ways to meet our every request. The staterooms were more than adequate, comfortable, and immaculate. There really are no bad rooms on a river cruise ship. The excursions were well planned, expertly guided, and yet leisurely. The service we received in every area of the ship was world class and my wife and I doubt we will ever take another mega-boat cruise again. And we will definitely cruise Uniworld again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I first provide a bit of personal context before reviewing because I was a reluctant cruiser and nearly cancelled the trip. There are things in life you are sure about. There are things in life that you are not sure about. Not terribly ... Read More
I first provide a bit of personal context before reviewing because I was a reluctant cruiser and nearly cancelled the trip. There are things in life you are sure about. There are things in life that you are not sure about. Not terribly profound. I was sure that I was not a cruiser. I like the freedom of being out and about. Not tied to a boat schedule and someone else's agenda. But when my sister asked me to join her running group for a Rhine River holiday cruise last year, I thought.... why not? Cruising down the Rhine River can't be a bad proposition. As Nov 2015 approached I started to feel some regret. Cruising is just not me.... I was also exhausted. It had been a crazy year up to that point from a work perspective. Projects I had undertaken required my travelling back and forth from Europe to Toronto (Brussels then back to Toronto; Paris then back to Toronto, interspersed with short trips to and from Philadelphia, Montreal, Ottawa, all within weeks of one another). Had it not been for the cruise, I was scheduled to fly to The Hague for yet another round of meetings. Enough already! I just wanted to stay still, stay home and get to the holiday season. The weekend before leaving for the cruise, Europe was on heightened alert. Attacks in Paris with the alert moving towards Brussels, with me scheduled to fly into Brussels first (then to Cologne to board the cruise) made me want to cancel the trip altogether. With a measured perspective and considerable thought, I decided to go anyway. We flew into Cologne and avoided Brussels altogether. Sometimes, what you're apprehensive about or reluctant to try is exactly what you need! I came home extremely relaxed. It was one of my best vacations! Here's why: Service, service, service-Cruising down the Rhine to see the holiday markets, quite frankly, is very mainstream and widely available. Many companies offer cruises with the same itinerary. So what is the differentiator? It’s the service, namely, the people! The crew, staff and management were outstanding in their balance of professionalism and appropriate sense of fun. Huge credit goes to the SS Antoinette's hotel manager Yann Roche (and his team); always present, a real gentleman, and infinitely friendly and courteous. The guests became the beneficiaries of Monsieur Roche's quiet leadership. Protocols must have been in place to ensure a smooth transition of duties. There were never any displays of anger or frustration from the team members; while expected, this could be difficult to achieve when you have discerning guests and the staff is basically required to work around the clock. Food Service-I would like to call out Emile especially for his friendliness and outgoing personality, always trying to please. He never missed asking the kitchen to prepare a fruit plate for me after every dinner (once he knew I preferred over a dessert)! Thank you, Emile. The servers were all friendly, efficient and worked well together (no sense of ‘this is not my table, I will get you your server’)! Svet was also extremely helpful and a joy to talk to. The food merits favorable comment. Always a good selection, always well prepared (except maybe one evening, the fish was a little over cooked), this cruise ship can boast a high end culinary offering. The little towns along the way of course were lovely. I enjoyed them all even though I had visited Lucerne and Strasbourg many years ago. Worth seeing again. The guided excursions were great but thought the groups were a little large. We could have benefited from more guides perhaps. I would also suggest that Uniworld consider offering to guests a 3k, 5k and 7k running map at every port for running enthusiasts. However, that may not be for the typical clientele for Uniworld. I don’t know. Entertainment-The nightly entertainment was fun whether in the lounge or the Leopard Lounge. I had fun dancing; definitely keeping my mind off work. So much so that when I returned to the office I had forgotten my password to get into my company email and network. That has never happened to me. That's testament to having had a great vacation! The Ship-Tastefully and thematically done à la 18th century French. Clean, bright and comfortable. Marie Antoinette herself may have preferred escaping to the SS Antoinette.... over Le Petit Trianon! There were comfortable common usage areas to relax, read or listen to music. We did not take advantage of the cinema on the ship. Security-I don’t know much about security on cruise ships but wanted to mention one incident and how the staff/crew handled it. I was very impressed. During one evening (after dinner), I was hanging out at the Reception area. A man from a neighboring cruise ship (docked further down from the SS Antoinette), slightly inebriated, walked in, persistently and eventually, more aggressively, asked to use the washroom. He was told that he could not and had to leave. The gentleman at Reception had to repeat himself 4-5 times and still no success. After the 5th time, a member of the ship’s crew (not the hotel staff) came out from behind and stood calmly beside this man and insisted on his departure. The man left. I felt safe on the ship needless to say. To the 'unsure' - If you're skeptical about cruises, before you say no, re-think, re-consider. You may be pleasantly surprised! It might be exactly what you need. Stateroom 206 Rhine River Holiday Cruise (Cologne to Basel) Nov 29-Dec 6 ’15" Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We spent two weeks with Uniworld on the Danube from Vienna to Bucharest with an extension to Istanbul. We are repeat cruisers with Uniworld and were once again delighted with the service and the experience. Inclusion of tours at each stop ... Read More
We spent two weeks with Uniworld on the Danube from Vienna to Bucharest with an extension to Istanbul. We are repeat cruisers with Uniworld and were once again delighted with the service and the experience. Inclusion of tours at each stop and most drinks on board, along with the wonderful service by the dedicated River Duchess team and terrific food made it most memorable. Our cabin was small, but very adequate with lots of storage space. Most of all, the pleasantness of every staff member and their outstanding service made this a great trip. We look forward to our next Uniworld excursion! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We got home last night from the long flights from Cairo. It was well worth the effort. Our Uniworld Nile River Cruise experience in Egypt was as if we were on a 5 star VIP private tour with an expert Egyptologist. Hatem was very ... Read More
We got home last night from the long flights from Cairo. It was well worth the effort. Our Uniworld Nile River Cruise experience in Egypt was as if we were on a 5 star VIP private tour with an expert Egyptologist. Hatem was very knowledgeable and led our group through the historical sites holding our attention every minute of the trip. He watched out for us and we felt very safe and secure throughout. Before and after the cruise we stayed overnight in the Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza. It was part of the cruise package. We had room service dinner on our balcony overlooking the Nile and Cairo both evenings. Upon visiting the sights the only thing we experienced that was uncomfortable was desperate attempts of the souvenir vendors selling their wares. Our guide insulated us from the hassle. As we were transported, in AC comfort, from site to site people and children waved friendly waves. Everything was excellent. The chef on board met every request. The staff was friendly, efficient and very competent. The food and presentation was perfect. Seeing the infrastructure designed for the huge tourist industry sit idle was bad for Egypt but a big advantage for us. There were no lines, no waiting anywhere. I would do it again it was a bargain and a once in a lifetime experience. Not very ADA accessible at the sites if you have walking issues, lots of stairs and rough paths along with the heat of Egypt. After all, the sights were built and designed thousands of years ago. It is one of the must see places in the world. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
It was our first river cruise and we selected the Uniworld SS Antoinette as the ship based upon the sailing dates. We are extremely fond of white asparagus (known as Spargel in Germany) and selected this date as it is in the height of the ... Read More
It was our first river cruise and we selected the Uniworld SS Antoinette as the ship based upon the sailing dates. We are extremely fond of white asparagus (known as Spargel in Germany) and selected this date as it is in the height of the very short season. When asked by us whether the chef would be willing to prepare this for us if we purchased them in the local markets, they told us not to worry as they would purchase them and prepare them every night of the cruise. They did in fact do this and it made the dining experience. If we had one complaint, it was the time spent in Koln Germany. Even getting off the ship at 2:00 PM to take a 30 minute bus ride into the city (since the ship was not going to dock in Koln itself until 5:00) gave very little time to explore the city. Although the ship stayed in port until about 11:00, the shops were closed and that first night was the Captain's welcome dinner which we wanted to attend. Due to the high waters of the Rhine we were unable to sail in Basle, but Uniworld made all the reservations necessary to get everyone to Basle in time to meet each train or plane. The staff was very friendly and willing to do whatever it took to make the trip enjoyable. The tour director, Rik, was OUTSTANDING. We have been on a number of ocean cruises with various tours, but Rik went into great detail to explain each stop-the highlights as well as the logistics involved. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
We sailed on Oct 13. The ship is lovely and our cabin was more than adequate. High end linens and toiletries in a well configured room. Can't fault the staff for anything. They were absolutely flawless. Meals were high quality and the ... Read More
We sailed on Oct 13. The ship is lovely and our cabin was more than adequate. High end linens and toiletries in a well configured room. Can't fault the staff for anything. They were absolutely flawless. Meals were high quality and the variety was endless. If you didn't see what you wanted and the chef had time, he would try to accommodate you and make it. The two times they brought in entertainment ( a jazz trio and then two opera singers) were very high quality. The tours in Venice were amazing. The walking tour that led into the Doges Palace was great. Seeing St. Marks go from darkness to light that evening was incredible. We were very impressed, thinking this is a terrific cruise.. Then we started on the bus tours. We couldn't sail the Po just like most of the other cruises this year. So we sat for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours (Paduva) and often much longer ( Bologna 4 hours) on a bus to get to a somewhat interesting city. The walking tours were well done and we saw some great sights. The Vox system of broadcasting worked really well. The lunch in Ravena and Bologna were very nice and the pasta making workshop was terrific. The last two reviews have done a great job in describing their experiences. We just felt somewhat disappointed that we didn't sail on any river. I wonder if in their haste to offer a river cruise in Italy and beat the competition, that they didn't do due diligence on whether Italy is a place that should offer a river cruise. The ports of call are okay and would be much more attractive if they were a stop on a river that you were sailing on. We may try another river cruise down the road, maybe the lower Danube, but this is a very expensive bus tour the way the Po river cruise stands at the moment. We had a good time because we always have a good time, but it just fell a little short of what we were expecting. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
This Uniworld cruise was supposed to start in Venice and then cruise the lower part of the Po river. Because of low water levels on the Po (a chronic problem), our riverboat spent more time in Venice and cruised the Venice lagoon - this ... Read More
This Uniworld cruise was supposed to start in Venice and then cruise the lower part of the Po river. Because of low water levels on the Po (a chronic problem), our riverboat spent more time in Venice and cruised the Venice lagoon - this was better in most respects then cruising the Po. The lagoon is a very large body of water with fascinating towns and construction of the inlet barriers. Spending evenings and afternoons topside viewing Venice and the lagoon was wonderful. The Ship The River Countess can carry about 120 passengers (we had 96) in three levels, mainly differing in window size. The rooms are small but very well organized and furnished with high quality materials and fixtures. The common rooms are spacious for the passenger size and include an ornate dining room, cocktail lounge/multipurpose room, library, laundry, fitness room, topside snack bar (limited breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and two topside areas with chairs, umbrellas, and awnings. The fitness room had five high quality machines and a TV - can't ask for more on a riverboat. In our room on the 300 level, we had a super AC system that was easy to control, three 110V outlets, plenty of storage areas, very comfortable bed (two twins into a queen), fresh water every day, two metal water bottles for day trips, nice lighting, small marble bathroom but with a good sized shower (easily controlled water), Plan on dressing at different times to avoid collisions. The Staff You always got a Hello or How Are You from every staff member you passed. Very friendly staff and very competent. The star was Gyongyi, the Cruise Manager - she put together the daily excursions, was always around to answer questions, and would do special favors if you asked. She went on every tour to ensure it went well. Meanwhile, the Captain was pleasant and seen very often. When cruising, a number of us asked to join him in the pilot bridge and were welcomed. The maitre d was super efficient and his staff was competent if not always friendly. The front desk personnel were awesome - distributing maps, answering questions, and exchanging dollars for Euros (an making change for the E50 bills you got out of the ATMs). Several folks really liked the massur. Nicola. Dining Breakfast in the dining room was buffet with a good selection of eggs, meats, waffles, fruit, yogurt, breads, and extras. Always, there was a special area, like an omlette chef. Lunch in the dining room was again a buffet, but with a mix of dinner style entres (like beefsteak and potatoes), salads, pastas, olives etc, sandwiches, breads, and a nice selection of deserts with gelato. Dinners were more formal (wear long pants for the men) with a two sided menu with healthy dishes and traditional dinners, with a meat, fish, and veggie options always available. Portions were right-sized, good but not overwhelming. The pastas at lunch and dinner were awesome - I had the best lasagna I have ever had the last night. Specialties like osobuco were first rate. Wine and beer at lunch and dinner were free - the wines were excellent and the beer was Moretti. The topside dining area had limited menus but fit many cruisers just right. On the second floor is a coffee machine that makes coffee, capacino, hot chocolate, etc. And cookies too! The Tours First rate. No glitches. First day, we walked (yep, a river boat can be parked 10 min from St. Marks square) through Venice with Suzzane (Venice native) and saw some of the major Venice areas and background, then to the Doge's palace (right in with special tickets - awesome), then we were on our own. St. Mark's square is awesome but CROWDED. You are better off walking some of the other areas. That night, we had a water taxi tour of the Grand Canal, then a private night time visit to St. Mark's. There, they did a special illumination of the church and Suzzane gave us a splendid history of the church. The other tours were by large coaches - comfortable, each with a guide and driver, water and a bathroom. The destinations were Padua, Ravenna, Bologna, and Verona. We had wireless headphones on each tour so the local guide (yep, another guide) could reach everyone. On a couple of tours, we had lunch - best one was in Bologna with a pasta making demo. Awesome. Another one was outside in a patio. The wine flowed freely! Be prepared to do some walking. This is not for handicapped. Also, be prepared to tip the guides and drivers. This is how they make a living. One negative was that the drive time to the tour areas was longer because we were not on the Po. But, the sailings on the lagoon make up for it... Lagoon Sailing We repositioned our boat several times and did a couple of other lagoon sailings. These were delightful. By all means, go topside during these sailings. To see Venice from the water is a special treat. And, to see the different areas of the lagoon was inspiring. We docked in Chioggia (a fishing village on the south side of the lagoon) a couple of nights. Some of the passengers skipped the tours and toured Chioggia, which they found to be a great mix of working class folks and some tourist areas. Sorry I missed that. We also went to the north side and saw where the Venitians first settled to escape the barbarians. Great history. And, we passed the construction where Italy is building movable barriers to stop water entering the lagoon during storms. Venice is sinking. On one afternoon, the ship had a PHD talk about the history of Venice and the environmental problems the city now faces. Excellent! Overall This was a professional organization that was dedicated to your happiness.   Read Less
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