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11 Uniworld Italy Cruise Reviews

My husband and I just returned from Italy with Uniworld on the "River Countess", 15 day tour called the "Splendors of Italy". The hotel in Milan, Florence, and Rome were very,very nice and the location in Milan and ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from Italy with Uniworld on the "River Countess", 15 day tour called the "Splendors of Italy". The hotel in Milan, Florence, and Rome were very,very nice and the location in Milan and Florence were fantastic. The ship was also very nice; the cabin size is average for a river cruise but very comfortable, (we loved having a candy dish full of chocolates in our room); the food was good, but not great; the entertainment was what I expected from a river cruise - a pianist/singer who was good; the service was exceptional and the staff was very friendly and accomodating; the ports were wonderful, the shore excursions were great, and the local guides were fantastic. Our cruise director, Agnes, was wonderful. Our biggest complaint was that the trip wasn't a few days longer, especially in Venice and Rome. In Venice it would have been nice to have an extra free day and in Rome, you really need at least two more days to see it all. Plus, since the hotel in Rome was not in the heart of the city, we would have liked to be given the opportunity to stay in town for the day or an afternoon and then to be picked up by the bus to retun to our hotel instead of finding transportation on our own. But we loved this trip and would recomend it to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most ... Read More
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most knowledgeable local tour guides available. From the moment you step onboard, the company's signature style of fabulous elegance is presented in full force. A large chandelier and leopard-skin circular sofa dominate the lobby, and natural light, fresh flowers and two parallel staircases combine to give passengers a warm welcome. River Countess might be elegant in style, but the dress code is resort casual. It caters to a predominantly English-speaking, retired clientele. After 10 years of service, River Countess underwent a total transformation in 2012, with more than $5 million worth of refurbishments. Immediately prior to its Italian debut, the ship received a few extra touches, including a pizza oven and a new tapestry behind the reception area. One of the most impressive spaces is the Sienna Salon Sky Lounge, a glass-walled conservatory-like cafe decked out with plants and outdoor furniture. On a blue-sky day, the cozy room lights up with sunshine. The main restaurant is also a sight to behold, with white leather booths, white tablecloths and white-tuxedoed waiters. Seven-night sailings are offered between April and November, with four nights spent in Venice, using the ship as a base. Other shore excursions -- to the historic and cultural delights of Verona, Bologna, Padua and Ravenna -- require coach trips of one to two hours. For these reasons, the itinerary may suit couples who can't decide whether to see Italy by road or river, as there is less sailing time than on the average cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were excited to visit Venice, Florence and Rome and this trip surpassed all of our expectations. The River Countess was an outstanding ship with excellent accommodations, beautiful and elegant interiors, and a crew that excelled at ... Read More
We were excited to visit Venice, Florence and Rome and this trip surpassed all of our expectations. The River Countess was an outstanding ship with excellent accommodations, beautiful and elegant interiors, and a crew that excelled at hospitality. Our cabin was spacious with a large bathroom with a rain shower head. The room and the king sized bed had top quality appointments and comforts. We were well cared for and the staff looked out for our every need. The food and drink were of excellent quality and represented fresh local cuisine and regional wines. The wait staff were attentive and engaging. Overall, the staff were courteous and very helpful with on board activities such as embarkation, disembarkation, and other events which were efficient, well planned, and easy processes. During our week on the River Countess, the shore excursions were very well planned and the local and expert guides, including art historians, were well informed and provided informative and insightful background for our experiences. During our land excursion to Florence and Rome the bus was comfortable and the tour manager was very attentive to our every need. Our accommodations in Florence were not up to rest of Uniworld's standards, however, the accommodation in Rome were excellent. Our local guides in both Florence and Rome were also excellent and highly trained and informative. We would definitely take another trip with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have sailed with Viking on 5 different cruises and will do more in the future but the itenerary offered by Uniworld was one we could not pass up. We did the Splendors of Italy tour which was a combination land and boat tour. We ... Read More
We have sailed with Viking on 5 different cruises and will do more in the future but the itenerary offered by Uniworld was one we could not pass up. We did the Splendors of Italy tour which was a combination land and boat tour. We understood that it wasn't really a river tour but a floating hotel in the Venice lagoon. The land portion of the tour was excellent. The quality of the hotels was better then anything we experienced with Viking. The only negative was the food service at the hotel in Florence. One meal was so bad that everyone in our group complained and we joked about it during the rest of the trip since everything else was superb. The really great meals were on the tours at the wineries and small restaurants we visited. The guides were excellent, informative and easy to understand. From Mylan to Rome we couldn't have aske for a better experience. The experience in Venice was also very good but the service on the River Countess did not measure up to what one would expect from Uniworld. The dining room staff did not appear to be ready for a full boat. We had two meals where we waited over an hour for our food. The air conditioning could not adequately cool the dining room so the wait was a hot one. At the captains diner those who dresses up regretted the choice, shedding jackets etc. to try and be comfortable. This problem was also true in the lounge as it was difficult to get a drink in a timely fashion. We noted that more staff were in the lounge as the week went on. We were told that they only had about 60 people on the previous cruise and may have not been prepared for a full boat. It was noted that there was a large contingent of people on board that had booked the trip with a discounter who sold a big block of rooms at a huge discount. You would think that Uniworld would upgrade those who paid full price before giving rooms to a discounter. But for the problems mentioned above the tours and guides were great. The evening at St. Marks was special and the quality of the guides, especially Susan, the art historian was top notch. The boat docked 7 bridges from St Mark's square so it was great for touring Veniice. All in all, this was a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My husband and I just spent a week in Northern Italy aboard Uniworld's River Countess. This was our second Uniworld trip, (our first was in 2013 on the Paris and Normandy cruise) and both itineraries were amazing, though very ... Read More
My husband and I just spent a week in Northern Italy aboard Uniworld's River Countess. This was our second Uniworld trip, (our first was in 2013 on the Paris and Normandy cruise) and both itineraries were amazing, though very different. We realized when we booked "Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy" that we would be spending very little time actually cruising, and we were prepared for the bus drives to some of our destinations. The River Countess provided us with a beautiful place to come "home" to after a day of exploring. We were in cabin 105, in the "aquarium class" and loved our accommodations. We had plenty of storage space, including 2 closets for our hanging clothes, and additional closet with a safe and shelving, under the bed drawers (which we did not use) and space under the bed for our luggage. The cabin was very quiet, and several times we didn't realize that we were even moving until we looked out our window! The window, although only a foot or so tall, spanned the wall of the cabin, and let in plenty of light. It was interesting to be at water level. At times, the water taxis and other boat traffic would actually cause enough of a wake that waves would break over our window! Our bed, bedding and pillows were amazingly comfortable and cozy, and we both slept better than we do in our own bed at home. The bathroom provided plenty of space for one person, and enough shelving and storage for all of our toiletries. The marble shower ran the width of the bathroom, and I loved being able regulate the temperature once at the beginning of our trip, then just turning the nozzle on when we showered. The River Countess is a beautiful, immaculate ship. There were only 88 passengers on board the week we cruised, so there was more than enough space in the dining room and lounge when we all gathered. The staff on board is what really makes the ship special. Everyone from the Captain on down pampered us for the week. Our waiter, Stan, learned our names during our first meal on the ship, and he greeted us by name every meal thereafter. He quickly learned our preferences, and made wonderful meal recommendations. The food on board was delicious. Our favorite breakfast was the eggs Benedict, which had the creamiest hollandaise sauce over poached eggs with the darkest orange yolks I've ever seen! Breakfasts and lunches provided plentiful buffets, but we could also opt to order off the menu. Dinners were a la carte, with many choices. What we enjoy the most was the fact that there were always "local" selections at every meal, using the freshest of ingredients. Although there was a selection of cheese offered, it was not nearly as delicious as the cheese we ate on our river cruise in France. One of my favorite excursions was visiting the Rialto Market with the ship's chef, Daniel. We got to see first hand how he selected vegetables and fish (including octopus) from the market, which we later enjoyed at dinner! One of the aspects of the trip that captivated us was having several days to explore Venice by taking walking tours, water taxis, and just venturing out on our own. It is a very unique, incredible place to visit. Going to St. Mark's Cathedral in the evening with just our group from the River Countess was a memorable highlight of the trip (especially after seeing the long, long lines of people waiting to enter the Cathedral earlier in the day). During the week we also had the opportunity to visit Padua, Bologna, Chioggia (while others opted to go to Ravenna), and Verona. Although some of the bus rides were up to 2 hours long, our guides always provided commentary along the way, and on our way back to the ship many of us took the time to rest! One afternoon the River Countess spent a few hours cruising along the Venice Lagoon, with a guide pointing out places of interest. The only optional tour we did was a wine tasting. We were supposed to go to an estate outside of Verona, but not enough people signed up for the tour. Our cruise director, Agnes, provided us with a wonderful option. We participated in a wine-tasting and lunch at a cafe right in Verona, and it was such a beautiful day, we were able to sit outside and enjoy our surroundings. Lunch was delicious, and the wine was abundant and some of the best we've had the pleasure of consuming. It is a testament to Uniworld that of the 88 passengers on board, more than 50 of us were repeat guests. We look forward with great anticipation to our next trip with Uniworld!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My husband and I just returned from the Uniworld River Countess cruise in Venice and Northern Italy. This was not a traditional river cruise, since the Po river is not always accessible, but we sailed on the beautiful lagoon and traveled ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the Uniworld River Countess cruise in Venice and Northern Italy. This was not a traditional river cruise, since the Po river is not always accessible, but we sailed on the beautiful lagoon and traveled by bus to the many cities we visited. Some days the bus rides were a bit long but not a problem. We visited Padova, Verona, Ravenna, Bologna, Venice, . We had a pasta making demo and lunch in Bologna. The cruise line provides a group for slower walkers when touring which is admirable. The River Countess was lovely. The all inclusive Uniworld tradition is marvelous. Everything about the cruise was top notch. The staff was fabulous, always ready to meet your needs. The food and dining room was excellent......the presentation and quality always terrific. The evenings could have had a bit more entertainment....a musician was on board and they brought a singer on for one night. Embarkation and debarkation was handles with ease. Once you've gone with Uniworld you are spoiled for anything else. This was a fabulous experience and we can't wait to go with Uniworld again in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was my 42nd cruise, so I've had a bit of experience. Mostly on big ships, but I've previously sailed Viking and Avalon in Europe. I was onboard the River Countess for a week for their Venice/Northern Italy tour. I really ... Read More
This was my 42nd cruise, so I've had a bit of experience. Mostly on big ships, but I've previously sailed Viking and Avalon in Europe. I was onboard the River Countess for a week for their Venice/Northern Italy tour. I really can't imagine seeing Venice and surroundings any other way. The ship carries a max of 132 (or so) guests; our week was quiet, with just 45 on board, and 38 crew. It felt like a private yacht. EMBARKATION Our flight arrived around 9am, and Uniworld was there to greet us as soon as we cleared immigration. We only waited about 30 minutes to assemble the group before going to the bus to take us to the ship. The rooms weren't ready when we arrived, so they held our luggage, showed us to the lounge, where we were offered drinks, tea, snacks, and a chance to chat with other new arrivals until the rooms were ready at 2pm. ROOMS Very comfortable bed, lots of storage, lovely marble bathroom with great shower. Room under the bed for all but the biggest luggage. Occitane products, and if you prefer bar soap to gel, they'll happily provide that. The room is smaller than what you'll find on the newer ocean-going cruiseships, so I think it's best shared with a S.O., not a casual friend. PUBLIC AREAS With such a small group on board, there was plenty of room to spread out. There were only three spaces we frequented - the restaurant, the lounge, and the top deck. All were comfortable, and staff offered drinks on a regular basis. FOOD The best I've had on any cruise ship, and it just kept getting better. First night's highlight was bacon-wrapped monkfish, which was incredible. Later in the week, Osso Bucco, Lasagna. Terrific salads. Some awesome desserts. This was nothing like the main DR food you'd see on a mainstream cruiseline; portions were modest, sized so that you could really have every course in the meal. Everything was fresh - in one case, we accompanied the chef for his seafood buying, and had the calamari for lunch, and the marinated octopus for dinner. Breakfast and lunch were buffets. The breakfast spread was generous and included an omelette station. Lunch tended to be carb-heavy, but then this was Italy. One day a gang of us went to the pizza option, and that was fantastic. SERVICE Consistently professional, friendly and attentive. If you ordered drinks at the bar, they encouraged you to take a seat and they'd bring the drinks and snacks. If you were up on deck at nearly any time, a crew member would offer beverages. The captain and officers were there to see you off when you left for a shore excursion, and greet you when you returned. TOURS The best tour guides ever. All spoke terrific English and were easy to understand. They were clearly educated and passionate about their subjects. ALL INCLUSIVE I loved the all-inclusive aspect - having just about everything covered in advance felt like real luxury. There were about 3 optional tours - I declined, since I left like the included tours gave me a pretty complete sense of what I wanted to see. The included bar list included good and familiar brands, so there was no need to upgrade. The only complaint would be that there were only two wines offered each day - a red and a white. They were good and local, but not great wines. I think they switched out, so we had perhaps six different choices over the week. I think a standing list of 5 - 8 wines would be a big improvement.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Since ocean cruising makes me feel sick even before the ship leaves the dock, I decided to try river cruising. From the pleasant experience of working with Uniworld at reservations, to the efficient staff meeting me at the Venice airport, ... Read More
Since ocean cruising makes me feel sick even before the ship leaves the dock, I decided to try river cruising. From the pleasant experience of working with Uniworld at reservations, to the efficient staff meeting me at the Venice airport, I was hoping for a good experience on board. It was so much more than that. The reception area is so light and inviting, and the registration process was quick and easy. The stateroom is beautifully appointed and the marble bathroom is well stocked with big, fluffy towels and high-end shampoo and soap. There's even a complimentary washer and dryer on the bottom level. Celena, the hotel mgr, was very visible, always asking if all was well, and quickly answered questions and concerns. The daily excursions were led by extremely knowledgeable guides, and expertly supervised by Tony, the cruise director. His daily updates were entertaining as well as informative. There was even a group of passengers who had difficulty walking, that were included in every tour. There was a lot of walking involved in all the excursions, but it was well worth the effort to see the churches, shopping areas, and especially the private evening tour of St Mark's. The food was the highlight. The food was art. Breakfast and lunch were a buffet, plus custom delicacies that were made in the galley. The selection was varied and the food was well prepared and abundant. For those who didn't want to be wowed in the dining room, there was another area to eat a lighter breakfast and lunch. The service was exemplary. The wait staff treated me like a queen, and indulged every wish. There was also afternoon tea time, served in the lounge area, with little sandwiches, fruit, and cakes. Then there was a sort of happy hour with crunchy snacks, alcoholic beverages, and Mila, a very knowledgeable and competent bartender. Dinner in the dining room was the jewel in this crown. Romica, the maître d, made me feel like royalty, entering the room.The selection on the daily menu offered pleasing choices. Chef Daniel is a master of his art. The desserts were so beautifully presented and delicious. More solicitous service by this competent and funny staff. Then there was more drinking in the lounge, with Todor, providing lively music. He had a lovely singing voice, too. In the event you felt faint from not eating for five minutes, there was a coffee and tea station near the gift shop that also had chocolate and vanilla macaroons. Captain Oost was very visible for questions and fun conversation. The ship is immaculate, my room was always well tended to by Zhivka. It was a stunning week. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was billed as 7 days of river cruising and 6 nights of land travel to visit Florence and Rome with stops on the way to both. Unfortunately as seen from other reviews, there was little cruising to be had other than in the lagoon. ... Read More
This was billed as 7 days of river cruising and 6 nights of land travel to visit Florence and Rome with stops on the way to both. Unfortunately as seen from other reviews, there was little cruising to be had other than in the lagoon. While the captain attempted to give us some of that, it really didn't live up to it's billing. The ship was wonderful and well as her crew, food outstanding and our fellow travelers made our trip. The long bus rides for 4 days need to be evaluated and made more comfortable given the amount of time spent on this mode of transportation. Guides in local areas were outstanding, very knowledgeable and accommodating to questions and clarification. Wifi was billed as free and it was a real frustration, never really worked but wasted a tremendous amount fo time for those of us that needed to keep an eye on our business communications. Coffee machine didn't work for the first few days and that as well meant frustration for many. Entertainment in the lounge was weak to non-existent and I would suggest strongly given the other glitches it would have been a PR gesture to offer free drinks/snacks to help ease the frustration of the things that didn't work. Land part of this trip was wonderful. Much better bus and excellent side trips. Two wine trips were above expectation in all areas, fun, hospitality, food and wine. Our cruise manager was very knowledgeable plus brought the tour to a down to earth experience with personal stories of his living in Italy. Would certainly cruise with Uniglobe again, but would really like a true river experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date September 2013
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