1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
  4. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2010
July 11-18, 2010, Arles to Chalon sur Saone After 56 ocean cruises, my wife and I decided to try a river cruise. We chose Burgundy and Provence because we especially like red wine, and the only white wine my wife likes has bubbles in it! ... Read More
July 11-18, 2010, Arles to Chalon sur Saone After 56 ocean cruises, my wife and I decided to try a river cruise. We chose Burgundy and Provence because we especially like red wine, and the only white wine my wife likes has bubbles in it! We are wine fans, but were not as familiar with the regions of France, so this itinerary was just right....through the heart of some of the best red wine regions in France. We flew to Marsailles and were met outside customs by the Uniworld representative a little after 10am, and advised that the bus transfer to the ship would be at 11am. We relaxed in the terminal enjoying coffee and french bread and at 11 went looking for the Uniworld bus. Unable to find it, we checked with the Information booth and she advised they left at 10:40. They called Uniworld and the representative arrived and told us they were waiting for a flight due about noon. We finally boarded the bus about 12:40 and arrived at the ship in Arles a bit after 2pm. The embarkation processing was very prompt and we were in a cabin quickly. The luggage arrived a few minutes later. The ship, new in 2006, has a crew of 34, and a capacity of 134. On this sailing there were 125 passengers. The crew are multi-tasked on embarkation and debarkation day, loading and delivering. The ship has one elevator, so it could accommodate a wheelchair, but it would not be able to go up to the sun deck. The sun deck has hot tub aft, and many chairs, tables, and chaise lounges. There are two large awnings, but they must be lowered to pass under some bridges. There are 3 passenger decks, the bottom with portholes, the middle deck with windows, and the top deck has French balconies for each cabin, with a glass door that opens and you can actually step out about 2 feet to a railing. That is what we had booked. Considering they urged us to travel with one piece of luggage and a carryon, the storage was adequate. The bathroom was adequate with a glass enclosed shower. There was a 110 volt razor outlet in the bathroom, and a 110 volt outlet on the dressing table in the cabin. A hair dryer was provided. Bottled water was complimentary. The middle deck is where the dining room is located. Dining is buffet style for breakfast and lunch, and open seating for diner, with tables for 2, 4, 6, and 8. Breakfast included French pastry, omelets to order, a rotating daily choice of fruit filled crepes, or pancakes or French toast. Dairy products and fresh fruit were available. Lunch had salads, hot entrees, small pre-made sandwiches, pasta, and a carving station. Soup was available to order from the waiters. If you sit in the same area each time, you will have the same wait staff. At dinner they offered a 5 course menu with a choice of 2 entrees. My wife, who prefers fish, was happy to be offered halibut, grouper, John Dory, dorado, pike, salmon, and trout. Meat entrees included pork loin, strip steak, lamb shank, veal filet mignon, chicken, beef tournedos, and rabbit. Steak, chicken and salmon were always available as options. This was an Epicurean Adventurer theme, and local recipes, food and wine were featured. Wine at dinner is complimentary, and ranged from Cote du Rhone (Syrah), to merlot, pinot noir from Burgundy, as well as several white wines from the regions. There is also a wine list available with wines for purchase. Dinner was generally at 7pm. I was impressed that at dinner the servings were not oversized. Sometimes on ocean cruises, if I eat the full 5 course meal, I'm stuffed! The portions served in the river cruise were modest and I didn't feel I had overeaten at any time. They also could accommodate special requests at dinner. Entertainment was limited to a pianist and small dance floor in the lounge on the top deck, where a bar is open all day, and continental breakfast and light lunch and tea are available during the day. On two evenings after dinner, a local pianist and vocalist played, and one afternoon a demonstration of silk painting was available. But with a city every day, walking excursions, and fine dining, not much more was needed. There was a flat screen television in the cabin with CNN, BBC, Sky News, and some movies. There is also a fitness room with 2 machines, a massage area, and a sauna, located aft on the top deck, just below the hot tub. Just outside the dining room on the middle deck is a boutique open a few hours a day, and a lounge with 2 computer stations, but no printer. Internet was available for 15 Euros for unlimited time during the week, and the satellite was generally available. In the lounge is a machine that makes instant beverages, including expresso, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. It is available 24 hours a day. There are also 6 bicycles available at no charge that can be used or reserved. They are beach cruiser style but have hand brakes and gears. We did use them in Lyon, the largest city visited during the cruise, to get around in the afternoon. Because the ship docks right in the towns, my wife was able to get up early and walk 5 miles each morning feeling safe and getting an early look at the new towns. Each evening before dinner they have a short presentation about the next day's agenda, including what time the morning excursions would depart. Each day there was a free excursion, all but two walking through the town with a local English speaking guide and a AudioVox set with earphones so we could hear the guide without being right next to them. We would walk through the area, narrated by the guide, and generally there was some time to walk independently before returning with the group, or we could remain on our own. One of the free excursions was by bus where we rode through the Burgundy vineyard areas and visited Beaune, followed by time on our own in the Saturday market, and a ride back. There are four optional afternoon tours available, at reasonable cost, that included a visit to an olive farm, a visit to lavender fields, a visit to a Roman aqueduct and wine tasting in Chateauneuf de Pape, a visit to a working 17th century chateau followed by Burgundy wine tasting, The vessel accounts for passenger leaving and returning to the ship by issuing cards for each person in the cabin. You collect your cards at the purser's desk when you leave, and return them when you return. The mix of passengers ranged from a credentialed chef from a community college in Illinois with a group of students, a group of 20-30 year olds, a good number of 60 somethings from England and Australia, and the rest North Americans, and one German couple. On Monday in Arles we had an informative lecture about Van Gogh, who lived there for 2 years and painted "Starry Night" and others there, before the morning excursion visited a Roman amphitheater, where they still hold bull fights, and other local sites. In the afternoon we walked around the town again, and stopped at a supermarket to purchase wine to take back aboard. We had a day and a half in Arles. On Tuesday we were in Avignon, a walled city to where the popes in the 1300's had fled from Italy and built a place for the popes. It is open for touring and our morning walking tour went into the walled city and to the palace. There was a room where the wines of the area were available for tasting or purchase. The tour then visited an indoor market where every kind of local fruit, fish, meat and cheese was available. In the afternoon we went on the optional tour by bus to the Roman aqueduct and the wine tasting at a winery in Chateauneuf de Pape. Wednesday we were in Viviers and the morning walking tour into this medieval village ended with an organ recital in St Vincent Cathedral. Thursday the ship was berthed in Tain L'Hermitage. The morning tour walked to a local winery for a tour, explanation and wine tasting. We then continued across the river on a pedestrian bridge to Tournon for a guided walking tour. Some of the vineyards on the hillsides here, especially on the L'Hermitage side, were originally planted by the Romans. Friday we berthed in Lyon, the second largest city in France and a city known for its food. The morning tour was by bus to the basilica which is Lyon's hallmark church overlooking the city, and narrated drive through the city. After lunch we rode bicycles back into the town, where we spent several hours. The ship is required to pass through about 10 or more locks sailing up-river on the Rhone and Saone rivers, at least one of which raises the ship 75 feet. Saturday we arrived in Chalon sur Saone, and in the morning traveled by bus through the Burgundy countryside to Beaune. It is a historic, walled city that for centuries has been at the heart of France's wine trade. It was, and still is, an affluent city. The land the vineyards are on is very expensive, and the wines produced, some of the best in France, are auctioned here. We had a guided tour through th Hospices de Beaune, a hospital built to serve the indigent centuries ago, and was still operated until the 1970's. It is now set up as a museum. We were then free to spend an hour on our own in the Saturday market, where vendors offered samples of cheese, sausage, and other wares. We purchased wine for our coming visit to Paris there, including an outstanding local sparkling white wine, a cremant, and a pinot noir. In the afternoon we walked throughout Chalon sur Saone visiting shops, watching two wedding parties, and sampling some wine. There is no need to put luggage out the last night. On Sunday, breakfast was available early for those with early departures. They arranged taxi for us and two other couples that were taking a train, and moved our luggage to the pier for the taxi at 7:45am. The taxi was only 12 euros for 3 couples and all out luggage. I had purchased tickets online from Rail Europe in advance for a train from Chalon to Dijon, and a high speed train with reserved seats from Dijon to Paris Lyon station for $69 per person. There was a long queue for taxis at the Paris Lyon station, but we were at our hotel by 2 pm. I had selected a hotel on the Left Bank in the Latin Quarter, just blocks from Notre Dame Cathedral, a brand new Holiday Inn with ultra modern room and bathroom treatments, and a refrigerator in the room. It was a block from Rue St Michele and literally dozens of bistros and a french bakery was half a block away. Also nearby was a bank, the BNP Paribas, with ATM's that Bank of America had advised me in advance would charge no ATM fee for using BofA debit cards to get Euros. I used this bank any time in France I needed Euros, and there were branches all over. With just 2 days in Paris we elected to purchase a 2 day hop-on/hop-off bus ticket for 32 Euros per person. There are 4 routes, and we chose the Paris Grand Tour route on Sunday, which included Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Eiffel Tower, and much more. With the Louvre alone needing most of a day, we left entry for another trip. The other routes we rode on Monday included the Montemarte Grand Boulevards, with a view of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Moulon Rouge, and fashionable shopping districts. Next was the Blue route which included the site of the Bastille Monument, and Bercy, including the national library, the sports stadium, city hall, and the train station we had arrived at. Last was the Orange, Montparnasse - St-Germain route which included the Latin Quarter, Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon, and more. We ate the first evening in a bistro. Most offer a 3 course fixed price menu for about 14.50 euros per person. The second evening , we chose a small very nice restaurant overlooking the Seine and Notre Dame and paid a bit more, which with a bottle of Rhone wine ran about the same as a nice restaurant in the US. After dinner, we walked across the Seine, past Notre Dame to a bridge where we could see the Eiffel tower lit at night, and saw the hourly light show at midnight. We had arranged a private shuttle through the hotel from the hotel to the airport, about 20 miles away, about 40 minutes in traffic, and 60 euros. We look back on this trip as truly memorable. We loved the personal attention on the small ship, berthing in town, walking through the small towns sampling wines and visiting markets, and everything about Paris. And I learned much more about French wines and wine production requirements there. We'll do it again, perhaps Paris and Normandy next. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
At the risk of re-stating what the prior two reviewers stated, this cruise was a "5+ star" in all major categories. The staff were extremely friendly, courteous and always there to help. Our cruise director Gabrielle was totally ... Read More
At the risk of re-stating what the prior two reviewers stated, this cruise was a "5+ star" in all major categories. The staff were extremely friendly, courteous and always there to help. Our cruise director Gabrielle was totally awesome and ought to be on stage (in fact I heard at the end of our cruise that this is exactly what she will be doing)! Our room steward, Csaba, was equally wonderful and took great care of us, often with a lot of patience. The food was "5 Star" at every meal, and the dinners were always delicious and well-presented. They offered a nice selection, especially at the daily lunch buffet. We were certainly pleased with the luxury and comfort of our cabin, as well as the lounge and dining room. The top deck was a bit sparse, but no loss as we seldom had the opportunity to use it, as we seemed to be exploring the local towns and villages at each stop along the way. We would recommend this cruise to anyone except those wishing to travel with teenage children or younger--they'd be totally bored. Uniworld is a wee bit more pricey than some other popular lines, but several of our travelling companions commented on "you really get what you pay for" and that Uniworld was worth the extra cost. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
I took my 12 yr old daughter on the River Royale and did the 3 night Paris post cruise extension as well. This was our first river cruise and I was very impressed by Uniworld. The ship was not the over the top boutique decor I had ... Read More
I took my 12 yr old daughter on the River Royale and did the 3 night Paris post cruise extension as well. This was our first river cruise and I was very impressed by Uniworld. The ship was not the over the top boutique decor I had anticipated, so that was a nice surprise. Very clean and beautiful. We had a cabin on the Burgundy deck with a full window (does not open). Air conditioner worked great. There was one chair by window and a nice size ledge to put drinks on while you watch the scenery go by (other person sits on bed). Bathroom had big containers that they refill with shower lotion (soap), shampoo, liquid soap at sink and moisturizer at sink. There was a small bottle of hair conditioner and small necessities provided (nail file,shower cap,cotton balls, q-tips). Also, a robe per person and complimentary slippers per person. Towels were big and soft. Light up makeup/magnifying mirror. Big roomy drawer under sink to hold all your bathroom necessities. Closet had loads of hangers, safe, and plenty of shelves for clothes. Had to use laundry service towards end of cruise. There is a canvas bag you put your dirty clothes in, fill out the included form, leave on bed and 24 hours later, you have pressed and folded clothes. Very nice, worth the price. No iron or ironing board in cabin, although, there could of been room to set up board in front of window. But I brought my steamer. One 110V outlet next to window on vanity. Complimentary reusable water bottles to take with you on shore. Glass water bottle constantly refilled with purified water in your room, 2 glasses, ice bucket, pen and paper. You can also fill your water bottles right outside the restaurant. There is a station with water, ice and ice tea and glasses. Bed was very comfortable. Down top, fluffy pillows. I-home alarm clock you can use to play/recharge your Iphone or Ipod. Nice heavy curtains to block our light in morning. Never heard a peep from other cabins. Food was amazing! Chef Manuel did an awesome job. Waiters were very professional, friendly, nice smiles! Wines flowed freely. There were good enough. Better wines were available for purchase. Breakfast had mimosas, lunch wine and beer, dinner wine and beer. Breakfast buffet and lunch buffets were excellent. Dinner was a choice on a set menu, or you could always order a steak, salmon, or chicken. People were a little more dressy at dinner than I expected, but still business casual would be fine. On this "family friendly" cruise, there were 5 other children besides my daughter. 12 year old triplets, a 14 year old and his 16 year old brother. There was a staff member that was dedicated to the children. He would take them on special outings and even played card games with them in the lounge. Very sweet, Pierre. There was a cabin that was converted into a game room with a Wi player. The kids all had a good time. I think 12 and up is a good age for this kind of cruise. Every morning there was a tour into the town or village after breakfast. No sleeping in, unless you were willing to skip the tour. Most afternoons were free to take an optional tour or just relax on the boat or explore on your own. The tour guides were all very good and the Vox system to hear them was great. I had to buy insect repellent during the first tour in Arles and Pierre was in our tour group and he came in to the pharmacy with me and helped me with the purchase. There always seemed to be a staff member along on each tour group which was nice. The lounge was a nice place to hang out in. Piano, well, keyboard player in evenings. Nice place to read in afternoons. Kids played monopoly and cards there, too. At 4 o'clock, they would set up tea and little sandwiches and such in the lounge. Just outside the lounge was posted the day's menus and a little table with apples and candies all day. Front desk staff was always very helpful and could mail postcards, make change, etc. Postcards available for sale and the gift shop downstairs was wonderful, although only open limited hours. The top deck (sun deck) had nice loungers, tables and chairs, shade canopies, a jacuzzi and a waiter would come around at times for drink orders. All in all, a very impressive, wonderful, excellent cruise! Can't wait to go on the next one! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This was my second Uniworld cruise and it was as perfect as the last. The ship was beautiful, the food was great and the staff was professional and attentive. The excursions were well planned and all of the guides were both knowledgeable ... Read More
This was my second Uniworld cruise and it was as perfect as the last. The ship was beautiful, the food was great and the staff was professional and attentive. The excursions were well planned and all of the guides were both knowledgeable and professional. After I climbed the many steep and winding stairs to the top of the castle of the Duke of Anjou in Tarascon and then down again my knee was officially wrecked. But Uniworld has a program called "gentile walking" tours and for that I was grateful. In essence they are slower and avoids steep stair cases. When some attraction has to be eliminated, due to its strenuous nature (steep stairs) another is added to complete the experience. I rather preferred it, the groups were smaller and the guides very attentive to our needs. We opted for the extension to Paris at the end of our cruise. An Uniworld agent escorted us to the train station and remained with us until we arrived and were situated at the hotel in Paris where another Uniworld rep/guide took over. Now she was amazing. One of the most adorable, conscientious, attentive person's I have ever met. Whatever you asked she tired to make it happen. In all a wonderful trip. I am already planning another Uniworld cruise for next year. I also liked that there was no "nickel and diming" everything was included even all tips, water bottles and liquor on the ship.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
A wonderful cruise aboard S S Catherine. From embarkation to disembarkation everything went like clockwork. The excursions were varied and always interesting - our guides were excellent and the groups were kept small in numbers. ... Read More
A wonderful cruise aboard S S Catherine. From embarkation to disembarkation everything went like clockwork. The excursions were varied and always interesting - our guides were excellent and the groups were kept small in numbers. Our cabin was spacious - Category 2 Cabin 316 - a large bathroom - a large window to the outside world with enough space for the two of us to sit and read. It had easy access to the reception area and the dining room - no steps or lift needed and it was kept immaculate every day by our maid. The food was a highlight - fresh every day - dinner always had a local touch and the drinks choices were varied. We would definitely use Uniworld again- they certainly ticked all the boxes for us and did everything right for us Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Extremely impressed with the feeling that Uniworld wants to provide you with personal attention. Excursions included points of interest as well as experiences that other cruise lines don't offer...visits to local shops, homes and even ... Read More
Extremely impressed with the feeling that Uniworld wants to provide you with personal attention. Excursions included points of interest as well as experiences that other cruise lines don't offer...visits to local shops, homes and even an olive farm that has been in one family for 10 generations. Staff from housekeeping, wait staff to tour guides helpful and attentive to your personal needs. The all inclusive pricing is a great value. On one excursion, Uniworld provided each person 20 euros for lunch on your on. Uniworld provided each traveler a reusable water bottle instead of plastic ones for use on excursions. Will definitely travel Uniworld again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
5 star on EVERYTHING SERVICE- FOOD - BARTENDERS- MUSIC AND PERFORMERS-BUTLER SERVICES- RESTAURANT STAFF AND RESTAURANT MANAGER -FRONT DESK STAFF CRUISE DIRECTOR-EVERY TOUR GUIDE SPEAK PERFECT ENGLISH Beds very goods- warm floors ... Read More
5 star on EVERYTHING SERVICE- FOOD - BARTENDERS- MUSIC AND PERFORMERS-BUTLER SERVICES- RESTAURANT STAFF AND RESTAURANT MANAGER -FRONT DESK STAFF CRUISE DIRECTOR-EVERY TOUR GUIDE SPEAK PERFECT ENGLISH Beds very goods- warm floors at bathroom-laundry service done at 30 min -everything we ask for- we have 10 min later or early. WE WILL ALWAYS USE THIS CRUISE SERVICES AGAIN Amazing time,meet many new friends- eat to good food- soups so delicious- -every day different food and variety ,absolutely fresh and yummmy.... All port and shore excursions done to perfection and very interesting . CLEANING STAFF HAVE US ROOM DONE FAST AND WE ALMOST NEVER SEE THEM- THE ALWAYS WORK WHEN HE ON EXCURSIONS OR DINNERS- GREAT TIMING AND KNOWLEDGE US NEEDS FRESH WATER READY BY BED EACH NIGHT .EVERYTHING WAS JUST PERFECT FROM FIRST MOMENT TO LAST GOODBYE WE PLANING DO IT AGAIN NEXT JUNE - VIETNAM TOUR -WITH UNIWORLD SERVICES ANNA Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Having sailed w Uniworld from Paris to Normandy last October, we wanted to sail more. When Costco chartered a whole boat for a wine and food cruise of the Rhone, we jumped at the offer along w another couple and my wife's sister. ... Read More
Having sailed w Uniworld from Paris to Normandy last October, we wanted to sail more. When Costco chartered a whole boat for a wine and food cruise of the Rhone, we jumped at the offer along w another couple and my wife's sister. The 5 of us enjoyed he cruise beyond our expectations. The tours were exceptional: wonderfully delivered by local guides (in English)across a spectrum of interests from a cooking demo, to exquisite wine, truffle and olive experiences. We were even entertained in a local home by its owner! On board service was excellent: friendly, efficient, always helpful. The food was delicious, and they accommodated my wife's celiac/vegetarian diet so that she never got sick. Of course we drank too much wine, but it is sans sulfites so no headaches. Be wary of high water during May-June cruises, we had a minor disruption when the boat could not sail the Soane River because of high water and low bridges. Nevertheless, a bus took us to Beaune on market day, which u don't want to miss! The parsley pressed ham and coq a vin' lunch at the local restaurant was to die for, period. Lyon is every bit as lovely as Paris; when I return to France, I plan to stay there awhile and study the French Resistance while my wife attends the Paul Beaucouse Institute. The silk also trade remains strong, like has been B.C. I'd like to come for some festivals too, but the market alone is reason enough. Many thanks to Uniworld and its professional crew for a memorable French experience!!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was my third river cruise with Uniworld. This trip, I chose the SS Catherine. I have been on the SS Antioinette down the Rhine and the River Princess down the Danube. I enjoyed all three trips and highly recommend them to my ... Read More
This was my third river cruise with Uniworld. This trip, I chose the SS Catherine. I have been on the SS Antioinette down the Rhine and the River Princess down the Danube. I enjoyed all three trips and highly recommend them to my friends. I found the crew on the SS Catherine was exceptional, including the waiters in the dining room. The activities were well planned and each stop along the excurison was something of interest. I enjoyed the Chateau and the wonderful lunch and wine tasting with the Count. The guide in Viviers was exceptional and we got to see the inside of her home and how the French lived. If you wanted physical activity you could use the ships exercise room or swimming in the ship's pool, go bike riding or kayaking or hiking in the terraced grape fields. The cabins are a luxury and always kept clean by your individual housekeeper. The food was exceptional. If it was not on the menu, you only had to ask and it appeared and if you liked it, they would bring you as many servings as you liked. My friend had gone on a big ocean liner cruise to Alaska last year and had a bill for over $400 for drinks only. She could not believe that all the wines and soft drinks she had on this Uniworld trip was no charge. After drinking both red and white wines at dinner, we would sip Bally's/Kaula while listening to the piano and singer entertain us in the lounge after stuffing ourselves at dinner. The menu was different each night and you were not restricted to one choice. I also liked the laundry room which allowed the passengers to do their laundry at their leisure. The ship provided all the equipment, including washer/dryer/iron and soap. Although I love coming home after a long trip, it was difficult to have to make my own bed, cook my own food and no one to wait on me hand and foot! Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise