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20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our first Uniworld cruise and we have done Avalon & Viking. I am not impressed by the room size on the River Countess. We opted for the suite because we wanted more room. I loved the bathroom with the 2 sinks and large shower. ... Read More
This was our first Uniworld cruise and we have done Avalon & Viking. I am not impressed by the room size on the River Countess. We opted for the suite because we wanted more room. I loved the bathroom with the 2 sinks and large shower. The minibar was also a plus as was our butler. The biggest problem was the furnishings were way too large for the cabin. The table lamps were so large that you had little room to put anything on your night stand. Our friends who also had a suite had the butler take the shades off the lamps so they didn’t bump into them all the time. Also, the furnishings in the lounge we bulky and hard to move around to fit more people. A big plus was the fantastic crew. They were always happy to help with any request. The food was good most days and fair the rest of the time. I know it’s hard to cook for that many people but other lines do it and do it better. Also, there selections were very limited, especially on the Captain’s welcome and farewell nights when you had a fixed menu. Not everyone eats the same food all the time and they need to recognize this. To call this a river cruise is a stretch. Even if the Po River isn’t too low to cruise, the total time you cruise the river is maybe 3 hours. The only reason they run the ship up the Po is to make the drive to Ferrara and Bologna shorter. We didn’t make it to the Po River but instead the captain did an afternoon and evening cruise within the lagoon. These were probably much better than the river. Being all inclusive is great if you drink a lot of cocktails but not very good if you like good wines. Their wine selection was not very good. They did have a wine list where you could purchase wines but it didn’t seem right to buy wine when it was supposed to be included. Our group purchased wine when we were ashore and brought it to dinner. No corkage fees. The local tour guides were very knowledgeable but tended to be long winded and walked very slow. The biggest negative is the internet service. Their internet makes dial-up look good. With today’s technology, getting good internet service is not hard. Considering how much the cruise costs, Uniworld needs to step up to the plate here. What a great way to differentiate your cruise line from your competitors. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Was billed as a 7 day river cruise, but we really did not much cruising. 5 of the 7 nights we were docked at the cruise port in Venice. From the ship there several shore excursions offered in Venice, all of which were excellent, with ... Read More
Was billed as a 7 day river cruise, but we really did not much cruising. 5 of the 7 nights we were docked at the cruise port in Venice. From the ship there several shore excursions offered in Venice, all of which were excellent, with excellent guides. The ship itself was elegant and always very clean. Our cabin was in a good location, just a few steps from the dining room. The bed was probably the most comfortable one we have ever slept in away from home. The food in the dining was OK, but dinners were very disappointing. Breakfast and lunch were satisfactory, although the lunch selections could have had an egg salad or tuna salad offering. Most entrees were overcooked. Simple things like chocolate and oatmeal raisin cookies would have been nice at lunch.The crew was friendly and accommodating, in particular the hotel manager and the cruise director. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My husband and I booked the Splendors of Italy cruise which has pre and post-cruise extensions in Milan, Florence, and Rome. We made the choice based on the exceptional/very good reviews of others and the itinerary. We are experienced ... Read More
My husband and I booked the Splendors of Italy cruise which has pre and post-cruise extensions in Milan, Florence, and Rome. We made the choice based on the exceptional/very good reviews of others and the itinerary. We are experienced with ocean cruises, but this was our first river cruise. We are not wealthy, but we splurged for a suite (#411 which was 1 of only 4). Overall, while the experience was very good as far as cuisine and drinks, it fell short on basic expectations. Would I recommend? If the itinerary and excursions are your #1 priority, there are better and far less expensive options to consider. For others for whom cuisine and liquor are priorities and who are impressed by a beautiful boat, and do not care where they are cruising, I would say "go for it." What do I mean by basic expectations not being met? The cabin had no working telephone for all 7 nights of the cruise. Suites include the services of a butler, but it is hard to utilize that benefit when there is no way to communicate. I can understand a technical problem for a day or two, but an entire week? More importantly, the issue was met with shrugs as if "it is what it is." No apologies. The sign up process for shore excursions was a one-time "dump" of details and first-come, first-served. There were typically 2 options per day; however, there was often a capacity of 25-30 people per excursion. There were about 110 people aboard. The math speaks for itself. If Plan A and Plan B were booked, you were on your own. I understand when a minimum number of people do not sign up that an excursion would be cancelled; this is about having too small capacity. Tip: Be prepared to elbow your way to the front of the line. Overall, a poor process. Excursions also can differ in reality from the on-line description and final documents. Details come late which is a big problem if planning private excursions during what you believe to be "free time." Many of the popular museums such as the Uffizi in Florence and Borghese in Rome require reservations at least weeks in advance. I even confirmed details with the Uniworld office before leaving home so I booked several private excursions with confidence only to be surprised with major changes that made our plans impossible. What they list as a 1/2-day tour is often only a 1.5 hr. walking tour with pointing at major sites. Many of the older, less mobile passengers were caught offguard when dropped at the center of town by bus or water taxi and not returned to the ship or hotel, requiring a walk of up to 3/4 mile. Not a problem for us, but hard for some in heat. Because the tour guide in Rome was not licensed in that city, she could only walk with the group and could not raise a flag or communicate by voice box, making it hard to hear and follow her in a crowd. Giving credit to the excellent food, I feel it important to point out that variety and choice are limited, especially at the Welcome and Farewell dinners when there is a set menu and no alternatives are printed on the menu. If asked, they will reluctantly provide alternatives, although they acted clearly unhappy about making accommodation even though a food allergy was documented at booking. In summary, Uniworld is excellent at some things, but not some of the things that are important to us. It was an expensive learning experience. Ratings do not always paint the entire picture. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We did a 2 night pre-cruise stay in Milan with included excursion to see the last supper, the excursion was excellent one of the best I have ever done and I have done quite a few, the guide was very entertaining. The hotel Rosa Grand was ... Read More
We did a 2 night pre-cruise stay in Milan with included excursion to see the last supper, the excursion was excellent one of the best I have ever done and I have done quite a few, the guide was very entertaining. The hotel Rosa Grand was in a fab location right in the centre of the city within sight of the beautiful Cathedral. I recommend a visit to Flash Restaurant around the corner from the hotel, where they do fantastic pizzas and pasta. The hotel was adequate if a bit large and impersonal but served a purpose. The ship was nice and so were the cabins just a little small. After reading all the previous reviews I think I was expecting a lot more with regards to the service, unfortunately for us the ship was full and so the service fell short, there was a couple of grumpy staff and not many of them had the 'nothing is too much trouble attitude' probably because they were overworked, but considering the cost of this cruise this should not happen. The temperature in the bar was at times freezing, we complained to the bar staff and didn't notice a difference we complained to the cruise manager who said I know I keep telling him to turn it down but you try and see if you have more luck than me, one evening we fetched blankets from the pizza restaurant to put over our knees in the bar. With regards to the dress code I found a lot of people very casual even on the gala dinner night, some men in jackets but not all and with regards to jeans someone on a previous review said "you will stand out if you wear jeans on an evening" this was not the case, some people were in tracksuit bottoms on an evening. The ship does a small amount of cruising on the river Po but not much, it mainly sits in different areas of the venice Lagoon. Also there are 2 occasions where the ship has to sail on the ocean to move location and on these occasions everyone must disembark for the day due to maritime law, so if you were tired or feeling ill no choice but to choose one of the included excursions. Food - the food was good but very little selection, one meat dish, one fish dish, one veggie option and one healthy eating option, so if like my husband you don't like fish you had no choice, breakfasts were good with a nice choice and nice quality. Drinks - Although they claim to offer fine wines you are only ever offered 1 red and 1 white, unless you ask for the wine list where there are other option free of charge, no one tells you about this though we were alerted to it by another passenger, also they only have 1 rose and this is not on the wine list, when you ask for rose they always have to go and look for it. During the cruise they ran out of peach for the bellinis and they ran out of baileys. Excursions were good but the transfer to Bologna was too long, nearly 2 hours each way So the above reasons are why I don't think its worth the high price tag. Think I may have been spoilt as have stayed in some very nice hotels where the customer service has far exceeded the service on the Countess. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
This was the first Uniworld cruise for my husband and me but we had been on several other river and ocean cruises. We recognized that the logistics for this itinerary would be challenging since it is a river cruise without much river, and ... Read More
This was the first Uniworld cruise for my husband and me but we had been on several other river and ocean cruises. We recognized that the logistics for this itinerary would be challenging since it is a river cruise without much river, and since getting to our Veneto destinations took bus rides of 1-2 hours each way. Add to that the fact that local shops close for the “siesta” at mid-day (cutting out shopping) and you have a recipe for some dissatisfaction. However, knowing all these things we chose this cruise because it was the only one that offered Venice and nearby cities with historical significance. And much of it was good – for example, Ferrara was a real sleeper and well worth the visit. We were so tired after traveling overnight, arriving on Sunday, and having a full-day outing to Padua on Monday, that we decided to sleep in on the Bologna-or-Ferrara day and in the afternoon took the provided bus to Ferrara to walk around on our own. What a pleasure to see a real castle and moat, an old church, and a medieval village all within a few blocks. Padua had one church where we spend a lot of time but didn’t’ have much else. Ravenna had excellent mosaics in church and chapel and a great place for lunch; Verona was big and crowded but beautiful with many buildings of interest. Venice was…Venice! Arrive a day or two ahead or stay a day or two after the cruise to explore Venice on your own. Our cruise director was very knowledgeable but sometimes told us more than we needed to know – for example, about the movements of the ship while we did excursions. We only needed to know things that would directly affect us, one day at a time. We were not sure how well-organized he was. Some of our guides were excellent, like Manuela in Ravenna, but others were hard to understand and some pushed the “Puccini” group (those with mobility issues) a little too fast. It was a good plan to have a slower-moving group but not quite carried through. On the bus, we were promised a comfort stop on one of the trips but it didn’t happen. Sometimes it seemed that we were rushing in and out of our destination towns. And we had very little time between getting back to the ship and going to the lounge for the port talk. If it had been televised we could have taken our time preparing for dinner. But in Venice the market visit with the chef was very well done, and the evening visit to the Basilica with Susan was excellent. The buses were quite comfortable. The vox system worked fine. On the ship we were extremely pleased with the front desk people who were very helpful and efficient; the cleanliness of the ship and of our room; the organization and staff that got us from and back to the airport and provided help inside the airport; the Captain who projected competence and care; and the staff of the Osteria. The ship was not full so the Hotel Manager moved us to a room farther away from the exercise room and the coffee machine – much appreciated. We were less impressed with the friendliness of the staff in the main dining room. Early on we took to eating lunch and dinner in the Osteria, which offered pizza, prosciutto, and salad and of course wine. The view was great, the atmosphere informal, and the self-service for food worked just fine. We ate what we liked and felt no pressure to have more courses. We gave mixed reviews to the staff in the lounge – some extremely attentive, and others who took orders but drinks appeared whenever. Only once did we get the little snacks that come with drinks. We did not know whether the new “all-inclusive” policy, that included tips, had an effect on the attitude of the staff. The food was good but it didn’t seem to us that it was special. The menus in the main dining room were not exciting. At the Captain’s dinner I got halibut that had the watery quality of fish that has been frozen. On the other hand, the sea bass at the Farewell dinner (bought in Venice at the market that day) was excellent. The pizza toppings were good but the pizza oven was apparently not large enough to generate a crispy crust. The pizza was good anyway. Unfortunately there were things that were provided but we either weren’t told about or heard when we were sleep-deprived, but it wasn’t just us who didn’t know that there was a Bistro menu in the lounge; that you had to ask for the prosciutto in the Osteria; and that vaporetto passes could be bought at the front desk. All in all we enjoyed the cruise but there was definitely room for improvement.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
It was 42 degrees Celsius (107 F) the day we arrived in Venice for the cruise. We were told that night that one of three air conditioners was out, and that the Po River was too low to cruise, and the only cruising would be in the Venetian ... Read More
It was 42 degrees Celsius (107 F) the day we arrived in Venice for the cruise. We were told that night that one of three air conditioners was out, and that the Po River was too low to cruise, and the only cruising would be in the Venetian Lagoon. The A/C was "fixed" 5 days later, they said, but the temperature in our room was high enough that even my wife, always cold, was laying naked on top of our bedding until 2 in the morning hoping for sleep. I, on the other hand, soaked the bed with sweat every night and got at most a couple of hours sleep. Due to increased drive time required on the bus excursions all being from Venice, one agenda item was skipped (not too bad, actually). The crew busted their behinds for the passengers - I was going through 2 or 3 shirts each day, they had to be wringing wet since they were working in hot kitchens, laundries, and bustling around the boat. They were troopers, and everyone on the cruise was extremely impressed by them, especially the way they kept a positive attitude and a smile almost always on their faces. On Friday, a fan did appear in the lounge, which helped a lot during the port talk. If we had not been told every day that the a/c would be fixed "today", I would have purchased a small fan for our room and maybe gotten a little more sleep. I guess that is the real point of this ramble - we felt that the management of Uniworld was not upfront with us, nor were we treated with the respect I try to show my customers when confronted with difficult issues that are beyond my control. Honesty and transparency are always appreciated, but did not happen here, or at least not until after the fact. They had to know in advance the Po would not be available, but we were not informed - same with the A/C. Uniworld did offer a 13.4% rebate (not an instant one, as I still owed for drinks and an optional excursion at the end of the week - so I don't know when I might get the credit) and an equivalent amount off a future cruise, which we are not sure we would want to take with this company after this experience. Read Less
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