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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I am just back from a fantastic holiday in Italy, and loved my experience with Uniworld and the River Countess. We started with the pre-cruise add-on in Milan, which was a great start to our vacation. The hotel was well located and ... Read More
I am just back from a fantastic holiday in Italy, and loved my experience with Uniworld and the River Countess. We started with the pre-cruise add-on in Milan, which was a great start to our vacation. The hotel was well located and comfortable, and the walking tour gave a nice introduction to the city. The transfer to Venice was excellent, with Verona being a hidden gem that ended up being our highlight of the trip - it is a beautiful town I would love to return to. Arriving in Venice, embarkation was smooth. The River Countess is a good looking ship for its type, and it has all the advertised features. It doesn't have the range of on-board options we've experienced in sea-based cruises, but I wasn't expecting it to. Food was uniformly good, with some meals being excellent - I am fussy with food and was very pleased with what we received. The best part of the River Countess experience was the staff - they were all consistently friendly and helpful. It truly seemed that nothing was ever too much trouble, and the small size of the ship (just over 100 guests the week we cruised) meant they started to get to know us and our preferences as the cruise progressed. I was particularly impressed by the mid-cruise request for feedback, as my feedback was acknowledged and implemented by the next day. The excursions were good, although some of the guides shared more information than I personally needed. This is a hard balance, as others seemed to love the stories about the art and churches etc. Having individual ear-pieces was great as it allowed me to wander away briefly and look at things of interest to me while others stayed with the guide. My only reservation about the experience was the 'river cruise" component. Cruising on the Po was unexciting, as there was little to see on either side of the river much of the time. Spending two days on the river felt forced, and the excursions were based on where we were rather than any particular tourist merit (not that all weren't charming in their own ways). For myself, I'd have been just as happy spending that time in Venice. Lastly, a note on my fellow cruisers. The week I cruised it was a family cruise, so there were a mix of ages. I liked that. I got the impression that other weeks the age profile for the average cruiser will be heavily 60 (if not 70)+. Passengers came from USA, Canada, UK, and a range of other countries. All were friendly. The small size of the ship meant you saw most people around the ship or on the included tours, and dining was communal (there were only two tables for two), so it was hard to stay anonymous. That will suit some people but not others. Overall, I gave this cruise 4 stars. It didn't get five because of my reservations about the river aspect, and because River Countess is a small ship with limited facilities. Other than those, it was a 5 star experience and something I would happily do again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Venice and a canal boat experience was on our bucket list therefore choosing Italy gem tour fitted these two points. Having a trip with all inclusive costs was appealing especially when considering budget. All of the staff on board were ... Read More
Venice and a canal boat experience was on our bucket list therefore choosing Italy gem tour fitted these two points. Having a trip with all inclusive costs was appealing especially when considering budget. All of the staff on board were amazing, exuded professional service and interactions at all times. They were happy to meet our needs and some went over and above to provide a specific and thoughtful service. There were interesting and a variety of excursion options offered. The guides provided by Uniworld were professional, knowledgable and aware of their group. It was appreciated that there was always a person at the end of the group ensuring no one was lost or left behind. However this was not always the case with the local guides. Dining on board was a pleasant experience, good food and drink, great service and helpful and friendly staff. We met people from different walks of life and enjoyed their company. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We are so glad we did this cruise. This is a wonderful way to see Venice. The tours we took during this cruise were outstanding. We started the cruise with a land tour in Milan where Uniworld put us up in a nice hotel right downtown ... Read More
We are so glad we did this cruise. This is a wonderful way to see Venice. The tours we took during this cruise were outstanding. We started the cruise with a land tour in Milan where Uniworld put us up in a nice hotel right downtown in the middle of the action. They took us to see the "Last Supper", the Duomo, and a castle/fort. After 2 days in Milan we were loaded onto buses and transported to Venice and the River Countess with a walking tour and lunch at a winery on the way. The River Countess was very clean and in good shape for its age. Have to admit that our french balcony room was a lot smaller than what we expected but we made the most of it. The staff overall was friendly and service was good. Food overall was also good, with their soups some of the best I have ever eaten. Tours from the boat were good and we appreciated the grouping by physical ability for the tours. The only thing we did not particularly like was have to be off the boat for such a long time while cruised to and from the Po River. Other than that, Uniworld is very well organized with excellent tour guides. Because of this tour/cruise, we are now looking at Uniworld as another option in a Budapest to Amsterdam river cruise. Highly recommend this as a way to see Venice and surrounding areas. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose a River Cruise as it was recommended to us by our Travel Agent. In addition to the river cruise, part of our vacation was a Land Tour before and after the cruise. Staying on the River Countess was the best part of the trip ... Read More
We chose a River Cruise as it was recommended to us by our Travel Agent. In addition to the river cruise, part of our vacation was a Land Tour before and after the cruise. Staying on the River Countess was the best part of the trip although we were unable to sail on the Po River due to low water levels. We actually only sailed the Venice Lagoon twice. The service by the staff was excellent namely Andreea, Crisitan and Tibor. On one of the sailing days, one of our tour guides, Tamara, described the lagoon and islands as we sailed. She also provided us with an educational wine tasting afterwards in the lounge. We were able to select and participate in many excursions based on our interest level. One of my favorite days was visiting Torcello, Burano and the Venissa Winery! The four hour round trip to Bologna was difficult for the short amount of time spent there. I did enjoy the pasta making workshop and appreciated the opportunity to participate in the making of the tortelloni. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly~the crew is well organized and professional. I would definitely book another River Cruise in the future! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
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
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
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