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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2013
This was our second cruise and our second with Uniworld. The ship is very nice and the staff, food, wine etc are all up to the high Uniworld standard we experienced previously. The ship was only just over half full so service was superb. ... Read More
This was our second cruise and our second with Uniworld. The ship is very nice and the staff, food, wine etc are all up to the high Uniworld standard we experienced previously. The ship was only just over half full so service was superb. It was nice to be on the water in Venice for a few days because we felt more a part of this maritime city than just staying on land. After disembarking on the final day we caught a vaparetto to Arsenale where we stayed in a B&B for two nights. We could have stayed longer because Venice is a most interesting city. One disappointment was that we didn't cruise the Po via the Adriatic because the authorities would not permit the ship to travel with passengers on that route. As a result we spent only a little time actually cruising. A few hours cruising the Venice lagoon which was great and another couple of hours on the Po which is not iinteresting at all. A short summary: Day 1 - Venice (Marittima - Santa Marta) We embarked at the Marittima (where the big ships dock). This is not easy to get to from the train station where we arrived from Milan. We walked to the bus station and then used the people mover but this only took us a short distance to the shuttle bus pickup point used by the big ships. Uniworld don't offer a shuttle so we walked a long way to the ship. We would have been best to get a taxi from the bus station. However, some Uniworld passengers were told the ship would be located at Santa Marta in the Dorsoduro district (including us) and they didn't check prior to arrival so had to leg it at least 2 km back to the ship or catch taxis. That evening we cruised to the Santa Marta dock! Day 2 - Venice (Santa Marta) Walking tour to Piazza San Marco & guided tour of Doge palace. Excellent tour. Return to ship by boat - only part of the way by boat, however, as there is no suitable jetty for water taxis within about a km walking distance from our boat. Be aware that the Santa Marta dock is a fair walk from the most interesting sights. However, there is a vaporetto (ferry) stop not far from the boat and this can get you anywhere. In the late afternoon we repeated the long walk to and from the loading jetty and went on a very nice boat ride along the Grand Canal. Day 3 - Venice (Santa Marta) - Padua - Venice (Santa Marta) Bus to Padua leaving at 8 am which I think is too early. Padua is wonderful. That afternoon we cruised the Lagoon to Chioggia where we docked for the night. Day 4 Chioggia - Ravenna - Polesella Bus to Ravenna leaving at 8 am again! Another superb city. Full of interest and beautiful mosaics. We go to an excellent restaurant for lunch. Bus back to the ship which is now on the Po river. Cruise the Po for a few hours and dock at a small town called Polesella. Day 5 Polesella - Bologna - Polesella Late start today 8.30 am! Bus to Bologna. Walking tour of city then an excellent pasta demonstration and a great lunch. Day 6 Polesella - Verona - Venice (Santa Marta) Another early start 8.15am bus to Verona. Love at first sight is right. Excellent walking tour of this most beautiful city. That evening we were treated to a boat ride along the Grand Canal and a private evening opening of St. Marks. I think our excellent guide, who also took us on the walking tour in Venice, was instrumental in organizing this special visit. One cannot put into words the beauty of this basilica and the pleasure of being able to walk freely around with a small group. Day 7 Venice (Santa Marta) am. Leisurely start today followed by a lagoon cruise on the ship which was a very nice. This is the life we thought as we lunched on excellent food on the top deck accompanied by a glass of prosecco. I think the chefs on this cruise produced even better food than the excellent chefs on our previous cruise with Uniworld. pm. We did our own tour of San Polo including the Scuola Grande di San Rocco ending at the Rialto bridge. The Scuola is not to be missed. If you take this cruise and you are docked at Santa Marta and you have time take a walk through the Quartiere S. Marta via the gate just opposite the S. Marta vaparetto stop. This is a short walk from the ship. There is a small market and a butcher among the residential buildings where washing hangs from every building. The butcher had a large pig roasting and gave us a taste! A short walk onwards via Fond. S. Marta and C. Nuova Terese gets you to a small church called San Nicolo dei Mendicolo. This was one of the first in Venice. It has a XIV frescoe among many other interesting paintings and features. They have a small booklet in English. We took a shortcut through a university or college of some sort to get back to the ship. A few small things we did miss on this cruise when compared to our previous cruise with Uniworld were: no reminder announcements to join a tour though we did get a reminder phone call call one morning that the bus was about to leave (the bus always left sharply on time) , no relaying of sound from the lounge to the cabin so we could listen to the port talk in the cabin, no dark chocolates on the pillow at night, no folder of the menus at the end of the cruise along with staff photos. As it was our second Uniworld cruise we expected to be offered a few things and at least an upgrade but this did not happen even though the ship was about half full. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
We boarded the River Countess after 7 wonderful days on our own touring Tuscany, Florence and Cinque Terre by car. My husband is a great driver and was able to master the 6 speed manual transmission! We turned the car in at the Venice ... Read More
We boarded the River Countess after 7 wonderful days on our own touring Tuscany, Florence and Cinque Terre by car. My husband is a great driver and was able to master the 6 speed manual transmission! We turned the car in at the Venice airport and took a cab to the Santa Marta docking space to board the River Countess. There was a smile as we entered.....the pictures you see online were accurate! The staff was professional and cordial. We had a light lunch and our cabin was ready by 2 pm. The cabin is small compared to ocean cruising ships ( we knew this before booking) but they have done a fabulous job using the space available. Luxury, fine linens, mirrors, marble, great water pressure in shower, plenty of storage (look under the bed for 2 more drawers), vanity/desk, 3 AC/110 outlets (we were able to charge phones etc. easily), a safe, good air conditioning system, all this adds up to an A+ cabin. Meals/dining room: Very well done, attentive staff, good presentation and variety, and of course 360 degree views of Venice most nights! That is a wow. Ports: Venice was terrific. Much larger than I had envisioned, more boats, more land, more dwellings. We actually spent a total of 4 nights in Venice...great. Had free time and some scheduled tours of the city. One highlight was to visit St Marks for a private tour at night....slowly the lights come on, very special! Such history.  Tour to Padua: By bus we drove about 45 minutes west to the city. They use 3 buses each day but have 5 city tours guides so your groups are about 16-20 people. The Scrovegni Chapel and interior fresco paintings (painted around 1305) come to life as our guide detailed the works. Of note, you have to sit in a cleansing room for about 20 minutes prior to entering the chapel...but they have video of the history so that is helpful. Lunch was on your own, I was disappointed that most of the shops were closed after lunch (we were not told this) then we had to board the bus at 2:30pm. Ravenna: This was about a 1 3/4 hour drive south to the "Mosaic Church" Basilica Sant' Appolinare Nuovo. A wonder to see! We did tour the town also and then had lunch at a local restaurant. We enjoyed the countryside ( lots of green crops) and a nap on the drive back to the boat. Bologna: This was a 2 hour drive south west from our port. WE had a city tour, but by this time it was a lot of dates, and old buildings. This stop I would not do again. The redeeming factor was a pasta making demo and a great lunch with wine etc. (I feel Uniworld could have done this pasta making somewhere closer to the ship and skipped Bologna) Too long a drive. Verona: Great city, had some free time too. Could have spent more time there. Good shopping areas. Also about 1 3/4 hours each way to the boat. Back to Venice on Saturday morning and we sailed the lagoon, wonderful from the sun deck and then had free time in the afternoon! While we did not have a great dock location that day Uniworld had Mercedes vans available to shuttle us to Plaza Roma and we could walk from there to many great places.Entertainment: A very versatile piano player was aboard for the week, George, he was great! One night they had Veneto Commedia Art'e...it was ok. They had a great band on Friday night and on Thursday they had some opera singers. A lecture on the Venice Lagoon was informative. Our "cruise manager" was personable but I am not sure how often he has done this itinerary with Uniworld. Lots of referring to notes and not as communicative as he could have been....still he was professional and approachable. I have detailed some of this cruise because no one had yet reviewed this itinerary. It is a river cruise but not like the Rhine. We did go through one set of locks and cruised the Po some. Venice is wonderful and having your first class hotel float with you is quite nice. Only had to unpack once. We will certainly consider Uniworld again. When it was time to leave for the airport they had a van and an employee help us into the airport and make sure our boarding passes were printed. That was a very good extra that we appreciated. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
This cruise+tour was the second we have done with Uniworld. In May, 2012, we did their 10 day Nuremburg-Paris trip so we knew that Uniworld does a good job with land touring as well as cruises. Splendors of Italy was well done--ESPECIALLY ... Read More
This cruise+tour was the second we have done with Uniworld. In May, 2012, we did their 10 day Nuremburg-Paris trip so we knew that Uniworld does a good job with land touring as well as cruises. Splendors of Italy was well done--ESPECIALLY the land part. Of the 90 cruisers, 26 opted to take the extended land trip and most agreed that the land portion was more enjoyable than the cruise portion. The reason being two-fold. 1) the land tour guide, Damiano, was exemplary. Not just "good" or "knowledgeable" but exemplary. Our local tour guides were "good" to "excellent"--Damiano was on another level altogether. And 2) the bus transportation used for the land portion of the tour was far superior to the buses used during the cruise to get us to Padua, Ravenna, Verona and Bologna. So the trip went as expected. We were met at the Venice Airport but our transportation to the ship. Our flight arrived an HOUR early so the greeter apologized and told us we'd have a little wait for another flight due to arrive within the hour. No problem--we grabbed a seat in the terminal and did some serious people-watching. In no time, we were escorted to the ship where our room wasn't ready but a lovely lunch was set up in the lounge. We had a nice bite to eat and was told that our room was ready about 2:30. We were escorted to our room where our luggage was already in place. This ship is similar to the River Princess which we were on last year so we knew where everything was. The room and bed were comfortable, spotless and the a/c worked very well! So the week on board went like this: Walking tour of Venice where our charming guide got a real kick out of tourists taking pictures of Laundry day (envision clothing strung out windows and balconies sometimes across canals) and of the garbage boats picking up the weekly trash. During this tour, we walked past the long lines into the Palazzo Ducale and were given a very nice tour. After dinner, we were put in water taxis and treated to a 45 minute ride down the Grand Canal and through a few smaller canals and were let off at St. Marks. We met up with our fellow passengers and went into a side door at St. Marks where we were treated to a brief explanation and history and allowed to take pictures and even visit the crypt under the church which is normally off-limits. We were escorted to the vaporetto (water bus) which we took back to the ship. It was an intensive day 1. Next day was Padua. I LOVE this city. I particularly was moved by the shrine of St. Anthony and seeing the Scrovegni Chapel was magnificent. Ravenna was next with the fantastic mosaics--I especially enjoyed those in the mausoleum of Galla Placidia. the ceiling is stunning. Bologna was next. An interesting enough place--but a long, tiring bus ride to get there. The highlight was seeing pasta being made by hand and enjoying a marvelous lunch. Verona provided an opportunity to see a smaller colosseum (again, walking by long lines to do so) and, of course, seeing where Juliet "may" have lived--Romeo, too. Eh, not so interesting. But the city marketplace and the city square were lovely to see. We had lunch on our own at the restaurant across from the colosseum. Today we cruised the Lagoon for 2 hours. Some passengers were upset that we were unable to cruise the Po due to low water; however, the captain took us to Choggia where we docked for a few evenings and where we met the buses for the daily tours and we cruised up past Burano. The weather was perfect and it was a lovely experience. We had time in the morning to take in an optional tour to the Accademia and was escorted by an art historian who made the tour perfect! Where we docked, we could walk to the Accedemia in 10 minutes, so we had time to do this in the morning and be back on board for the afternoon lagoon cruise. Finally it was time to leave the ship. Of course, our luggage was handled for us and we found ourselves on a roomy, comfortable bus on our way to Florence. Where was this bus when we went to all those cities last week???? We stopped on the way to have lunch at a restaurant with an outside garden. It was beautiful. Again, a perfect day with a gentle breeze and a welcome aperitif. We sat down to a sumptuous lunch with 3 different wines with a guitarist and a vocalist who insisted on dancing will all the women. It was a HOOT! So much fun. Finally it was time to get back on the bus and by late afternoon, we had been escorted past another incredibly long line into see Michaelangelo's "David". Then a little walk to our hotel. It was a 4 star hotel--now our room was fine. Very large and a comfy bed with a gazillion pillows and 2 easy chairs and a large bath. I gather a few people were assigned smaller rooms and were unhappy. Also, wifi was iffy. Free--but iffy. Next day was a walking tour of Florence with plenty of time to explore on our own. We hit the church Santa Maria Novella with it's marvelous stained glass and art works. Note--the Uffizi is closed on Mondays!!! DRAT!!! We packed up and hit the road to Rome; BUT we stopped at Castell Di Verrazzano wine estate for a tour and yet another lunch with regional specialities and wine. And more wine.......We arrived in Rome in the early evening and the guide asked if we wanted to go to the hotel or did we want to see some of the city at night. Of course, we all wanted to see the city--we even stopped by the Trevi Fountain and had an hour to grab a gelato and pizza. Eventually, we arrived at our hotel which was MARVELOUS. Definitely a 5 star. We took a day tour of the city and did the Colosseum--again walking by the crowd to go in. We spent the afternoon having a lovely lunch and finding the Spanish Steps and took a cab back to the hotel. Our final tour day brought us to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's. Talk about sensory overload! So to sum it all up--the cruise is not a typical river cruise. I found the bus transportation part during the cruise uncomfortable. I'm 5'7" and husband is 6'1" and our legs were squished. OTOH, the tour guides were really good and we covered a lot of Italy in a short period of time. The staff of the cruise ship were stellar. Once they figured out my "wants" (think massive coffee infusion in the morning) they were quick to refill my cup. The lovely lady who serviced our room was unobtrusive and accomplished in her job. The entertainment on board was good (and this surprised me). The first Uniworld cruise last year, the "talent" played the melody line on a keyboard and used synthetics to fill in. On the River Countess, the pianist could PLAY! And play well! One time a lady gave a scientific overview of the lagoon--how is was formed, what is happening to it and how they are trying to save it--she was awful. It was like she had a power point presentation from something else and was using it for this discussion. One night 2 opera singers and their pianist came on board and gave an excellent performance. Food on the ship was good. Italy has fantastic fruit and they had luscious apricots, cherries, grapes, etc. and the cheese selection was lovely. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and ample. Dinners were good. I think the dinners on the River Princess were better. One night there wasn't anything on the daily specials that interested me and I ordered a steak. Steak, salmon and chicken are always available, by the way, so no one is going to starve. We've already booked our next Uniworld cruise (Christmas Markets, 2013) so I guess they're doing something right.   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
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: 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This was the first ever cruise I had been on and it did not disappoint. From the word go (collection at the airport) we were treated like royalty. Everything was organised to perfection. Staff were welcoming and could not do enough to help ... Read More
This was the first ever cruise I had been on and it did not disappoint. From the word go (collection at the airport) we were treated like royalty. Everything was organised to perfection. Staff were welcoming and could not do enough to help us enjoy our stay - but they were also able to have a chat to us also which made it more personal and friendly. The week was pure luxury - our cabin was exceptional and everything had been thought about - plenty of storage space for all our goods plus our extra shopping! The housekeeper Andrea was delightful and when she heard we were celebrating our 25th created a beautiful atmosphere with candles(safety ones of course!!) one evening after our return from dinner. The restaurant manager also did the same on another evening with a bottle of champagne. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Thank goodness we were on the River Countess and not one of those horrendous monster ocean cruise ships that kept passing us with thousands on board. At least we were able to meet a good mix of people and get to know them. The cruising of the River Po was relaxing and beautiful and we got to see parts of Italy most tourists would never see. The daily trips were optional and very well organised with the most friendly and informative Guides - loved it all. Thanks Martin for all the organisation - you certainly knew your customers. We were sorry to leave the boat but were then treated to a weeks visit to Florence and Rome - hotels were very good but not to the standard we had become used to on the boat but the daily trips were just as good with a couple of highlights being to a few wineries. The only negative was the 3pines restaurant - beautiful location but food was not that great and the coffee was dreadful. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 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
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first river cruise and we will definitely do more. This fits our style of traveling: smaller numbers of guests, more luxurious and pampering atmosphere, all inclusive pricing (including tips), great amenities, mostly planned ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we will definitely do more. This fits our style of traveling: smaller numbers of guests, more luxurious and pampering atmosphere, all inclusive pricing (including tips), great amenities, mostly planned events with some on-your-own too, always moving, changing scenery, good food, relaxing afternoons and sunsets on deck, free washer and dryer, good entertainment, excursions with local and knowledgeable tour guides, superb staff and crew, and much much more. Uniworld has got to be one of the best if not the best. They package all the elements of a wonderful river cruise into the most enjoyable experience. We did the Venice and Gems of Northern Italy cruise. This is a little different than a lot of river cruises in that it is centered in or near Venice most of the time with a two day jaunt up the Po and bus excursions on the days that are not spent cruising through the Venice Lagoon and canals. The bus rides can seem long (as opposed to the river cruises that offer many stops along a destination type of format) but that is the tradeoff you make on this cruise so you can go inland to see Verona, Padua, Ravenna, and Bologna. The architecture and art is stunning. The St. Marks Basilica private tour is definitely a highlight. It starts in near darkness and the guide starts talking while the lights slowly come up. It's a glorious experience. And there is PLENTY more (read the itinerary). Uniworld organizes excellent charter experiences, and everything is paid for you (you literally do not need to carry money on this cruise). They even give you lunch money one day so you can have lunch where you choose. Their tour guides are top notch. Pasta making demonstration, glass blowing trip, onboard wine tasting, shopping in the Rialto with the ship's chef for the day's specialty of calamari --- the list goes on and on. There are bicycles to borrow too - we quite enjoyed our late afternoon ride around the Polesella area where the Countess was docked for the night. The meals were very good - two of the meals were superb: the Welcome Gala and the Farewell Gala. The rooms are very comfortable. The L'Occitane bath products were a notable extra touch. It is not hard to find a place on the ship to be alone, or alternatively to find other guests. The nightly entertainment is good and twice Uniworld booked special local talent. The all inclusive pricing includes the bar drinks and they don't skimp, as they have top shelf brands. You learn to fall in love with the cappuccino/macchiato machine that is available 24x7. There is a spa and exercise room onboard and daily training on the top deck, however we didn't participate in these (we do enough of that at home!). We heard that some cruise itineraries get altered due to low waters in the Po (usually in the fall time). Uniworld modified the Po portion of the itinerary to only go to Polesella so that addressed it (hence the slightly longer bus rides). The ship holds 130 guests, we read other reviews and it seems the guest counts are lower in the off peak times. Our count was only 50, and the week after us was due to be 52. The staff is excellent, and even better when there are not as many guests. Our waiter learned our names at the first dinner and treated us quite well throughout the week. For your travel planning, know that guests are expected to check out of their cabins by 8:30 AM on the day of disembarkation. You can stay in the lounge or deck areas, and there is light food available, but you need to have your luggage packed and leave your cabin. The general atmosphere is that it's time to go so the ship can be ready for the next week's guests. Overall we enjoyed this cruise tremendously. It was better than we had even hoped. We're hooked now, and we thank Uniworld and its employees, whom we hope to see again. We would have filled up the memory on our digital devices if we had not backed up and cleaned ahead of time. So much to see. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Visiting Venice had been a dream for about 60 years! Finally found this truly magical city last month. Anyone contemplating Venice will be amazed & captured with its beauty. Opted for the Milan extension, which was also ... Read More
Visiting Venice had been a dream for about 60 years! Finally found this truly magical city last month. Anyone contemplating Venice will be amazed & captured with its beauty. Opted for the Milan extension, which was also brilliant - the tours offered were extremely interesting & knowledgeable guides top notch. Was accommodated at the Rosa Grand Hotel in Milan, a lovely hotel situated right in the heart of the city within easy walking distance to almost all the wondrous sights it has to offer. Inclusive of scrumptious buffet breakfasts with optional other meals, was really happy with Uniworld's choice. A great way to experience the wonders of Italy. Would highly recommend this trip as a fantastic way to explore this delightful place. The ship, staff, dining, cabin & transfers were all totally first class. From an opera evening's entertainment to seeing Da Vinci's Last Supper painting to Doge's Palace, plus so much more. Unable to comment about the Fitness & Recreation Facilities as did not use. The walking involved negated any excess calories! All-in-all - absolutely fantastic!! Thank you Uniworld for this once in a lifetime extra special cruise. :) 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
It was the only River Cruise in Italy that we could find. What a dream trip! We and our fellow cruisers feel this was the most luxurious vacation ever. The River Countess was updated, modern, bright, elegant and impeccable, the staff was ... Read More
It was the only River Cruise in Italy that we could find. What a dream trip! We and our fellow cruisers feel this was the most luxurious vacation ever. The River Countess was updated, modern, bright, elegant and impeccable, the staff was top rate: attentive, polite and friendly. The cabin was a delight, just fine for two people (traveling with my mother). Even the smallest items were not overlooked. Entertainment was superb, excursions were well planned and very informative with excellent guides. My favorite was a vineyard in Verona with an elegant lunch and of course plenty of wine. The food was exquisite and all inclusive, with drinks any time of day or night. The head waiter found me and asked if I prefer gluten free as in my boarding remarks. That was remarkable! There was always a coffee bar, fresh water in a glass carafe in the room, umbrellas, mints, an aluminum water bottle, as I said, nothing left wanting. Would highly highly recommend Uniworld, River Countess and Italy. In fact, some passengers were on their second trip with this exact cruise. That says it all! Truly cannot wait to travel with Uniworld again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The cruise was recommended by friends; we are delighted that we took it. The crew was was wonderful, the cruise staff were outstanding - they were courteous, fun, helpful and very attentive. The shore excursions and tour guides were ... Read More
The cruise was recommended by friends; we are delighted that we took it. The crew was was wonderful, the cruise staff were outstanding - they were courteous, fun, helpful and very attentive. The shore excursions and tour guides were absolutely excellent - the guides were funny, personable and extremely knowledgeable. The cabins were clean with ample space for two; the bathrooms were accommodating for a cruise ship. There was always various types of candies and treats left for us by the room attendants. The food was absolutely delicious. The chef was marvelous and his nightly food selections were so very tasty. there was nightly entertainment on the ship and opera singers were even brought on to delight us with their voices and duets. Embarkations and disembarkations went very smoothly - we were always greeted back on board with warm towels and refreshing drinks. Our final disembarkation also went very smoothly with transfers to our respective airlines. We look forward to our next UniWorld River Cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My wife and I choose this cruise line based on our past experience with Uniworld and this particular cruise for the itinerary. We reviewed a description of the ports and wanted to discover new places. We stayed in Milan for a couple of ... Read More
My wife and I choose this cruise line based on our past experience with Uniworld and this particular cruise for the itinerary. We reviewed a description of the ports and wanted to discover new places. We stayed in Milan for a couple of days before the cruise and were hosted by the Uniworld representative, who was fabulous. We participated in the featured excursions, saw some fabulous attractions and got some shopping and dining tips. Embarkation in Venice was smooth and very quick. Staff was marvelous and attentive to your every need. The ship was well appointed with beautiful staterooms, dining room, cocktail lounge, sun deck, laundry facilities, coffee bar, on-board novelty store. Nothing you can want that is not addressed. The on-board entertainment was wonderful. But best of all was the service! the staff could not do enough to please us. We have been on over 50 cruises and this was our 4th river cruise, 3 with Uniworld. They are simply the best! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our second cruise on Uniworld. We loved the first one up the Rhine so much, we brought four more people with us this time! This cruise was as great if not better. Our room, which was kept nice and clean, was lovely, even ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Uniworld. We loved the first one up the Rhine so much, we brought four more people with us this time! This cruise was as great if not better. Our room, which was kept nice and clean, was lovely, even spacious. The service far exceeds anywhere we've ever been. Everyone on board from the room attendants through to the Captain, bent over backwards to fill every want and need, even, it seemed at times, the unspoken ones. The food had variety, and was delicious, the waiters were attentive and friendly, sometimes funny....We laughed and had fun every time we went to the dining room. Although we usually don't do the "bar science", we enjoyed the entertainment provided in the evening. I especially liked the opera singers (they sang some of my favorite arias) and the young lady who sang was very entertaining. The shore excursions were great. Loved every one, liked that we had choices, but also enjoyed some free time on our own and we had massages which were heavenly! The outdoor movie was a great idea and new to us...keep that! Lots of fun and so many good memories. Thanks to all on the River Countess, Sabine, Heidicha, Valentin, Gerry, and so many more for making our 50th wedding anniversary trip one we'll remember forever! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This is only our second river cruise, but, we are total converts. We may never set foot on a "big" ship again! The staff is well-trained, attentive, genuine and personable and the ports and excursions are exquisitely ... Read More
This is only our second river cruise, but, we are total converts. We may never set foot on a "big" ship again! The staff is well-trained, attentive, genuine and personable and the ports and excursions are exquisitely well-planned and executed. We had only 88 people on our cruise. No crushing rushes or long waits to get on and off the ship. Ages ranged from a honeymoon couple in their 20's to experienced senior travelers. Age, mobility and interests are all factored in to the planned excursions. We rode bikes twice: in Chioggia and in Ferrara. Others chose not to pursue the "active touring" options. We like the bike rides with tour guides because you can see so much more; you get "off the beaten path" and can cover so much more territory than you can on foot. You can see and experience more than if you are doing a "windshield" tour in a motor coach. Uniworld arranged coveted tickets for the entire group to visit Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper in Milan and we had a private, evening trip to St. Mark's Basilica with an expert on the art, theology and history of this magnificent architectural structure. The three-island tour to Torcello, Mazzorbo and Burano was exceptionally well orchestrated, including our second exclusive wine tasting. The first was in Valpolicella where we visited the winery founded by the son of Dante Aligheiri (author of Dante's Inferno). This winery remains family owned today. Really amazing sights, sounds and tastes. On board, the Executive Chef, cooks, wait and bar staff were very professional and attentive, but never over-bearing. The quality of training is obvious! The house-keeping staff was quick, thorough and thoughtful. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on our cruise, and the housekeeping staff transformed our stateroom while we were at dinner. Very memorable! Another thing we truly love about Uniworld is the payment policy. When you've booked and paid for your cruise, you're done. Everything is included. Food, drinks, excursions, tips -- everything. There is no debating about whether or not you want that second glass of $9 wine at dinner. They just pour it. There's no struggling over whether to take the $150 excursion or the $400 excursion or whether to try to explore on your own. They have it covered. It's included, and you don't disembark signing for an additional 2 grand on your credit card. We love that, and, did the math. It's "more expensive" up front, but, we believe that for what we saw and did, and the many private experiences we enjoyed, we would have paid more -- in a far more aggravating and annoying manner (swiping that cruise card 10 times a day every time you want a drink, or trying to keep up with a separate drink card, if you purchased a package) -- than we did booking and traveling with Uniworld. Love this! All in all, this is the way to travel. Small groups. Excellent tours of important locations and sites. Sufficient free time. Exquisite meals. Great people. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was great. Everything was as advertised. The hotel in Milan, the Star, was excellent. The ground tours, included in the price, could not be bettered. We had excellent guides. They knew the geography and the history of the areas we ... Read More
This was great. Everything was as advertised. The hotel in Milan, the Star, was excellent. The ground tours, included in the price, could not be bettered. We had excellent guides. They knew the geography and the history of the areas we were in. We went to places we would not have seen but for this trip, e.g. Padua, Ravenna. The sights they took us too were top notch, e.g. Dante's tomb in Ravenna. The mosaics in Ravenna and elsewhere were startling. Again, but for this trip we would not have seen them. The ship was excellent. It was clean. The air conditioning worked, not a small consideration when the temperature was 30+C. The food was excellent as was the complementary wine. We have been on other cruises with "complementary" wine not as good as the wine we had on the Countess. The staff were excellent as well. Uniformly helpful. The trip included a transfer to the airport in Venice. As it is under construction the transfer was helpful. The guide took us to check-in and then to security. Cannot beat that sort of service. Uniworld is the best. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was my 7th cruise with Uniworld and was by far the best -- and I did not think it was possible to get any better than my recent one in Bordeaux on the River Royale. Once you have sailed Uniworld, the other river lines pale in ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise with Uniworld and was by far the best -- and I did not think it was possible to get any better than my recent one in Bordeaux on the River Royale. Once you have sailed Uniworld, the other river lines pale in comparison, and I doubt I will do another with Viking, et al. Too mass market for me. We opted for the cruise which had a pre-extension tour to Milan and a drive to the boat via Verona and a stop for a delicious lunch at a winery on our way to the ship. The hotel was excellent and very central. We had an excellent walking tour of the city and a moving visit to the Last Supper. We paid for an optional tour to La Scala and it was terrific -- our guide knew a lot about music and her enthusiasm was infectious. Afterwards we stopped for a Bellini and some snacks. Befitting the sunny region, the ship colour scheme is attractive. As awals the quality of the Uniworld fittings was superb. I had sailed with many staff on previous cruises and I received a warm welcome. The food was uniformly excellent, esp. the marvellous soups and the wonderful array of salads at lunch. The excursions were all outstanding with the exception of oe to Padua which seemed ill-timed. It took place when mmost places were closed for a long lunch and many were frustrated at having to spend precious time just sitting at a café. I however wanted to arrange private itimerary and the tour director and local guide were terrific in sorting this out. I am booked for another cruise next April, but will repeat this same itinerary next fall Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
My 3cousins and I booked a Po River cruise on the Uniworld River Countess. It was my first river cruise but 1 cousin had booked with Uniworld in the past. She was given a room upgrade because she was a past passenger and there was an ... Read More
My 3cousins and I booked a Po River cruise on the Uniworld River Countess. It was my first river cruise but 1 cousin had booked with Uniworld in the past. She was given a room upgrade because she was a past passenger and there was an extra room available. Our cabin was immaculate and had all the amenities one would need. I can't say enough about this cruise! Down to the smallest detail, they thought of everything to make our trip very enjoyable. The staff and service were excellent. As was the food and excursions. Tours guides were personable and knowledgeable and spoke in English. As were the front desk staff. There was even accomodation for those who had difficulty walking with their "gentle walkers" group. I was pleasantly surprised to have entertainment scheduled at night and drinks were plentiful. The other passengers were very friendly. I would definitely recommend Uniworld and would like to try another of their cruises in the future. Read Less
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