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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was my first "river" cruise (in quotes because we did not actually sail on a river, but instead around the Venice lagoon) and probably also the most "luxury" cruise I've taken. Next would probably have been ... Read More
This was my first "river" cruise (in quotes because we did not actually sail on a river, but instead around the Venice lagoon) and probably also the most "luxury" cruise I've taken. Next would probably have been my transatlantic cruise on Azamara a few years ago. I've done lots of ocean cruising, mostly on Celebrity but have also done Norwegian (next most frequent), Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Holland America in addition to Azamara. This was by far the smallest ship I've been on. The cruise was a one-week Venice-based itinerary. It coincided with the highest "aqua alta" Venice has experienced in 10 years, which threw some curves at the cruise staff as they tried to adjust our itinerary around the high water. Luckily we had several days during the week where it didn't rain...much! I mostly sail solo, and this trip there were a large number of solos on board (so far as I know, all women) due to a no-single-supplement deal Uniworld offered. I thought Uniworld worked very well for solo travel. They did offer a singles meet-and-greet one day midweek, but I didn't attend so can't report on that. Because of the small number of passengers and the open seating at meals it was easy to meet others and find a congenial table for each meal. I felt like the price I paid was an excellent deal for the cruise, though my budget and skinflint tendencies mean I will need to really keep an eye out for bargains if I want to do another cruise like this! I purchased my air travel independently but because I was arriving/departing the day the cruise started and ended, during the hours Uniworld specified, my transfers from Venice airport were included. That turned out to be a very good thing on arrival day--many folks who were arriving at the ship independently had all sorts of problems. Apparently the ship was not where Uniworld said it would be (due to the high water) and passengers were not notified of the change. Plus, when folks called the number for the ship that we were given for situations like this, nobody answered the phone for several hours. Passengers told about taking expensive water taxis while they motored around Venice searching for the ship, being dropped off in the wrong place, having to walk through hip-deep water balancing suitcases on their heads, etc. Luckily these tales were told by the younger passengers--I can't imagine how some of the older folks on board would have coped with that! I will definitely plan to use the cruise line transfers again for any future Uniworld cruises--although I hate arriving the day of the cruise due to possible travel glitches, it seems like the advantages of having Uniworld handle the transfers outweighs that concern. For me, though, the trip was smooth through a rainy, windy Mestre and Venice, past the poor soaked Venice Marathon runners, to the riverboat. It amazed me how small it looked--but I found that it had everything I needed for a great cruise and I loved the small ship! Short walk to anywhere, the cabin was very well-designed, there was a dining room and a lounge and an outside deck (I was on that exactly once due to the rainy weather we had that week.) There was entertainment in the lounge each evening--sometimes just the onboard keyboardist/vocalist (who was just fine for a low-key evening of drinks and conversation) and sometimes special entertainers like a trio who sang opera accompanied by their keyboardist. The entertainment was much briefer and less flashy and less varied than on an ocean cruise, but I thought it fit well with the tour-focused and very small River Countess cruise. My cabin was 323, one short flight of steps down from the main lobby and at the far end of the hall. The shower was wonderful, the service was wonderful, I was not bothered by any noise or odd smells, the TV had lots of options and many excellent movies available (though I only used it to watch CNN.) The decor was interesting (onboard as a whole, not just the cabin) and though I wouldn't decorate that way at home I really enjoyed experiencing it for a week. I thought the food was just great. I can't remember a meal or, for that matter, a dish I had that I did not enjoy. I'm still detoxing myself from all the eating and drinking I did on vacation and trying to get back to a healthy diet! Many of the menu options focused on Venetian/Italian dishes, and included a lot of local seafood though they always had several non-seafood choices. The menus for dinner varied each day but there were some "always available" options--I didn't try those but heard from others that the salmon was good but the steak not so much. The breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent--at lunch they had many new options daily, but at breakfast it was mainly the same items each day. They were all excellent,though, so I thought it worked quite well giving one a chance to try everything on one day or another. They had a complimentary red and white wine at lunch and dinner, which they varied every day. I tried both wines every night and then drank the one I liked better. There were only a couple of them I did not care for, though I think that was more my preferences and not that the wines were poor quality, but I am far from a wine expert. They also varied the coffee and the menu had info on the coffee was being served each day, in addition to describing the wines. All alcoholic beverages were included unless you wanted to purchase the higher-end wine offerings, which I did not do. I'm not a huge drinker but I did enjoy wine with dinner, a coffee-and-Bailey's every night, and an occasional draft beer (Italian of course!) prosecco or bellini. And lots of San Pellegrino! I also had lots of excellent coffee, lattes and cappuccinos. All were served quickly, graciously, and with a smile. The croissants each morning except on disembarkation day were just fabulous--I was so disappointed the last morning when the croissants on offer at 6 AM In the lounge had obviously been baked the previous day--the single discordant note where food was concerned! I tried the latte/coffee/tea etc. machine in the coffee bar the first day to make a latte, and I did not like it at all! But there was never a problem getting one made by the staff, so it was not an issue. I noticed they had lots of syrups on hand in the lounge if one wanted a flavored latte--did not look closely to see which types though. Because of the high water, our Monday walking tour of Venice and visit to the Doge's Palace was cut short to just a shorter walking tour of the higher-ground areas of Venice. It was picturesque and interesting, and visiting the edge of St. Mark's Square to see the hordes of tourists wearing their see-through pastel plastic hip boots, the board walks being set up and the water start to cover the pavement was memorable. Normally there would have been a night-time visit to St. Mark's Basilica on Monday evening, but part of the basilica (and all of St. Mark's square outside) flooded so Uniworld scrambled to have it rescheduled for later in the week--absolutely the best part of the week tour-wise and I am SO thankful they were able to make it happen! We spent part of a day in Padua and part of a day with a choice of Ferrarra or Bologna (I chose Ferrarra because I had no wish to experience the pasta making demo). They were interesting, but I know if I had not visited Venice before I would have been disappointed that the high water and the days in other cities limited my opportunity to see Venice itself. Normally the ship would sail about 20 miles up the Po River, but due to the high water we did not do so--can't say that bothered me since I'd read it was not very scenic and its only advantage was to make the bus trips to these other cities a bit shorter. We spent another day visiting "the islands of the Venice lagoon"...and that was fantastic. We saw an ancient cathedral from almost 1000 years ago and other interesting stuff. I LOVE old buildings so this was probably my favorite tour after the St. Mark's Basilica visit. Another day we went to Chioggia, yet another island in the Venice lagoon where we visited a fish market and got to see the flood gates closing on their canals to protect the town from another round of aqua alta. We also had a couple of afternoons of "scenic sailing" around the lagoon with a guide to point out what we were seeing and give some of the history of the area. I missed the second of those (and the glass-blowing demo on Saturday afternoon) because I had fallen into a habit of taking an afternoon nap. Not sure why I slept so much, except that the whole week was so relaxing--there was no late-night entertainment keeping me up late. Maybe I was just catching up from the sleep deficit I usually run during my working life. Maybe it was just the big meals, but every afternoon my eyes got very heavy and most days I slept for a couple of hours. The bed was VERY comfortable! On Saturday we finally were back in Venice and the water was down to allow touring of the whole city, but that had to be done on one's own. The included tours were a choice of two, and I chose the tour of the Accademia with Susan, the art historian and guide who had taken us through the Basilica and the ancient cathedral (and who was also the guide of my group for the abbreviated Venice walking tour on Monday, because I recognized her name from reviews I'd read of the cruise and made sure I was in her group!) I know a couple of passengers who were art historians themselves found her to be a little over-dramatic, but honestly I think for the general public like me she was perfect and covered things at just the right level to keep us all fascinated. In the afternoon there was a glass-blowing demo and shopping for Murano glass, but I didn't attend that. I think a lot of passengers chose to use that time to walk around Venice on their own--I just slept! The best part was at the end of the cruise, I had no bill to pay. Everything had been included. All in all, especially considering the luxury level of food/beverage/amenities offered, I think it was an excellent value. I had a great time and I think the staff did the best job possible coping with the weather conditions.  Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I chose the cruise because it was a decent price and I had never visited Venice before. I wasn't overly excited for the cruise before leaving, as I love cruising on the rivers and this was not on a river. From the moment we ... Read More
I chose the cruise because it was a decent price and I had never visited Venice before. I wasn't overly excited for the cruise before leaving, as I love cruising on the rivers and this was not on a river. From the moment we boarded though, we were totally pampered. The ship was beautifully decorated and even though we were on the bottom level, we never felt like we were less than the passengers in the suites. The drinks were free flowing and the bartender was always willing to try a new concoction. Our chef Bogdon was brilliant and made every meal special and delicious. When I saw him buying the fresh octopus at the local fish market, I thought to myself "Not eating that". Well I did eat it and it was so delicious, I had seconds. Our waiter Dan made every meal a fun experience. Always had a great smile and a little joke for us. It's little things like that that make a cruise special. The excursions that Uniworld arranged were great. We had wonderful and knowledgeable guides giving us so much information on the history of everywhere that we went. One thing that I was disappointed in was Uniworld's decision to discontinue the "Easy walking tours". I have a very bad knee and had some rib bruising and could no way keep up with the group. We also had people well into their 80's (87 yrs.) that had health issues and had a hard time keeping up. Take note Uniworld, most of your passengers are 60+ and some have health/physical problems. They should beable to be comfortable taking the tours and not have to struggle to keep up. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My husband and I just returned from Italy with Uniworld on the "River Countess", 15 day tour called the "Splendors of Italy". The hotel in Milan, Florence, and Rome were very,very nice and the location in Milan and ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from Italy with Uniworld on the "River Countess", 15 day tour called the "Splendors of Italy". The hotel in Milan, Florence, and Rome were very,very nice and the location in Milan and Florence were fantastic. The ship was also very nice; the cabin size is average for a river cruise but very comfortable, (we loved having a candy dish full of chocolates in our room); the food was good, but not great; the entertainment was what I expected from a river cruise - a pianist/singer who was good; the service was exceptional and the staff was very friendly and accomodating; the ports were wonderful, the shore excursions were great, and the local guides were fantastic. Our cruise director, Agnes, was wonderful. Our biggest complaint was that the trip wasn't a few days longer, especially in Venice and Rome. In Venice it would have been nice to have an extra free day and in Rome, you really need at least two more days to see it all. Plus, since the hotel in Rome was not in the heart of the city, we would have liked to be given the opportunity to stay in town for the day or an afternoon and then to be picked up by the bus to retun to our hotel instead of finding transportation on our own. But we loved this trip and would recomend it to everyone. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I had been on two river cruises before with AMA Waterways but this time chose Uniworld as it offered an Italian experience. The River Po is not itself particularly interesting although it does offer a change from the Venetian lagoon, ... Read More
I had been on two river cruises before with AMA Waterways but this time chose Uniworld as it offered an Italian experience. The River Po is not itself particularly interesting although it does offer a change from the Venetian lagoon, which in itself is spectacular. The ship, crew, captain were all excellent - clean, well managed, like a well-oiled machine. I was exceptionally lucky as the overall group seemed to be happy and well disposed. A highlight of the trip was an evening visit to St Mark's Venice with the eminent art historian Dr Steer, whose exposition of the cathedral was memorable and very entertaining. There is a daily choice of either on-board activity or tours and I chose (after Milan where we were for 1.5 days), Verona, Padua, Chioggia, Burano and Ferrara in addition to the days spent in Venice itself. Viewing the restoration of Da Vinci's Last Supper in Milan is also of interest to art lovers. Venice never disappoints and this time I booked a gondola ride, with a small group. The crew do everything in their power to make your stay enjoyable and deserve high commendation. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our third Uniworld cruise so we had two others to compare. As with the others, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. That is not to say there weren't a few negatives which I will get to later. My comments are intended to be ... Read More
This was our third Uniworld cruise so we had two others to compare. As with the others, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. That is not to say there weren't a few negatives which I will get to later. My comments are intended to be constructive and I would not want to let them dissuade you from taking this cruise. First though, I need to acknowledge the exemplary crew. They were always at the ready to happily do whatever was requested. They are very personable and go out of their way to make sure you aren't lacking for anything. Even up to the Captain who joined us for a drink and a bike ride (on separate occasions). Nobody knew each other before the cruise but we soon formed a group of ten. Being part of such a group goes a long way to making the cruise that much more fun and enjoyable. I would encourage anyone to quickly make some friendships rather than go it alone as a couple. Food was always very good. Presentation and service was excellent unless, of course, you opted for the buffet (breakfast and lunch) then you know who to blame. There is a fixed menu for the Captain's Welcome and Farewell dinners. We can't agree with the few criticisms regarding lack of choice as the meals were top notch. Maybe those with a food restriction of some sort could possibly find it less than ideal. Even though the Po River had dried out and we were 'confined' to the Venetian Lagoon, we did not feel we missed out on too much. Only one day was impacted when we had a longer bus ride to Bologna than what would have otherwise been the case. Being all inclusive is the way to go. You are not forever signing charge slips, paying for tours and/or handing out tips as on an ocean cruise. The decision becomes which tour shall we go on rather than how much is it going to cost us. "Front of the line" and/or exclusive openings is terrific - no mobs and long lines to have to tolerate. The local tour guides were impressively knowledgeable, maybe to a fault. Sometimes we felt a little overwhelmed by long history lessons - but there is so more than what we have in North America. It may well be a case of what is too much for some is too little for others - damned if you do and damned if you don't. The guides' English vocabulary was really good and I was often surprised at some of the words I wouldn't have expected from someone using a foreign language. But they all seemed to have been trained at the same school where they learned our words properly should have an extra vowel tacked on the end. Something like "Nowa, let'sa walka this waya" or "Crossa over the bridgea". I'm not being critical as it got to be somewhat humorous at times. I guess it's a part of the Italian DNA. Admittedly, we didn't get the book out and compare square footage. But the cabin gave us a sense that it was smaller than, for instance, the same cabin on the River Princess. Maybe, the positioning of the bathroom door was a factor. Someone could easily lose a knee cap if s/he was sitting on the edge of the bed and the other person unknowingly came out of the bathroom too quickly. Having said that, the cabins are very well appointed and clean. The fairies who come into your cabin when you aren't there to make your bed, etc., do an excellent job. The big negative? The horrible internet service (and I use the term 'service' loosely). More often than not there was intermittent service or none at all - even if the ship had been tied up all day. Then, if and when you could get access, it was very slow - reminiscent of the old dial-up days. More than once I encountered a service drop in the middle of my trying to do something. A relatively minor point: I'm not sure if it was the particular driver at fault or the schedule. The long drive from Milan to Venice was very slow. It was very unusual for us pass another vehicle - they all passed us. The other bus with us had long disappeared out of sight. If it was a scheduling matter, I don't think it is necessary to leave Milan quite so early. We opted to not do the Rome extension. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This is our 5th river cruise and Uniworld by far exceeded all expectations. All inclusive gratuities, drinks, choice of daily excursions were all contributing factors for choosing Uniworld. With many other cruise lines you are constantly ... Read More
This is our 5th river cruise and Uniworld by far exceeded all expectations. All inclusive gratuities, drinks, choice of daily excursions were all contributing factors for choosing Uniworld. With many other cruise lines you are constantly being nickled and dimed with every step. Not so with Uniworld. Their local guides were extremley knowledgeable,friendly and made the daily excursions so much more interesting. Chiara in Milan just made our day with her upbeat personality. Susan, on our Venice excursions was extremely knowledgeable and her detailed descriptions of the Venetian artwork and landmarks were the best we have ever encountered. The staff on the ship were all personable and did everything they could to meet the customer expectations. The evening meals were first class and a large variety of options for lunch, including a pizza bar in the top deck lounge. We are seriously considering doing this trip again in the near future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
I have been on many, many cruises before, but this surpassed them all. We went to Milan as a pre-cruise program. We were met at the airport by a Mercedes which took us to the Hotel Rosa, situated a stone's throw from the Duomo, ... Read More
I have been on many, many cruises before, but this surpassed them all. We went to Milan as a pre-cruise program. We were met at the airport by a Mercedes which took us to the Hotel Rosa, situated a stone's throw from the Duomo, perfect location. A Uniworld desk was located in the lobby with announcements, suggestions for lunch and dinner and the activities of the day. We had an orientation walk to show just what an ideal location our hotel was. A recommendation for dinner was superb: family-owned, fresh food, excellent, friendly staff. We were on a walking tour the next day which included an early visit to the Last Supper. I am a slow walker and use a cane. Never was I left alone; there was always a Uniworld staff member in front and behind the group. In the afternoon, we visited La Scala at our own expense, and then we were treated to bellinis afterwards in a local cafe--splendid. Again, another excellent recommendation for dinner. On Sunday, we were on the move to Verona for a walking tour. Next, we visited a winery owned by Dante's family which paired our delicious lunch with various wines. It was here where I purchased excellent olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We arrived to the Countess in Venice. Orientation by Damiano who provided an overall discussion of what to expect on these next 7 days. Everything you see on the Uniworld promotional material is seen on the Countess: beautiful lobby, fresh flowers all over, good-size bar, friendly staff. My only complaint was how small the room, especially the bathroom. Meals were gourmet, wine and spirits flowed. Our waitstaff were friendly and very knowledgeable about all the items on the menu. They were very eager to please. On the evening when we went to St. Mark's, we returned to the ship and were treated to a magnificent buffet--lots of good, filling choices. Our tours were excellent, all conducted by experts in their field: Susan, an art historian, a woman who knew all about wine, and a woman who specialized in the outer islands from Venice. I had never been to Padua and Bologna so this was eye-opening for me. Chioggia is a gem: mussel harvesting up close and personal, followed by an outstanding lunch of these succulent, sweet mussels. On board, we had a tiramisu making workshop, an Italian singer and two opera singers. I can't wait to travel again on Uniworld; they are the BEST. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our second Uniworld Cruise and we would definitely travel with them again. The staff were friendly & professional, the service was exceptional as was the food and the boat itself. The itinerary was well thought out & ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld Cruise and we would definitely travel with them again. The staff were friendly & professional, the service was exceptional as was the food and the boat itself. The itinerary was well thought out & executed and covered all highlights relevant to the areas visited. The cabins were well appointed as were the public areas of the boat. All excursions were well organised and the guides were excellent. We managed to gain access to St Mark's Basilica without the crowds which was highlight of the trip. The staff could not have been helpful or professional and we enjoyed our entire time on the cruise. There is no doubt that we would choose Uniworld if we were to indulge in another river cruise in the future as we have tried other providers and Uniworld definitely comes out on top. We would recommend Uniworld to anyone thinking about a river cruise in Europe. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
The Uniworld cruise in the lagoon of Venice turned upside down any preconceptions we had of the region. The number of islands, the extent of the waterway and it's environment was a revelation. The cruise itinerary was excellent ... Read More
The Uniworld cruise in the lagoon of Venice turned upside down any preconceptions we had of the region. The number of islands, the extent of the waterway and it's environment was a revelation. The cruise itinerary was excellent allowing us time to visit the historical sites around the Grand Canal (including some out of hours special tours) and to explore several of the islands and wetland areas that provide much of the history, culture, food and colour of Venice. The River Countess proved an excellent " home away from Home" with comfortable cabins, an excellent dining room, bar and lounge. Meals were excellent and there was a good choice of wines with each meal. The staff ensured all passengers needs were met and we had a Tour Manager well versed in the history and contemporary features of the region. As we have found with Uniworld cruises of the past they ensured that our local guides were well informed. Some of our on shore visits started reasonably early in the morning and occasionally out of hours when all other tourists had had left for the day. This was a bonus because even though our visit was out of peak season the crowds at the key sites were large. A visit to Venice is highly recommended and the best way surely is to stay on board a comfortable river cruiser. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
My wife and I chose this cruise because we had been to Venice in the past and we wanted to spend more time there and because we traveled on a Uniworld boat once before and found Uniworld to be so much better than their competition. ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because we had been to Venice in the past and we wanted to spend more time there and because we traveled on a Uniworld boat once before and found Uniworld to be so much better than their competition. Just as our past experience, the staff was simply excellent. As a passenger, you never want for anything and never feel neglected. Everyone on the staff bends over backward to try to make your experience as good as it can be. The boat was beautiful and immaculate, just as before. The decor and the ambiance on the boat is incredible. I've never been any other boat that looks so good and is so well maintained. The excursions on the trip were very nice but didn't leave us much free time on this trip. My wife and I actually skipped one of the activities to spend some time just exploring Venice on our own. Uniworld seems to get very good, knowledgeable guides that make the excursions more enjoyable. Dining on a Uniworld boat is also a wonderful experience. No special times or seating requirements and every meal feels like you're in a 5 star restaurant. I really like their "all in" pricing. Everyone enjoys the experience without worrying about getting stuck with the bar tab. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most ... Read More
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most knowledgeable local tour guides available. From the moment you step onboard, the company's signature style of fabulous elegance is presented in full force. A large chandelier and leopard-skin circular sofa dominate the lobby, and natural light, fresh flowers and two parallel staircases combine to give passengers a warm welcome. River Countess might be elegant in style, but the dress code is resort casual. It caters to a predominantly English-speaking, retired clientele. After 10 years of service, River Countess underwent a total transformation in 2012, with more than $5 million worth of refurbishments. Immediately prior to its Italian debut, the ship received a few extra touches, including a pizza oven and a new tapestry behind the reception area. One of the most impressive spaces is the Sienna Salon Sky Lounge, a glass-walled conservatory-like cafe decked out with plants and outdoor furniture. On a blue-sky day, the cozy room lights up with sunshine. The main restaurant is also a sight to behold, with white leather booths, white tablecloths and white-tuxedoed waiters. Seven-night sailings are offered between April and November, with four nights spent in Venice, using the ship as a base. Other shore excursions -- to the historic and cultural delights of Verona, Bologna, Padua and Ravenna -- require coach trips of one to two hours. For these reasons, the itinerary may suit couples who can't decide whether to see Italy by road or river, as there is less sailing time than on the average cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
The Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy river cruise is as close to perfect as you can get. The journey began when we were picked up at the airport by Uniworld and whisked off to the ship for a delicious lunch while waiting a very short ... Read More
The Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy river cruise is as close to perfect as you can get. The journey began when we were picked up at the airport by Uniworld and whisked off to the ship for a delicious lunch while waiting a very short while for our rooms to be ready. Throughout the week, the staff was courteous and helpful going above and beyond our expectations. The rooms, though small, were beautifully decorated and very comfortable. There was always a full jar of candies welcoming us back from our shore excursions. The shore excursions were varied and interesting. The guides were great, especially Susan whose knowledge and delivery were outstanding. Venice is beautiful and we were able to experience her treasures while docked at her doorstep. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were culinary delights. We eagerly awaited each meal! Breakfast was served buffet style with an omelette station. The choices included fruits, pastries, cereals, juices, eggs, meats, pancakes and the most delicious French toast! Lunch, also served buffet style, consisted of a fresh made pasta station, carving station and an abundant variety of hot and cold choices native to the region. Desserts were great - tiramisu, gelato, pastries and every variety of mousse completed the meal. Dinner was a five-star dining delight. Fresh seafood and locally grown produce were especially delicious. Meats and vegetarian choices consisted of Italian favorites like osso bucco and lasagna a la Bolognese. The hotel manager, Damiano, was helpful and ever present. The head chef was so friendly and frequently came to the table to ask how we enjoyed the meal. He seemed to take great pride in our compliments which were effusive. The wait staff were all so friendly and made sure that we dining experience was enjoyable. One waitress, Timea, was particularly friendly - never without a smile. A special highlight of our trip was a visit to the markets at Chioggia with lunch on a mussel harvesting dock in the middle of the sea. The market stalls lined the streets and seemed to go on forever. The mussel and seafood lunch was freshly harvested and delicious. If I were to describe the Uniworld Venice cruise it would be Perfect - simply Perfect! 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
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
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: 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
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
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
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: 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
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
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
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
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