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102 Vienna to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

Took the Uniworld European Holiday Markets cruise on the Danube, something we had wanted to do for some time. This cruise line touts this as all inclusive, and it didn't disappoint. Top shelf beverages and wines, not just at meals, ... Read More
Took the Uniworld European Holiday Markets cruise on the Danube, something we had wanted to do for some time. This cruise line touts this as all inclusive, and it didn't disappoint. Top shelf beverages and wines, not just at meals, but virtually all day. They even had a specific bottle of my favorite beverage waiting for me a the bar, which Evo, the bartender explained had my name on it. I mentioned this at booking and that's all it took. Meals were extraordinary, varied, superbly prepared and presented. Martin, the rest. mgr, visited with my wife and her sister before each meal to ensure their specific dietary restrictions had been taken into consideration, and in some cases, alternative meals prepared just for them. Chef Bogdan even provided a special off menu meal for us the last night which took several days preparation. Try that on your typical ocean cruise with 5000 of your closest friends. Oh yeah, there were only 67 passengers on this 110 passenger ship, so it was really special. George, one of the dining and lounge staff, took special care of our party all cruise long, never missing the chance to find ways to meet our every request. The staterooms were more than adequate, comfortable, and immaculate. There really are no bad rooms on a river cruise ship. The excursions were well planned, expertly guided, and yet leisurely. The service we received in every area of the ship was world class and my wife and I doubt we will ever take another mega-boat cruise again. And we will definitely cruise Uniworld again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Sunday, November 29, 2015 Vienna - Had arrived days earlier in Vienna to tour town on our own. Took our luggage to the Intercontinental Hotel (where is was securely stored) until several buses took us to the ship. Embarkation was a ... Read More
Sunday, November 29, 2015 Vienna - Had arrived days earlier in Vienna to tour town on our own. Took our luggage to the Intercontinental Hotel (where is was securely stored) until several buses took us to the ship. Embarkation was a breeze! Luggage already in our room - simply unpack (and store luggage under bed). Required emergency drill that everyone had to attend, then welcome by Captain and Cruise Director (Tony Campailla) and our first meal (nice selection) on the ship. Monday, November 30, 2015 Vienna – Since we had already toured Vienna, we took the tour bus into town in the morning for the “guided tour” and ditched the tour – some Christmas Markets shut down due to high winds. Had Sacher Torte and visited Museum. We then took the bus back to ship for lunch. After lunch, we took the bus to Schonbrunn Palace for the paid Excursion. It started raining on the way there and then the rain increased steadily in intensity. Christmas Market was shut down due to the extremely high winds (big disappointment as blogs stated this was one of the best Christmas Markets to attend). Since we had seen this palace twice before, we probably should not have pre-signed up and paid for this excursion and done it at the last minute. The inclement weather (heavy rain) ruined the experience. Lesson learned. Tuesday, December 1, 2015 Dürnstein – Unbelievably high winds. Had a walking tour through the small town with time to shop at the local stores. No Christmas Market. Saw the Blue Church. Melk – Since we had toured Abbey before, we walked the small town. Christmas Market shut down – only open for locals on weekends and evenings. Heard people from the Viking ship complain about this fact as they walked past us. Wednesday, December 2, 2015 Salzburg Excursion (Paid) - We took the bus ride to Salzburg. Had the chocolate pretzel and local sausages. Great Christmas Market and lots of great shopping (probably second best). Continued on with our growing Gluhwein mug collection. Lunch on own as bus took us to Oberndorf that afternoon to see Silent Night church. Then another short bus ride to a very small village, where two gentlemen sang Silent Night in the local church. Stollen and Gluhwein served up after the music in a courtyard. Bus ride back to the ship docked in Passau. Thursday, December 3, 2015 Regensburg – Another place we did not take the walking tour. Left before the tour groups and quickly found the Christmas Market. At 11 am, before tour groups arrived, we stopped at the Historische Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen) and put in our order (utilizing the free meal coupon provided by Avalon). Similar the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” we had the waiter repeatedly say: “Not all inclusive!!” We each received 6 small sausages with sauerkraut plus a beer. There was a large bread basket with a couple dozen rolls. As we were leaving after the meal, the waiter ran after us. “How many rolls?” We had 3 total. Not all Inclusive meant 1 roll per person. We had to pay .90 euro for third roll. We reported this to Tony back at the ship who was saddened since Avalon paid the Old Sausage Kitchen for this experience. In the afternoon a bus took us to the Taxis and Thurn Palace for their Christmas Market. (Looking back it was the BEST Christmas Market!) Great shopping and outdoor firewood heat everywhere. (Tony personally took the group there and back.) Friday, December 4, 2015 Nuremberg – It was becoming quickly evident that the Christmas Markets were providing way too many opportunities for shopping. Tony let us know of 2 stores in Nuremburg that carried quality luggage. When we arrived that afternoon we took the tour bus into town and were dropped off near the train station. (As with these tours, we always asked the tour guide where the bus would be picking us up and at what time.) We found a very nice carry-on piece to make sure we could bring back all the goodies we found. The Christmas Market was incredible (would rate this third best of the markets). We walked and did some shopping. We were told to meet for the tour bus ride back at the “Golden Fountain” in the Market Square. Unfortunately, the “Golden Fountain” was completely covered with construction materials, so we made the assumption that it was the Fountain based on where we were at looking at the maps that Avalon had provided. (NOTE: Avalon provides very detailed and easy to understand maps of the cities we visited. Because of this, we could find many things on our own utilizing the map. Always took a second map along for reference and kept one for our memory book.) Saturday, December 5, 2015 Munich – Bus ride to Munich. Did the walking tour, then time on our own. Since lunch was not included we did the local Rathaus (basement) for a meal. Spent the short time we had in Munich mostly at this place. Markets were far too crowded due to it being a Saturday to do shopping. The walking tour included the Hofbrauhaus and the Glockenspiel (at noon). Again, not enough time on these excursions. This was also the large “turn-over” day on the ship – the first of two. In all we experienced 3 Welcome Dinners, 3 Farewell Dinners, and 3 “last suppers”. These large change-overs are very stressful. You just get to start knowing people and then you have to start over again with a new group. This second group was very loud compared to the first. Those we talked to whom had just arrived loved Prague and their Christmas market (we missed out on that experience). Sunday, December 6, 2015 Nuremberg – Attended the morning service at a local church. Everything in German. Were able to figure out hymnal and tried sing along in some places. Church was cold – somehow heat was being pumped under the seats to help warm us up though. Did some more shopping after the service and returned to the ship late afternoon. Monday, December 7, 2015 Bamberg – Took the guided walking tour, since we had a free beer gift certificate and didn't know the location. This was a mistake. Tour guide took us to a museum and offered people a chance to use the bathrooms. Over ½ hour (almost 40 minutes) was lost due this convenience for others. Tour guide quickly walked us to brewery to get gift bag. It contained beer and glasses; however, it did not contain the smoked beer. Just a regular lager. The whole point of Bamberg is their smoked beer. In hindsight, would have skipped the walking tour, forgone the free beer gift, and spent time at the Christmas Market (we only had less than ½ hour to visit it after the lost bathroom time). Tuesday, December 8, 2015 Wurzburg – Did not do the walking tour in the Residenz. Took the tour bus there, then walked on our own. Watched the Market’s slowing opening while at a local coffee shop. Then shopped that Christmas Market. Listened to a street musician play wonderful music. Later waited for the ship to arrive at the dock. We had learned the night before that the Danube had been running high and the Captain was racing ahead of the rising waters to get under bridges. If it had been one day later, we would have been put on a bus (and off the ship). To make Wurzburg excursion, they stopped at a small town and bussed us ahead of the ship. We were also delayed 4 hours due to a lock being broken just as we were leaving the Canal and entering the Main River. This put the trip behind for awhile. Waiting for the ship to arrive in Wurzburg (it was 45 minutes late) got us a little worried that we would miss out on the paid excursion to Rothenburg. Rothenburg Excursion (Paid) – Took the bus. Left the tour group once we got inside the wall (because again the Guide stopped first at a public bathroom for the group to use). Utilized the Avalon map to navigate our way around the place. Visited the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Museum (Avalon had provided everyone with a free entrance coupon). Store was extremely crowded and very long lines to check out if purchasing an item. We were able to walk part of the rampart wall above the city – that was a great experience! Needed more time to spend exploring this wonderful place! Near the church, we had a cherry flavored Gluhwein that was exceptional. Wednesday, December 9, 2015 Miltenberg – Wonderful town! Ship had to dock a long ways away (the ship was docked at the far end of the town well past the normal docking locations) and we had to walk through muddy construction area (work was being done to build up the shore to prevent flooding damage). Again, left before the tour groups and did our own thing. The town is very narrow and long – basically two streets running parallel to the river. If you stopped in one of three stores with an Avalon poster in the window, you received a free treat (like a piece of candy). Christmas Market here was also shut down. Another place where it is open at night and weekends for the locals. Many old buildings and simply a quaint beautiful little town! Half-timbered houses and cobblestone lanes made it very picturesque! Thursday, December 10, 2015 Rudesheim – Bus ride, then mini-train ride to the Musical Museum. The mini-train is a tractor pulling covered carts that hold a dozen people each. We again did our own thing and walked the Christmas Market rather than visit the Musical Museum. Wonderful little town! Had a full lunch with everyone from the tour group at the Rudesheimer Schloss with the “special coffee” for dessert. Great local band playing during the meal. This was the second turn-over of guests on the ship. We again had people suddenly leave that we were getting to know. Friday, December 11, 2015 Heidelberg – Since we’d been there before we decided to rest a bit and started packing items we had purchased. The ship left after people got on the bus to Heidelburg and we used the time to get organized. We did not stop in Speyer – instead we stopped in Mannheim and were able to walk to the old town (a bit of a maze even with the map provided by Avalon) that included walking under the train tracks through a tunnel. Another great Market! Another great shopping mecca. More great Gluhwein and sausages. Unexpected stop – but a very pleasant surprise. Glad we bought that second carry-on luggage! Saturday, December 12, 2015 Strasbourg – We docked on German side of Rhine (most likely Avalon did not want security issues being docked in France since the attacks earlier in the month in Paris). We quickly found out that crossing the Rhine on a tour bus was a lengthy experience due to border control being tightened in France. One lane traffic vs. three lane traffic. Delays in and out of Strasbourg put a crimp on time to do anything. In Strasbourg, pairs of Policemen every block. The Market place was simply overcrowded (again probably because it was a Saturday - just like Munich). If you tried to talk to some of the vendors in English, they would ignore you (some even rude). On the perimeter, pairs of French Army with submachine guns. We got back to the ship 30 minutes late due to border delays. Alsace Excursion (Paid) – Stopped at Winery owned by a local family. Sampled 4 wines. This excursion also included a stop to the very quaint village of Obernai. Again not enough time to explore due to short time provided during this stop (would have had less time available if we took the walk with the tour guide). Sunday, December 13, 2015 Breisach – Spent morning walking the town which sits on a high hill. Long walk up to the high point to get to the church and old town. Nothing open in town (Sunday). Great views of the Vosges Mountains in France and the Black Forest in Germany though. Colmar Excursion (Paid) – Bus trip. Took the guided walking tour. Beautiful town with not enough time to explore Christmas Markets. Would have loved more time at this place. Stopped at the Hansi Shop and had a small bite to eat and drink, then shopped for Hansi specialty items. Waited for the tour guide to walk us back to the bus. She walked too fast and many people in our group struggled to keep up. The walk itself was at least 12 blocks crossing busy traffic. The ride back was a bit better until we got to the bridge crossing the Rhine. Again, the lanes went from 3 down to 1 for the border inspection between France and Germany – delayed arrival to ship. Monday, December 14, 2015 Basel – 4:30 am wake up call. Bus left at 6:00 am and took 90 minutes to get to Zurich. We were on first group to depart ship (8 of us) since our flights were that morning. Provided with a cold boxed breakfast to eat on bus ride. Disembarkation was very efficient with colored ribbons to mark our luggage. PLUSES and MINUSES: - Tony Campailla is an exceptional Director! - Suppers at least two hours long - length of meal can get tiresome after a while. Some meal selections became repetitive during a two week trip. - Breakfast and Lunch selections all wonderful. Soups fantastic! Lack of local cheeses - could have had more selections made available. - Congestion at the serving area. Badly designed. People getting soup and bread coming from two directions to also get served hot food creates a constant traffic jam at lunch. - Tour Guides for off ship excursions were not the best at time management. - Room was had lots of light from full windows. Bathroom was very roomy. Beds comfortable. Small frig in room to store occasional food items bought in excursions. Never felt cramped - even watched 3 movies while we were underway. - Service was exceptional. From the front desk staff, to the bar, to the room attendant, to the wait staff - everyone. They made you feel very welcomed and cared for. - Excursions need about 2 more hours added to them to make them worth your while. - As stated, maps provided at front desk are excellent! Daily newsletter was also very well done. Nightly talk from Tony about the next day's events was entertaining. - Selection at bar was very good with half-priced happy hour almost every night. - No snow. Both a plus and minus. Would have made markets look more magical; however, walking was nice and easy without walking in slush. - St. Nicholas Day - they had everyone put shoes outside their cabin door and in the morning a special gift from St. Nick was in the shoes. - Passenger Turn-Over. Watch for trips where passenger turn-overs can take place. Usually Nuremberg and Frankfurt are two locations where this can happen in the trip. - Coffee machine in back lounge area with good selection of cookies. - Were told at the end of the cruise that Avalon was testing out new dinner service, new linens, new towels, etc. on this specific cruise. The silverware rolled too easily on the plate; however, the linens and especially the towels were were very soft. - Would we do this trip again and with Avalon? Absolutely! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Uniworld is great! My wife & I spent 2 nights in Vienna pre cruise, then boarded the River Ambassador which stayed overnight in Vienna to give us another full day before sailing upstream on the Rhine. From the time we boarded until ... Read More
Uniworld is great! My wife & I spent 2 nights in Vienna pre cruise, then boarded the River Ambassador which stayed overnight in Vienna to give us another full day before sailing upstream on the Rhine. From the time we boarded until the end we were greeted by an ever gracious crew who really paid attention to every detail. I can't say enough about how good they were. From the first happy hour in their well appointed lounge area, the staff not only remembered our favorite cocktails, but would warmly greet us as we walked in, asking if we wanted a "Dewar's and water" or a "Vodka Tonic". Drinks and wine are included and we never had to ask for another, since they were right there anticipating our wants and needs. (I've found slow service on other "all inclusive" trips or where we've already paid for a beverage package. The very small stateroom (128 sq ft) was the only reason to give it 4 stars instead of 5. The River Ambassador is Uniworld's smallest ship (120 passengers) and it looks like the staterooms on their other ships are larger-we could have used the additional space. However, the housekeeping staff did an excellent job of keeping it spotless every day and night. Laundry service was reasonably priced and service was same day, depending on when we left the bag out. Food was as good as we've ever had on any ocean cruise, including specialty restaurants. Breakfast and Lunch buffet provided plenty of choices and variety (example meat or veggie lasagna when they had lasagna), along with the usual salad fixings. Dinners offered a different menu every evening, and the staff was always there to refill your wine glass. The house wines changed every day and seemed to be local. Talking about the staff, I cannot say enough about how sincerely friendly and attentive they were. This was the last cruise of the season and I did not get any indication that anyone was short timing. Jaroslav, the hotel manager, was very visible and was always the first to greet us when we reboarded from our daily shore excursions. Piet, the cruise manager, was always available on board and when we were on the excellent guided tours that he arranged for us. The captain was also very visible. He did an excellent job of navigating the low waters of the rivers and canals. There were some last minute changes of docking sites and shore excursions due to the low waters and Piet made everything seemless in that we hardly realized that any changes were made. I know he had to scramble to re arrange guides and buses so we could see everything and he did a superlative job. In summary, this was an excellent experience and I get the impression that not only was the staff and crew excellent, but the commitment to flawless service came from the corporate structure as well. I can't imagine doing a river cruise with any company other than Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We spent two weeks with Uniworld on the Danube from Vienna to Bucharest with an extension to Istanbul. We are repeat cruisers with Uniworld and were once again delighted with the service and the experience. Inclusion of tours at each stop ... Read More
We spent two weeks with Uniworld on the Danube from Vienna to Bucharest with an extension to Istanbul. We are repeat cruisers with Uniworld and were once again delighted with the service and the experience. Inclusion of tours at each stop and most drinks on board, along with the wonderful service by the dedicated River Duchess team and terrific food made it most memorable. Our cabin was small, but very adequate with lots of storage space. Most of all, the pleasantness of every staff member and their outstanding service made this a great trip. We look forward to our next Uniworld excursion! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My wife and I Embarked in the River Ambassador on Oct 3,2015. Our trip ended Oct 13,2015 with the 2 days land extension in Prague. The crew was fantastic. They paid attention to the smallest detail to make our cruise enjoyable. The cruise ... Read More
My wife and I Embarked in the River Ambassador on Oct 3,2015. Our trip ended Oct 13,2015 with the 2 days land extension in Prague. The crew was fantastic. They paid attention to the smallest detail to make our cruise enjoyable. The cruise director and hotel manager were always available to cater to our smallest wish. Food was great and special attention was given to passengers with special dietary needs. The chef and dining room supervisor were always on hand to make sure that everything went well. When not busy with his official duties or steering the ship, the captain was also making rounds and saying hello. The shore excursions were carefully organized and there were plenty of options. When we checked in on Sunday I mentioned briefly to the very pleasant receptionist that October 17 was our wedding anniversary. On the second cruise day we were surprised when we opened the door to our room and found that our bed was decorated with a giant bow and rose petals and there was bottle of champagne on ice and 2 cups. Our wonderful room attendant did a beautiful job. This short review is not enough to adequately describe our experience. We want everybody to know that this river cruise was better than any ocean cruise we have taken. With about 100 passengers and 44 cruise staff,there are plenty of people ready to pamper you. I want to caution parents with children that the nature of the cruise is not suited for kids (there isn't much for kids to do); but if you can leave the kids at home with relatives or a nanny,you won't be sorry. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my second River cruise. The first was with Avalon. They are like night and day. The ship is older and very outdated... from the furniture, to the light fixtures. As another reviewer posted, the shower was smaller than I have ... Read More
This was my second River cruise. The first was with Avalon. They are like night and day. The ship is older and very outdated... from the furniture, to the light fixtures. As another reviewer posted, the shower was smaller than I have ever seen. It's awful!! the cabins are small, as to be expected, but the beds are not comfortable. We had to ask for extra pillows as there was only one little pillow on each bed. From the time we walked on board the hotel manager was nasty. She is French, and immediately made everyone feel like we were interrupting her day. If you asked her anything, or told her there as an issue with anything, she argued with you and got angry. She should not be in the hospitality industry. She made the trip kind of stressful. The staff was also not very helpful or forthcoming with information as far as when you got off the boat. IT seemed to be more of an inconvenience if you asked them anything outside of what you were told during the daily announcements. Thankfully the dining room staff staff made up for it. The internet I worse than archaic. The router they are using is worse than mot people have in their homes. It is meant for 5 connections, so it is excruciatingly slow and drops the connections every 30 minutes. That is if you sure lucky to even get a connection. The router constantly had to be rebooted. This caused problems for people who relied on having internet service for work or staying in touch with family members at home. There were not many English speaking people on the cruise, but the ones we met were wonderful. We made several great friends from Ireland, Australia, and Malta. The excursions were good as well. The food was a fixed menu everyday. If you let them know about any dietary requirement, they were very accommodating. However, if you are a picky eater, you don't have a choice on this boat. Otherwise we had no complaints about the food. Other company's give you a menu to choose from each night, which is MUCH better. Drinks are included, but limited. They couldn't make a cosmo or even a dirty martini. They said they had no cranberry or olives. We mostly stuck with wine and beer, which was good for house wine. And the Lounge entertainment was a joke! Compared to Avalon, this company is steerage. I recommend paying the extra money and going with a better cruise company... even if the drinks are not included all ay. You can bring anything you want on board, and wine/beer is cheap in Europe. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
There a number of things that disappointed us in regards to this last cruise with Uniworld First they never told we needed to call Austria Airlines and Air Canada for seat reservations. United did not understand our confirmation numbers ... Read More
There a number of things that disappointed us in regards to this last cruise with Uniworld First they never told we needed to call Austria Airlines and Air Canada for seat reservations. United did not understand our confirmation numbers for our flight and after some discussion we were give the necessary numbers to call for seat reservations. Itinerary invoice given to us told us we had a United flight at O’Hare airport we were never told to go to the international terminal, therefore we got out at Terminal 1, United, and then told to go to Terminal 5 international for our departure. We needed to trek all our luggage to that terminal. The flight to Istanbul we did not get business class and was told they had none, but when we got on the plane they indeed did have business class. We booked business on all the flights to and from for this trip. There were only two gentle walking excursions on this trip and it was hard for not only us but a number of others to keep up with the land tour guides. There are many opportunities to get closer to museums and other places which would have accommodate the gentle walkers but they were not used. The food was boring after the first few days and there was a lack of flavoring in the food, it was not at the same level of previous Uniworld cruises. In Istanbul at the Intercontinental Hotel my wife fell and hit her head on the floor, the staff was very attentive, they sent a "Doctor" to our room, but would not acknowledge the incident when I asked for a written report of the incident. When we told the Uniworld agent about the incident he said it was the first he heard of it and that was that. The Intercontinental hotel room was not very clean, the carpet had not been vacuumed and we called several times for them to clean which they never did. Waiting for our transport to the Istanbul no Uniworld agent was on duty to assure us of the arrival of the van, we had to keep asking the doorman about the van. On the boat I saw the doctor twice, at 50 euros each time, Uniworld never asked if I had their insurance or provided any paperwork. The doctor gave me a receipt after having asked for it at the Uniworld desk several times. The doctor told me to not ask the staff about it anymore. The visa service given to Uniworld did not process the visa information correctly and delayed our entry into Turkey at a cost of 25 euros. The visa company did refund their cost and visa fee. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Having read the one and only review of Beethoven before we went on our cruise I felt I must sing some of the praises for this holiday instead of the negatives on the other review. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. The food was ... Read More
Having read the one and only review of Beethoven before we went on our cruise I felt I must sing some of the praises for this holiday instead of the negatives on the other review. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. The food was excellent ,although there was no choice, every meal was well prepared and superbly presented. Our cabin was small but very comfortable and perfectly adequate. We asked for extra pillows and this was promptly arranged. We did not do any of the excursions since they were expensive and we easily made our own arrangements. Most ports were within easy walking distance of the towns. The staff were all very pleasant and helpful. We felt that the journey from Bratislava to Kalosca was unnecessarily long and would have prefered an extra day in Budapest. We would be more than happy to sail with Croisieurope again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our first cruise of any kind. I was leery of the "all inclusive" tag based on experience of friends on other cruise lines. Nonetheless, based on recommendations from family I booked with Uniworld. The two areas I ... Read More
This was our first cruise of any kind. I was leery of the "all inclusive" tag based on experience of friends on other cruise lines. Nonetheless, based on recommendations from family I booked with Uniworld. The two areas I thought they would get me with extra charges would be the tours and the liquor. I was wrong on both counts. The tours. Although there are optional pay for tours available in Vienna and at the Prague extension, they really are optional. The included tours at every stop (including Vienna and Prague) were excellent and completely filled up your day to the extent you choose to do so. The guides were local, very knowledgeable and the groups small and comfortable. The listening devices provided made it easy to hear and understand what was being said, without having to press in and be right on top of the guide. We did do both of the optional outings in Vienna (a trip to the Schobrunn palace and a concert at a local monastery) - both were excellent. Drinks - As with the tours the onboard selection of free included liquor was excellent. The wines served with dinner were very good, as were the beers and scotch (including a very nice Oban 14). Other pros: The onboard experience exceeded my expectation in every way. Food: - The dinners were prepared by a professional chef and were fantastic. The small group on board (106 passengers if I remember correctly) made the dinners somewhat intimate. Staff: The staff was friendly and attentive, but not intrusive. For example, on the first night the salmon dish my wife had was served with a small amount of caviar as a garnish. My wife commented to the dining room manager at the end of the evening that it was her first taste of caviar, and that she very much enjoyed it. 2 nights later the manager stopped by our table with a large dish of caviar for our table to share. I wish I had room for all of the stories where the crew went out of there way for us, from the captain through the hotel and tour managers all the way through the wait staff and the chef, but there simply isn't room. Needless to say they were fantastic. Onboard activities: The onboard entertainment in the evening, as well as the talks by the cruise director were very entertaining and informative. Loved the activities, loved the area we traveled in, loved the ship. I really enjoyed the entire experience. Other Cons: The one area I was not happy with was the interaction between my travel agent and Uniworld in regards to our flight arrangements prior to the cruise. If I have a chance to do this again I will sail with Uniworld, but book my own flights separately. After initial booking, Uniworld changed our flights without notice to us, and the new flights included extra stops and significantly longer travel time then what we originally booked. It took over a week of constant calling between me, and the travel agent before we could finally sort this out. When we did we had additional issues getting Uniworld to release the funds for the tickets so we could make our seat assignments with the airline. Uniworld offered additional ship board credit after I wrote a negative review on Trip Advisor, but otherwise did nothing to really correct there procedures in this area. S0, absolutely loved the cruise, will definitely do again as time and money permits, but will book my own travel arrangements next time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The Amadeus Royal is an old cruise boat that has been recently renovated. However it falls short of being described as luxurious. The cabins are small. It was good to be able to get fresh air, but the "French balcony" was only a ... Read More
The Amadeus Royal is an old cruise boat that has been recently renovated. However it falls short of being described as luxurious. The cabins are small. It was good to be able to get fresh air, but the "French balcony" was only a small sliding window less than a metre wide. The main lounge had very uncomfortable seating. There were some armchairs but not enough for all guests. The restaurant was located at the stern of the boat and it was necessary to walk down a corridor past cabins. Every morning the housekeeping trolley and vacuum cleaner were cluttering this corridor before and during breakfast. Water, tea and coffee were only available at meal times and had to be paid for at other times. We were fortunate to be able to use the upper deck in good weather. If it had rained the lounge was crowded and uncomfortable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first river cruise and we found the size of the ship perfect. We made great new friends and enjoyed the staff immensely. Sitting in the lounge after dinner listening to the piano music was relaxing and fun. Tours included ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we found the size of the ship perfect. We made great new friends and enjoyed the staff immensely. Sitting in the lounge after dinner listening to the piano music was relaxing and fun. Tours included an overview of each town/village/city we visited and were well done. The headsets were a great improvement to what we had experienced on an ocean cruise. Our cruise included 5 days aboard the Artistry II cruising through Austria and a land package in Munich at the Westin. The only thing missing was more time aboard the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My wife and I (both in our late 30's/early 40's) booked a Category 1 stateroom (201) on the River Ambassador for May 2015. She had always wanted to visit Prague and go on a river cruise along the Danube, so this itinerary was the ... Read More
My wife and I (both in our late 30's/early 40's) booked a Category 1 stateroom (201) on the River Ambassador for May 2015. She had always wanted to visit Prague and go on a river cruise along the Danube, so this itinerary was the perfect fit. We really can't rave about this cruise enough! The service and staff on the ship was top-notch: friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgable, and professional. The food was truly fine dining with all alcohol included. The chef always cooked a local dish using local ingredients each night. Presentation was excellent, and the food tasted even better! The excursions were excellent with knowledgable and friendly local guides. Didn't expect as many bus rides, but at least the bus itself and the drivers were all excellent. The cabin itself, while small, was well-appointed and comfortable. The ships amenities were quite convenient and in good order, and we loved the location of our cabin: right off the lobby but set back enough so that you didn't hear any noise whatsoever. The port talks every evening were very helpful in deciding which of the tours to go on the following day. There were several optional tours that cost a little bit extra that were well worth doing. Although, I would give a second thought on doing all the optional excursions in Vienna along with the featured excursion as you buy yourself a total of six bus rides on the first day, which was a little excessive and tiring. All transfers were handled very well. The Captain did a great job navigating the river, always staying a couple steps ahead. The Danube river level was rising and the Captain got us moving a little earlier than anticipated one evening so that we wouldn't get stuck behind a low bridge, thereby ensuring we made our next stop. All in all a phenomenal experience, and we are Uniworld fanatics for life! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We chose this cruise since it visited an area of Europe that is rarely visited, the Balkans. I had done all this area several times, but a long time ago. Most of it was new for my wife. Two dear friends accompanied us, all of it new to ... Read More
We chose this cruise since it visited an area of Europe that is rarely visited, the Balkans. I had done all this area several times, but a long time ago. Most of it was new for my wife. Two dear friends accompanied us, all of it new to them. They had the same fabulous experience we did! We were accommodated for 2 nights in the excellent and very well-located Intercontinental in Vienna, before a coach transfer to Bratislava. here we were given a guided walk through the city ending at the Vista, where our bags were already in our cabins. Throughout, everything ran like clockwork, with our splendidly efficient German Cruise Director Isobel always fully on top of things. She was wonderful! Our cabin was quite large( supposedly 200 sq.ft), with a small sitting area, a very comfortable bed and pillows, lots of drawer and cupboard space and room for the empty suitcases under the bed. The window wall opposite the bed was amazing, with much of it retracting , leaving a swath of open air and unimpeded views. Food in the restaurant was excellent and varied. The chef even remembered one day I liked Wiener Schnitzel and delighted me with a surprise one at lunchtime one day, personally delivered! Lots of variety at all three meals, and all top quality fresh food. The waiters were so friendly and jovial, we looked forward to each meal just on their account! The stops on the cruise were well judged ( realistically the only places of note along the way anyway!). It was great to sail up to and through the famous Iron Gates, otherwise almost inaccessible! We especially enjoyed the small boat trip into the Danube Delta, as well as our own independent exploration Of "wild east" St Georges at the mouth of the Danube. At the end, we were transferred to Bucharest for a night in the excellent Plaza Athenee Hilton, that has for half a century been the top hotel in town. We took the excursion to Ceausescu's palace extravaganza, that gives Versiailes a run for its money as a building. Amazing! All in all, as I told Isobel and the Captain, if they were to ask me how to improve on this cruise, I could not tell them how! That's how good it was and why we and our friends were so delighted with every aspect of our trip. We wholeheartedly recommend Avalon based on our experience! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Actually sailed from Vilfshoven, Germany after 3 days pre cruise in Prague. Those were three expensive and wasted days followed by a horribly uncomfortable bus trip backwards to the port of embarkation in Germany. Shocked when we entered ... Read More
Actually sailed from Vilfshoven, Germany after 3 days pre cruise in Prague. Those were three expensive and wasted days followed by a horribly uncomfortable bus trip backwards to the port of embarkation in Germany. Shocked when we entered the reception area of the ship-dirty carpet and a smell of the just departed last cruisers. More shocked when entering the tiny room, with a tiny, tiny bath and a closet that did not make any provision for travelers that had to carry enough to last 2 weeks. The beds are hard as rocks-felt mattresses on metal slabs and so very narrow that at first we thought they were rollaway cots. The pillows were so flat that we had daily headaches from failing to get neck support. If one sat at the desk, the other person had to crawl over the bed to reach the window area. We felt like prisoners sharing a cell ! Television channels had sporadic reception and facebook communication was slow or impossible. The public areas are small and in the dining room it was very hard to squeeze in and out between tables that were packed tightly together. We had 2 good entrees all week and the rest were poor to very poor. Every meal was loaded with salt and we soon had to deal with tissue swelling and sore tongues from the excessive use of salt. Breakfast was boringly repetitive with watery eggs, burned bacon, and rubbery fruit although there was too little choice of that to bother. Made to order was not much better. The Eggs Benedict were covered with a greasy sauce that tasted suspiciously like salad cream/mayonnaise and omlettes were crusty. Reasonably good soups and lots of breads and rolls which were good in the morning but the bread was always stale at dinnertime. There was no warning that the cruise was unsuitable for anyone with mobility issues. Someone confined to a wheelchair would have been left on the dock and with a rollator-walker it was a bone jarring endurance test, even on the so-called "gentle" tours. With a few happy exceptions, most of the guides were not interested in persons with mobility issues and just frog marched us through miles of cobbles. Many could not be understood as their accents were far too pronounced. On many tours there was no time available for self exploration and if one did want to stay somewhere to have a closer look, the drop point was so far from the ship that a return on foot was impossible for a physically challenged person. There were days spent in dull, uninteresting, and historically insignificant ports and then we were raced through Vienna when a 2 day visit there would have been sensible. A good concert in Vienna helped us to forget a poor one in Prague. We paid an additional 500 euros for tours so do not be fooled when they advertise "all inclusive" and do not look for free drinks at any time other than at meals. Most of the staff members were hard working and friendly but the Cruise Manager was unimpressive and clearly had his "favourites" among the guests. We were ready to abandon this cruise an hour after it started and by the end of it we were really desperate to get off the ship. We have many, many ocean cruises behind us and found most of them perfect. This was our first, and will be our last, river cruise. The price, compared to an ocean cruise, was prohibitive in relation to what was received in value. Easily our very worst holiday in over 40 years.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
While the price was excellent, we were truly disappointed with our 8 day Blue Danube cruise with CroisiEurope. The entire program was mainly directed towards older, middle class French citizens, who seemed to thrive on meals which lacked ... Read More
While the price was excellent, we were truly disappointed with our 8 day Blue Danube cruise with CroisiEurope. The entire program was mainly directed towards older, middle class French citizens, who seemed to thrive on meals which lacked fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. We had two fresh salads during the entire trip. While there was some variety with the breakfast buffet, all lunches and dinners were fixed with no alternatives. Lunch was an hour and half each time, with dinner even longer. On a positive side, all drinks were free. When we asked for an American martini, it was sort like a deer in the headlights. Much to the staff’s credit, they found several martini glasses, we conducted a quick course for Martini 101. The tours and itinerary were excellent. Since there were only a handful of English speaking guests, we had our own bus with great tour guides. The internet service was archaic and only functioned in the dining room. While cabins were good size and we enjoyed picture window, the shower was the smallest we have ever experienced. The beds were substandard and when pushed together there was a ravine which we stuffed with bedding. The entertainment was an electric organ player who looked and acted like Mr. Bean. He was the type of musician who played for himself and seemed to be indifferent to the guests. Unless there were substantial changes, we would not use CroisiEurope again and would not recommend the company to any of our friends.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My husband and I took a risk this year and booked a river cruise. Being in our 30's, we expected to be among the youngest on the ship. As it turns out, I was the youngest by at least 15 years (if you don't consider my husband). ... Read More
My husband and I took a risk this year and booked a river cruise. Being in our 30's, we expected to be among the youngest on the ship. As it turns out, I was the youngest by at least 15 years (if you don't consider my husband). Age difference aside, we loved every minute of our cruise and are already considering our next vacation with Uniworld. We arrived in Vienna for embarkation extremely early—we made it to the ship before 9:00 a.m. Many of the previous week's passengers had not yet left the ship. The cruise manager, Claudia, welcomed us and offered us spaces in the lounge where breakfast was provided. Knowing that our rooms likely wouldn't be ready for hours (standard check-in time is 3:00 p.m., we conferred with her briefly over a map of Vienna and set out to explore the city. When we returned around 2:30 p.m., our room was ready and our luggage had been delivered. We consider ourselves foodies, and we were extremely impressed with all of the food served on-board, particularly the local specialties. We tried to eat these at lunch and dinner every day. The servers and restaurant manager (Stefan) were quick to remember our preferences (like my husband wanting a local beer with every meal—even breakfast), and everything was presented as it is in fine restaurants. Although we had planned on eating onshore often before we boarded, we only skipped one meal on the River Ambassador. Our room (129), while small, was extremely comfortable and had everything we needed, with more than ample storage space. We brought a cosmetics organizer that could hang on the back of the bathroom door for our toiletries, and that worked well (there is not much counter space in the bathroom). Noise was a bit of an issue, but I was somewhat prepared for that, knowing we had booked the lowest category cabin (the noise was from the engine and from water hitting the ship both while docked and while sailing). The excursions were excellent. My favorites were Vienna As The Viennese Do and the Danube Bike Trip. Both of these were "choice" tours, which differed from the day's standard tour but were included in the cruise price. The QuiteVox system made it easy to hear our guides even as we broke away from the group, and they all provided excellent information (and were fluent English speakers). As big fans of German culture, particularly Bavaria, we loved this itinerary. Each city was unique and offered something new to do. We were particularly interested in WWII history, but ended up learning a fair bit of medieval history as well. The staff onboard were excellent. I can't name them all here, but I must say that the cruise manager, Claudia, made our trip extremely enjoyable. She knew we were wiling to venture out on our own and would give us tips and maps to get out and about while returning to the ship on time. She even talked through future travel plans in Germany with us! It was clear she had all of the guests best interests in mind. I also took advantage of the spa service (60-minute full-body massage for $85), and was very pleased with the experience—it was my first massage! When we disembarked, the spa charge was all we owed. While the initial price of the cruise may seem a bit steep, you could truly get by without owing anything else to Uniworld at the end of the trip. We only spent a few hundred dollars on-shore during our seven-night cruise, and that included a fairly expensive, well-made hat we purchased in Regensburg. After the cruise we were bussed to Prague for two nights in the Boscolo hotel. The accommodations were wonderful, and the location was good—a quick 7-minute walk to Old Town, but far enough out that you're not surrounded with drunken tourists and solicitors in the streets. If you want to explore Prague a bit more, it's just a block from a tram stop, metro station, and the main train station. You can find more information about this trip on my blog: www.grosstravelchronicles.blogspot.com Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We were on the sapphire deck and the views were wonderful from our room it was also nice to hear the river. Our room had a very comfortable love seat and chair that allowed us to watch the scenery go by. Lots of storage in closet and ... Read More
We were on the sapphire deck and the views were wonderful from our room it was also nice to hear the river. Our room had a very comfortable love seat and chair that allowed us to watch the scenery go by. Lots of storage in closet and bathroom. It was nice to have drawers by bed and in bathroom to store personal items in often not found in hotels or large cruise ships! Bed very comfortable and liked the fact that you could face view from it. Loved the coffee station on board, had juice, ice water,great coffee maker, cookies and sometimes pastries along with comfortable seating. The food was fairly good only a few disappointments but the excellent service made up for that. The service was beyond expectations. It seemed "no worries" was their motto. I had spilled coffee on the next to last day on my slacks I wanted to wear for departing and they rushed them in the laundry for me so I would have them the same day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We had a great time on this ship. I really liked the "all-inclusive" arrangement -- all tips, all beer & wine, and all mixed drinks (non-premium alcohol) were included. (Please consider other cruise options carefully -- ... Read More
We had a great time on this ship. I really liked the "all-inclusive" arrangement -- all tips, all beer & wine, and all mixed drinks (non-premium alcohol) were included. (Please consider other cruise options carefully -- we've been "nickled and dimed" with crew tips and lounge drinks, even after "ship-board credit.") The food was very good, and the service was gracious and superior. There is lots of food with a good variety of menu options for most tastes. The excursions were well-organized, informative and interesting; and were comparable to other cruises we've taken. Besides the typical "city tours," we visited a family in the country, heard a concert, and got to see how regular people lived. These excursions were half-day, so we weren't too exhausted. My wife could rest back at the boat, and I could still explore on foot or or by transit. (They had optional "fee" excursions you could add to the included ones, but we passed on them for the sake of relaxation.) We have cruised on two other river cruise lines; one on the Yangtze, and another on the Rhine. I really appreciated not having to worry about additional fees, and that's worth the non-discount pricing. We chose to pay for laundry as an extra; but UniWorld comps a load on your next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We took the 14-day cruise, Vienna to Amsterdam, & found it outstanding. Scenery was beautiful & being so close to the center of towns & cities was fantastic. We were worried about spring rain, but we had only 1 rainy day--the ... Read More
We took the 14-day cruise, Vienna to Amsterdam, & found it outstanding. Scenery was beautiful & being so close to the center of towns & cities was fantastic. We were worried about spring rain, but we had only 1 rainy day--the day we cruised the Rhine gorge. All the crew were genuinely friendly & exceptionally competent. (On big ocean-going cruise ships I find the staff's friendliness forced & competence to solve problems sometimes lacking.) The Luminary is understated & elegant, very thoughtfully designed. Sabine, our tour director, was very knowledgeable & went the extra mile. For example: in Amsterdam, my husband left his camera on a canal boat & I was sure it was gone for good. But somehow Sabine located our boat among the hundreds on Amsterdam's canals & managed to get the camera put into a taxi which delivered the camera to our ship. Service above & beyond! A couple of tips. Do not miss the Bishop's Residence in Wurzburg--amazing! And we were looking forward to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. My husband had been there, but it was my 1st visit & I was so looking forward to its treasures. We had an excellent tour guide from the ship's tour, but it was May Day, a big holiday in Europe, & the museum was so crowded that it was impossible to see anything but the top third of the Rembrandt paintings. We loved this trip so much we are going back in July on the Avalon Panorama, & while in Cologne I'm spending my entire time in the amazing cathedral there. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We just did the European Splendor Itinerary over multi rivers and enjoyed it very much. We were in a Cat B mid ship and highly recommend this. It was a very good location. I liked being closer to the water. We were thinking of Cat E and so ... Read More
We just did the European Splendor Itinerary over multi rivers and enjoyed it very much. We were in a Cat B mid ship and highly recommend this. It was a very good location. I liked being closer to the water. We were thinking of Cat E and so glad we went for the french balcony. People were not happy down below. Loved this itinerary. I had never been to Austria or Germany and it is so clean and green. The meals were delicious. Wines not high end but adequate. Happy hour every day is a great idea. Enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine most days before dinner. Beds were comfy and lots of good pillows. One thing I did not like was the coffee in the main dining room in the morning. Just a little thing but if you want a good cup of coffee the lounge with the library on the top level has an amazing coffee machine that makes a delicious cup of most anything you want. We did spend four nights in Vienna prior and stayed at the Holiday Inn City center and have a Vienna card for public transport and used that quite a bit. Totally worth it. We did eat a lot and did not partake in the coffee and cake at 4PM or the snacks at 10:30PM. So happy to come home and realize I had only gained 2 pounds. We were able to dance most nights when we had the energy to the piano music and Nicki made sure he played a cha cha when we were there. It is a great way to travel and take in these beautiful small towns. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
After taking many ocean cruises with increasingly disappointing experiences, my wife and I decided to try a Uniworld river cruise during the December Holiday Markets time-frame. We flew into Vienna a few days ahead of time to see some of ... Read More
After taking many ocean cruises with increasingly disappointing experiences, my wife and I decided to try a Uniworld river cruise during the December Holiday Markets time-frame. We flew into Vienna a few days ahead of time to see some of the local sights not on the Uniworld schedule. We headed to the pier Sunday evening and found several river ships moored with little activity. With the limited lighting on the pier and no directive signs, our taxi driver was a little baffled and dropped us off at a nearby restaurant. After wandering around, we located the River Duchess. Our first realization was that this ship truly only holds around 150 passengers. We walked right on, showed our passports, collected our room cards and were escorted to our cabin. The ship itself is upscale, well appointed and comfortable. Breakfast buffet came with ordered omelets. Lunch buffet was usually served with a meat entree and dinner was from their menu. Food was very good to excellent. Soups were always awesome. Service was usually speedy and attentive. Our waiter, Laurentia (sp?), was particularly attentive. This was a port-intensive, Holiday Market cruise that only had one afternoon for scenic cruising. Despite the misty fog that day, it was still beautiful. One nice touch was the total lack of announcements on the cabin speakers. We were given the departure time for the buses at the briefing the night before and they left promptly at that time. A final mention needs to be made for our Cruise Manager, Christine. She was the most efficient, professional and dynamic cruise manager I have ever experienced. Somehow, she was able to solve multiple problems simultaneously along with herding us about on excursions and at the end of the cruise, solving dis-embarkation transportation issues. Ours was particularly complicated, but Christine solved it quickly and even told us in detail how to buy our tickets with the least hassle. She truly set the bar high for an outstanding Cruise Manager. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We considered a river cruise on Avalon on the recommendation of friends. We do not like ocean cruising, too many people, we like to see places and not spend days at sea. This seemed to suit our criteria. We spent 3 nights in Paris before ... Read More
We considered a river cruise on Avalon on the recommendation of friends. We do not like ocean cruising, too many people, we like to see places and not spend days at sea. This seemed to suit our criteria. We spent 3 nights in Paris before flying to Vienna and we had booked into the Intercontinental Hotel for the night preceding embarkation. The hotel was nice but I can't say too much about it because we got there late at night and checked out at noon the next day. In between, the room was very comfortable, breakfast buffet extensive, ATM available in the hotel and in a good location to head out and explore the city whilst waiting for Avalon to take us to the ship. A tour desk was manned early in the morning to provide information on tagging and leaving luggage for safe keeping etc after checking out of the hotel and a room to wait with tea, coffee and water provided for cruise passengers. Quite a few gathered in the hotel bar to wait and this was a very pleasant environment to begin our cruise. Embarkation was professional and slick after being transported through Vienna by motor coaches. The ship is clean, well maintained and comfortable. We had booked a stateroom on the Indigo deck which has a window and not sliding balcony doors. Were we sorry that we did not have a balcony, not at all. We found that we were not in our stateroom very often, we were either ashore or in the foreword or aft lounges enjoying a 180 degree view of the scenery and not just of one side. The bed was comfortable, shower pressure and temperature great, plenty of storage and it was great to kick the empty suitcase under the bed and relax. I did the optional tour to Schonbrunn Palace. Well organised, and for those who went to that in the morning they could go on the included city tour in the afternoon and didn't miss out. In Durnstein we went on the included guided tour through the picturesque town and then headed off for Melk. The included tour of the abbey in Melk was good. In Grein, which was a small place we decided to go off on our own for a brisk walk and ended up at Greinburg Castle just on opening time. For €5 each we explored the castle long enough to give us time to make it back to ship before it's departure. Delightful morning. On returning back to the ship from tours there was tea or hot chocolate waiting. Others on board had taken off on 2 optional excursions and there would possibly have been only 1/4 to a 1/3 of passengers left onboard. That is what we came for, the experience of gliding along the the river relaxing. It was exactly that with fewer people at lunch and in the lounges. Not that anyone got on top of each other when everyone was onboard, but it was nice. Next stop was Linz and we took off to explore on our own again armed with a map provided by Avalon. We saw another castle, explored churches, window shopped and generally soaked up the atmosphere of strange city. The people on the excursions met up with the ship in Linz. Onto Passau. I did the guided tour on my own and window shopped in a very charming place on my way back to the ship. We did partake of afternoon tea this day and there were sandwiches, a very nice cake plus tea and coffee. At Passau we disembarked and in lieu of going direct to Munich we took the optional excursion to go via Salzburg. This was worthwhile as Salzburg is quite charming and was an opportunity to try a cuisine of a different country. Our luggage came with us and we checked in at our hotel in Munich seamlessly. The dining on the ship was good and the kitchen did well in what I can only assume is a cramped space. It's not fine dining and it's not what we expected. But the food was good and the crew attentive. My husband doesn't drink and a couple of glasses of wine with dinner is all that I want. So we didn't have a drinks package. The stateroom was cleaned and turned down everyday/night and a chocolate left on our pillows. We didn't use the lounge very much after dinner and so can't comment on the entertainment. The fitness room was well fitted out and I did use it once, but the hours between 7am and 10pm did not suit and we grabbed every opportunity for brisk walking when ashore. The Sofitel in Munich is a wonderful modern hotel, refurbished from being a former Post Office. It is next door to the main (I think) train station in Munich. Some would possibly say not in the best location but we didn't think so and after dining on 4 course dinners for the past 5 nights opted to try some fast/street food at the station. We had Bratwurst with mustard in rolls and Doner kebabs. The Doners were very good and we waited in line with Bayern Munich supporters to purchase these. If the locals think they are worthwhile lining up for, then that's good enough recommendation for us. The breakfast at the Sofitel is one of the best that we've ever had all over the world. The room was great except we needed a few more days there to work out all the switches, being that modern. It was in a good location being only a short walk from the tourist/ shopping area. Included was a guided tour of Munich the next morning along the same lines as Vienna. The first part in a bus and then walking with a tour guide. This was good and even though we were only walking distance from the Sofitel, a bus was provided at 2 and 5pm for people to catch should they wish. I opted to tour the Residenz on my own that afternoon even though the weather was beautiful outside. After that we had a delightful late lunch at Ratskeller Restaurant in a central position of the tourist area. Next day was a long day visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, Oberammergau and Linderhof Castle. The countryside and attractions did not disappoint and we had a very, very good meal in Oberammergau when we stopped for a break. We had not booked a transfer to Munich airport prior to the cruise and the Tour/Cruise Director arranged this for us. We and our luggage were picked up at the appointed time and taken by coach with 4 others to our relevant terminals. There was an Avalon representative who came with us to ensure that there were no hiccups. All in all, would we recommend river cruising and Avalon. Yes very much so. Avalon were excellent, really couldn't fault anything. The passengers were mainly 55+ and US citizens. The younger couples onboard wouldn't have felt out of place though and mixed with the older passengers. The 2 dining nights at each of the cruise which were a bit more special, only required a collared shirt and pants other than jeans really. The only thing that we were sceptical about was whether we would like being in the company of others most of the time, but there was opportunity to be social and other opportunities for quiet time. We would do it again as it really was relaxing.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We have just returned from a Uniworld Heart of Europe River Cruise and wish to praise the company for such a wonderful holiday. The Art Deco boat was luxurious and spotless at all times, as was our very comfortable stateroom. All staff ... Read More
We have just returned from a Uniworld Heart of Europe River Cruise and wish to praise the company for such a wonderful holiday. The Art Deco boat was luxurious and spotless at all times, as was our very comfortable stateroom. All staff and tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects. We loved our tour Manager, Hildegarde who kept us well informed at all times. Meals were delicious and often produce from the regions were used with matching wines. The tours were well-paced, and interesting and the local talented evening artists were all of a consistently high standard. We would recommend this trip to anyone and we will definitely be doing another one with Uniworld. There were 90 passengers on our cruise, which we thought was a nice number as it was easy to get to meet everyone. We boarded the boat in Vienna and had 3 days exploring this charming city. Then we sailed up the Danube, Main, Reine and Moselle rivers passing many villages, castles and beautiful autumn scenery. It was fascinating going through the 70+ locks also. Every day we stopped at one of the villages or towns and explored with very knowledgable and entertaining guides. There were visits to the Audi Factory, beer brewery where they make ‘smokey beer’ (an acquired taste) glass blowing factory, lederhosen factory, horse-drawn carriage ride through the forest after eating sourdough bread (from an outside oven) and elderberry tea. One highlight was our visit to Schloss Lowenstein Castle where we met the Prince in his private chapel – a most eloquent man who told us all about his life. Then we went to his vineyards for a tasting – sadly none of the wines are sold in Australia. There was ample time for shopping in most of the towns and villages and a local café/restaurant experience. Hard to find a space to fit more food in after being so well fed on the boat! We have travelled overseas extensively but this would have to rate as one of our best trips. Even a rep from Uniworld to meet us off the shuttle bus at Paris airport and guide us to the check in desk was a lovely surprise. Col and Alex Conwell   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
River cruises are very popular and even though I was booking the trip in November to travel in July, almost everything was booked up. So I found an Avalon combination package, that included 2 days in a hotel in Vienna and Budapest, at ... Read More
River cruises are very popular and even though I was booking the trip in November to travel in July, almost everything was booked up. So I found an Avalon combination package, that included 2 days in a hotel in Vienna and Budapest, at either end of the cruise, plus three days on the river traveling from Vienna to Budapest, with stop in Melk and Durnstein, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia along the way. We added on two days at the beginning in Vienna, and I wish we had done the same in Budapest, so the trip was 9 days in total. The included hotels were Intercontinental hotels in Vienna and Budapest. I was very happy with the hotels in both cities, and a really nice breakfast was included in each. The Intercontinental in Budapest was particularly well located, right at the foot of the Chain Bridge, with an outdoor eating/drinking area right along the Danube River. It was a wonderful place to be. The stops along the way were beautiful, and the tours offered by Avalon were very good and innovative. We took a great tour of the Baden resort outside of Vienna before we boarded the ship, took in a great musical performance in Vienna, did a bike tour of the Wachau Valley in Durnstein and took the Jewish and Communist tours in Budapest. There were many different types of tours for different interests. I've taken a number of ocean cruises and this was my first river cruise. The two are completely different, each having its advantages and disadvantages. On a river cruise, there is much less of a life aboard the ship. On the other hand, there is always a beautiful view as you go down the river, and our evenings were spent mostly up on the top deck taking in all the beautiful sights. The only real disappointment was the food. I thought the quality and selection of the food was relatively poor. It was sort of like eating at your grandmother's house if she were a bad cook. On the ocean cruises, dinner was an event to be anticipated and savored, but on this cruise, it was more something to be endured. The staff was very friendly but at dinner time, they were clearly overwhelmed and service was slow. There were too many courses of low quality food, and fewer courses of better quality food would have been far preferable. Even the salads were terrible, and the dressing appeared to have been watered down. Two other things surprised me -- that there was no drink service offered on the top deck (which required us to keep going down to the bar to get our own drinks), and that the choice deck on the ship was a smoking deck. All in all, it was a great trip and I would definitely do it again, but I would hope to find some better food options next time around. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My husband and I are first time European river cruisers. We never liked ocean cruising but river cruising is another matter all together. Luxurious surroundings, outstanding service, food and wine selection; not to mention very ... Read More
My husband and I are first time European river cruisers. We never liked ocean cruising but river cruising is another matter all together. Luxurious surroundings, outstanding service, food and wine selection; not to mention very interesting, included excursions off the ship made our cruise very remarkable and memorable. We were very surprised how smoothly the ship sailed. Half the time, we never knew we were moving. The dining room was the focal point for our journey because we shared our daily experiences with friends we met on board. The maître de, Richard, was amazing! He addressed everyone's needs simultaneously either with a friendly welcome, sharing information or satisfying your requests. His humour and camaraderie are a real asset for the River Duchess. He worked shoulder to shoulder with his staff setting an outstanding role model. The selection of food, presentation, variety and preparation were above standard; always hot and delicious. Shore excursions were varied and interesting especially the ones where we met the local people of each country we visited. Our favourite was the home cooked meal with Anita in Croatia; industrious,fascinating lady. Our tour director, Mery, also contributed to our happy, carefree existence. Her comical interaction with my husband made our trip very relaxing; like being with friends and family at home. We cannot sing enough praises for the wonderful time, staff and tours we experienced on this ship. We are looking forward to our next cruise with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013

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