Castles along the Rhine
Awesome River Cruise,8/25/2014
Our 1st River cruise - and hopefully not our last. The S.S. Antoinette was outstanding, as was the crew and cruise experience overall. Uniworld in my opinion is a first class cruise operator.
On embarkation day, (we actually embarked from Basel Switzerland) we were greeted at the dock when we arrived at approximately noon. (Our departure was scheduled for midnight) Our luggage was immediately gathered, and directions given to us to begin our day onboard ship. After a short 'self' guided walk around the ship, we were encouraged to have lunch on ... the Sun Deck. We were informed at approximately 2:30 pm that our room was available. When we arrived at the room our luggage was awaiting and we were greeted by our cabin attendant and shown the room and it's amenities available to us. We found the room very comfortable with plenty of room for the two of us, and also plenty of storage available. The room boasted such things as a fresh carafe of water, very tasty candies, aluminum water bottles with carabiners as well as Vox headsets to be used while on our excursions were provided. Our cabin was also stocked with robes, and slippers for both of us, along with their signature bath products. Our cabin measured 196 square feet and had a French balcony, also with a large, electric, retractable glass wall . The ship itself also provided walking sticks and bicycles during our cruise and their use were highly encouraged.
Each member of the ships staff from the Captain to the maintenance personnel were always pleasant and were always smiling. The English speaking crew were always available to assist and/or answer questions.
One area of particular note was how we were treated and provided for when on our very 1st nite we were unable to leave Basel, Switzerland due to a mechanical failure of the locks upstream. During the night, ships staff made arrangements for buses to come to our dock, and gather us for our daily excursion. Due to the fact that we would not be onboard (as scheduled) for lunch, we were given compensation to have lunch in town. Our buses and tour guides were outstanding, and in this particular instance the entire experience was well handled. We managed to see all of the same locations originally intended and were only inconvenienced by having to able to tour an extra 2 hours total. While we were on the tour, the ship negotiated the Rhine and met us at our regularly scheduled dock at Breisach. The Captain and tour manager Tony, kept everyone informed of the issues and jokingly said that he would "Have to put the pedal to the metal" to make up a bit of lost river cruise time. This was a minor issue as we were not due into our next port Kehl/Strasbourg until the next morning.
This review will not go into the individual city tours but I will mention that every Tour and guide arranged in each port/city appeared very well versed on their particular area, and kept the tours extremely interesting. One particular note was of our tour guide Iris Burkin who escorted us to the Black Forest. Iris was outstanding, and even provided us with her private photo collection of points of interest in the area as we traveled, and a little treat toward the end of the tour.
A mention about the food and overall service in both the Dining and Lounge rooms is necessary as this too was a highlight of our trip. The food was extremely well prepared and presented, and a foods could be prepared for most dietary concerns, if needed. The waiters and maitre'd were constantly checking to insure that the food and beverage were to our liking. After the 1st day - it became apparent to staff that I was one of those that would rather have beer with my meals than the wine offerings and I was approached regularly to insure what I wanted to drink. This was also the case in the lounge where we congregated after dinner to listen to the outstanding performance of Marguerite and her husband. Did I mention the food was OUTSTANDING?
Overall we were pampered beyond belief, and well cared for in every aspect of this cruise. The ships attention to detail in all areas, especially SERVICE, could not have been any better in my opinion.
This cruise has sold us on the River Cruise experience, and while we have no other River Cruise company to compare Uniworld to, it would be extremely difficult to beat what was presented by this company and their staff.
We are definitely planning a future River Cruise, and YES!! it will most assuredly be on one of the Uniworld ships. Read More...
Castles along the Rhine 2014,6/23/2014
European Cruise on Uniworld,5/4/2014
Castles along the Rhine,4/25/2014
If you want to experience perfection then take a cruise with Uniworld. This was my first, but definitely not my last, river cruise. From the moment we boarded the ship in Basel to our leaving for the airport 10 days later Uniworld saw to every detail.
Their service was beyond first class, the suite was perfect, the food was beyond delicious. The land excursions are varied and well paced for whatever your activity level. Knowledgable tour guides who really know their stuff and love what they do. Our cruise director Tamas was wonderful , our butlers ... Lazlo and Valentine saw to our every wish.
This is truly a world class company Already planning. My cruise for next year. Thank you Uniworld for a truly memorable vacationRead More...
Castles along the Rhine,3/4/2014
Castles along the Rhine,1/27/2014
SS Antoinette “Castles Along the Rhine”,6/17/2013
Mr N Kerman,6/4/2013
The "Volcano" Trip,3/1/2013
By the time we reached Frankfurt one of Iceland's volcanoes had erupted, air travel in Europe was at a standstill, and those of us who planned to fly home from there were stranded.
The staff on Uniworld worked around the clock to make sure that every person on the ship had a place to go or somewhere to stay. My husband and I, not experienced travelers, ended up ... staying with family in the UK. The tour director helped us arrange train travel and a ferry across the North Sea. His patience was admirable and the travel went as planned.
All in all the trip was a great success. We loved everything about our River Cruise and even ended up enjoying our adventure on the way home. I call it our one week /three week trip.
This June we are taking another cruise with Uniworld. We are again looking forward to the excellent food and service as well as the shore excursions. (And hopefully no volcano surprises.) Read More...
Castles on the Rhine,9/17/2012
p.s. We travel with our teenager. Many kids are over the raucous beach vacations and are ready for more substance. The demographic of Uniworld appears to be decidedly younger or younger at heart. This combination works out beautifully. Read More...
Castles along the Rhine,5/3/2012
From Amsterdam to my early departure in Kehl/Strasburg, I had a wonderful time, the cruise was magnificent and the whole trip met my expectations and more. Would have loved it to end on a better note but it is in times of adversity that you find out how good the staff are - and they were magnificent. Read More...
Take the River Route,9/3/2011
My wife and I had long been tempted to try river cruising. We kept it as a backup idea mainly because we thought it was more expensive than ocean cruising for a trip of the same duration. This year we were tempted no more and took the plunge. An airfare discount was part of the incentive and did the trick to get me to book “Castles on the Rhine” aboard Uniworld’s S.S. Antoinette.Our expectations were exceeded for service, food, itinerary and atmosphere. Our only regret is our cabin was ... small, we booked late and upper deck cabin were not available, so we took a water line cabin. The cabin did fit us and all of our stuff so I do not regard the cabin as a detriment. It does bring up the advice to book and get a upper deck cabin, the S.S. Antoinette is new for 2011 and the boat is comfortable and tastefully decorated. There is a lounge with views on both sides, a dining room, and a top deck dining room ad a separate lounge. The Antoinette even has a pool, no Olympic venue but sizable for a boat that is only 36 feet wide.
My unease and perception at cost difference between Ocean ships versus River boats was resolved when I realized that 1 excursion per port was included as well as included wine beer or soft drinks at dinner. The dinner waiter was very dedicated to keeping my glass full. The meals were good of high quality with larger than expected portions. This was no “scale model food” involved.
The crew was fabulous from the stateroom attendants, front desk staff, waitstaff to the Captains (Capts Peter and Freddy). All were professional and focused on the guests. My highest praise goes to our cruise manager, Christine. She was always around when we were touring, open to questions or just conversations. She demonstrated resourcefulness on the morning of day#5, just as the boat was about to pull out of Rudesheim, we got word that no movement was allowed because of a bad barge accident further up river. Within one hour Christine arranged for busses to take us up to our next port at Koblenz and the optional excursion to Marksburg Castle. Since the busses could not be in Rudesheim until the afternoon, she also arranged for complementary morning activities.As an experienced Ocean cruiser I, found that this river cruise was better than the large ship ocean cruise I have been on. Rather than being 1 passenger in 1600, you are 1 in 140. You can get to know everybody on the boat and there is an intimacy that you can’t get on a mega-ship. True there won’t be a broadway-style show in the front of the ship, you may have to be happy with a piano player and a singer, but the absence of lines and crowds more than make up for the absence of the glitz. Read More...
I’ve sailed on big ships and one other river cruise which did spoil me, but this trip takes the CAKE,5/12/2011
First, and far most, I want to THANK my Reservation lady, Annette Pesa for arranging a cake for my daughter’s birthday aboard ship the second night (happened to be the Captain’s Dinner at his Table). The best present my daughter has ever had, so she said. Outstanding, Annette, the presentation was great, cake was light and hit the spot. Thank you, again, for all your hard work and time. It was appreciated.
I’ve sailed on big ships and one other river cruise which did spoil ... me, but this trip takes the CAKE. We were treated like Royalty in every sense of the word. The ship was breath taking, the staff was at your beck and call and always eager to please you. Yes, the staff would go that extra mile out of their way to assist or please you. No request to large or small—they handled it all with a smile and a happy voice. The food was outstanding and the wait staff was always ready to fill a glass or to see if you required something special to drink or eat. You always felt welcome and at ease with any request you might have. I took my own brand of coffee and requested a pot of water the first morning, didn’t have to request a pot of water afterwards they always brought it to me without my asking for it. Shows how they pay attention to the guests and their needs.
Our room was continuously clean and ready to accept us when we arrived. I have to admit that on one occasion, bad me, I flooded the bathroom. It was reported immediately and before we could get seated on the couch there was a knock on the door and before he could get to the bathroom door another knock on the door—it was a maintenance man with a water-vac to clean up. Next thing we had four (4) men working to clean up my mess. It seems the door got out of adjustment and that caused the mess. It was fixed immediately. I really couldn’t figure out why when prior nights I had no problem at all then all of a sudden it floods. They had it cleaned up in no time.
Sorry, Annette, I just can’t think of all the great things to say about the SS Antoinette or her staff. Just wish everyone I know could make their next trip on that boat, because they would never stop talking about it or the people. I know they would enjoy it because you just can’t help it. I’m already trying to see when my daughter finishes school, so I can book our next trip on one of your other boats. I can honestly say, “ UNIWORLD” has me not wanting to go if your boats do not go to that particular place.
I did mention I had been on another river cruise prior to this and it was on the River Queen. That ship did spoil me to doing another river cruise which to me is really the only way to travel. You feel like a family traveling together not a bunch of strangers. That trip was really good and special things did happen, people were fantastic and it was relaxing the way it should be. Since I’ve been on that ship it has been completely updated and the pictures look great. In fact, my daughter and I have been thinking about doing another one on her soon.
Ann DowdyRead More...
The cruise was one of the best vacations we have ever taken,5/5/2011
We just returned from the most marvelous vacation on the Rhine river! Our week on the SS Antoinette exceeded our expectations. The ship is fantastic and the entire crew was professional, friendly and very well trained. The food was varied and delicious. The excursions were well planned and our guides very informative. We were blessed with outstanding weather which just added to the overall experience.
Lastly, thanks for the stateroom upgrade that you provided to both ourselves and the Palmquist party. The staterooms were beautiful. Your team is to ... be congratulated for the design of this supership. We have sung the praise of Uniworld to our friends and neighbors and already are planning our next cruise.
Jim & Dolores Flashman
Castles Along the Rhine on the SS Antoinette,4/6/2011
Our trip was from March 27,2011 till April 3, 2011---so sad to leave. -Ann Dowdy & Tammy Baker ... (daughter) Read More...
The Ultimate Ladies Getaway,11/12/2009
Wonderful Cruising Experience,10/23/2009
Castles on the Rhine June, 2009,10/18/2009
Castles Along the Rhine - Sept 27 - Oct 4, 2009,10/16/2009
Absolutely exceeded my expectations,7/29/2009
Dear Mr. Young,
My mother and I just completed the 9-day "Castles Along the Rhine" river tour from Amsterdam to Basel (June 6 - 14), and I couldn't have been more pleased.
To begin, although I had traveled internationally, a river cruise vacation was entirely new to me. I was trying to plan a trip to Germany for my mother (who is 84 years old) and myself and I didn't think a bus tour would be suitable for her, so I researched river cruising. I attended a Travel Expo sponsored by AAA in Foxboro, Massachusetts and enjoyed an audio/visual presentation about ... Uniworld and its travel destinations that offered me the opportunity to ask questions about the experience. The concept of visiting Germany and touring some of its beautiful cities and towns without packing and unpacking at different hotels was very attractive.
This is the first trip I have planned that absolutely exceeded my expectations and lived up to its glowing marketing description. There isn't space here to list all the ways that Uniworld made our trip unforgettable, but I'd like to very briefly list the areas in which our tour on the River Ambassador excelled.
The staff: All staff members were professional, courteous, helpful and cheerful. The ship was immaculate and all services performed were of the highest caliber. The cruise manager, Rick Sprengers saw to it that all passengers fully enjoyed their tours every day. He attended to every detail and was very kind to the passengers who had some physical challenges (not my mother, who gets around just fine). The communication of each day's schedule and who to expect on tour was excellent. In short, the combination of capable and pleasant service made for a very relaxing vacation. Bonus: attentive but no intrusive service at all levels.
The food: My family is made up of true "foodies" we are all gourmet cooks and in fact my brother is a professional chef. The meal selection, preparation and presentation were outstanding. The service was excellent, and the minimally decorated white dining room with scenery at every window was calming and elegant. I was glad we were given a copy of the week's menus, and I admit that did take a few pictures of the meals at the table, they were so beautiful and appetizing. We fully enjoyed the complimentary wine with dinner. No four-star restaurant could have done better. Bonus: hot dishes (warm plates for buffet!) and cold ones cold.
Tours: The local guides were excellent and knowledgeable, interesting and eager to share the history of their towns. The AudioVox system is just the best invention! Everyone on the tour was able to hear equally well, and the tour guide could quietly point out features in churches without being disrespectfully noisy. The ways we toured: on foot, on a canal boat and on a bus enabled us to enjoy he best of the areas we toured and gave our legs and feet a break. The description of the tours as "active" is indeed accurate, though they are not unrealistically exhausting. We were tired enough each day to feel we'd earned our fantastic dinner but had enough energy to tour again the next day perfect! The optional dinner in Rudesheim was especially nice for my mother and me since we are of German descent and fully enjoyed the regional menu and the familiar band music. Bonus: My mom cried when she recognized tunes her grandparents had danced to when she was a little child (priceless).
The onboard entertainment: My mother and I took this river cruise for its focus on scenery, tours of history and culture, and cuisine. We were not looking for "night life." However, we very much enjoyed the local entertainers from Germany and France since they augmented the day's tours and offered further exposure to the art of the region. Charlie did a fine job also, making his keyboard sound like a full German "oompah" band for our day of castle gazing up on deck. Bonus: inviting, entertaining evenings with opportunity (but no pressure) for bar drinks.
Again, there is not enough room to detail all the ways that Uniworld and the River Ambassador staff delighted us on our trip down the Rhine River.
Overall, I think the most impressive thing is how relaxing the trip was, not because it was dull, but because there were "no worries". The smallest details were prepared for and addressed. Communication was such that we didn't have to figure anything out.
There was flexibility so we could explore towns and cafes on our own. The ship and its staff became familiar to us quickly so all we had to do was enjoy our travel and the local experiences. We never had to wait for anything.
Mary S. Schreitmueller Read More...