Uniworld Cruise Reviews
The Beatrice and her crew were terrific!,11/1/2013
Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong,10/31/2013
Perfect Adventure for adult children and senior parents!,10/1/2013
What a delight. It was perfect for the more active like my sister and I and also for my 80 year old mother, who sometime was content to just sit and watch the action from the boat.
We got to enjoy the historic outings whether she felt up to it or not.
I highly recommend this vacation for Adult children and their parents. Everyone will have a good time, even the mobility challenged.
The service and friendliness of the staff were incredible. They often would even check on my mother when I was not on board.
The food was great, and historical tours were just the right pace. We so enjoyed so much this, that we may do it again in two years, to China.
Having been on many large impersonal liners, but this was perfect with the intimacy of the 130 passengers. The 35 employees on board became like family.
It's like a floating hotel.
I have a feeling this well kept secret will not be a secret much longer.
What a wonderful experience. Read More...
When we arrived at the ship, our cabins were not quite ready, but we were offered a nice buffet lunch in the lounge. After we had a bite to eat, we went across to the park to go on a tethered balloon ride. We were provided with yet another view of Paris....from a height of 500 feet!
Upon returning to the ship, we were shown to our cabins. The River Baroness is a beautiful ship, and the cabins are well appointed. We had ample storage space, a large picture window, a bathroom with a full sized shower (and wonderful soaps, lotions and shampoos), and a very comfortable bed. We found it interesting that the walls were covered with upholstery material, and were slightly padded. This must have contributed to the great sound insulation.
All of the Uniworld staff were attentive,professional, and very friendly. We were pampered for the whole week by everyone connected with the ship. Our guides on our shore excursions were excellent. Use of the quietvox system enabled everyone in the group to hear the guide's commentary while having the freedom to explore.
Our itinerary kept us busy, and we only opted for one additional tour (to Versailles).
We did spend some time on buses reaching some of our tour destinations (the Normandy D-Day Beaches, Honfleur, and Giverny) but the guides took this opportunity to give us valuable information about the destination, or about the passing scenery. We felt like this trip provided a wonderful combination of history, art, architecture, as well as spectacular scenery.
The food on the River Baroness was delicious. Breakfasts and lunches were buffets with amazing selections. Dinners were a la carte with several choices for each course. Wines and beer were free flowing at lunch and dinner, and at breakfast, mimosa were available. The variety of cheeses that were provided at breakfast and lunch reflected the regions that we visited, and most were melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
The only downside of the trip was that we spent very little time cruising along the Seine (at least in daylight). It was one of the highlights of the trip to relax on the deck, taking in the sights along the shore as well as the ever constant and interesting boat traffic.
Uniworld, and our experience on the River Baroness, has sold us on river cruising in Europe and we are looking forward to planning another cruise in the next year or two. Now we just have to choose an itinerary! Read More...
Uniworld’s Imperial Waterways of Russia,9/10/2013
In its brochure, Uniworld warns would be clients that since they don’t own the ship, travelers may find that the amenities “may differ from those of a Uniworld company-owned ship”. Our experience from this cruise, however, is that in terms of comfort and services, the River Victoria meets and even surpasses the levels of comfort and quality of services that we have encountered on other cruise ships. For one, the River Victoria has more decks and is considerably larger than most cruise ships on the Rhine and the Danube – there are no low bridges to deal with on the Russian waterways – which provides more comfort and space to move around. For example, the tables in the dining room are not as tightly packed on the River Victoria; the ratio of staff to guests is almost double on the River Victoria compared to the other Uniworld cruise ships (110 staff to 202 guests on the River Victoria vs. 41 staff to 130 guests on the other ships). This, of course, has a bearing on the quality of the services provided. The staterooms are not larger on the River Victoria than on the other ships, but on the two upper decks, the Volga and the Neva, they open on oversized (about 12 x 8 ft) private balconies. These balconies were originally part of the public decks and were divided up into private balconies when the ship was remodeled in 2011. And because the ship was completely remodeled in 2011, the inside is brand new and spotlessly clean.
It is difficult to imagine a cruise that would offer better food in terms of variety and taste than what was provided for us on the River Victoria – we were even served caviar and champagne for breakfast on one occasion! Most dishes were Russian, at least by name, with some western favorites mixed in. Many of the menu items were prepared with plenty of cream, which is great for the palate, but perhaps not so great for the rest of the body – but not to worry; it’s only for two weeks! The quality of the service in the dining room is also noteworthy. The staff is made up of young Russian college students most of whom study languages; they are well trained, always very polite and extremely keen to provide the best service possible. They seemed to work 24 hours a day but they were always smiling and very cordial.
As for the cruise program, the three-day visit to each of the two metropolises at the beginning and at the end, Moscow and St. Petersburg, were, without any doubt, the highlights of the trip. But three days is hardly enough time to get a full appreciation of those mega-cities. The heavy traffic in Moscow combined with the distance between the city centre and the docks contributed to shorten the period of useful sightseeing (it took about one hour each way to commute between the ship and the city centre). There was less time lost in St. Petersburg as the access roads were not as congested as they were in Moscow and the distance between the ship and the city was shorter. But, overall, our visits were satisfactory and we did get to see most of the essentials thanks to a clever combination of city tours and featured and optional excursions.
The cruising part of the trip, the five days spent sailing through the waterways, provide a totally different experience from the cities. The pace is more relaxed and there is more time to carry out on-board activities such as attending lectures on different aspects of Russian life (history, geography, art and culture), learn the Russian language, or watch the Russian countryside unfold from any of the public decks or your own balcony. But don’t expect the scenery along the Imperial Waterways of Russia to be as spectacular as what you might experience along the Rhine and the Danube – deeply incised valleys with quaint little villages and medieval castles at every bend. Northern Russia is not like that; it is very flat, mostly undeveloped with a relatively low population density. The waterways run through long stretches of forested land with little sign of human activity. There are a few villages along the way but most are uninteresting and appear rather run down. There are a few exceptions, however, including the cities of Uglich and Yaroslavl on the Volga and Kizhi Island on Lake Onega. These are real gems; all three are important historical and cultural centers with spectacular architecture, including colourful onion-domed churches. They are the three most interesting scheduled stops with shore excursions of the cruise. The other two, Kirillov and Mandrogi, are interesting but not nearly as attractive as those mentioned above. Some visitors regard Mandrogi as a tourist trap due to the large number of souvenir shops, while others complain about the overwhelming abundance of mosquitoes. We were blessed with perfect weather on the day we went and not a single mosquito. This was in late August which may be the best time of the year to go if you want to avoid the bugs. As for the souvenir shops, you might be wise to buy your souvenirs here if you don’t want to waste precious time shopping in St. Petersburg.
I should add that the tour guides, all Russians, were very knowledgeable about the history and other facets of what they were guiding us through. All spoke English well and with the Quietvox Transmitter System provided, it was very easy to follow what was going on even at a distance.
In addition to the numerous cruise ships, you will see many other types of ships including tankers and bulk carriers. These waterways constitute an important commercial artery linking the Baltic and St. Petersburg with Moscow and all the cities and towns along the Volga as far south as the Caspian Sea. So, if you enjoy watching large ocean-going ships up close, it may compensate for the lack of great scenery.
In summary, the Imperial Waterways of Russia by Uniworld is a great way, and probably the only effective way, to experience northern Russia. This cruise, our 8th (three on rivers and five on seas/oceans) ranks near the top of our cruising experiences. We strongly recommend it. Read More...
We have just returned from our Russian and cruise and would like to express our thanks to the staff and crew of the River Victoria for a pleasurable experience.
Alexander (hotel manager) Irina (dining room) Ibi and Lena (cruise managers) Kate (bar manager) all did an outstanding job. They were very friendly and always ready to grant any request.
The dining room crew of wait staff and the kitchen staff were extremely hard working. They had to prepare for additional events each day besides the 3 meals that had to be prepared ... and served.
Kudos to Uni World again for giving us a great trip. Read More...
We really enjoyed seeing Russia and ... learning about the country and their people from the university professor that gave daily lectures. She was so informative and easy to understand. We also liked the open seating for meals as we got to meet people from all over the world. The food was very good -- they were obviously trying to please the passengers with their breakfast/lunch offerings. Dinners were just the right portion size.
Moscow's cemetery visit was a very pleasant surprise. Walking in Red Square and the tour of the Kremlin were fascinating. The Cosmonaut Museum was also a pleasant surprise with it's tribute to women astronauts from all over the world.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, staying a little longer than the tour to see additional things in the museum. The tour of Catherine's Palace showcasing the reconstruction of the Palace after WWII was amazing. Everyone should go inside the Church of the Spilled Blood. It was extra but well worth it as it is beautiful inside.
We wish we had more time in Mondrogi -- a whole day would have been nice to visit all the craftsmen's shops. I am so glad we got to experience the White Nights -- I don't think we ever saw it pitch dark in Russia!
Looks like we'll be a repeat customer on another Uniworld cruise to somewhere! Read More...
Paris & Heart of Europe,8/3/2013
The Cruise Manager, Rik Sprengers helped to make this a memorable cruise to Vienna. The Captain was challenged by the Danube Lock Operators who decided to go on strike just days after the problems with the flooding of the rivers in June. However, with forward planning the Captain was able to pass through the canal locks about to be blocked. Uniworld then organised buses to take us back to the locations on the itinerary and generously provided lunch meal money as the passengers could not return to the ship for ... lunch on three of the days. In addition, Uniworld offered a discount voucher to use on any of its cruises in the next 2 years. This was our second Uniworld cruise and will not be the last as they are so professional in all aspects. The food and choices equalled any five star restaurant. Without exception, ALL of the crew have one goal and that is to make each passenger feel like royalty. You won't be disappointed if you choose this cruise.
I have prepared a website of the cruise and if anyone would like to browse it can be viewed at:
Regards - Alan Carter
Mrs Sandra Ferrari,7/18/2013
We travelled on the River Queen from Amsterdam to Budapest in May 2012. I was unsure about being on a cruise for two weeks, but my doubts were soon dispelled.From the moment we stepped on board we were treated like family members.
The staff were amazing, as was the food and service. The ambience was special and all on-shore excursions were well organised and well chosen. There was no pressure to go on excursions or join in on organised events.
I am hooked on cruising and Uniworld. I would not contemplate looking at any other ...
cruise company as you cannot improve on perfection.
Sandra ferrari Read More...
Douglas Read More...
River Duchess: Pampered like a King and Queen,7/16/2013
European Serenade June 2013,7/16/2013
Perfect despite Flood Conditions,7/10/2013
SS Antoinette “Castles Along the Rhine”,6/17/2013
Incredible Tour Guide, Amazing Trip!,6/15/2013
Before the trip was over, Hubert felt more like a family member than a tour guide. ... We have taken four vacations with Uniworld over the past few years, but Hubert stands head and shoulders above everyone else we have travelled with. High praise indeed, as all of our experiences have been excellent. If there's such a thing as Tour Guide of the Year - heck, Tour Guide of the Century! - Hubert would win hands-down. Read More...
Mr N Kerman,6/4/2013
Floating Boutique Hotel: All Aboard!,5/22/2013
We are 40/50ish couple from Sonoma/Napa Valley with a passion for food, wine and sailing and while this was not our first Luxury Link (LL) purchase, it was our first cruise and organized tour of any kind. This was a last minute getaway (within 3 weeks from departure) and LL (where we discovered UniWorld) ... and UniWorld collaborated seamlessly to finalize logistics timely (ticketing, transfers, land extensions, etc.) for the Imperial Cities Danube River cruise starting in Instanbul (land extension) and finishing in Vienna.
We started with a land extension in Instanbul. [One tip on visiting Instanbul. UniWorld must advise to get your Visa in advance and will recommend a company to do so. Due to limited time between booking and departure, this company was unable to guarantee receipt of our Visas before departure. I contacted the Turkish embassy in LA and the gentleman informed me to avoid paying high cost Visa service providers and to simply get the Visa upon arrival at the airport in Instanbul. He said it would cost $20 USD CASH and that it is simple. He was 100% correct and saved us $300 USD.
From the moment we stepped aboard our floating boutique hotel to disembarkation, we received continuous outstanding service, ate exquisitely prepared meals with local influences paired with delicious wines, enjoyed onboard entertainment (either by classically trained house musician Freddy or local musicians/performers) and explored each destination with expert guides.
Boutique Boat: Overall, we consider Uniworld's website extremely resourceful and accurate at representing the boat, the itinerary, and all other aspects of the cruise. The info and photos were accurate, in other words, there were no surprises. We were greeted by the ships crew in Guigui, Romania where we boarded our ship. My heart skipped a beat at first; as there isn't much curb appeal to the Princess from the exterior (or any other river cruisers we passed along the way); however, a modern with European bistro flare, well equipped, meticulous boutique ship awaits you on the inside. The ship is plenty large to accommodate guests and crew for all on board activities. We enjoyed lectures and entertainment in the lounge, relaxing and dining on the patio deck at lunch or while cruising, and strolling through towns and cities on the free bikes offered by UniWorld.
Stateroom: We upgraded to a Category 1 stateroom (Cabin 423) which gives you a room on the Rhine Deck (top floor) and a door that opens to the great outdoors (not more square footage). The use of space in the stateroom is brilliant with plenty of closet space and luggage storage under the bed (2 x 29, 1 x 20 inch luggage, camera bag). The beds were extremely comfortable with linens like silk. Bathrooms are small compared to hotel standards, however, as boat owners, offered more than enough space, were totally functional and equipped as described with L'Occitane shampoo, conditioner, hand soap & lotion. Deseslava did a fantastic job preparing our room day and night, managing to complete this without ever interrupting our privacy.
Food & Wine: We ate exquisitely prepared meals with local influences paired with delicious wines. The variety for breakfasts (served buffet style with made to order chef specials, eggs, omelets, etc.), lunches (patio or dining room options available) and 4 course dinners was typically a spectrum of delicacies with fantastic quality. They catered to specific needs and half way through the cruise requested a guest survey to improve the dinning experience. The next day, guests including our suggestions were implemented. The complimentary wines were worth exploring and for those interested in expanding their tasting horizons, the wine list was interesting and fairly priced. Martin and his staff are to be commended for our fabulous dining experiences.
Excursions: Our Cruise manager Bart was a blast. He made us laugh often, he arranged spontaneous walking excursions and was one of the best guides overall, and he was truly committed to ensuring a positive experience by all. We took advantage of most included and many optional excursions (additional fee) and considered the majority to be fantastic with tour guides that were subject matter experts and enthusiastic teachers. Often there were overlapping excursions and choosing was difficult; however, there was typically an overview tour (e.g, city) and an alternative more specific tour (e.g., fine arts museum). Uniworld had excursions for both the first time or repeat visitors and did a wonderful job ensuring enough guides to accommodate group size and ensure a more personalized experience. We appreciate the balance required for each tour and time needed. While many excursions are half or full day and guides are sensitive to group pace, many are fast paced for content and so the time allocated may not be enough for all (e.g., a half day at a fine art museum may be frustrating for a real art buff.) For the adventurous (us) with time to research/plan in advance (not us), you may consider planning your own excursions/ exploration which adds to the overall experience, explore at your pace, and this approach could also be money saving if cost is your concern. Given the nature of this specific cruise, there was a significant amount of motorcoaching involved for some destinations and each time, the accommodations were top notch (brand new coaches with AC and WCs). The convenience of the excursions adds to the overall relaxation. Guests are expected to tip the guides and drivers (and they are so good you'll want to). Uniworld does a fantastic job to recommend customary tipping guides, however, we look forward to 2014 and our understanding that UniWorld will adopt a truly cashless system and include all gratuities for excursions in the package price. We considered the following Optional Excursion highlights: Bosphorous cruise, Spice bazzar, Night in Budapest, Bodor Mayor Horse Farm,
Service: The service we received was as wonderful as the places we visited. The entire River Princess crew is to be commended for delivering exceptional professional, helpful, and friendly service. It is clear that UniWorld prides itself on service delivery. Our expectations were exceeded in every level and we look forward to going aboard a UniWorld river cruise in the very near future. Our only dilemna, which one?
Thank you LL for introducing s and UniWorld for providing a most memorable vacation.
River cruising is a wonderful way to experience a destination and will certainly become a new way of travel for us! Read More...
None come close to the enjoyment, sense of security and relaxation,5/22/2013
A Delightful Trip,5/17/2013
Highlights of China & the Yangtze River Cruise,5/4/2013
I can't say enough good things about the Captain and the crew - very friendly and willing to do anything to make your trip fun. Our cruise director worked very hard to arrange great entertainments ... for us.
The food and amenities were also wonderful! I will definitely cruise with UniWorld again! Read More...
2012: Paris & European River Romance,4/22/2013
The river portion began at Nuremberg, GE, and ended at Trier, GE. We passed through 17 locks during the cruise, most at night and the crew handled the boat so gently that we seldom knew that we were passing through passing through a lock. The boat was beautiful and immaculate, the accommodations were luxurious and the food was wonderful. We took every possible shore excursion and loved every minute of the trip. The excursion guides were knowledgeable and professional as was ... Peter, the cruise director.
The Paris portion began with a bus trip from Trier to Paris. The only negative thing that occurred on the whole trip occurred on that leg: the bus driver on our bus was an ill-tempered person who was rude to several of the bus passengers, including me. We reported him to the cruise director upon arriving in Paris and I suspect that he will no longer be driving tour buses for Uniworld tours. Our stay in Paris was great and we had several nice excursions, including one to the Versailles Palace.
We enjoyed our 2012 Uniworld cruise so much that we are taking one in Italy in July 2013. Read More...
Our First River Cruise - Loved It!,4/20/2013
The tours were very interesting and the options and variety was perfect. The Nikolaihof Winery tour in the Wachau Valley was exceptional. We learned a lot and had a great time on all the tours. The meals were delicious and beautifully served. And with the open seating arrangement, we met lots of interesting people from many parts of the world.
The only problem was the weather - it snowed 6 out of 8 days - so we have clearly angered the Weather Gods - but the staff made up for it. The one day we were able to enjoy the sun deck (even though it was very cold) they provided blankets for the ones who ventured up.
The ship is beautiful - very well appointed and comfortable. Our cabin (a suite) was very roomy and had plenty of storage space. Another big plus is being able to see various locations and only having to unpack once. That was great!
Since our trip we can't stop telling our friends how much we LOVED this trip and that all of them should take a river cruise on a Uniworld ship. It is truly a luxury that everyone should enjoy. Read More...
So good that we signed up for the Purtugal trip as soon as we got back......we're going in July 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...
Grand Christmas truly Grand,1/24/2013
My mother taught me that "you have only one chance at a first impression". Uniworld understands this well. Our transfer at the airport was ready and on time. To keep the review short, I will deal succinctly with a few issues.
I like ocean cruising due to the distances that can be covered, but I liked the smaller, more intimate setting of ... the Duchess. Everything they did had a stamp of quality about it. Yes, there was an incident when our guide left us standing in the cold. I gave them space to deal with it and they dealt with it professionally and without a fuss. Stuff happens.
The food was very good and visiting the dining room always a pleasure; Roberto and his team learned our preferences quickly and we were treated like royalty. It happens that the menu does not always suit one's taste, but it is rare and you work around it. Uniworld is excellent with making exceptions. The fact that we picked up weight is proof of their culinary successes! When a steward brings gluhwein onto an icy deck, you know you are in good hands.
I never saw a staff member in a bad mood. I made a point of not having a bad mood around them either. They work hard and looked after us well. Our cabin attendant Biljana was like a ghost - things just happened. What a pleasure.
I did find our stateroom a little tight but after all it is a river cruise, and the furnishings etc. of high and pleasing standard. The temperature control worked perfectly, and in so many hotels I find it a challenge to get the temperature right. Not here. Perfection.
The guides employed were almost always of very high standard, with some real gems among them. Eva was a bundle of energy who had us in stitches for two days. Uniworld's excursions on this cruise are worthy of mention - especially the trip to Theresienthal.
And then the problems struck with water levels rising too much. Nature happens. And our Cruise Manager Mery did not blink an eye. I often saw her on the steps of the bus making calls to change arrangements without us hearing a word. Well done.
The alternative arrangements were perfect and our only sadness is that our last night was spent in a hotel and not on the ship, but we were adequately compensated. We did not miss any excursions and they did in fact throw in an extra excursion for us together with future credit and cash for an evening meal. Attention to small detail is what sets them apart, I think. Even to arranging our transfer outside of the normal transfers - a little extra that they did not have to do. The kind of thing I remember.
Any real complaints? Well, we did not have the White Christmas we hoped for, but that is not their fault, is it?
Thank you for a bunch of very special memories that will last a lifetime.
Uniworld say “You shall go to the ball”….and we did!!,1/5/2013
When we joined the impressive River Duchess at Nuremburg on 22nd December 2012 all were in festive mood and the reception given by staff as you enter the ship enhances the mood of all travel weary passengers. You are immediately immersed in the high but unobtrusive Uniworld standards of facilities and service – a standard that was maintained throughout the whole cruise.As this was a period of celebration we had a suite, this was spacious, fittings impressive, beds plush and very comfortable. There was ample storage space for the many clothes we had brought having regard to the festive ... celebrations that lay ahead including the New Years Eve Ball in Vienna. The ship has a degree of opulence, is kept spotlessly clean and there was always a member of staff on hand to cater for any wish.
From the first meal to the last the food was of the highest quality and it was evident that fresh ingredients were being used and being expertly prepared by the army of chefs onboard led by Milos. The well trained, polite and disciplined waiters, marshaled by the more than competent Maitre D, Roberto, ensured an unforgettable dining experience. The complimentary wines and beer throughout all meal times was a bonus, quality wines as well!
The cruise started with 2 days in Nuremburg which is enough to savour the party atmosphere around the Xmas Market, (the largest in Germany) and to sample the quality shops that abound. In addition, for the culture vultures, there is much to see and the Uniworld tours provide a well informed, well organised and well paced and effortless way to sample the historical sites. One not to be missed are the famous courts where the Nuremburg trials took place after the Second World War.
When we set sail along the Danube from Nuremburg late on 23rd December, following the Captains Welcome Dinner, all were in great spirits and anticipation of even greater times to come. The anticipated highlight was clearly going to be the New Years Eve Ball at the Daun Kinsky Palace in the heart of Vienna. This was to be followed by attendance at the famous New Years Day Concert also in Vienna. Little did we know or suspect that Mother Nature was conspiring to make the attendance at these events as problematic as possible - a conspiracy that Uniworld faced head on and defeated with efficiency and expediency over the next few days.
Arriving in Regensberg on 24th we were aware that the river level was rising and we were kept fully informed of possible issues by the able and energetic cruise manager, Tamas Kocsis. Xmas Eve and Day were spent as planned in Regensberg and all was going exceptionally well. Midnight Mass on Xmas Eve and a Mass on Xmas Day morning at the Cathedral attracted a large number of passengers- a 10 minute walk from the ship.
On Xmas Day we were informed in a professional and tactful manner that due to the river level, the River Duchess, and indeed all the other cruise ships docked at Regensberg, were not able to pass under a nearby bridge and that we would have to remain in port for at least another day and hoping that the water levels may subside.
There were 6 other cruise ships in port and all were suffering the same fate. News arrived on the Duchess that other cruise ships were curtailing their cruises and passengers were given early flights home. The ball and concert planned over New Year in Vienna were becoming a far off dream. It was with great relief, and indeed surprise to many, that Uniworld were to continue their "cruise" to Vienna. There was clear determination from the crew and no doubt from the hierarchy and the behind the scene workers at Uniworld HQ that the cruise would continue in some form and importantly that the celebrations in Vienna would take place. The water levels did not subside over the next two days yet ample buses were on hand to take passengers to the scheduled ports of call and most of the planned tours.
This of course meant more travelling in buses but all tours were honoured. The vast majority of passengers were greatly impressed by the total commitment of all staff to make the problems have as little effect as possible. It was regrettable that there was a very small number of passengers who seemed hell bent on complaining at every opportunity but after a day, when all had time to reflect on the situation and course of action taken by Uniworld, all (except 1 passenger) had great admiration for the high quality of the alternative arrangement that had been made.
On the 29th December all passengers were taken by bus into Vienna and had 1 day in the fabulous (and most expensive) 5 star hotel in the centre of Vienna, the Inter Continental - if it was good enough for President Bush then it was good enough for me!. Cash was provided for the evening meal- this gave the opportunity to savour the local restaurants. We teamed up with fellow passengers and had a great Viennese evening.
Uniworld had called out numerous staff from all over Europe and they brought the ship, River Beatrice, out of winter storage, berthed her at Vienna and restocked and prepared her for us to continue our cruise. We boarded her on the 30th. The River Beatrice is fabulous and passengers thought her of a higher standard than the Duchess. Due to her larger size than the Duchess most passengers were ungraded to cabins of higher standards. Most of the staff were brought from the Duchess to the Beatrice but other staff that had been recalled to duty stayed with us and we continued our cruise.
The New Years Eve Concert at a palace in Vienna was something special and despite the quality of the food, wine and service not being of a Uniworld standard the ceremony of the occasion made it a memorable experience and one to recount and share with friends and family for many years to come. Back to the ship for midnight and then on the top deck to celebrate the New Year by sharing the massive firework displays that occur all around Vienna and its suburbs-a memorable evening and the perfect way to see in the New Year of 2013.
The New Years Day concert at 11am was a glitzy and extravagant affair and it was a privilege to actually attend one of these occasions after seeing them every New Years day on the TV. Setting sail for Budapest in the afternoon most passengers relaxed and recovering from the New Years activities and celebrations.
2 days in Budapest brought an end to a cruise of the highest of quality, one packed with incident and handled in the most professional of manner by Uniworld.
The action taken by Uniworld in relation to the high water problem clearly enhanced their already “top of the tree” status, the financial costs of the dramatic changes made to the itinerary must have been frightening and it was gratifying, in the economical climate, to see that passengers expectations and the Uniworld reputation was of far greater importance than the financial cost involved.
It is difficult to comprehend the extent of the efforts and expense that the preparing, restocking, and bringing new staff to the Beatrice would have cost. Some of the staff said they have been at home for less than 1 hour at the start of their 2 month break when they were informed to return- they came from all over Europe and all still with a great smile and not one complained to us- just the contrary, they were pleased to maintain the passenger reputation of Uniworld.. The "new" captain had to leave on the day of his daughter’s birthday just to accommodate us.
Uniworld could have taken the far easier option and cancelled the trip. The booking conditions clearly allow this- this course of action was taken by all other cruise operators with ships at Regensberg. In addition, and quite unnecessarily they also gave each passenger a $500 credit towards a future cruise!!
Would we go again? Well, 2 days after arriving back we have already re booked for December 2013!
P and C McKay (UK)