Uniworld Cruise Reviews
"just another day in paradise",1/1/2013
Jean & Ray Read More...
The itinerary included a great mix of major cities and small towns that were unknown to us before this trip. What wonderful surprises they held!, the local tour guides we met were very knowledgeable and personable.
I would not hesitate to recommend this type of travel to anyone interested in a unique travel experience. Read More...
Castles on the Rhine,9/17/2012
The extra care and attention to detail was extraordinary,9/7/2012
The best vacation my wife and I have ever experienced.,9/5/2012
The best vacation my wife and I have ever experienced. Everything about the cruise was first rate. The food, the service, the attitude of the entire ship's staff was outstanding. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone. From the time we were met at the Amsterdam airport until the time we were bussed to the Budapest airport, everything was outstanding. Tony, our tour director, Carylene, our hotel director, Roberto, our dining room director and most of all our captain - who got us through some pretty ... shallow water when other cruise lines were busing their passengers, shows the commitment of Uniworld to hire first rate people. Read More...
Perfect cruise for our anniversary,8/28/2012
We were impressed by how the entire crew worked collectively to offer great and friendly service. From day one, we were made to feel at home. It was nice meeting Captain Pascal who invited us to join him at his table for the Welcome Dinner and who shared information about the local culture & customs. Patrice, our hotel manager, is enthusiastic & excellent and it was wonderful that he spoke some Bahasa Indonesia (which is similar to our Bahasa Malaysia). We were surprised to later find out that he has only been working with Uniworld for 2 weeks as there is certainly great camaraderie between him and the entire crew. Emmanuelle, our Cruise manager, is fabulous - funny, entertaining, knowledgable and helpful. Together, Patrice & Emmanuelle kept the mood onboard fun & lively! There was much laughter daily at the pre-dinner briefings! Aniko & Cosmin of Front Desk, Marius, Kriztian, Georgiv, Sarin & Jakub (restaurant staff) and Ilona of Housekeeping are cheerful, efficient and great at their jobs. We enjoyed the refreshing morning walks with Rene, the onboard masseur. The guides we found particularly good are Kristian (Lyon), Jeannette (Tournon/Tain L'Hermitage/Viviers) & Francis (Truffle farm/Les Baux).
We also met many wonderful fellow passengers from various countries, some of whom we're keeping in touch with. It was with heavy hearts that we bade goodbye to everyone at the end of the week. We will definitely be going on another Uniworld cruise and will highly recommend Uniworld to our family & friends.
To the entire crew of River Royale, thank you very much, well done & keep up the great work! :) Read More...
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...
Uniworld River Queen Cruise - European Jewels (August 6-20, 2012),8/22/2012
Not a single issue, not a single excuse, not a better team on a cruise than the River Queen for those 14 days. We can understand why the River Queen was ranked #1 recently. If Uniworld can find a way to bottle this winning formula on each and every cruise ship they own.... The sky is the limit!
Someone told me many years ago - if you love your job, you will excel at it - I don't think there was a single Uniworld employee on the River Queen that didn't want to be there. Uniworld - the River Queen knocked this one out of the park!
I will be recommending the Uniworld Boutique River Cruises to anyone looking for a vacation idea. Read More...
Kudos to Kevin Lin,8/13/2012
Burgundy and Provence - Rhone River,7/31/2012
I thought the Cruise Manager was great in trying to be flexible with the program. There was a couple stops where we started the city tour an hour later because some folks requested a later wake up time. If possible, I would suggest offering both since I felt we lost time on that tour and visting the Valhrona chocolate factory in Tain L'Hermitage should be a must - we got to go but had very little time to sample and shop! The best experience was the open air market in Beaune but I felt we didn't have as much time for wine tasting. If we didn't stop for a sit down lunch, we could have but after looking at all the wonderful product on sale in the market, it made me hungry and I honestly didn't think i'd feel hungry all week. The service is so fantastic that there was a person waiting at the airport at 5AM to take us through the Lyon airport and made sure we got our baggage tags and boarding passes - and he wouldn't even take a tip. That was literally "door to door" or "plane to plane" service.
I am so hooked and can't wait to try another UniWorld tour! Read More...
Neville & Cathy,7/24/2012
NB: Our cruise was down river from Vienna - Istanbul (River Duchess).
Given the travel investment involved we felt a 15 day cruise was not enough to justify the time and cost so chose to break the journey north with a two day/night stopover in Dubai. Additionally we included the Prague pre-cruise extension and front loaded this with a further night in the same hotel. This gave us a suitable break (Dubai - Prague only 4.5 hours) and provided two buffer periods should there be any unexpected ... delays. This worked well and would recommend it.
We took as cash Euros only (1050) which lasted from Prague to Istanbul. Given most excursions are included in the boat fare only discretionary spending cash is needed. Money was changed either at a bank or an official money changer. Currency exchange was also available on the boat and given the small amounts of local currency required the cost was insignificant. In Dubai and Bangkok we accessed local funds from an ATM ($5NZD Fee).
We had a two day/night stopover in Bangkok on the return journey which very much assisted post travel recovery and gave us an overall 25 day journey which justified, and was appropriate for, the travel involved.
Uniworld are a great cruise provider; excellent food, service, excursions and boats. We stayed in suite 208 and consider the upgrade from level 1 to be well worth it. We visited new found friends in level four and found their suite to be the same size, a sliding door but no balcony - the slider remained closed most of the time due to heat/noise etc so not worth it in opinion.
Most afternoons were free but optional excursions at additional cost were available and many of these were also good value. Later in the cruise there were some all-day excursions which some less than fit struggled with in the heat. For shopping it was best to use the morning excursion for an overview then return on your own in the afternoon to spend more time a chosen sites/shops.
Overall a great experience. These types of cruises are only now becoming known in our country and in our view are much superior to travel by bus etc.
Note the advice re walking a footwear.
Neville & Cathy
New Zealand Read More...
The Perfect First Experience,7/24/2012
As I learned later, there was no reason to be nervous, because I immediately became one of a ... 128 member family on the Beatrice. From day one, the crew was fantastic. Service was great, but so was the camaraderie. We hadn’t even set sail yet, and crew members were already smiling at me on the deck and commenting on my book, as well as directing me towards the library and offering to fill my glass with water. And we had just begun! The rest of the week could only get better.
On this trip, I was determined to try all sorts of new foods, and I had all sorts of opportunities to do so! All the food was AMAZING, and every dinner had a vegetarian option. The breakfast and lunch buffets had a variety of ever-changing options, and the culinary crew was always more than happy to recommend and describe any odd-looking dishes. For example, one afternoon in Germany I selected a hot pretzel to join my lunch, and Armin (a member of the crew) immediately recommended a dish of funny looking cheese sauce I hadn’t even noticed. It tasted fantastic! My personal favorite was a linguine with ‘sea fruits.’ Well I learned that ‘sea fruits’ consist of pieces of octopus and squid…yet it turned out to be a very delicious dish. Another fun touch was that every meal had some sort of local favorite. For example, the day we set sail in Hungary we had the option of eating Hungarian goulash, while in Germany we had Bratwurst.
I also had the opportunity to be a guinea pig for an amazing excursion- an (at least) 11 mile bike ride from the town of Dürnstein to Melk (Austria), through all sorts of little towns. A group of eight people set out on this adventure, and I stuck with a group of four friends I had made earlier in the week. The bike ride took us four hours- but not because of the distance! We stopped at a local café for a cappuccino, ate the picnic box lunch provided by the ship while looking over the Danube, explored St. Michael’s church, as well as purchased freshly picked apricots and peaches from a local seller. We biked by terraced vineyards and sunflower fields, all the way directed by signs. We got lost once when trying to find the boat, but that is the reason why we were the guinea pigs! :) We made it back late and missed the bus to Melk Abbey, but this was just an opportunity for the front desk to exercise their talents. Within minutes a taxi was called, and we drove to Melk Abbey where our tour manager Markus stood waiting with tickets. We walked in and joined the fourth group as if we had been right on time. The bike trip was definitely one of the highlight experiences of this trip for me, and I hope anyone else who sails the Danube has the opportunity to experience it!
But what was my grandmother doing during this biking adventure? Not everyone was physically capable for this sort of a ride…well, while I was enjoying a freshly picked apricot she was relaxing on the sundeck of the Beatrice as it sailed to Melk. The crew had prepared a barbecue on the deck for everyone to enjoy as they took in the beautiful scenery of the Wachau Valley. While I was able to tell stories about biking over cobblestones, GranAnn learned all about the pirates who used to raid the Danube and what all those crumbly buildings along the river were. So no matter where we were or what we were doing, we were creating memories unlike any other.
The second new excursion was a hike along the Else river in Passau, Germany. It was a three hour hike (although quite honestly, about 45 minutes was spent at a lovely local café) led by a fantastic local guide, Hika. The hike gave us a wonderful view of Passau that not everyone gets to experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is physically capable of wandering over dirt and root trails. The forest of Passau is beautiful, and is a unique experience that you can’t find on the deck of a ship.
All of the provided city excursions contained the perfect balance of tour guide time and free time. With a guide, we got an idea of the simple layout of the city, as a well as a fascinating history lesson. We were then free to explore as we wished, an opportunity my grandmother and I enjoyed. With the free time, we managed to find a fun bookstore in Vienna, as well as experience the subway in a foreign country. In Salzburg, we explored the local marketplace and enjoyed local food favorites (I highly recommend Baumkuchen!) If I wrote everything we did and enjoyed, I would be publishing a book, not writing a review. :) But for those curious about what we saw, I would say this cruise was the perfect first experience in Europe. We saw castle ruins, as well as vineyards. We explored local towns and the country side, as well as the two well-known European cities of Vienna and Salzburg. This trip was the perfect mix of everything, as well as an excellent teaser for any future trips!
Another unique feature of this cruise was how they created a fantastic experience by reading the group of people aboard the ship. Originally, there was only one onboard musical group scheduled to perform. (And they were AMAZING!) But as the week progressed, travelers began to dance. Every night after dinner, a good number of people would head to the lounge and dance as our pianist Zultan played and sang along. I learned to twist, cha-cha, and many more! Recognizing this developing hobby, ship managers Markus and Mario found a local jazz band from the area and brought them on board one night to play for us- not only for us to watch, but to dance along! We danced the night away, and even if you weren’t dancing, you were sipping a glass of wine watching and chatting with new acquaintances. The crew actually came to know us as people- for example, by the end of the week, everyone knew that my grandmother and I were in room 203 and that all I ever drank was water (much to the entertainment of bar tenders Georgi and Mladen!).
Not only did we become friends with the crew, but with the people around us. This is where the size of the River Beatrice comes into play. With a boat that only holds around 162 guests, we voyaged with 128 people. Because of the size, we recognized faces and made all sorts of friends. As the week progressed, we would always meet new people, but we would also create solid friendships over dinner and during city tours. We became one big happy family, one that was very hard to leave on the last day! All the trips and history I absorbed during this trip was amazing, but it was my fellow passengers and crew that added the icing on top of the cake. After all, what’s better than exploring the Danube River on a gorgeous boat full of friends? :) I’m never going to be able to thank my grandmother enough for sharing this amazing experience with me, and hope that whoever is in room 203 of the River Beatrice right now is having as much fun as we did.
Uniworld & River Royale Really Get It!,7/4/2012
This cruise was our first river cruise, and we rate it a "5+ star" in all major categories. Even better than most of the "ocean" cruises we have taken. The staff were extremely friendly, courteous and always there to help. Our cruise director Gabrielle was totally awesome and ought to be on stage (in fact I heard at the end of our cruise that this is exactly what she will be doing)!
We were certainly pleased with the luxury and comfort of our cabin, as well as the lounge and dining room. Our room steward, Csaba, was especially wonderful and took ...
great care of us, often with a lot of patience. The food was "5 Star" at every meal, and the dinners were always delicious and well-presented. They offered a wonderfully diverse and delicious selection, especially at the daily lunch buffet. The dessert chef truly outdid herself! Our waitstaff were fantastic to a person--always attentive, polite, and very friendly. The wine selection was superb (this coming from a native of Napa California!), and the quality of wine served was only surpassed by the skill and panache of the wine steward Nicholas. Our glass never seemed to run dry.
The top deck was a bit sparse, but no loss as we seldom had the opportunity to use it, as were too busy exploring the local towns and villages at each stop along the way (or the lounge prior to dinner). We would recommend this cruise to anyone except those wishing to travel with teenage children or younger--they'd be totally bored. Uniworld is a wee bit more pricey than some other popular lines, but several of our travelling companions commented on "you really get what you pay for" and that Uniworld was worth the extra cost.
We had been to France in the past, but this was our first time to explore the Burgundy & Provence regions. Travelling via the River Royale is certainly the way to go, and we especially enjoyed our four days in Aix-en-Provence on our own prior to boarding in Arles. Our biggest & warmest "thank you" and a bigger Merci, a bientot! to the entire crew!Read More...
Imperial Waterways of Russia,6/9/2012
The ship is fresh and clean. We walked through several other river ships (all apparently made by the same company) when we were double or triple docked, and the Victoria is without doubt the most attractive of all the ships we saw. The ... dining room is larger than it looks on Uniworld's slides. The beds are really comfortable.
We had a balcony, which we used frequently as the sun didn't set until 11 PM.
The ship's all-Russian staff is friendly and eager to please. The itinerary is fabulous, from three very busy days in Moscow and in St. Petersburg to peaceful, relaxed cruising on the canals, rivers and lakes between the two cities. This cruise probably has the most time devoted to cruising day and night of all the river cruises due to the distance between the two cities. If you like a very active day every day and entertainment at night, this may not be the cruise for you. If you'd like to watch beautiful and historic scenery pass by and enjoy visits to places not seen on most land tours, plus of course the two fascinating cities, you'll love this cruise. Read More...
THE BLUE DANBUE,5/21/2012
We are looking forward to booking another cruise with UNIWORLD Read More...
Fantastic Danube Cruise,5/21/2012
On April 19, 2012 we departed Los Angeles International Airport for Budapest via Heathrow Airport in England. We were excited because this was to be our first river cruise, though we had enjoyed ocean cruising prior to this. My wife Rosalie was having a "big" birthday and always wanted a river cruise and loved a previous trip to Budapest. So naturally, a river cruise from Budapest to Passau on the Danube would be just the thing.
My Internet research indicated that the highest rated Danube river ... cruise was with a company called Uniworld so I booked a reservation on one of their highest rated ships, the River Beatrice. With great anticipation, we planned, packed and were on our way.
We arrived at the Budapest airport Friday evening, April 20th. Through Uniworld we had planned a pre-cruise day at the beginning of our trip but were unsure of our transportation needs at our arrival. We were pleasantly surprised to see Adam standing on the arrival ramp waiving a sign with our name on it after we cleared immigration. He gathered up our luggage, placed it in a modern van and we were on our way. Uniworld had made reservations for us at the Budapest Hilton. Upon arrival there, we signed in and were escorted to our room. The next two mornings we enjoyed complimentary breakfasts at the Hilton arranged by Uniworld.
The next day, Saturday the 21st, we chose to be on our own even though Romulus, the Uniworld local host in the hotel, had arranged a tour of the city for us and any others staying at the Hilton. We declined, not particularly caring for the 0815 tour departure, having arrived tired after approximately twelve hours enroute from Los Angeles.
We had a wonderful day wandering around Budapest, taking pictures and ending up for dinner at Fatal, a restaurant we remembered from our previous trip twelve years earlier. Returning to the Hilton, Romulus gave us the schedule for the next day, Sunday the 22nd; when to check out and how to leave our luggage in our rooms for the Uniworld crew to retrieve and place in the van that would take us to the River Beatrice. Rosalie and I thought this was a nice touch on the official start of our cruise.
On Sunday, April 22, we boarded the River Beatrice and were shown to our cabin, number 315 on the main deck. The River Beatrice registration procedure was flawless and pleasant and we were impressed by the beauty of the vessel. Our cabin, though "snug", was perfect with large sliding doors to a river view and a queen size bed that we found to be very comfortable. The cabin air conditioning was adjustable and the bathroom, " the head," was well appointed with ample counter space and a nice shower stall. Incidentally, the towels were monogrammed and luxurious. We had our first dinner aboard that evening.
We spent the next day in Budapest after our first night on the River Beatrice. Monday morning again we decided to do some touring on our own. Uniworld had arranged for a river shuttle boat to take any of us from our mooring on the Pest side of the Danube over to the Buda side. We took the shuttle, docked on the other side and walked a short distance to the famous Budapest Market, a very large two story building with food stalls on the main floor and gift stalls on the upper balcony. What fun. Rosalie bought Hungarian paprika in two decorative ceramic containers, our only purchase. She wanted these because we didn't purchase them on our last visit to Budapest. We walked back to the shuttle, which ran every hour, and rode back to the River Beatrice where we had lunch onboard.
Our meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner were served in the beautifully appointed comfortable dining room. This main dining room had many tables, some round seating eight and some straight seating either eight or ten. Breakfast and lunch each day were buffet style with a wide selection of dishes both hot and cold and delicious. And, additionally, a wide selection of desserts, wickedly sweet and delicious. How tempting and, of course, we tried out many of them. Complimentary wine and beer was available at lunch and dinner. The dinner menu featured dishes of the areas we visited each day - goulash while in Budapest, etc. Coffee was served by the friendly, courteous and helpful staff and, caffeinated or decaffeinated, was served in insulated Bodum French coffee presses. What a nice touch and what a way to keep the coffee hot and delicious.
The Chief Steward must be complimented for his staff, all English speaking though mostly of Eastern European heritage. In particular I became infatuated with Sandra, one of our servers, a twenty-eight year old college graduate with a degree in hospitality management who soon will move to the reception desk in a new position on the vessel. Incidentally, only on two occasions did the dinner dress call for sport coats with or without a tie. Otherwise it was shipboard casual with many of us in jeans and sport shirts. Yes, I did pack a sport coat which immediately we hung in the spacious closet to hang out the wrinkles.
Once underway, we settled into a routine. Sumptuous breakfast buffet followed by either a bus or walking tour of the current city. Christine, the onboard excursion manager did a fantastic job of gathering us all up, sorted us into the correct buses or walking groups and assigning English speaking guides. We got used to following a guide holding up a large number sign that denoted our particular group. Lots of fun and we saw and learned a lot. Again, Uniworld is to be congratulated on how they conducted these various tours. The venues they chose were outstanding, many of unbelievable magnificence; churches and monasteries that appeared as if constructed of solid gold. Amazing. And while underway on the Danube we were treated to ever more amazing scenery as we sailed past story book village after story book village with castles and churches that looked out of the middle ages even though many were reconstructed and new.
In Vienna, Rosalie and I made a solitary pilgrimage to the Vienna Opera House, a magnificent structure and a dream visit for us as long time opera buffs. It literally brought tears to my eyes as we visited the inside lobby. I couldn't help but picture in my mind the tuxedoed burghers and bejeweled matrons of past decades ascending the formal stairway to hear the magnificent voices and spectacular music of past performances. Unfortunately that day the normal tour was not available but we were allowed by the Opera House ticket seller to take pictures even though ropes held us back from going up the stairs. We then visited the outside and around the corner Opera House bookstore. And we spent; a shoulder bag emblazoned with "Vienna Opera House" for Rosalie to flaunt back home to show we were there and some books, in German, picturing the insides of the Opera House and Natalie Dessau performing La Traviata there. We hated to leave this heart rending structure, but it became time to catch up with the tour bus and get back to the vessel.
I should mention that when leaving the vessel, we turned in our room keys and, for security, were given numbered shore passes. Upon returning, Jan, the vessel hotel manager, who is in charge of the hotel crew, would greet us, show us bowls of sweets, have us use a hand purifier that they use to keep outside viruses from coming aboard and guide us to the reception desk where Tanya or Martin would exchange the shore passes for our room keys. Additionally, this gave the desk a method to see if everyone had returned. We also were greeted with iced tea or soft drinks as we returned aboard from our excursions.
I also must say that the Reception Desk crew, Tanya, Martin and others, throughout our cruise, were extremely helpful. Martin, in particular, was the "go to person" for any wi-fi, iPad or laptop problem. The vessel had free wi-fi, mainly in the forward lounge, but, alas, was connected to the Internet via a satellite, after all, the vessel was cruising the Danube and not connected to shore. Vessel Satellite Internet is not configured for one-hundred plus people trying to connect at the same time on their iPads, laptops or assorted other devices. Usually we could download email but were unable to send messages. Such is life!
The River Beatrice also provided "low key" entertainment on occasion in the lounge. A piano player and local musicians presented short entertainment that was fun but not intrusive. This was a river cruise, not a large cruise ship with elaborate presentations. Very appropriate for us guests that spent each day on marvelous shore excursions and enjoyed a relaxing time in the lounge to meet with other passengers who became new friends.
Finally I must mention that our fellow cruisers were a nicely mixed lot and at no time did I feel out of place or uncomfortable. There was a nice mixture of gray and not yet gray hair with seniors like ourselves and younger people but no young children. Over all the experience was more than outstanding.
One unique experience I should mention was that as a retired officer in the United States Merchant Marine, I was allowed to visit the wheelhouse of the vessel while we were underway. I watched the Assistant Captain control the vessel with just slight hand movements on joy-stick like controls. Wonderfully modern on this vessel whose ships' bell indicated 2009 as the commissioning date.
If it were possible to rate Uniworld and the River Beatrice with more than five stars, definitely I would. And Rosalie and I hope to take another cruise with Uniworld in the future.