Sail Date: June 2018
My fiancé received an incentive trip provided by Brother sewing machines. We started in Amsterdam and also stopped in Germany, Switzerland and ending in Basel, France. All the way from special dining foods and wines in what ever ... Read More
My fiancé received an incentive trip provided by Brother sewing machines. We started in Amsterdam and also stopped in Germany, Switzerland and ending in Basel, France. All the way from special dining foods and wines in what ever region we were in was a delight on this all inclusive cruise. The service by the wonderful crew was superb! Nicolay runs a wonderful dining room, any request I had he fulfilled for us. Great waiters and waitresses, all had their own special qualities Plus the bar with Mariya and Silviya working very hard to please, constantly smiling. They never tell you no. Anthony making sure we were introduced to each city we came into port on great excursions. Our cabin was wonderfully taken care of by Tihimore who had a ready smile she shared. It felt like home the entire stay. Thank you so much, made many memories for myself and my fiancé. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Very friendly welcome on this nice river boat. Cabin and bathroom small but very well decorated and efficiently furnished. All public areas are lovely. The service thoughout was good, at times too attentive, with someone passing by the ... Read More
Very friendly welcome on this nice river boat. Cabin and bathroom small but very well decorated and efficiently furnished. All public areas are lovely. The service thoughout was good, at times too attentive, with someone passing by the table every few minutes to enquire if anything was needed. The self service laundry was very useful. The only disappointments were dinners and wine selection. White wine drinkers who do not like reisling will be unhappy with the daily wine offerings - same if you are not a drinker of German reds. For the price of this cruise, would have expected a better quality and choice. Premium wines were available but rather expensive. Shore excursions were mixed - Amsterdam and Strasbourg excellent, others average to good. Overall, the trip was pleasant even though, at that time of year, the weather did not cooperate. Currently planning a river cruise in Portugal. As F&B is an important part of our travel, need to better check what is available prior to reserving. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Our European Jewels cruise was everything we could have hoped for1 We loved the ship, River Empress, and the entire staff. The ship was sparkling clean and comfortable. The furnishings are plush, comfortable, and stylish (not utilitarian ... Read More
Our European Jewels cruise was everything we could have hoped for1 We loved the ship, River Empress, and the entire staff. The ship was sparkling clean and comfortable. The furnishings are plush, comfortable, and stylish (not utilitarian looking and hard). Our cabin was very comfortable and our butler was wonderful and helpful. The excursions were very good with an option for every individual's ability. The staff was friendly, skilled, and accommodating. The "all inclusive" program made the trip stress free and relaxed. Food and drink superb. Actually, we just loved it all. Hope to go on another trip with Uniworld soon. Many thanks to Zelko, Sylvia, Ibi, Valentino, Rene, Jose, Shondra, Adrian, and all the others who made this a great trip! As for the extensions in Amsterdam and Budapest, we were well taken care of on these days as well. We were met by excellent guides in both cities who took great care of us! Thanks, Murial and Romulus. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We had the suite right across the hall from the Mock's and totally agree with everything she wrote but we have some additional comments to present.... We have now cruised twice with both Viking and Uniworld. We even cruised this ... Read More
We had the suite right across the hall from the Mock's and totally agree with everything she wrote but we have some additional comments to present.... We have now cruised twice with both Viking and Uniworld. We even cruised this itinerary two years ago with Viking. We loved Viking and don't have anything bad to say about them but there are some differences between Uniworld and Viking that are worth considering. The Viking longboats are very Scandinavian and all of them are exactly the same while the Uniworld boats are very European and eclectically decorated. The Viking boats hold 190 passengers and are usually full. The Uniworld Empress and several others hold 120 passengers and both of our cruises with Uniworld only had about 80 passengers on board. The obvious difference is that the crew to passenger ratio is dramatically better on Uniworld. For example, each line had one bartender and cruise director. The Uniworld crew got to know us by name almost immediately and we got a lot more attention. The Empress is older but is absolutely perfectly maintained. Everything sparkled and worked perfectly. The technology is all up to date. The Empress has a very unique configuration different from the Viking boats and the River Baroness we cruised on last year. It has a glass walled room on the upper deck that can be used for relaxing or eating. The bar serviced the room and were constantly bringing extras such as hot chocolate up to the room. The front deck is lower than the rest of the sudeck. This allowed passengers to sit outside when the sundeck was closed for low bridges. Because there were fewer passengers, no one was ever jockeying for chairs as on the Viking boats. We found it interesting that Uniworld had a bus that travelled the entire itinerary with us from Amsterdam to Budapest. The driver.... darn, we forget his name... was great and got to know us. It just made for a great experience. The excursions were excellent and we even got to tour a BMW factory. OK, so it wasn't another cathedral, but it was very interesting and not a lickety split tour. It was over two hours and we were right on the factory tour watching a roll of steel being turned into a BMW. Really fascinating. We would be remiss in not mentioning how nice it was to not have to deal with gratuities at every turn and to have all wine and spirits included at all times....even Jonny Walker Black. On one of our Viking cruises, we were in line to pay our bill the last night. The very nice lady taking care of everything asked the lady in front of us if she wanted to add a crew and program director gratuity to hir bill. The passenger responded that she did not believe in gratuities. We also saw the same thing happen at the end of tours when it was time to hand the bus driver and tour guide a gratuity... many times we saw other passengers stiff them. We love the Uniworld inclusive plan and feel that should become the norm. One more thing, the dining room director only had 80 passengers to deal with. My wife has an onion food allergy. At EVERY meal, he would greet my wife and actually walk around the buffets at breakfast and lunch and show here what did or did not have onions in the recipe. For dinner, he would come right to our table and review the menu with her. Just some things to consider when choosing between Uniworld and Viking. We are signed up for a Viking Ocean cruise in 2018. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first river cruise, Castles along the Rhine, and after doing research and looking over reviews we are 100% happy we chose Uniworld. The staff were outgoing, accommodating, always said hello, and wanted to please you. Captain ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, Castles along the Rhine, and after doing research and looking over reviews we are 100% happy we chose Uniworld. The staff were outgoing, accommodating, always said hello, and wanted to please you. Captain Ferdy was always present. At times even helping crew unloading garbage or tying up the ship. Food was excellent, with variety in the breakfast and lunch buffets. I loved the different cheeses they presented daily Dinner was well presented, 5 course with two mains to choose from along with fish, steak if you didn't like the mains. The included wines and bar drinks were very good. On our cruise there were mostly Americans, Brits, Canadians, Australians. We made good friendships. Great assets to Uniworld: and a shout out to cruise director Kirsten who lead some of the included shore excursions. Silva and Nick in the lounge, Anata and Pedro in the dinning. All remaining staff aimed to please. This is a little pricier than other river cruise lines, but everything is included, including Wi-Fi. No tipping, not even the tour guides. First Class. Keep up the good work. We are glad we chose Uniworld and look forward to other cruises in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our second cruise with Uniworld. It met all of our expectations and then some. After our experiences on our first cruise, our expectations were high. While I admit I haven't cruised with other lines, those that I talked with ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Uniworld. It met all of our expectations and then some. After our experiences on our first cruise, our expectations were high. While I admit I haven't cruised with other lines, those that I talked with who have ay Uniworld does it better. The food, the service, the rooms and the "all-inclusiveness" are truly #1. We enjoyed shore excursions daily. We toured two small towns in France which was too much for the time allotted. We could have spent the entire morning in one of the towns and still not had enough time! Castles along the Rhein was a great cruise that took us from Amsterdam through stops in Germany and France ending in Switzerland. This cruise has a good mix of cruising on the river and stopping at interesting cities. Weather in May turned out to be milder that we were expecting. Temps were in the high 60s to low 70s during the cruise. Uniworld does it right. I am looking forward to our next cruise with Uniworld. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Our travel agent recommended this. Extremely good choice due for needed attention on mobility. The cruise director and the staff went out of their way to make this possible. I would definitely cruise with Uniworld again, and hope very ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this. Extremely good choice due for needed attention on mobility. The cruise director and the staff went out of their way to make this possible. I would definitely cruise with Uniworld again, and hope very soon. The food was outstanding. The crew worked very well together and always with a smile and willing to help. I was not able to climb the stairs to the sundeck but the crew set up a station for me to take photos of the castles. The captain even came by to make sure everything was fine for me. This was beyond the call of duty. The dining room staff went out of their way for me as I could not manage the buffet lines. My wife and I are already going through the latest Uniworld catalog to plan our next cruise. We had a wonderful time and thought that it was a good value. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We just returned from Castles along the Rhine and we're still excited about it. This being our first cruise ever we may not be the ones to ask but we cannot say enough good about this cruise line and our experience. We were encouraged ... Read More
We just returned from Castles along the Rhine and we're still excited about it. This being our first cruise ever we may not be the ones to ask but we cannot say enough good about this cruise line and our experience. We were encouraged by our travel agent to try Uniworld when we told her we were thinking river cruise. From the pick up at the airport on we continued to be impressed by the attention given to us by every staff member we encountered. We arrived early in the day and our stateroom not yet ready. We waited in the lounge where we were welcome to eat and drink anything from the late breakfast, the dining room lunch and the bar. Once settled we were very happy with the size of our stateroom and the amenities within. Plenty of storage space and a comfy bed. Taking many of the offshore excursions we found the guides were very knowledgeable, easy to understand, friendly, willing to share and answer questions. Every meal was a feast for the eyes and the tummy and service was great. Many of the staff made you feel as though you were long lost friends and you were the only one in the room. Always eager to visit, share local info and keep your tummy and glass full. Our captain was very present, friendly, and eager to share his knowledge as well. Because we enjoy cocktail hour before dinner we came to know a little about the wait staff and enjoyed chatting with them. They took good care of us. Hooray for Sylvia, Mariya and Nesta. The entertainment nightly was always fun and engaging. It created a very lively, fun and relaxed atmosphere We would do this trip again and highly recommend it. We are looking for our next Uniworld excursion and can't quite decide which it will be. Thinking about Danube Discovery & Prague. The only thing that could possibly make this any better would be if we could take the staff from this cruise along on our next. PS The two small villages, Kaysersberg and Riquewihr made me want to look for a place to live and have my belongings shipped. Stunning views along the way, lovely and quaint little villages. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
Our travel agent suggested we try Uniworld for a river cruise. Together we chose Castles Along the Rhine. We were greeted at the airport in Amsterdam by a Uniworld representative and soon we were whisked away to meet our ship, the River ... Read More
Our travel agent suggested we try Uniworld for a river cruise. Together we chose Castles Along the Rhine. We were greeted at the airport in Amsterdam by a Uniworld representative and soon we were whisked away to meet our ship, the River Empress. We were impressed that Uniworld made that drive for just the two of us. We were greeted again at the ramp of the ship and shown to the lounge where we were welcome to anything to eat and drink until our room was ready. We enjoyed some coffee and juice and soon after enjoyed a huge and beautiful buffet lunch in the dining room. Once our stateroom was ready we were gladly settled in and in awe of the beauty and amenities within. Everyday with Uniworld was an outstanding experience. The tours were informative with excellent, well spoken, easily understood, English speaking, knowledgeable guides. All the staff and crew were kind, courteous & helpful and enjoyable to interact with. We especially liked the evening entertainment as it kept the crowd lively and engaged. We will definitely do this again, in fact we are working on that as I write. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Chose this to enjoy exceptional comforts of cruise and learning excursions. Returned to Uniworld again in 2016 following MOST satisfactory and satisfying 2015 Paris/Normandy cruise (to celebrate 50th wedding anniversary). Physical ... Read More
Chose this to enjoy exceptional comforts of cruise and learning excursions. Returned to Uniworld again in 2016 following MOST satisfactory and satisfying 2015 Paris/Normandy cruise (to celebrate 50th wedding anniversary). Physical comforts were most satisfactory; service was exceptional, first class; food was outstanding; excursion guides and hosts were awesome!!! Both cruises, trips. It really is refreshing, relaxing, "freeing" to simply unpack and put your clothes in one closet for several days and let them follow you to numerous ports and land excursions with very knowledgeable, most cordial, patient and personable local guides and be continually welcomed and pampered by quality on board staff. And, the pre and post cruise experiences were comparable quality too. It was comforting to experience safety as foremost (but handled seamlessly) and for all activities, events, actions to occur on schedule. Uniworld even arranged to have, provide my favorite bourbon and were continually aware of and unobtrusively assisted with (vegetarian) diet foods. We will enjoy other river cruises with Uniworld! Again, the Uniworld team (ie: people) are OUTSTANDING! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We just returned from an amazing trip on the River Empress on one of its designated family cruises. It was beyond any of our expectations. There were 13 people in our party of extended family members (including 5 children ranging from ... Read More
We just returned from an amazing trip on the River Empress on one of its designated family cruises. It was beyond any of our expectations. There were 13 people in our party of extended family members (including 5 children ranging from 3-17). The service by the staff was extraordinary. They were attentive to the adults and children and engaged in making each experience fabulous for all. The embarkation and disembarkation process was seamless. The cabins were beautifully and efficiently designed. The food was excellent. The chef was creative and provided fun experiences including fun additions like German sausages served on deck as we sailed by all of the beautiful castles along the Rhine. Every meal had a new surprise - - delicious! The excursions and onboard activities were perfect for children. The staff even organized a kick around game of soccer at our port near Colmar and the kids loved it. One of their favorite activities was going for ice cream with Captain Henk and the children's hosts. The kids loved playing chess on the top deck and going through the locks. The crew spent time teaching the kids about the locks and letting them be engaged in the process. We would definitely cruise with Uniworld again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Our family recently returned from the Castles on the Rhine family cruise upon the River Empress. The entire experience was fantastic. The River Empress is an older ship, but is well maintained and quite elegant. Embarkation was very ... Read More
Our family recently returned from the Castles on the Rhine family cruise upon the River Empress. The entire experience was fantastic. The River Empress is an older ship, but is well maintained and quite elegant. Embarkation was very easy. We arrived before our room was ready so our bags were whisked away and we hung out in the lounge where drinks were served and snacks were available while we waited. Lunch was also served during this time. The cabins are small, but that's what you expect on a river boat. The bathroom was actually larger than I've seen on other river boats, especially the shower, and it was well laid out. Breakfast and lunch were buffets that included a wide variety of choices, and always something kid friendly, along with some great local food. Each night we had several choices at dinner for appetizers, soup, entree, and dessert. There were also some additional choices of entree (steak, chicken, vegetarian, etc.) if you couldn't find anything to suit your taste on the menu. There were also two wines selections each evening, of which I tried quite a few, and they were all very nice. The food was fantastic and my son enjoyed trying some new things. He even tried the escargot! The staff in the dining room is great and he really enjoyed interacting with them. The chef also served sausage, pretzels and beer as we sailed past the beautiful castles. Afternoon tea was served on some days (whenever we were on board at tea time) and there was a cocktail hour with snacks every evening. It is really easy to overeat on this cruise! The excursions were fun and informative. Some additional excursions were added (at no additional cost) due to this being a family cruise. That was a nice surprise. The captain's lounge was converted into a game room for the kids. In addition there were plenty of activities on board to keep the kids entertained. The crew seemed to genuinely enjoy having the young people on board. Every evening when we returned to our room a little gift had been left for us. I don't know if this is typical or is limited to the family cruise, but it was a thoughtful, pleasant surprise. A couple of optional excursions were offered and we took part in these. Both were very enjoyable, but during this time there were multiple shuttles back and forth to the cities near which we were docked,which makes it easy do some sightseeing or shopping on your own during this time. So there is plenty to do without investing in the optional tours. Most notably, the service on this ship is exemplary. The attention to detail by the staff and crew is just amazing. It's the perfect way to take a thoroughly relaxing vacation. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We were going to try Viking, but then the Uniworld came on the horizon, and we thought: Why not try something else? The experience started out on the wrong foot. We were supposed to be met by a representative outside the customs area at ... Read More
We were going to try Viking, but then the Uniworld came on the horizon, and we thought: Why not try something else? The experience started out on the wrong foot. We were supposed to be met by a representative outside the customs area at Schiphol airport upon arriving Amsterdam, but no one was in sight to meet us. After a fruitless search for the evasive rep, we hailed a taxi and arrived at the main train station 80 Euros in the red. The driver did not know where the boat was, so we had to lug ourselves and the luggage another quarter mile to the boat. Luckily, Uniworld stepped up to the plate and reimbursed us for the taxi fare, and it was smooth sailing from there on. The ship is lovely, but a little reminiscent of grandma's house with swag curtains and brocade chairs. And you have to seek high and low for a chair that is comfortable to sit in, everything was rather straight backed all over. The cabin was small, but with ample room for our wardrobe, comfortable beds and a fabulous shower in the miniscule bathroom. Service was outstanding all over. Everybody was friendly and helpful and willing to tend to all our needs. The food was probably the among the best we have had on any cruise, and there was plenty of it. The wine flowed freely, and wherever you were sitting on the ship, a waiter was sure to find you and make sure you had a drink in your hand. The tours were arranged in comfortable buses with informative guides, and there was always enough time in every port to do some wandering around on one's own. The entertainment was rather mediocre, but then again, who needs to be entertained all the time with all the beautiful scenery. All in all, a very satisfying experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Just returned from the Uniworld River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel and cannot rave about it enough! We had 100 people on the cruise and everyone just raved about the quality of the food and service. In fact, some people on the cruise ... Read More
Just returned from the Uniworld River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel and cannot rave about it enough! We had 100 people on the cruise and everyone just raved about the quality of the food and service. In fact, some people on the cruise that had been on many Uniworld trips said this one had the best service they've seen. It was fabulous. Wine pairings were great, but the staff also served anything on request, from Mexican coffee, to Pina Coladas to hard drinks. We try and eat well when at home and the healthy choices at every meal, from smoothies, fruits/cereal to omelettes at breakfast, to wonderful salads at lunch and dinner that allowed us to cheat with desserts. But it was the wonderful tours, the lounging on top of the ship while passing castles, and small villages, the incredible staff that pulled out bicycles for us to ride when in port! This was our fourth cruise and was by far the best one. Uniworld has every single detail down to a science. After tours, the staff often greets returning guests with towelettes and tea or juice! We are already to planning our next Uniworld trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our second Uniworld cruise and it did not disappoint! The itinerary and adding Amsterdam and Switzerland made this trip one we will remember for many years to come. The Technik Museum Speyer was a welcomed surprise (and not on ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise and it did not disappoint! The itinerary and adding Amsterdam and Switzerland made this trip one we will remember for many years to come. The Technik Museum Speyer was a welcomed surprise (and not on the itinerary). The cruise director and captain recommended the visit and so glad that we did not miss it. The entire staff of the River Empress was friendly, attentive and accommodating. After several days into the cruise we experienced an issue with a leaky shower floor. The carpet in the cabin, along the outside wall of the shower, became wet. The Head of Housekeeping and our cabin housekeeper relocated us to another cabin, and moved all of our belongings into the reassigned cabin down the hall. The itinerary was a perfect mix of activity, history, and relaxation. The all-inclusive is the only way to go. The rooms could use some refreshing (flooring, upholstery, etc.). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I waited a few weeks to write my review because I simply didn't know where to begin. I took a 2 week European trip with 8 days being on the River Empress. From start to finish every moment I spent on the ship was memorable and worth ... Read More
I waited a few weeks to write my review because I simply didn't know where to begin. I took a 2 week European trip with 8 days being on the River Empress. From start to finish every moment I spent on the ship was memorable and worth every penny spent. From arriving at the dock and being greeted by the captain and crew who swooped my bags up and took them to my room. The room was smaller then I anticipated and I do wish I had paid for a larger room. The room was beautifully decorated and I felt the luxury. I was sharing the room with a friend and it was crowded all the time. Even so, we figured out a way to make it work and usually were in the room at different times. I also met people on the trip who traveled without having to pay a single supplement but I had not been able to find that option. Next time I will have my own room and that will make a big difference. I loved sitting in the room and watch as we navigated up River and through the locks. The crew was simply perfect. I really don't know how service could be better than it was. The crew remembered me and knew all my tastes and preferences and I noticed thAt was true for all the other passengers. Within one day, I had made many new friends and knew passengers and crew buy name. I would easily be Able to travel alone and have time to be alone as well as meet friends to spend time with. I became sick on the trip and the crew took care to make sure that I had extra care. They even helped get me to the apotheke to get some relief. Dining was always a treat and the staff in the dining room were superb. I loved that we could dress casually and be truly comfortable everywhere onboard. I loved the scenic stretch where we saw the castles but wish we could have had actual printouts to follow. The weather was cold and it was not possible to hear the commentary once I moved to the lounge. The gentle walking options were still difficult for me but that was because I was sick and had a hurt foot. Even so, they helped me figure out options that I could handle. They went above and beyond. Sometimes I felt very rushed and didn't have enough time to really explore the town but I realize that they have many people to accommodate. I actually liked the quietness of the ship and that they only had a pianist. I enjoyed being Able to look out the window, write in my journal and visit with new friends. I wouldn't want a bunch of flashy entertainment like on an ocean cruise. I enjoyed the daily meeting to learn about the next day's options. I thought Dirk and Ramona did an exceptional job of making sure everything came off perfect. I also enjoyed watching the crew work on the ship while they navigated the Rhine. The captain spent time talking to us and explained how the locks worked. When it was time to embark I found myself welling up with tears. It was quite overwhelming to think of al the things I saw and the wonderful people I met. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My mother, who passed away earlier this summer, swore she would never go on a cruise. My father, widowed at the ripe young age of 79 and overwhelmed by sadness and being alone, asked me to accompany him on a cruise. We had friends who ... Read More
My mother, who passed away earlier this summer, swore she would never go on a cruise. My father, widowed at the ripe young age of 79 and overwhelmed by sadness and being alone, asked me to accompany him on a cruise. We had friends who had traveled with Uniworld in Europe previously and raved about the experience. In fact, they took the exact cruise (Castles on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel) we signed up for several years before. So we planned the trip around my father's octogenarian cousin in Amsterdam... we'd start there and end there. The flight in coach class from LAX to Amsterdam was great for me, but my dad was super uncomfortable. He would have preferred a stop-over. I think he is nuts. KLM was nice, although they did switch aircraft on us at the last minute and it's conceivable that we got a plane with smaller seats. I admit that the seats were small and close to one another. Again, he would have preferred a break. I say get it all over with. (Note: the flight home was also nonstop, seats were roomier, and the flight was a breeze.) In Amsterdam we stayed at the modest but super comfy (and ideally located) Best Western Delphi on Apollolan, adjacent to the Beethovenstraadt shopping district. Easy to catch the trolley to the heart of Amsterdam, but far enough away for peace, quiet, and cost-effective travelling. Online pricing was great. Location was literally 5 to 7 minutes from the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum in super efficient and easy-to-use public transit. Got ourselves to the port in Amsterdam for the cruise, easy as pie. Cruise folk were welcoming from the very beginning. We ate lunch on board before sailing - with my dad's cousin, I might add - and despite the cold and light rain (mid-October departure) it was a fun and exciting day. Sites were great along the Rhine. Walking tours, particularly the gentle walkers tours, were ideal for my slow dad. And the availability of the Alpine walking sticks was genius. Whoever thought of that should get a raise. REALLY helped my dad (and many others on the cruise) get around on cobbled streets. Weather was cold, and for the most part grey; for me it was a tremendous and wonderful change from the California drought. My dad, also known as Grumpy Grumperson, was a bit put out, but had the proper clothing and was fine. Heavy coat, cashmere scarf, nice lined gloves and an in-room thermostat... what more could he ask for? Don't ask... Day trips were well-planned, well-guided, and not too overwhelming (not too fast, not too far, not too much information to manage), even though their cost was in addition to the cruise for the most part. My favorite was the Black Forest. Would have loved more time in Strasbourg - guess I'll have to go back. Heidelberg Castle tour was lovely, but if you've been before (as we both had), that field trip is ONLY a shopping excursion. Included for all excursions were ear pieces with transmitters so on tour with a guide, you could easily hear everything being said. That was SUPER clever, and worthwhile. Ship amenities were wonderful. Meals were plentiful, delicious, and varied. Super nice to be able to eat well (read healthy) at every single meal and not feel like I was missing out. The fact that drinks - ALL drinks - are included in the price of admission makes the cruise even better. I had prosecco a lot. My dad is a single malt scotch guy. Neither of us was disappointed. Would have liked a better rowing machine in the gym, but who goes on a cruise to row in the workout room? I guess I do. My dad had a couple of massages and loved them. Thanks for making that service available. Bar/lounge entertainment was a bit 1950s Vegas hotel, but I imagine it's hard to find excellence when you're at sea (on the river) for weeks at a time. Pianist was good, but not great. It's OK - it was background noise to the rest of the trip. And he was far better than having no music at all. Staff were OUTSTANDING. LOVE YOU GUYS! First, they put up with Mr. Grumperson. Second, and more importantly, they were charming, smart, witty, fun, professional, and attentive. Seriously, thank you all. Rooms were surprisingly (to me) comfortable for such a small space. The beds were plush, as were the bathrobes. Room safe was a breeze to use. Bathroom was totally great (love the nightlight feature). HATED when another ship was parked outside my bedroom window, but I'm guessing that couldn't be helped. If it had happened more than once and for more than a relatively limited time, I might have been uncomfortable. Would love to take a cruise with my love next time (although my dad can come too as long as he's less grumpy). But, I have to say, that as far as having a vacation where I was supposed to be looking after my dad while on holiday, the river cruise was ideal, and Uniworld made it totally possible. Thanks, Uniworld. I had a lovely time. I hope I can do it again, soon! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Our first Uniworld cruise (Castles on the Rhine) was our last. It was overpriced, the food was worse than a hospital patient on a bland diet gets and our "suite w butler" was barely larger than the lowest category stateroom and ... Read More
Our first Uniworld cruise (Castles on the Rhine) was our last. It was overpriced, the food was worse than a hospital patient on a bland diet gets and our "suite w butler" was barely larger than the lowest category stateroom and we never saw a butler. They advertise more staff to guests (~120) ratio tho we consistently have received better service on the Allure/Oasis of the Seas w 6000 guests. Shell in lobster salad and stinky bad fish two nights in a row is inexcusable. The morning cook never learned how to make eggs. The best shore excursions cost extra. The cruise would still have cost a lot of we had purchased the cheapest cabin. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We had never been on a River Cruise, just Ocean cruises. The crowds did not appeal on the big boats. The River cruise with Uniworld was fantastic, we didn't want to leave. The bed was so comfortable, the ship beautiful and so well ... Read More
We had never been on a River Cruise, just Ocean cruises. The crowds did not appeal on the big boats. The River cruise with Uniworld was fantastic, we didn't want to leave. The bed was so comfortable, the ship beautiful and so well kept. The crew were all amazing. Our waiters and especially the cruise director could not have been more friendly or engaged in caring for us. The excursions and guides were excellent. We took some optional excursions which we paid for, but the included ones were great. Not having to worry about tipping, and the included alcohol were very, very nice. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
Have been wanting to go on Europe river cruise for awhile. Booked Uniworld cruise line. Best thing about Uniworld cruises is they are "all inclusive". No tipping, no signing for drinks, included tours every day in port!! There ... Read More
Have been wanting to go on Europe river cruise for awhile. Booked Uniworld cruise line. Best thing about Uniworld cruises is they are "all inclusive". No tipping, no signing for drinks, included tours every day in port!! There are some "optional" excursions that are not included; but we only went on two and each worth the money. Day trip to Rotenberg, Germany to see the medieval of the city; wonderful tour; and symphony in Vienna, Austria. I have been on at least 10 ocean cruises and river cruising is completely different. Small ships (ours had 138 capacity); 40 crew; we only had 90 passengers on our cruise so you got to know everyone. Uniworld is at the top of river cruising. A number of passengers had been on 5-6 river cruises before and they all said Uniworld was a level better than any other cruise line. Viking gets the press and spends the most on advertising; but it is not in same class per those that had been on both lines. The crew on River Empress is outstanding; service is impeccable; food is excellent and prepared as you order it for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are buffet. Beer and wine (very good wine) is free as well as most cocktails before dinner; there are a few "premium" liquors; but the regular brands were just fine. I like a martini before dinner and they served Grey Goose. Ship stops in port very near city centers; and in some cases, you can walk right off the ship into town. Otherwise, buses are ready to take you on the excursions; typically only 30-40 people per bus. Our cruise director (Marcus) was beyond outstanding. He takes care of everything so all you do is sit back and enjoy the cruise. Our cruise left Amsterdam and first port was Cologne, Germany. Cruise stops in many German cities and each one was well worth seeing. The German beer and sausages are wonderful!! Everything in Germany is clean and everything is in the correct place. Really enjoyed seeing sights in Germany; many castles and medieval parts of cities. One morning, you sail by about 40 castles on the river with commentary on each by the cruise director. Cruise takes you on the Rhine, Main (pronounced Mine), and Danube rivers. Be aware there are 68 locks to travel through between Amsterdam and Budapest, Hungary. You even go over the continental divide for Europe and there are something like 16 locks that day. Going through the locks when you are sitting the ship with a cocktail is very interesting. Some lift or drop the ship 80 ft. After Germany, you sail on the Danube through Austria and only stop is Vienna. The departure city is Budapest, Hungary and it is a very beautiful city. Very few people know what a gem of a city this is. We also went on a evening cruise our last night on the ship. The city is lit up beautifully and fireworks go off each night. Quite a way to end our two week cruise. Would recommend this itinerary to anyone wanting to see a good part of Europe on the river without going on buses and packing every night. Best cruise for us every!! River cruising is more expensive than ocean cruising on most line; but we felt it was worth every penny.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
I know I should review the ship and the ports, but looking back on the trip, the service is what I remember most and what makes me want to travel with Uniworld again. The trip was great, despite the rainiest spring Europe has had in over ... Read More
I know I should review the ship and the ports, but looking back on the trip, the service is what I remember most and what makes me want to travel with Uniworld again. The trip was great, despite the rainiest spring Europe has had in over 30 years (or so said EVERY single tour guide). We did make it through the trip prior to the horrible flooding. We were extremely lucky. I was lucky enough to have my mother plan and pay for this cruise. We took the River Empress from Amsterdam to Budapest in late May 2013. 5 of us cruised together for the first time. 2 mother and daughters (first set: 60 and 40 2nd set: 50 and 14) and one husband. The entire ship had no idea who was whose mother, but that's another story. I cannot say enough good things about Uniworld. Our great service started from a room mix up in Amsterdam. Muriel, our Uniworld hotel lady (not sure of her technical term) was able to sort it out quickly and calm my crazy mother. She also sorted out a planned toured booked with another company. Without her help, we would have never sorted that mess out. The tours booked through Uniworld had no issues, it was the cheap ones my mother found on line that caused grief. Great welcome on board the beautiful River Empress. Lovely lounge and quiet Captain lounge. The bar service was great. Violetta, the bar manager, made sure the 14 year old traveling with us felt special, not like some little kid. Alex, the server, impressed us on the first night. Even though there were no assigned tables, we made sure we got to the 6 top in his section every night. He had patience and a great sense of humor. Again, service was amazing. The crew would bend over backwards to make us happy. Not my mother, the other mother, had pureed sweet potato with a dish. It was not prepared her normal way, it was savory, not sweet. She told Alex it would taste better with butter, sugar and cinnamon. He laughed and nodded and walked away. He shortly returned with 3 pats of butter, 6 sugar packets and a small prep bowl of cinnamon. He would also try to find diary free desserts for my husband, who didn't think he should mark the special dietary needs on his cruise profile. (TIP: mark lactose free on any cruise profile in the future) Our trip's only drawback was the weather. It was the rainiest and coolest in 30 years. It didn't rain 24/7, and we did have 2 sunny days and some partly cloudy days between the rain drops. This is not normal. I have been told by some Travel agents May and June are the perfect times to do this trip. Between our cruise director, Rik and our 1st captain, we were well informed of our progress and if the rising river waters would impede our trip. One more shoutout, to Daniella, the deck attendant. She along with Violetta and Alex made this trip of a life even more amazing. I may have mention a few memorable people by name, but the entire crew of the River Empress made this a great cruise. They all have spoiled me for any cruises in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
The holiday of a lifetime was how I would describe our River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on Uniworlds luxurious River Empress in early October. I have never experienced so much commitment toward the guests enjoyment of a holiday. ... Read More
The holiday of a lifetime was how I would describe our River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on Uniworlds luxurious River Empress in early October. I have never experienced so much commitment toward the guests enjoyment of a holiday. From the Captain to Zsanett, our stateroom stewardess, they were superb. I want to mention the waiting staff but then I would have to talk of the reception staff, the hotel manager, the bar staff, the Tour Manager, the Chefs, the sailors because everyone did their job expertly and then showed kindness and thoughtfulness beyond their duty. The moment we arrived on the quayside at Amsterdam we were swept up into the friendliness, efficiency and quality that is Uniworld. Our cases were spirited away and were there in our stateroom when it was ready, a buffet lunch was waiting along with a welcoming coffee, wine or soft drink. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner was first class with options always to suit everyone's taste and often reflecting the country and area we were in at that time. Drinks with meals were complimentary and again a reflection of the local area. Almost every day there was a town, castle or Church tour and almost all were included and well handled. If I could find a tiny fault with the holiday then I would say that one or two of the local guides fell short of the very best. We did not have to disembark and did, indeed, choose to cruise on one day and did not regret it as the scenery was superb. There was often evening entertainment on board or land. No cash is required on board as payment for all drinks, optional tours and gift shop purchases is signed for and paid by credit card at the end of the holiday. Alot of the cruising between stops is done at night and that was fine but I could have coped with more time on the river during daytime. The Rhine was beautiful with wonderful Autumn colours in the many surrounding forests but the Main was the star for me with the romantic Danube a close second. A highlight, amongst many others during the trip, was the Mozart and Strauss concert in the grand and atmospheric Liechtenstein Palace in Vienna. Thank you Uniworld for a wonderful holiday -- need I say more than to add that we have already booked the 11 day Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley for the same time next year. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
We have just returned from our first river cruise on the River Empress. Our room was on the lowest level right beside the washers and dryers. One would think this was a poor location, not at all! Hardly any noise from the room next ... Read More
We have just returned from our first river cruise on the River Empress. Our room was on the lowest level right beside the washers and dryers. One would think this was a poor location, not at all! Hardly any noise from the room next door. (mostly from people visiting each other outside the room in the hall) Location was very close to everything. Rooms are basically all the same and are very compact. We spend hardly any time in the room so that was not a concern. An important note, the temperature control in the room was excellent and very quiet. A not on the washers and dryers. These were available to all travellers and detergent was free for the asking at the desk. Although the language could be changed to English on the units, this was not an easy task. Most of us just guessed. I tend to get sea sick on an ocean cruise. I had no problems as all on this river cruise. What a bonus! The lounge area and library were very comfortable. Main lobby clean and airy. Staff extremely friendly and helpful. The food was buffet at breakfast and lunch. There was something for everyone. I would have preferred a sit down meal for lunch as I found I ate too much with the buffet! Dinner always offered a pasta, meat, fish and vegetarian choice. Besides the daily choices, steak, chicken or salmon were always available. There was always cheese and crackers available after dinner as well and the cheeses were fantastic! Wine and beer were included with lunch and dinner and flowed freely. The German whites were outstanding as well as the German beer of course. There was a station with 24 hrs coffees and tea. There were also cookies available here as well. Very nice touch! There was a fruit of the day and a bowl of fruit was also to be found in the area. In this area you could also have early or late breakfast items for those early risers or for those who slept in. The internet was a bit sketchy at best but was free. Still much better than on the ocean cruise lines. Of course going through the many locks the signal was lost as well but can't be helped there. A pass code needed to be entered and was good for 2 hours. Codes were readily available from the front desk. TV very limited but then I did not come on the cruise to sit in my room and watch TV The excursions were of a good length and at most ports you had a fair amount of time to browse on your own after. Some excursions offered a slow walkers group. There were a few extra excursions offered at a reasonable price and those that went said they enjoyed them. I personally only went on the beer tasting trip and thoroughly enjoyed it! Captain Anton was at each port sending us off on our tours with a smile. He even sang a couple of times for us in the lounge. During the evenings there was a piano player in the lounge. We were somewhat disappointed here. The crowd would just get going and he would either play something that was not dance music or go for a break at which point everyone tended to drift back to their rooms. Several times during the two weeks we had local entertainment either right before dinner or after. For the most part this was quite entertaining and lasted about one hour. This was our first river cruise after having taken several ocean cruises. I much preferred the small and more intimate atmosphere of the river cruise. We found it much easier to socialize with other travellers. The scenery is wonderful on the river. We were able to spend a couple of days just sitting out and enjoying the quiet ride down the river. All in all the very best cruise we have been on by far! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
From the moment we arrived at the pier in Amsterdam where 2 crew members met us, brought our luggage in the ship to the moment we disembarked in Budapest where they continue to help us booking a taxi and transferring our luggage. As soon ... Read More
From the moment we arrived at the pier in Amsterdam where 2 crew members met us, brought our luggage in the ship to the moment we disembarked in Budapest where they continue to help us booking a taxi and transferring our luggage. As soon as we boarded the ship we were directed to the lounge where a nice and delicious buffet was available to us, plus a choice of beer or wine all inclusive. The stateroom was small but so beautiful and well organized that it was not a problem at all and we were able to completely unpacked and put our luggage under the bed. The bathroom all marble with Occitane products was another nicety. At the different ports all the excursions were well organized with plenty of room in the buses and they even had a group for gentle walker. Our cruise manager seemed to be everywhere at the right time to check if we were all OK. It was always reassuring to see him show up in the middle of town. The food was out of this world, I have Celiac disease so before each meal the dining-room manager came to see me and go over the buffet or the menu pointing which dish I could have. Twice they even made a special dessert for me. They had real good gluten free bread always fresh.The entertainments we had at night were tasteful and of good quality.I could go on forever on how happy my husband were with our choice of cruise line. We have been so spoiled,we don't know if we will ever be happy on the big, ocean ships. The ship was spotless clean everywhere. Read Less
River Empress Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.6
Enrichment 2.0 4.2
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.6
Rates 4.0 4.7

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