4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Sal and i have just got back from a fabulous Rhine River Cruise on the River Empress. We enjoyed every minute on the elegant yet cozy ship. We were particularly impressed with the personal attention we were given, everything was sparkling ... Read More
Sal and i have just got back from a fabulous Rhine River Cruise on the River Empress. We enjoyed every minute on the elegant yet cozy ship. We were particularly impressed with the personal attention we were given, everything was sparkling clean, the friendliness of the crew all added to make a unforgettable vacation. Special mention goes to George our cabin attendant who kept our cabin spotless, delightful Monica who catered to our every need in the dining area, the bar lady who made us our cocktails, Ramona who organized the excursions and the personnel at the front desk who answered all our questions so patiently. We have already recommended Uniworld to our friends and family.The food presentation and freshness were very good. We enjoyed eating the bread and cheeses from the ports that we visited. Overall we were very impressed Thank you all for making our cruise unforgettable - Juliet and Sal De Souza Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had taken 3 and our sons and their wives had each taken 1 cruise with Uniworld, and we were completely satisfied. However, this was a totally different story. This was a generational cruise--the Remarkable Rhine. My husband and I ... Read More
We had taken 3 and our sons and their wives had each taken 1 cruise with Uniworld, and we were completely satisfied. However, this was a totally different story. This was a generational cruise--the Remarkable Rhine. My husband and I wanted our children and grandchildren to have this unique experience. I am posting photos of my one of my son's rooms to show the deplorable condition. Ours was not much better, but I did not take pictures of it. We spent a lot of money on this cruise for 11 of us. I complained to Uniworld and asked for a partial refund. Instead, we got certificates that have to be used within a year. We are not happy with their response to our situation. We will not be taking any Uniworld cruises in the future. They are going to redo that ship, but they should have lowered the prices to be in line with its condition. The prices were the same as others were paying for one of their super ships. Also, we had informed Uniworld months ahead that our flight had been canceled and that we would e arriving at 5:20 instead of at their 5:00 deadline. At first, they said that we would have to find our own way to the ship. After I reminded them that there were 11 of us and that we would be arriving only 20 minutes after their deadline, they agreed to pick us up. Our flight was over 45 minutes late, and our transport was gone. We called Uniworld, and they told us to make our own transport arrangements to the ship. We finally arrived just in time for dinner. I feel that their transport company should have had enough experience to check our flight schedule and have seen that we were going to be late and planned accordingly. We were reimbursed for our transport. In all, my husband and I were so happy that we were able to provide our family with this experience and looked forward to it for almost a year. We remain totally disappointed with our experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
You only have one chance to make a first impression. Uniworld failed, and then failed again. Yet we had a wonderful cruise and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Uniworld product to anyone. This was my 37th cruise; fourth river ... Read More
You only have one chance to make a first impression. Uniworld failed, and then failed again. Yet we had a wonderful cruise and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Uniworld product to anyone. This was my 37th cruise; fourth river cruise; third Europe river cruise; first Uniworld. My favorite ocean cruises are Crystal and Celebrity, and in Europe our two river cruises were on AmaWaterways (I’d certainly be happy to cruise with them again). We booked through an agency that puts together air and “best available” cruise cabins, close to departure, at good prices. We were hesitant to let somebody else plan our air, but we booked less than two months in advance on a cruise we had wanted to do but didn’t think we could fit into our busy schedule! This itinerary has a Jewish Heritage option for tours in 2018, which is what attracted us to it. I had inquired about whether they’d be doing the same for 2019 and they didn’t know yet. Because the planning would be minimal (just check the weather and try to pack appropriately), we decided to jump in and book. We actually were happy with the Delta flights chosen for us. We were flying to Basel to start the cruise, and we knew we’d have three ups and downs (we don’t live in a hub city) so it was fine. What was a bit frustrating is that the Basel airport has two distinct exits, one into France and one into Switzerland. We didn’t see the signs about that; we were merely focused on finding our luggage carousel. Luckily a friend who was with us saw the appropriate signs and stopped us from using the wrong exit. I thought Uniworld could’ve mentioned that for guests embarking in Basel. Then to compound the frustration, after finding the representative and boarding the bus for our group transfer, we arrive at the “pier”, with two ships parked along side. No representative from Uniworld welcomed us. Only one crew member came to get luggage, and he couldn’t take everybody’s at once. Finally a second crew member showed up and assured us he’d take our bags, suggesting that we just go to board the River Empress. It wasn’t even clear which way to choose to walk to the ship! Ok, all of that was quickly forgotten when we got on board and could relax comfortably for an hour in the lounge, or even outside on the deck, until lunch was served in the main dining room. After that, it was easy to leave our carry-ons with the front desk and walk into the center of the town, where we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the lovely market full of flowers, fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and food stalls. We saw city hall and found the cathedral, so we felt we had started our European sightseeing quite nicely. Back at the ship, we unpacked and were ready for dinner and bedtime! Before dinner each evening, the Cruise Manager gives a briefing about the next day’s activities. The lounge is comfortable and everybody who wishes to attend fits in nicely. The sommelier/bartender gives a briefing about the included wines that evening for dinner as well as the ones with an upcharge (one white and one red in both categories). That’s a good time to visit with the Cruise Manager if you have any questions about the next day. Also, when you return to your cabin, you’ll find the information about the next day, and there’s plenty of detail that kept us well clued in. We were quite pleased with all of the meals aboard the River Empress. Breakfast and lunch are buffet and you quickly figure out which things are duplicated on both sides and where to find your favorites. On a few occasions, restocking wasn’t as quick as we might hope to see, but otherwise everything was available and at the correct temperature. For breakfast, you can order from the menu if you wish, instead of picking out your own things or going to the gentleman cooking the eggs, and there’s one special dish every morning. We were a party of four, and often dined with three additional guests we met onboard, and I would say that all of us were quite happy with the food – and we were VERY happy with the service. We made a point of sitting in the same area because we knew the waiter, Milen, was so good. Special kudos to Uniworld for the nice job they did incorporating local foods into the menus. I never met our cabin stewardess but she definitely did a good job. I adjusted the little chairs the first night, or I would’ve tripped over them in the middle of the night! But otherwise the cabin was fine, although small. Still, we had enough room to unpack and we certainly had a nice hot shower every day and a truly comfortable night’s sleep. Sometimes we even had a nice view out our window! Other times, we had a view of the river ship next to us, or the walls of the locks that are used to navigate the river, or the docking area. On the little desk/dressing table, there’s an apothecary jar with small, delicious chocolates, and that went a long way to erase my frustration from our airport and river arrival. There’s a lounge entertainer before and after dinner, so there’s lovely background music and the opportunity for dancing. One evening, there was a group of three performers who were extremely well received (perhaps because they were over the age of 60, as was most of the cruising population). The cocktail waitress joined the packed dance floor when they played YMCA. The tours were exactly what we wanted. We had signed up for the Jewish Heritage tours at every port stop that offered them (six out of seven) and the sites we visited, and the tour guides, were excellent in four out of the six and just a bit disappointing in the other two. These tours require advance sign-up, and varied from 24 to 30 guests, always with two tour guides. Usually the tour guides were in two separate groups part of the time and together, all of us, the rest of the time. For the most part it worked great. There are forms to evaluate the tour guides and I certainly took the opportunity of telling who was great and who was not so great. As you may know, river cruising is very big in Europe, so there’s no doubt plenty of competition for the various companies to book the guides. Uniworld uses the QuietVox system so we can always hear the tour guides. I wear hearing aids and I had no trouble using the QuietVox earpiece with no adjustment needed. The only thing one needs to remember is to charge the system every night and take it with you the next day on tour. One day there was a really good speaker onboard, and one morning there was scenic cruising through the area with many lovely castles and legends. The cruise manager narrated, using the QuietVox system. As an aside, while we were onboard, Uniworld announced that the Jewish Heritage tours for 2019 will be offered on the Rhine again and also on the Danube. For some totally unknown reason, the Danube cruise seems not to be including Budapest. That makes no sense to me (not that anybody asked me). Uniworld is an all-inclusive cruise line. All our tours, alcohol, and gratuities, off and on the ship, were included in the cruise fare. I like that a lot. On occasion there’s an opportunity to do an off-ship experience with an upcharge. I didn’t do any, but a friend did and she was very happy with it. The only other things you might spend money for on the ship are purchases in the gift shop, massages, or the upcharge wines (only by the bottle). Our Cruise Manager was Anthony and I thought he was outstanding. He’s a huge asset for Uniworld. Actually, I have to say all the crew and staff I dealt with were excellent. All in all, a truly lovely cruise experience. I would be delighted to cruise with Uniworld again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We contracted this cruise with others through a common travel agent and received great value. The rooms on the 3rd level are quite small, requiring my wife and I to signal each other as to where we were headed in the room in order to make ... Read More
We contracted this cruise with others through a common travel agent and received great value. The rooms on the 3rd level are quite small, requiring my wife and I to signal each other as to where we were headed in the room in order to make space for us to pass. There is sufficient closet space, few drawers, a good safe, and interestingly the wall covers have a foam base which eliminates all noise other than that in the room. The daily trips related to the Jewish Excursions throughout the week and the guides, with one exception, were among the best we have experienced. Everything was easy here, prompted by a rather modest size passenger list. The food was from good to very good, with outstanding restaurant service, especially the maître d' who provided my wife at every meal with a serrated knife since she has problems with her hand. He would come up behind us, wherever we sat, and unobtrusively replace the cutlery. And he had the cook prepare a side dish for a passenger we sat with based on her request. MOST IMPRESSIVE. There is less to do in the afternoons after the tours and other than a piano player, nothing in the evening...with one exception. While the cruise director did good work describing the castles on the Rhine, more information would have been very helpful and more entertainment in the evening would have enhanced the trip. Our room was kept spotless, and the ship itself was exceedingly clean. It was a comfortable cruise with a very attentive staff. I wish that it had some added features in order for me to recommend this excursion to others. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
A River Cruise was on my bucket list. What got my attention was the FREE air included, not to mention all drinks, taxes, tips, tours, transfers, etc. It was a value that couldn't be passed up. I have been on 50 ships over the last 30 ... Read More
A River Cruise was on my bucket list. What got my attention was the FREE air included, not to mention all drinks, taxes, tips, tours, transfers, etc. It was a value that couldn't be passed up. I have been on 50 ships over the last 30 years. I have never seen a level of this excellence with a crew. Everyone had a smile on their face, and were friendly and more than willing to get you anything you needed. Even it it wasn't their specific job. What this told me was this has got to be a crew that loves what they do and is treated well by the captain and the management. Speaking of the Captain.... Unlike most ships I have sailed, the captain makes an appearance at the Captain's reception then you never see him again. Not so aboard the River Empress! He could be seen at meal times in line with the guests, saying hello to people and his staff. I truly felt like i was spending a week with family. I loved the fact that if you were in the lounge and you needed to run back to your room, it took 2 minutes. You didn't have to navigate elevators and floors of crowds. The small ships make you feel like you are on a private small exclusive group. I will certainly make it a point to travel on Uniworld again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Cruise recommended by Dubbo Travel Agent. Note Stopped in Lucerne for couple of days. Jung Frau is great excursion. Top of Europe We are 50 and not sure of age group. People of all ages and great people. Cruise, Excursions, ... Read More
Cruise recommended by Dubbo Travel Agent. Note Stopped in Lucerne for couple of days. Jung Frau is great excursion. Top of Europe We are 50 and not sure of age group. People of all ages and great people. Cruise, Excursions, Staff sensational Highlights were Castles, all organised Excusions, Staff, in addition quick Hooray to Sylvia, Jose, Szandra and Rik Sensational people. Met some great people cruising from South Africa, Britain, Bahamas, Aussies etc. Seriously had a ball, great time and cant wait to do another river cruise. The staff are fantastic, all inclusive so no more to pay The Castles on the Rhine, i dressed up in the lederhosen for the castles section (bratwurst and beers on top deck) and all the staff and patrons loved it, made the day. All stops, Strasborg, Black Forest, Rudeshiem, Boppard, Koblenz, Colongne all great. Bike ride from Boppard to Koblenz unreal, plenty of exercise if you want, 7k walk from Rudeshiem, walking through towns Seriously, it is like 1 on 1, staff look after you. The 8 days went like that, To finish off a couple of days in Amsterdam. Windmills, Clogs, Cheese, life in Holland (insane) could not be better, Best 2 weeks ever Dave from Geurie (AUS) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I can't think of one bad thing to say about Uniworld or our cruise experience. Everything was well planned and well executed. The food was first rate, accommodations excellent, staff outstanding! When my wife made a minor request ... Read More
I can't think of one bad thing to say about Uniworld or our cruise experience. Everything was well planned and well executed. The food was first rate, accommodations excellent, staff outstanding! When my wife made a minor request the staff member replied "This is you home" and it really felt that way. The dining onboard was excellent. We were informed each evening of what to expect. The chef had his recommendation, but there were alternatives that were equally outstanding. A cocktail hour in the lounge preceded each dinner and appetizers and drinks were served quickly and readily. A good selection of varied excursions were available. We crammed as many as 3 into one busy day! The 16 mile bike ride along the Rhine while our ship cruised was a special treat. The tour guides were friendly and informed. We really got a good feel for the flavor of each area we visited. We could not have enjoyed the cruise more. We're already talking about our next Uniworld cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Castles Along the Rhine. Just a top notch experience. Awesome ship and crew/staff. Everybody was wonderful. Cruise director Tabea as well as Sylvia and Robert in the lounge and many many more, were just great! The itinerary was ... Read More
Castles Along the Rhine. Just a top notch experience. Awesome ship and crew/staff. Everybody was wonderful. Cruise director Tabea as well as Sylvia and Robert in the lounge and many many more, were just great! The itinerary was excellent, the excursions were well planned and very valuable experiences. The food and service were just the best. The fitness center was a bit small and they might have benefited from more laundry facilities. Flexibility with special diets was well done. Our first Cruise of any kind. So awesome to wake up each day in a new city. The trip through the Rhine Gorge was especially beautiful and memorable. The ability to tour some of the castles was even better. There was something for everybody. They are very accommodating to the old and young alike. We will definitely be doing more River Cruises with Uniworld. If you've never done a cruise, we would highly recommend it. If you have done several, you'll love Uniworld's cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Uniworld was considerate of the single traveler. There was a waiver of the single supplement which was greatly appreciated. The staff was very astute and sensitive to the needs of all passengers. The service was exceptional. Each and ... Read More
Uniworld was considerate of the single traveler. There was a waiver of the single supplement which was greatly appreciated. The staff was very astute and sensitive to the needs of all passengers. The service was exceptional. Each and every crew member from the Captain to the housekeeping staff was friendly and personable. The bar staff was charming and very accessible. The dinners were comparable to any elegant gourmet restaurant. There were many selections and even off menu choices for the not so adventurous gourmand The choice of excursions was varied and appealing to any activity level of traveler. The Vinegar tasting was a memorable and unique experience. I would highly recommend that excursion. This was my first Uniworld Cruise, actually my first river cruise. I have been on many of the Nationally Advertized Mega Cruise Ships and lines. This was a very enjoyable, intimate cruise I would definitely cruise with Uniworld again The only negative was that the cabin was a little dated, bathroom however, was plush marble and shower a good size. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our 3rd Uniworld river cruise and our 6th river cruise overall. We have enjoyed every river cruise we have ever taken, but have stayed with Uniworld after our travel agent recommended that we switch to them. Uniworld's ... Read More
This was our 3rd Uniworld river cruise and our 6th river cruise overall. We have enjoyed every river cruise we have ever taken, but have stayed with Uniworld after our travel agent recommended that we switch to them. Uniworld's service is wonderful. The excellent service starts the moment you get within eyesight of the embarkation area. The crew take your luggage and usher you onboard to a very short and easy embarkation process. If you board as we did late morning, you are invited to lunch and can then go ashore until sailing. In this case, sailing was after dinner and we went out for the afternoon in Basel. When we returned our luggage was in our cabin. The staff takes works hard to respond to all requests. Our cruise director, Ramona, was excellent and seemed to be constantly available. When I had trouble with my return flight, Ramona helped me get the information that I needed. It was unusually cold during our cruise. During the afternoon when we passed the most famous Rhine castles there was a strong, cold wind. The staff frequently brought hot drinks and checked to see if you wanted any additional blankets. I really like the all-inclusive format and not having to have cash to tip local guides and drivers. The same driver handled all of our excursions and was very safe and careful. The food was very good. My husband said that the veal we had the last evening was the best veal he had ever had in his life. My favorite that meal was the creme brulee fois gras. I enjoyed a guided afternoon bicycle ride in Strasbourg. The bicycles were easy to use and in great shape. The staff made sure that the bicycle was properly adjusted for me before we departed. There was a large basket and we were given a bottle of water before we departed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
We were referred to this cruise by a family member, who also took the cruise with us. We could not have been more pleased. Uniworld is very easy to work with. The boat was small, with only 126 passengers - so easy to manage, unlike an ... Read More
We were referred to this cruise by a family member, who also took the cruise with us. We could not have been more pleased. Uniworld is very easy to work with. The boat was small, with only 126 passengers - so easy to manage, unlike an ocean cruise. The crew on our boat, River Empress, was friendly, knowledgeable, and took excellent care of us. We were pampered all week. But, even on the last day when there was so much activity on the boat between passengers leaving and passengers coming, my husband became very ill and the cruise manager literally took personal care of us to get us what we needed. No stress or worries. The ports were both charming and interesting. The excursions were well planned, with local tour guides who added personal stories that provided local insight and culture in addition to learning the history. Plenty of choices and plenty to do, but not overwhelming. We will vacation with Uniworld again! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
This cruise exceeded my expectations by a 1,000%. Our luggage was 4 days late and the crew went over and above to keep us informed about the luggage and to take care of laundering the clothes that we had and getting them to us timely each ... Read More
This cruise exceeded my expectations by a 1,000%. Our luggage was 4 days late and the crew went over and above to keep us informed about the luggage and to take care of laundering the clothes that we had and getting them to us timely each morning so that we wouldn't miss any excursions. I cannot say enough about the professional, caring and extreme service that we had on board this ship. The excursions and local guides were first-rate and I couldn't pick a favorite, they were all extremely interesting and well planned. The service in the dining room and the food was excellent everyday and the "Al Fresco" dining experience was fantastic. The entertainment was excellent. I would only recommend that maybe some entertainment that involved the passengers to promote interaction. Our Cruise Director, Piet was absolutely fantastic and his informative talks really prepared us for the excursions the next day. This was my first river cruise and I am hooked on Uniworld and would highly recommend them!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our first river cruise, so we really did not know what to expect. We found that the minute we came on board the ship we felt very welcomed. Quickly, we realized that we made the correct decision to chose Uniworld. The service ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, so we really did not know what to expect. We found that the minute we came on board the ship we felt very welcomed. Quickly, we realized that we made the correct decision to chose Uniworld. The service of every staff member from housekeeping, to the captain was excellent. Our cruise director Piet, was outstanding. The various tours were informative an unique that provided life time memories. The venues were particularly interesting, including the vinegar tasting, wine tasting at Vollards Castle and the visit to Marksburg Castle. The food selections, quality and presentation were above our expectations. Our service staff was attentive and engaging. By the end of the cruise, it felt that the staff was part of your family. The only negative is that the ship is beginning to show it's age, particularly in the cabins. The wall fabrics appear worn are in need of updating. A very pleasurable and memorable experience! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
first river cruise. food and service was exceptional. .breakfast and lunch were buffet style while dinner was off a menu. the quality of the food and service in the dining room was more than superb. crew knew your names within 24 hours. ... Read More
first river cruise. food and service was exceptional. .breakfast and lunch were buffet style while dinner was off a menu. the quality of the food and service in the dining room was more than superb. crew knew your names within 24 hours. there was nothing that they wouldn't do for you if asked. the tour choices were terrific and allowed you time to do some wandering on your own. boat and room were nicely decorated. room could have been a bit more spacious, but was fine. for the most part, ports and shore excursions were good. stayed one night in basel, switzerland before the cruise. very enjoyable city. stayed three nights in Amsterdam after the cruise. highly recommend that you do not rush home but extend your stay in Amsterdam. had a great time walking the city and taking tours. . we are already discussing our next uniworld cruise as our first one exceeded our expectations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We choose this cruise on the recommendation of our AAA travel agent and took advantage of a limited time pricing advantage. Although we have cruised many times this was our first river cruise. We were impressed on our arrival with the ... Read More
We choose this cruise on the recommendation of our AAA travel agent and took advantage of a limited time pricing advantage. Although we have cruised many times this was our first river cruise. We were impressed on our arrival with the service, taking our luggage and delivering it to our stateroom and the ease with which we were able to check in. Our cabin was at the water line and was similar to the inside cabins we have had on an ocean ship. However, it was much more luxuriously furnished and the bed was wonderful! All of the products furnished in the bathroom were top of the line. The lounge was spacious providing plenty of room for presentations, entertainment, dancing and socialization. The best part was that all drinks were included in our cruise price and the bar service was exceptional! We spent our evenings making wonderful new friend. This is where we had our daily briefings from our cruise director for the next days stops and excursions. Our cruise director Anthony was wonderful with an extensive knowledge of our destinations and did an excellent job of arranging the excursions. Daily there were free excursions and some ports had excursions at a reasonable additional cost. These were for the Black Forest and the Heidelburg Castle and were well worth the additional charge. Best of all, the day we cruised past the castles was all blue skies and sunshine. Anthony described the castles in detail with interesting stories about each one. The dining room was also spacious and beautifully appointed. Our head of food service, Sam, did an excellent job of making every guest feel special as did the waiters. My husband is a big man who likes to eat and Sam made sure that he got enough each evening. My husband enjoys the variety of activities offered on the larger ocean ships, but I loved the intimacy of the smaller river cruise. If we ever go on another river cruise it will definitely be with Uniworld. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The rooms on this ship are tiny. Ours was a suite, which had a nice bathroom, but otherwise was about the same size as the regular rooms. The dining room was constantly over crowded. The food was mediocre at best and awful at worst. The ... Read More
The rooms on this ship are tiny. Ours was a suite, which had a nice bathroom, but otherwise was about the same size as the regular rooms. The dining room was constantly over crowded. The food was mediocre at best and awful at worst. The day was structured to force you to attend evening talks in a crowded bar area every night after which everyone on the ship went to dinner. As a result, the dining room was overwhelmed and it took 2 plus hours to eat every night. You can barely move around the breakfast and lunch buffets as the tables are so jammed together. Every event was preceded by a stampede of passengers. The lecturer speaking on the reformation started his talk about religion by saying he was an atheist and then read from note cards. We did complain and efforts were made to make things better for us, but frankly, not much could be done. This would have been our worst vacation ever had it not been for the wonderful staff on the ship. They always had a smile and made every effort to please. The experience is designed for travelers that do not want to explore on their own and that do not do their homework or try to learn about their destinations but want to be spoon fed. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The cruise was recommended by a friend. I had been considering river cruises for several years and the time was right. The boats are beautiful, the staff friendly and attentive, the excursions, wonderful and the the food incredible. I ... Read More
The cruise was recommended by a friend. I had been considering river cruises for several years and the time was right. The boats are beautiful, the staff friendly and attentive, the excursions, wonderful and the the food incredible. I loved the variety of the excursions, from quaint villages to larger cities with old world charm. The boats are smaller and more intimate. We got to know most everyone on the boat and it was a relaxed and fun cruise. They had a wonderful piano player who kept us entertained, and also brought local entertainers onto the boat for several evenings. The guides for the shore excursions were very knowledgeable and entertaining. Everyone spoke English, as well as at least 1 or 2 other languages so extremely easy to communicate. The cabins were beautiful and very comfortable. The weather was chilly so we didn't much time on deck but on a sunny day cruising through the castles would be beautiful It will be hard to top this cruise, but I'm already looking for my next adventure. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
I had never taken a river cruise before and an opportunity came for me to do so. I had never been to Switzerland before and flew in 2 days early to enjoy it. I was very surprised that the embarkation port was so far removed from ... Read More
I had never taken a river cruise before and an opportunity came for me to do so. I had never been to Switzerland before and flew in 2 days early to enjoy it. I was very surprised that the embarkation port was so far removed from the downtown area. Embarkation was smooth and everyone was helpful, just too far away from everything. Most people are too tired to care upon embarkation, but if you wanted to get into town, it would have been difficult. The ship and crew were impeccable! I am not use to such a small vessel as I come from Ocean cruising - but what an amazing experience. The cabins on this ship ran small to me but it was fine overall. The beds were very comfortable. While the bathroom was tiny, the shower was a surprise. It was bigger, maybe just laid out differently, than most ocean ship showers! The dining room and servers was great! Dining is totally different than on cruise ships (sorry I keep comparing them, but its all I have to compare to so far). Breakfast and lunch is buffet - hot and cold with serving stations, so plentiful. Dinner is served from a different menu every night, although they do have a few choice items that are available every night (steak, chicken, pasta). Not a ton of entertainment, but you are out most of the time and don't really miss it. When you are onboard, you spend it mostly in the lounge meeting your co-travelers. It was mostly off season for my cruise and the weather was spotty but the crew made up for it as much as possible. They were always available to answer questions. Service everywhere was exceptional. The ports were fantastic but we were not in most of them long enough for me and one, too long. I'm sure the season, being rainy and a Sunday, did not help. The shore excursions were fun and different. Very well organized. I would love to go again when the weather was better. Did not get to enjoy the deck as I would have liked! Cruising the Castles day - the weather was clear but exceptionally cold. They passed out heavy blankets and the bar staff brought hot chocolate, tea, hot toddies - whatever you desired. I enjoyed the variety of travelers on board. The Captain and staff were patient - I asked a LOT of questions - I was fascinated by the locks! It was great fun for me, but if you need constant stimulation, something happening all the time, you would be unhappy. While there is lots to see and enjoy, you really must slow down to do it. Which is exactly why I loved it. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The food was good, never great. The cabin was cramped even for one person due to a huge king sized bed. Mirrors might make it look larger, but they don't make it be larger. Entertainment was Charlie on the piano every night ... Read More
The food was good, never great. The cabin was cramped even for one person due to a huge king sized bed. Mirrors might make it look larger, but they don't make it be larger. Entertainment was Charlie on the piano every night playing Boomer songs. I'm a boomer, but it would have been cheaper going to Las Vegas. The sole stab at culture was one time with a forty year old with pony tail who never got the word that the lecture method is a snoozer. He read from his cards, no doubt ones he developed for his class. The worst part was the scheduling. We were given two hours in Cologne with the only choice to go to the cathedral and back. Compare that to the scheduled overnights in towns that had the charm of shopping in strip malls. However, some of us discovered that the chocolate museum was just next to where the ship was berthed in Cologne. This was discovered on our own, despite the insufficient internet connection. So we did hit the chocolate museum, but only if we ditched the included walking tour of the cathedral. Don't be fooled that the ship provides walking tours designed for "Gentle Walkers." Strange how those of us who suffered from injuries and arthritis were put into groups with guides who beat out the other groups. We actually walked faster and got less depth of information. And don't blame the cruise director. She did not set up the schedule which was designed around extra cost shore excursions, berthing fees and port taxes (we were always furthest from anything in comparison to other cruises). This is a company decision. And the actual castles on the Rhine? They are still nice, but there are ferries which go up and down the prettiest area They let you get out, have lunch, grab a capucinno. We sailed right through with commentary, but no illustrated maps. They are on the net, but then again, there was that insufficient internet connection. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We sailed the August 26, 2015 Uniworld River Empress 7 night Castles on the Rhine cruise from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Uniworld picked us up at the Basel airport. We did the two night pre-cruise stay sponsored by ... Read More
We sailed the August 26, 2015 Uniworld River Empress 7 night Castles on the Rhine cruise from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Uniworld picked us up at the Basel airport. We did the two night pre-cruise stay sponsored by Uniworld in Basel at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois which I wholeheartedly recommend, a true luxury hotel directly on the Rhine, spectacular stay. Uniworld picked us up at the hotel and transferred us to the River Empress and our luxury cruise adventure began. Full disclosure, this was our first river cruise. The reputation of Uniworld as arguably the best river cruise line precedes itself which is why we chose it - top food, top service, top educational enrichment programs. We are passionate devotees of Celebrity Cruises when it comes to ocean cruising. From the moment we arrived at the dock, we discovered how different river and ocean cruises are - of course, we knew that, but it was very interesting to experience it. For instance, the captain of the River Empress met us at the van and took our luggage from us, yes, the captain! Every staff member on a river cruise does double and triple duty. These boats are small, the River Empress holding only 130 passengers, so the staff has the time, the inclination and yes the duty, to wear lots of hats, but it's clear they are enjoying themselves. The captain on the River Empress also is very young, coming from a long familial line of Rhine River captains, and I think he just enjoyed being front and center, playing a very active role in the guest experience at all levels, which the guests definitely appreciated! Our cabin, 312, was small, but we knew it would be. It was gorgeously appointed, top amenities and features, beautiful marble bathroom. Very posh. We loved our very large picture window which was like a giant flat screen TV frame looking out at the passing scenery as we would cruise along. We would sit on the chairs, our small table between us, enjoying the views. Going through the many sets of locks, looking out from your cabin, was very interesting, as the walls of the locks would be only inches from your window, the room darkens as if it's night, fascinating! Of course we spent most of our time when cruising on the top deck, moving all about the boat - there are many places on board to enjoy the views. There is actually little cruising time while you are on board, though, as travel is primarily at night, and during the day, you are on shore. The main body of cruising was the day when the boat sees the majority of the castles, a stretch on the Rhine when there are castles on both sides of the river, your head bobbing from side to side! The cruise director that day broadcasts a live commentary in the public areas explaining the historical significance of each of the castles, excellent. The ports of call are undeniably amazing, picturesque medieval village after picturesque medieval village. We enjoyed the Alsace area of France and the Rheingau of Germany. All excursions were expertly curated by top guides. Like everything on Uniworld (food, adult beverages), the shore excursions are included, no extra fee. However, three supplemental shore excursions are offered and they are timed such that you can do the free excursions AND the additional cost excursions. The cost for the additional excursions is remarkably low, so we took all three and are thrilled we did. After all, when will we ever be back here?? Our philosophy is to enjoy now, because who knows what tomorrow will bring - and who would want to miss a tour of the Black Forest or a tour of the Heidelberg Castle or a tour of the Marksburg Castle?? Not us, we did the tours, and they were some of the best and most memorable. But, like I said, all excursions offered were wonderful, lots of information provided by dynamic guides. The food on board was truly remarkable. Each dish at dinner felt like it was coming out of a 5 star kitchen, each dish individually prepared, fresh, bright, gorgeous presentation, excellent flavors - nothing bland or milk toast about the food. The chef is cooking for people who know and appreciate a quality experience. Breakfast is served as a buffet but you can also order many dishes made for you off the menu. Lunch is also served as a buffet, all beautiful fresh items. The chef cooks locally - items on the buffets and menus reflect the local produce and products of the various ports we stopped in daily. Produce and food products are brought in at the various ports of call. That is a very special thing and a highlight of the Uniworld experience. A special Savour Dinner was served three times on our cruise, three times so that every guest had a chance to experience it - you sign up for it - no extra cost, remember, everything is included on board (except for a few high end liquors, but their standard pours and vintages are exceptional). The Savour Dinner is served outside on the top deck with an even more special menu than the menu that is already special in the dining room! The chef comes and talks to the Savour guests about the dishes, the sommelier discusses the wine pairings - very lovely, fabulous meal as we drifted past the unparalleled scenery of the Rhine shores. Food is available throughout the day - the dining room has specific hours but at the bar, (the bar being the heart of the ship for the guests, BTW, as that's where all talks are given, entertainment is performed, etc) a light late breakfast is served and then sandwiches can be ordered in the afternoon in between the dining room hours for lunch and dinner. No need to ever be hungry, exceptional food is always available. I spoke to one guest who was suffering from insomnia and was served a lovely snack at 3am. The passenger comes first and foremost with Uniworld, that was clear. Being a small boat, you pretty quickly get to know your fellow guests which is a very nice thing, or not, up to you! Key to note is that no seats for meals are assigned, you can sit anywhere you want in the dining room during the dining times - you can sit alone, you can sit with new friends - there is no pressure at all. There are no huge communal tables, but if you choose to sit with new friends, then the staff is happy to push several tables together for you. So you can make friends, or not, it's your choice. The gym on board the River Empress is of necessity, pretty small, but it has everything you need, including a great view out of the windows as you workout on the elliptical or treadmill! A word to the wise, as I'm so very sorry we missed this opportunity - there are roughly a dozen bicycles on board that the guests can take out on their own in the villages when the boat is docked. The Fitness Director led a group of passengers on a bike ride from Boppard to Koblenz, Germany, while the ship cruised that route - thus, a dozen-ish passengers biked to the destination to which the ship sailed, a very fun experience for them! We didn't sign up in time to do this, maybe next time! We appreciated the washers and dryers for the guests' use - no charge, and the ship provides the laundry soap. Our experience with Uniworld was wonderful - first class, but not in the least stuffy, the staff made us feel very welcome! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Due to high water levels, passengers were loaded in Speyer, 3.5 hours down the Rhine. No advance notification even though they knew at least 3 days ahead that the situation was not going to improve. Pax were met by 2 persons who said they ... Read More
Due to high water levels, passengers were loaded in Speyer, 3.5 hours down the Rhine. No advance notification even though they knew at least 3 days ahead that the situation was not going to improve. Pax were met by 2 persons who said they worked for UniWorld, told to leave the luggage riverside, told to get into a van, taken to a skanky restaurant down the road, told that there was no time to order a meal, waited on the pavement for a big bus, waited for more pax, then driven to the ship. Told on the ship by the Cruise Manager that this happens all the time on river cruises and it is an "act of God" shrug of the shoulders and dismissed. Next day, we are told to fill up our water bottles (gift of UniWorld in our rooms) given 15 euros each for lunch money and sent back on the bus for 3.5 hours bus ride to Colmar, the first town on our itinerary. Ditto for the second day, albeit a shorter 2.5 hour drive to Strasbourg. Really, is 15 euros what a lunch is worth on UniWorld? Basically it was a bus tour with sleeping on a ship. On the fourth day, the cruise director triumphantly announced that our cruise will now begin. For this, they gave $1,000.00 credit for a future cruise. Future cruisers, please be forewarned that your river cruise on UniWorld could end up to be a bus tour for parts that God acted on. As it happens all the time, this is the arrangement you will receive. 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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