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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
We did our first river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Everything about the trip was wonderful...the ship, the people, the food, the tours, the people, the service...did I mention the people. The crew thoroughly enjoy their jobs and ... Read More
We did our first river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Everything about the trip was wonderful...the ship, the people, the food, the tours, the people, the service...did I mention the people. The crew thoroughly enjoy their jobs and have fun with passengers. They were a highlight of the trip. From the time we embarked, throughout the trip, until we left the ship in Amsterdam we were treated royally. We enjoyed the many tours led by local guides, learned lots about the regions we were in...the meals, wine and beer reflected the region we were travelling through. Several evenings we were treated to excellent local entertainment. The small number of guests, 130, enabled us to get to know many of our fellow travellers and we made friendships that will carry on for years. We would recommend this cruise with Uniworld to any one. A couple of tips when selecting a cabin...being on the top deck with a French balcony is nice but we didn't spend much time in our room, not really worth the additional cost; pick a cabin that is not near the front on the lower decks, the ship's thrusters are quite noisy at night going in and out of the 68 locks along the way. Also, Uniworld offers gentle walking groups on most tours. They are great for folks who move a bit slower and need to rest. And the people...the staff, they are awesome! They provide great service, have fun doing it, and make sure you have fun too! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We flew independently to Budapest and easily got a taxi outside the airport terminal doors to the Corinthia Hotel. The taxi rate is fixed by zone and I think we paid about 20 Euros (Forints not necessary) for the approximate 20 minute ... Read More
We flew independently to Budapest and easily got a taxi outside the airport terminal doors to the Corinthia Hotel. The taxi rate is fixed by zone and I think we paid about 20 Euros (Forints not necessary) for the approximate 20 minute drive to the city centre (Pest side). The Corinthia had a room for us early in the morning, was beautiful and comfortable but we would have preferred staying closer to the river and main shopping area--maybe the Marriott, Sofitel or Intercontinental. I concur with the comments posted previously by Charlotte T. and Adjohn so I will just make some additional comments: Although this is an older ship, it is in mostly beautiful condition and is easy to navigate on the short flights of centrally located stairs -There is a conveniently located launderette with 2 washers and dryers. Detergent and use are provided at no additional cost -Uniworld gives cruisers stainless steel water bottles and replaces fresh water daily -There is one large umbrella in every cabin and additional available when exiting the ship -There is a blue night light that remains on in the bathroom ceiling -Wifi was only available in the lounges. It was slow and not available when going through the 67 locks. Bringing a newer device will make connection faster -Since we don't know if we will get back to that part of Europe again, we took all the optional excursions and they were excellent. Most were in the afternoon, after lunch on the ship. The cost isn't posted (but it's reasonable) until you board but you can sign up for them a day or two ahead or all at once after the CD talks about what's offered at the initial welcome meeting -The dining staff offered 3 nights of dining topside in a glass enclosed room where there was a fixed menu and steaks were grilled -Fellow cruisers were Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians--a congenial group of 103 passengers of ages late 50's to 80's -Disembarkation was well organized and executed. Passengers could select when they wanted to leave the ship and transport was arranged by the staff. We stayed additional time in Amsterdam and the staff had a taxi waiting to take us to our hotel when we specified. Passengers must vacate cabins by 8:30 AM but are welcome to stay on in the lounge through a light lunch time there, even as new passengers are boarding. We highly recommend Uniworld and we really enjoyed river cruising. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2012
From June 3 to 17, we sailed on the Unwieldy River Empress from Budapest to Amsterdam. We had previously done a Nile River cruise on GCT which we found to be wonderful. This last trip on the Empress was a mixed bag. Rooms were expected ... Read More
From June 3 to 17, we sailed on the Unwieldy River Empress from Budapest to Amsterdam. We had previously done a Nile River cruise on GCT which we found to be wonderful. This last trip on the Empress was a mixed bag. Rooms were expected to be small and they were. We had 2 chairs removed from the 150 sq.ft. room so that we could circumnavigate the bed. Bathroom was good and bath amenities were very good. TV in the room was very limited with about 3-4 English speaking channels and 1 film per day on the ship's channel.Stewardess was wonderful and the room was very clean. Food was spotty. Breakfast was a buffet and had standard fare. Lunch was always a buffet with a really good and tasty selection of appetizers and entrees. Dinner was spotty, ranging from gourmet to awful. Usually 3-4 choices at dinner but they also has steak, chicken and salmon as standard fare (always available). We had salmon 5 times during the trip after we had to send back the daily choice of entree since it was inedible. At other times, the dinner was outstanding such as rack of lamb. The problem on this river boat was that save for mealtime the only other food available were candies in the foyer and cookies and/or coffees at the area that house the gift shop, gym, lounge area and computers. The Internet reception was a joke it was so bad. The itinerary was great, always on time with really good guides, clean buses, when needed, and "gentle walkers" had their own group. The cruise director was the best employee on the ship. The tours outstanding. Our morning wake-up call was usually prescribed by the sound of the thrusters which occurred at almost anytime during the nigh. 4 am was not unusual. We thought that getting a room toward the bow would alleviate our having to hear the engine noise. Apparently the best spot on the ship is in the 300 section toward the stern. Library, bar area and deck lounge areas were good though we thought drinks were pricey.The wait staff in the bar area and restaurant were really good people and very competent servers, mainly from eastern Europe. Everything on board was in Euros and you could settle in US dollars. The major irritant to me personally was that the $300 shipboard credit we had for our cabin was equated to Euros at the rate of $1.48 while the daily rate was circa $1.24. So we lost about 40 euros with the explanation the Uniworld only converted shipboard credit once a season and the they did, it was at the higher rate. We lost about 40 euros with that slight of hand. This was our first European river cruise. Would we do it again? Maybe, but on a ship that had more suites, amenities, less motor noise, and more entertainment or offerings at night. Seabourn have any river ships? Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Even though there were approximately only 130 passengers - EVERYONE was easy to get along with. Everything about the ship was great. The decor in our cabin (category 1) was beautiful. Although I did not realize that there are only 4 ... Read More
Even though there were approximately only 130 passengers - EVERYONE was easy to get along with. Everything about the ship was great. The decor in our cabin (category 1) was beautiful. Although I did not realize that there are only 4 cabins that have double sinks in the bathrooms. We enjoyed having the "French Balcony" - sliding glass door. The reason that the ships do not have balconies is because of the width of the numerous locks that you travel through. Sometimes there are only inches between the ship and the walls of the lock. The food was delicious and the service always great. We had the most interesting dinner conversations with numerous new friends on the ship. The included shore excursions were fantastic. My favorite was wine tasting under a castle with 1,000 lite candles. The tour guides in every city were very knowledgeable. We are looking forward to cruising with Uniworld again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
My wife and I took the European Jewels cruise May 9th 2009 aboard the River Empress. I will say that the entire experience, from the time we boarded the ship in Budapest and were checked in, to the day we disembarked in Amsterdam, was far ... Read More
My wife and I took the European Jewels cruise May 9th 2009 aboard the River Empress. I will say that the entire experience, from the time we boarded the ship in Budapest and were checked in, to the day we disembarked in Amsterdam, was far beyond our expectations. The food was remarkable and the wait staff was exceptional. I have eaten in five star restaurants that didn't do as good a job as the restaurant staff on the River Empress. Almost without exception, the shore excursions and local guides were easy to navigate and understand. The ports selected were a wonderful cross section of the area and represented big cities to small villages and everything in between. The Cruise Director became the "Go To" person for questions large and small and handled each one with humor and grace that had my wife and me shaking our heads in wonderment. Bravo to Bart. At the end of a long day of sightseeing ancient towns and villages, eating great food and drinking wonderful wines and beers, if was a pleasure to retreat to our cabin and climb into the best "Hotel Bedding" we have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. I would recommend this cruise and Uniworld to anyone who would like to experience Europe in comfort and style. 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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