1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
My wife and I chose the Uniworld river cruise as it was recommended by our travel agent due to the supposedly very high level of their food. We were looking forward to cruising down the Rhine, while viewing beautiful scenery, castles, and ... Read More
My wife and I chose the Uniworld river cruise as it was recommended by our travel agent due to the supposedly very high level of their food. We were looking forward to cruising down the Rhine, while viewing beautiful scenery, castles, and making interesting stops along the way from Amsterdam to Basel, all along being served first class food. It did not turn out that way. Let me first state the ship was very well maintained, although the decor is dated. The professionalism and friendliness of the staff could not have been any higher. We happily give the staff a five star rating! The weather was excellent throughout our cruise. However, there are several things about our Uniworld River Empress cruise which were definitely disappointing. As mentioned above, we looked forward to cruising down the Rhine while taking in beautiful scenery. However, the cruising time while viewing the scenery basically lasted one and one half days. The afternoon of the first day, and the full following day. The rest of the time the cruising was done during the evenings (while sleeping), which significantly short changed our expectations, as well as those promised by cruise advertisement images showing a ship serenely cruising by ancient castles and impressive mountains. With this having been our first river cruise, my wife and I obviously failed to "read the fine print" of the schedule which would have alerted us to the fact that impressive scenery would be extremely limited. Most of the days we would wake up in a different small Rhine-area town, disembark, and be given a tour of the immediate area. These small towns differed little from each other, with the shape of the local cathedral most often being the main difference. After a couple of stops they become interchangeable, since there was little local art (none at all), food, scenery difference to appreciate. These towns seem to exist currently simply due to the river cruise industry. To say the stops became repetitive is as kind a description possible. If the cruise had lasted half of the time it would have been an improvement, as it would have cut down on the boredom. Uniworld should choose stops which offer individual experiences, not simply more of the same, becoming repetitive. As far as the food is concerned, the flavor segment of the cuisine was underwhelming. The selection of food was definitely ample and well presented. Breakfast, and also desserts at lunch/dinner, were excellent (the pastry chef should be highly commended). However, the taste of the starters and main courses was definitely Disney quality - bland. This was a very, very significant disappointment for us, as the endorsed (by our travel agent) high level of the cuisine was the basis for our Uniworld choice. Food quality was good, food flavor was mediocre. Sadly, the entertainment (which we did not expect to have) was completely forgettable. My wife and I lived in Europe for several years some time ago, and perhaps our trip expectations were too high. This trip did not leave us eager to book future cruises. 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
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
5 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
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
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
River Empress Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 2.0 4.2
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.5
Rates 4.0 4.7

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