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
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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