7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Overall excellent service. Boarding was very smooth. we were the first to board. Rooms were smaller than other Uniworld boats. We were on the lower level. this boat had a wider wall than other boats. The boat did have a problem with ... Read More
Overall excellent service. Boarding was very smooth. we were the first to board. Rooms were smaller than other Uniworld boats. We were on the lower level. this boat had a wider wall than other boats. The boat did have a problem with a lack of hot water. cold showers were not pleasant. The water problem did seem to get better later in the cruise, but only for short showers. Food service started a little rough. I was served raw salmon, and my wife was served raw chicken. I think it took a little while for the cooks to get used to the ovens. The food overall was very good. The lunches were outstanding. Uniworld offers local foods, and the chef did a great job with them. The only other misstep was during a flaming salmon presentation. The fire unexpectedly jumped and caught two passengers on fire. one was singed, the other had the presence of mind to roll on the ground and escaped with minor injuries. The restaurant staff was fantastic. the really anticipated your needs. Service was always prompt and with a smile. Problems were handled very well. Bar staff was also very good. they remembered what you liked. The only drawback was Uniworld did not include the same high quality drinks as part of the all inclusive. Many other passengers and myself were surprised to find a 9 euro fee for Makers Mark. The wines and port served at dinner and in the bar were surprisingly good. Excursions were changed because of maintenance on a river lock. This changed our itinerary. Overall I thought Uniworld did a good job redoing our ports. Our favorite excursion was dinner at a winery. the owner was a real character. The Sandman port tour would have been better if more time was added to enjoy the grounds. Front desk staff were mostly outstanding. One new person was not up to speed yet, but was very friendly. Lounge entertainer was better than other Uniworld boats. the additional entertainers were ok. My favorite part was cruising by the vinyards. The landscape was beautiful.This is not a high activity cruise. It is a great cruse for someone who wants to relax and enjoy some nice wines Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We were traveling with a group of friends on a trip organized by a local vineyard wine club, of which we are members. This was our first European adventure and our first riverboat cruise, so we were very excited. Flying into Lisbon and ... Read More
We were traveling with a group of friends on a trip organized by a local vineyard wine club, of which we are members. This was our first European adventure and our first riverboat cruise, so we were very excited. Flying into Lisbon and having 3 days to explore the Portuguese capital city and acclimate to the time change was very well-planned. The Corinthia Hotel was outstanding and their included breakfast buffet was simply amazing. Our Uniworld hosts and tour guides were very impressive, experienced, friendly and helpful at every opportunity. Once we were transferred to Porto to board the Queen Isabel and embark on our tour of the Douro River Valley, we were once again very impressed with the ship and especially the staff members. Without exception, everyone we interacted with were overwhelmingly helpful and focused on quality guest service. Being on a small boutique cruise ship offered the opportunity to meet and interact with everyone onboard. We appreciated the personal interaction and familiarity we developed with the crew members. By the second day onboard, many were already greeting us by name! Simply amazing. Each day offered us different engaging adventures that were well-planned and enjoyable at every port of call. The onboard dining was simply outstanding and the entire dining room staff was always focused on providing great service to all guests. We also were amazed at the lounge staff, especially our favorite bartender, Alexandra. She was wonderful and by the end of the cruise, we felt as if we'd made a new friend! Ours was the final cruise of the 2018 season and we were consistently impressed with the pleasant interactions we experienced with everyone onboard and the friendly service we received, usually accompanied by a bright smile. Thanks to the entire staff and crew of the Queen Isabel for a relaxing and memorable vacation! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different ... Read More
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different venue....the makeup of the Seine vs the Douro but a lot of it was just a poorly orchestrated itinerary. As I’m sure you’re aware, unlike the Seine, the river boats can’t cruise the Douro at night which probably presents some logistical issues. That said, as a more upscale provider, I would have expected UniWorld to have figured out how to compensate and address this. The other issue is that while the Douro is lovely and the scenery beautiful, there isn’t tons to do. Unlike the Seine, there are few cute little villages (except Porto) to explore along its banks so understandably, every sight or at least most, we were bused to. However, they did these bus rides/tours in the morning which meant rising at 6/6:30 to dress and get breakfast so we could be on the bus usually by 8:30 (one morning may have been 9). Then they’d get us back on the bus and back on the boat midday for lunch and an afternoon of sailing. Nothing of real substance to do except drink (btw the wine is delicious!). I should note that one day was a full day trip to Salamanca so of course we had to be up and out early but the others were half day excursions. If memory serves me, 3 of those morning / half day excursions involved wine tastings! Really....at 10am!!!!! Had they flipped the schedule and allowed for more leisurely mornings to eat breakfast and watch the countryside go by, the whole experience would have been more enjoyable and relaxing. We finished the cruise depleted and exhausted! Two other points. Lisbon. They put us up at the Corinthia Hotel on the outskirts of the city. The hotel was fine but the location made it difficult to get out and easily enjoy the city. On the return we stayed in the heart of the city (unfortunately it was only for one night). How much more delightful our Lisbon experience would have been had we been there for 3 days at the front end! I’m not sure if other tour companies offer a more centrally located hotel. If this is typical then I would urge you to suggest that people make their own hotel arrangements in Lisbon so they can take advantage of the city. There are plenty of local guides and a hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the city and then people can get out on their own and explore. The Douro is very dependent on the weather. Our week was cloudy, cold and rainy. The week before was lovely. But since there is so little to do, it’s extra important to have good weather. I wouldn't book beyond mid October. The food was inconsistent so disappointing. The buffet food at lunch was not always hot. Ama had a few things you could order from the kitchen, such as pasta, that came out hot. Uniworld was only buffet and carving station. Seafood was usually over cooked. They didn’t have some Portuguese specialties like shrimp in garlic or large prawns. Or even lobster. I expected this on a luxury line. It did seem like they were serving less expensive foods. The pork tenderloin the first night was excellent. The rest of the dinners were not memorable. Red Wines were excellent even though they were pretty inexpensive (we looked In stores). Our waiter, we had the same table all week, was outstanding. The Sandeman trip was a highlight - beautiful ride up. Would recommend the duo the last night in Porto be put on the first night in Porto - they we’re outstanding. Kirsten, the cruise director, was ok but a little misleading on what a disabled person could do. Also, the wine guy who explained the wine was worthless. It didn’t really tell us anything so I’d just eliminate that part. I would also recommend that Uniworld send more information in advance of the cruise. We skipped the dinner at the local winery, because we didn’t want the bus ride in the dark, or more cabbage soup. The dinner on the ship that night was mediocre. People said the winery dinner was not very good but the evening was fun. Coimbra was lovely, even though it poured. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have cruised with Uniworld two other times on the Danube mostly with some time on the Main River This cruise was quiet with only a limited number of excursions compared to the other cruises we took with Uniworld Embarkation and ... Read More
We have cruised with Uniworld two other times on the Danube mostly with some time on the Main River This cruise was quiet with only a limited number of excursions compared to the other cruises we took with Uniworld Embarkation and disembarks was smooth and very nice The layout of the boat was fine but the « fitness « room was so tiny and crowded that I was lucky no one ever wanted to use it when I was there. The lounge was very nice but we missed having a library or game room for the evening hours. To follow are my suggestions to make the experience better for future cruise guests I am a vegetarian and when we made our reservation we told everyone. When we embarked one of the chefs or sous chefs should have spent 5 Minutes with me to see my parameters for food choices, as was done on previous cruises. The breakfast and lunch buffets were spectacular l always found good food to eat with enough cheese and other options for protein intake. Dinner fell short on that issue. The « eat light » or vegetarian options were not what I would consider choices for myself. So the first two nights I asked for different vegetables so I had food that I enjoyed and met my needs. These requests eere met with a lack of understanding of what I needed to eat but we’re able to accommodate me. We finally found an incredible waiter,Armindo, who talked to me about what I liked to eat and always helped prepare good nutritious food for me. After meeting him we reserved a table to be in his area and all was good. This issue could have been avoided if the chef just spent 5 Minutes with me to understand what I could eat. Fine dining on River cruises is a very important part of the trip, so please for future passengers make a little effort for those people with special food requirements before the first dinner As for shore excursions, I know there is limited things to see and do as in the Douro valley it is all about Port and wine. Which was fine. The excursion to Salamanca was a waste of time for us. We spent as much time riding back and forth on the bus as we did there. The comfort break was helpful for using the bathrooms but we did not need coffee, tea, and pastries as we just finished breakfast two hours before this stop. If we had not wasted time being fed again we could have spent more time in the town. So for future guests think hard about this trip. It Takes a long getting there and you have limited time to explore the city although the cathedrals were lovely to see but travelers need to weigh travel time verses time in Salamanca The other tours were mostly excellent. The Douro museum and the vineyard visit with dinner were great as was the archeological hike and e bike to the ocean. Since the boat could not travel at night we did spend a lot of time “relaxing” while we cruised the Douro. So if you want a quiet relaxing cruise this is for you. The reception staff excellent especially Pelipe All staff excellent as was service on board. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Just completed the Douro River Cruise. Would not recommend based on level of service, weak excursions and nightly double and triple parked boats at the respective docks. Fuel smell, noise and overall commotion was distracting from the ... Read More
Just completed the Douro River Cruise. Would not recommend based on level of service, weak excursions and nightly double and triple parked boats at the respective docks. Fuel smell, noise and overall commotion was distracting from the expected advertised trip. Over paid and will not recommend nor return based on a total lack of interest from Uniworld. We paid for balcony and were at times less than 2 feet from adjacent boats. Just very disappointing based on all the advertising. This will be last trip for us on Uniworld based on their lack of interest in the failures with regard to expectations. Never seen triple parking before. Had to walk through 2 other boats to get to ours when returning to the boat. Shore excursions were like a drill when they said we had 20 min to shop and use restrooms. Depending onlines you could be waiting in line for 15 min. Just not worth the price............... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise based on recommendations of American Express platinum travel services and reviews. Prior to leaving we had reservations as we had read some not so great reviews on the ship and service .We contacted our Agent as ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on recommendations of American Express platinum travel services and reviews. Prior to leaving we had reservations as we had read some not so great reviews on the ship and service .We contacted our Agent as well as Uniworld and were assured that all our concerns had been addressed and that Uniworld had trained the Portuguese crew and that it was not their ship but leased it out Let’s start by being positive,the Portuguese staff were great and all spoke English and went out of their way to please you ,unfortunately as I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 40 years doesn’t matter how great you are if there are not enough of you it’s impossible to give the level of service demanded on what is meant to be a 5 star crise The actual boat ,the cabins and itinerary were also very good but because ships are not allowed to travel at night it’s a lot of wasted time Now for the bad ,Uniworld staff on board pretended to be sympathetic to all your needs but always came back to you with the same line our head office says we can’t give you what was promised but will accommodate you to the best we can ie as our flight was outside there time allotment they would order us a taxi of which we would have to pay Secondly our power in our room blew up my wife’s hairdryer and my shaver blew We used the same transformer in Lisbon and it worked great ,was told it was our issue and said I could buy some stuff in the shop ,no way after making a stink they brought me some disposable razors and some shaving cream Next our neighbors cabin was leaking dark brown sewage out of her toilet which we could smell The food at best was average we were told we would be getting fresh local foods especially fish , haha we had fish 2 times and once it was about 1by 2 and we did get sardines at our last lunch Breakfast and lunch were good but dinners were to many courses (my opinion less choices and more quality ) would be best served .once again staff tried everything to accommodate us by making special treats to try and compensate We also go sick after the second day both vomiting and diarrhea and learn that many other passengers suffered same fate Lastly some of the excursions we had especially the last dinner outing to a winery was just terrible,the food inedible We met many other guests on board who had been other Uniworld crises from Amsterdam and other ports that were fantastic,I guess this one is there biggest money maker but if the want my business back they will need to really make me an offer I could not refuse Planing a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia and heard similar issues as they don’t own boat or have control of staff Might have to look into other lines Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose the Uniworld tour on the Douro River in Portugal because we were looking for another adventure with Uniworld. Three years ago we did a river cruise with Uniworld in France and greatly enjoyed it. When we chose this adventure we ... Read More
We chose the Uniworld tour on the Douro River in Portugal because we were looking for another adventure with Uniworld. Three years ago we did a river cruise with Uniworld in France and greatly enjoyed it. When we chose this adventure we knew very little about Portugal. Our cruise started in Lisbon and this included not only a guided tour of Lisbon but also a day trip to Sintra and Queluz, two very different and interesting castles presenting a very interesting contrast. On our way by bus from Lisbon to Porto we stopped in Coimbra for a tour of the library. Once in Porto we were immediately welcomed aboard the ship and were presented a short introductory talk. When we reached our cabins our luggage was already there. The days were a very comfortable combination of time sailing through the lovely rural scenery and excursions to wineries and other points of interest. Our guides were always knowledgeable and friendly. The dining room was very attractive and always a large array of choices at the breakfast and lunch buffets. Dinner was a little more formal and the menu included an ample number of choices. Some local specialties. Uniworld really takes care of their passengers. Everything is included and it is all topnotch. Their staff members are friendly, and work at making sure their guests are happy. I highly reccomend traveling with Uniworld. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Started Wed June 13 in Lisboa. Met at airport and transferred and given handout for restaurants etc around hotel. Site representative and most folks start the next day. We visited the zoo on Thurs. Briefing was Thurs night. Fri was city ... Read More
Started Wed June 13 in Lisboa. Met at airport and transferred and given handout for restaurants etc around hotel. Site representative and most folks start the next day. We visited the zoo on Thurs. Briefing was Thurs night. Fri was city tour in am and on own in PM (too few picked extra cost optional). Sat was on own or optional extra cost guided tour. Sun transforms to visit with stop at Coimbra Univ. Then finally on ship at Cais Gai. Trip ok. Problem for me is other than visits to Port vineyards and hearing about port wine, there didn't seem much of interest on the Douro. Maybe that is why the start in Lisboa and day trip to Salamanca. And after getting to Salamanca we were mostly by ourselves. Memorable events were the visit to the Archeolgical site at Coa (NOT for folks with mobility issues), going through the Carrapatelo dam (2nd upriver from Porto) the deepest in Europe and "Mr Bean" at the dinner at the Enoteca da Avessada. The most memorable was an accident. The ship was docked at Cais Gai the evening of June 23 before Sai Joao day. Great fire work display at midnight right in front of us from boats in midriver and the bridge. Unlike others I really like the diff Portuguese food. And one could always ask for e.g. the striploin steak and fries etc from the alt menu. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Have taken several European river cruises but had never been to Portugal or on Uniworld. Trip started on land in Lisbon. The Corinthia Hotel was excellent. Our U host recommended a walk to tour the Gulbenkian Museum for our spare time. ... Read More
Have taken several European river cruises but had never been to Portugal or on Uniworld. Trip started on land in Lisbon. The Corinthia Hotel was excellent. Our U host recommended a walk to tour the Gulbenkian Museum for our spare time. Outstanding art collection including masters Rembrandt, Renoir, Monet, etc. Next day we opted for an optional tour to the National Palace, Sintra and another palace and the seaside town of Cascais. Worth taking. Then the journey to Porto to meet our ship. Stopped to have a nice Portugal family country style lunch at a restaurant frequented by 3 other tours. No criticism; loved the lunch. Then onto the old University of Coimbra, its St Michaels chapel and the fascinating old library. Like all ships on the Douro river the Queen Isabel is by necessity undersized. Our cabin was necessarily very small but somehow the shower was big enough. One criticism of Uniworld's Queen Isabel was that the lounge was dark and they kept shades drawn too much of the day. I missed the open, all windows lounge on Viking. A small ship size issue was only one public bathroom. Made departure day after breakfast coffee problematic as your rooms are unavailable after 8 AM. Suggest they leave the 2 adjacent to lobby cabins open to the public at departure and then clean them last. Loved Porto and our tour of the city. Train station with blue Portugese tiles was interesting. Meals were excellent. Lunch buffets were outstanding in variety and quality. Service was timely and effective. Some swelling of ankles from all the salt used in Portuguese cooking. My favorite tour was the Côa Valley Archaeological Park visit. Some climbing down & up but fine for folks without mobility issues. Pictures of various animals from 20,000 to 30,000 years ago carved into the rocks. Beautiful new museum. The Douro river is surrounded by green. Mostly wineries but some wild areas. Very pleasing scenery vs industrialized European rivers. Loved the views. A very pretty cruise. I'd gladly book another cruise on Uniworld. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We've done many Uniworld trips and now are pretty much out of European rivers to explore with them. Our adventure began in Madrid (actually we ended a Tauck tour in Madrid the previous day) and we visited a number of nearby sites, ... Read More
We've done many Uniworld trips and now are pretty much out of European rivers to explore with them. Our adventure began in Madrid (actually we ended a Tauck tour in Madrid the previous day) and we visited a number of nearby sites, winding up in Portugal to board the Isabel which was very nice, not of the SS class for sure but similar to their non-SS boats. It's not a Uniworld owned boat nor is most of the staff Uniworld people, but without exception they were excellent. The food was terrific, the stateroom comfortable and cozy and efficient. The tours were all very good to excellent. The Douro river is one of the, if not the most scenic rivers we've been on. That alone would bring us back to Portugal. We wound up in Porto and then on down to Lisbon for a couple of days. One thing - among many - that we really like about Uniworld is that it's truly all inclusive: the tours, the wine/beverages, and so on...you're not getting badgered to buy this internet package, that dining plan, this beverage package, these shore excursions, and so on. We really love Uniworld. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was out 5th cruise with Uniworld and the previous 4 were great. We were looking forward to seeing Portugal with same quality. Unfortunately, we were disapppomted. Many of the tours Included excessive free/shopping time, and the meals ... Read More
This was out 5th cruise with Uniworld and the previous 4 were great. We were looking forward to seeing Portugal with same quality. Unfortunately, we were disapppomted. Many of the tours Included excessive free/shopping time, and the meals were below the standard that we had come to expect. There was an emphasis on Portuguese food, but it was not planned with an appropriate consideration for the tastes of the non-Portuguese clientele. Hot food was often served warm or cold. There were many times where tours could have been expanded and where experts could have been brought on board during sailing times to improve the quality of the experience while providing better insight to Portuguese history, culture, and customs. Outstanding service and staff support helped to offset some of the problems. We thoroughly enjoyed our trips on the Rhine and in France and are looking forward to a trip in the fall to Italy. Overall, while I would still recommend Uniworld, I cannot recommend this particular trip. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I am a three-time Uniworld cruiser and have been on about a dozen river/ocean cruises and never have I had a more terrible experience than this one. On the first day, my cabin smelled like something had died in there. The crew confirmed ... Read More
I am a three-time Uniworld cruiser and have been on about a dozen river/ocean cruises and never have I had a more terrible experience than this one. On the first day, my cabin smelled like something had died in there. The crew confirmed this to be true. The terrible hotel director Andre (who seems to have a chip on his shoulder that he isn’t using his law degree) refused to acknowledge or confirm there were any issues on the ship. For the first night they had to put me up in a hotel the smell was so bad. My dad went in my place as he didn’t like the idea of me in a random hotel by myself. The next day the smell was gone because they masked it with a heavy floral perfume scent. No other cabins had this scent. The hotel director offered to put me in a crew cabin instead but the crew member pulled me into her cabin to show me her room smelled too. Although frustrated I didn’t want to spoil my trip so resolved to stay out of my room as much as possible. Unfortunately, there was an Australian couple who told me “they weren’t racist”, but they were inclined to think poorly of my family and friends because we were all Asian. The couple, explained that there were a lot of Chinese people in Sydney, where they were from, who were so rude so they expected us to be the same. Later on, while on tour, the husband got in my face and screamed at me to “go away” and then shoved me. I can only surmise what I did that enraged him but I was speaking to his wife and I think he somehow interpreted it as a threat. Uniworld’s response was ambivalence. So here I was, unable to go into my cabin because of the horrid smell and unable to leave because of fear that this violent racist man (who was located on the same floor as me) would do me further harm. Both during the trip and after, Uniworld corporate lied to our travel agent about what was happening on the ship (they said everything was fine and indicated concessions (a bottle of win, chocolate) were made that only materialized after we showed the email stating they had done so to the hotel director. Additionally when our travel agent told Uniworld to reach out to us directly by phone after the trip they told her they would not. Instead they sent us a form letter apologizing for the lack of A/C . (The A/C was never at issue) and a $250 future cruise credit and $400 check for the inconvenience. I have no desire to spend luxury dollars on a uninhabitable living space only to be shoved by violent racist guests. I understand Uniworld has no choice in their guests but that doesn’t mean I should have to put up with them either. For those who feel inclined, especially if you are a POC, avoid, avoid, avoid. This cruise line doesn’t deserve your business. Additional info: -I did explore Porto before the cruise. It’s a lovely city and deserves plenty of time. -embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly -dining: food was average but service was excellent. All the waiters attempt to outdo each other in service. -entertainment and activities: it’s a small ship and short cruise so there’s not much in the way of activities outside a general pianist/entertainer who plays retro hits after mealtimes. There’s a performance by a “tuna” (Portuguese a capella band) and a pair of singers one other night. -ports and shore excursions are subject to last minute changes but that is the nature of cruising so as long as you aren’t 100% set on the itinerary posted you will enjoy yourself. Our cruise director was thoughtful, well-spoken and kind. The excursions are a nice mix of free time and information making for an overall relaxing experience. -I did not travel with any children -given the other issues mentioned in the bulk of the review, I would not go again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
I traveled on SS Catherina last year and the Standard of the Isabella is not of a similar quality However the boat was comfortable the food was good with a couple of outstanding dishes The staff were marvellous and the drinks well ... Read More
I traveled on SS Catherina last year and the Standard of the Isabella is not of a similar quality However the boat was comfortable the food was good with a couple of outstanding dishes The staff were marvellous and the drinks well chosen and plentiful I like having a a served evening meal The food was fresh and we had some lovely Portuguese dishes The small venues we visited were well chosen but beware of a two hour drive to Salamanca The General organation ( Lisbon hotel Corinthia and coach comforts )was excellent BUT The organisation of trips out left much to be desired A full coach of 45 persons all with one guide. Each venue felt impersonal and crowded The voice boxes are great but must not be used to add more people to a group A port talk each night is no substitute for a thymed lecture by an expert. I would certainly choose Undeworld again but not on the Douro RiverI Thank you Uniworld Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
To celebrate my 70th birthday my husband and I went all out and booked first class air flights, 5 star hotels and a suite (318) on the Uniworld Queen Isabel for a Douro River cruise. This is an amazingly beautiful trip. Porto and the ... Read More
To celebrate my 70th birthday my husband and I went all out and booked first class air flights, 5 star hotels and a suite (318) on the Uniworld Queen Isabel for a Douro River cruise. This is an amazingly beautiful trip. Porto and the adjoining cities are charming. The Yeatman Hotel is over the top! The city excursion guided by Uniworld was very good. Our guide was knowledgeable and engaged. We learned a lot about the city and the culture of the region. The service on-board the Isabel was stellar. A special shout-out to Ricardo, the bartender who never met a drink he couldn't make and who looked out for the passengers. There were a couple of nights we weren't up to a big dinner and Ricardo hovered over us until he convinced us that for him to bring us a sandwich etc. was no problem. Another shout-out to another Ricardo, our "cruise director". Ricardo's lectures on the area, port and the planned excursions were interesting, funny & informative. He was also a kind a caring person who truly seemed to care about the welfare of all his passengers. Last but not least was Roberto, who was generally in charge of the ship. Another person who was always more than willing to go the extra mile to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, even such excellent service could not make up for the very real short-comings of the Queen Isabel herself. The ship seems old with very low ceilings in the lounge and dining room. The furniture to be kind is dated and uncomfortable. Here you are on a river cruise...that cries out for a comfy chair and a hassock to put your feet up on and watch the world slip by. There is nothing like that anywhere on the ship. Not in our suite and not in the lounge. All the seating is straight backed and stiff and there are NO footstools of any kind. Yes, the top deck has some chaises but the weather is not always conducive to sitting up there. Then finally there is Suite 318. This suite is right above the water pump which turns itself on and off all night and all day long. Because the noise goes on and off inconsistently, it never becomes "white noise" and you find yourself on edge waiting for it to start or stop. My husband and I did not have one good night's sleep the entire time we were on-board. Although the crew came to our room and listened and agreed yes it was disturbing, there was nothing that could be done. Since this was a very expensive room on this ship, it was very disappointing. The issue with our room was so serious that I don't recommend Uniworld's Queen Isabel. From what I saw, there are far newer and more comfortable looking ships that offer the same or a similar itinerary. To go 7 nights without resting well has put me off Uniworld in general. They should not allow such an expensive room to have such a deep and apparently unfixable flaw. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We have traveled with Uniworld several times in the past and had always had wonderful experiences. This trip was not wonderful. I knew that this ship was leased by Uniworld but did not realize how much difference that would make. The worst ... Read More
We have traveled with Uniworld several times in the past and had always had wonderful experiences. This trip was not wonderful. I knew that this ship was leased by Uniworld but did not realize how much difference that would make. The worst time was when a group of 8 of us arrived at the designated meeting spot in Salamanca, Spain only to find that there was no Uniworld rep there to meet us. Nothing like being stranded in a foreign country with no map and no emergency contact information. When we were docked in Porto (actually in Gaia), the docking spot was next to a restaurant with an open deck where loud parties went on till 3 or 5 AM both nights we were there. Cabin cleaning services were random, at best. Food was fine, I guess, but I can think of at least 6 of the guests on this cruise who were sick with some kind of stomach virus during the cruise. The scenery along the Douro is lovely, but don't expect a Uniworld experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Horrible guide, dreadful cruise experience as we were not on ship--long bus trips, guide did not give information or attend to our comfort, safety or try to give us a good experience. The food on the ship was wonderful, the people on the ... Read More
Horrible guide, dreadful cruise experience as we were not on ship--long bus trips, guide did not give information or attend to our comfort, safety or try to give us a good experience. The food on the ship was wonderful, the people on the ship were wonderful, but 4 days out of 7, no sailing, and the promised excursions mostly did not happen. Instead we got long bus rides to second or third rate destinations, and, most importantly, NO GUIDES!!! The guides waited by the busses, chatting, and left us to find our own way. Silent or chatted with the drivers during the drives. One guest fell land broke her arm, another was left behind when she could not find her way to the bus in time. The guide made strange choices--walking us up long outside staircases by parking garages instead of into main entrances off main streets, putting us in hotels with no porters and not helping with luggage, even for the lady with the broken arm--just generally glad to be home! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We choose Uniworld for our first river cruise as it is supposed to be I boutique ship.The ship the Queen Isabel wasn't in Porto as planned when we got on as the river was too high. We had already spent 3 days in Lisbon with Uniworld ... Read More
We choose Uniworld for our first river cruise as it is supposed to be I boutique ship.The ship the Queen Isabel wasn't in Porto as planned when we got on as the river was too high. We had already spent 3 days in Lisbon with Uniworld and nothing was mentioned about not being able to cruise just that we were getting on the ship further down. We were then told we wouldn't be cruising the river. We moved a little way down the river while we were out in a trip. The only other time we moved was to the other side of the river to refuel why when we hadn't moved? We ended up going out by bus every day on different trips but no cruising.we didn't move until the next to last day when we cruised to Porto.We missed going to Salamanca which was one of the main reasons for booking this cruise. We had booked a French balcony but all we could see was either a wall or another ship we were next too. Also we were in cabin 221 and we could hear the generator every night and we couldn't sleep. When we got up one night for a cup of tea we told the reception staff about the noise and they said it was the generator. The only compensation Uniworld offered is 50% off the next trip so if you don't go on another there is nothing. We have complained but Uniworld just say they don't give refunds! The service on the ship and food were very good and it's a shame that the main reason you do a river cruise is to cruise the river. The cabins weren't very big and several people have been on other Uniworld cruises else where and they said this ship wasn't as good. It appears that this ship is not owned by Uniworld as they aren't allowed to use their own ships on the Duoro which we didn't realise. I wish I had read some of the reviews on this site before we went. I think some form of compensation should be allowed even if it was just the extra we paid for a balcony we couldn't use Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was my fifth European river cruise (first on Uniworld, the others on Avalon). Uniworld is marketed as a Six Star Luxury river cruise line. We decided to give them a try. Portugal was a destination on our list so we booked the only ... Read More
This was my fifth European river cruise (first on Uniworld, the others on Avalon). Uniworld is marketed as a Six Star Luxury river cruise line. We decided to give them a try. Portugal was a destination on our list so we booked the only Uniworld itinerary offered, roundtrip Porto on the Queen Isabel. Our first surprise (of many to come) was the arrival of our cruise documents. This consisted of a piece of paper with the name of the ship, name of the itinerary, sailing date, and two luggage tags. No detailed itinerary or instruction. We were told we had to go on their website, download (which required cut and paste) and print. Three days before sailing my wife received an email from Uniworld that advised us the ship would not be departing from Porto because of high water on the river. Instructions were sparse – go to the Porto port the day of sailing, look for the Uniworld representative, and she would direct us to a bus for us to be driven to the next port to board the Queen Isabel. There was no mention of the location of where the rep would be or the time to meet her. Instructions in the email also recommended we call the boat the day of sailing if we needed assistance. Wanting more details, my wife called the Uniworld sales office in LA the day before sailing, and was given the same information. No additional details were provided. The morning of sailing, my wife called the sales office again, only to be told the boat was departing from Porto, and to go to the pier to board the ship. Wrong information. Each time my wife called, she was placed on hold, so the agent could talk to a supervisor to try and find out more information. The only information given was for us to go to the port and a Uniworld representative would be there all day to meet us. There was no one there when we got to the port and after three phone calls to the boat, we were told the rep was on another boat, at the end of the port, the third one out .We had to walk through these two to get to her. All the while dragging luggage from one end of the port to the other. The next surprise was the ship. The toilets weren’t working right, and hot water was intermittent. Movies were not available. When they got the toilets working that same day, we had to endure a high pressure flush that I’m sure woke up the surrounding rooms (because I certainly heard them) as it ended with a boom! This was never fixed. Due to high waters, the ship only moved across the river to a refueling point the first five days. In the meanwhile, we were bussed daily to different destinations (Porto twice). We finally sailed to Porto on day 6 and the plan was more excursions to Porto for the remaining two days. The food on this ship was not up to advertised luxury cruise standards. The crew was very professional. It appeared the operational decisions on our daily routines were made late the night before. The actions by Uniworld on this cruise were not worthy of a “Six Star” luxury cruise line. I would think twice before going on this Uniworld cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Wanted to see the Douro River and Portugal. Chose this ship because it was small and reviews were good. It was lacking in many things: bathroom had black mold and smelled. Ship needs renovation. Even smelled like diesel fuel at ... Read More
Wanted to see the Douro River and Portugal. Chose this ship because it was small and reviews were good. It was lacking in many things: bathroom had black mold and smelled. Ship needs renovation. Even smelled like diesel fuel at times. Front desk was unfriendly and unhelpful. Food was hit and miss -- some meals weren't even hot! Had two very disappointing dinners -- the dining room staff did try to make it up by bringing me chocolate covered strawberries. The cruise director did not speak English well-- pronounced with Portuguese sounds. He was not especially friendly and did not explain things well. His projector with pictures of what we would see tomorrow seemed silly-- want to see it in person first! Wasted time instead of explaining times of tours, etc. in a clearer way. Piano player was good. Only a couple of nights of other entertainment. Tours were average- some interesting, some not. On the plus side: The dining room and lounge staff were super nice, friendly, helpful. Tour guides were good (in Lisbon and the tours off the ship). Bottom line: don't expect personal service and excellent food even though it is such a small ship and it is NOT a luxury boutique like they claim. Intercontinental in Lisbon was nice-- but only one restaurant in the large hotel. First night had to have dinner in bar because didn't know to make reservations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
From start to finish this cruise was amazing, how anyone can complain is beyond me. The staff is all areas were very friendly and helpful especially the bar staff Jose and Riocardo who remembered each night what we drank. The tour guides ... Read More
From start to finish this cruise was amazing, how anyone can complain is beyond me. The staff is all areas were very friendly and helpful especially the bar staff Jose and Riocardo who remembered each night what we drank. The tour guides spoke very good English and were very knowledgeable. All the tours were fabulous and well worth it. The choice of food at the buffet breakfast and lunch was the best I've ever had and each lunch time there was a different selection of hot meats including a salt baked salmon. The evening meal was silver service the food was simply amazing, four courses every night apart from the Welcome and Gala nights which had 6, and a different white and red wine every night depending on the area of the Douro we were in. The evening entertainment was great fun. The cabins were exceptionally clean and very luxurious, the maid cleaning every day. I simply can not fault this cruise it has to be one of the best holidays ever, we met some lovely people and had such fun. You are never going to please everyone but take my word for it it was worth every penny. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was the second to last cruise of the year. Things ran smoothly, and the crew were a well-oiled machine. They were faultless, professionalism and enthusiasm were apparent. We felt cared for. Food was to a very high standard. Not ... Read More
This was the second to last cruise of the year. Things ran smoothly, and the crew were a well-oiled machine. They were faultless, professionalism and enthusiasm were apparent. We felt cared for. Food was to a very high standard. Not classic but excellent which is what you want on an unpretentious cruise like this. Evenings were smart but laid back and most of all fun. I expected to find the staff looking forward to their break and being a little bored with the guests, but that was not the case. Ana in the dining area is exceptional, Ricardo as cruise director knows his stuff and the Captain very professional and caring. I had one issue. The crane above our cabin was used at 2am to shift the gangplank. Only one night and once explained we got on with it. I would say a cruise on the Duoro is perfect early autumn like this. Temperatures were cool but good enough for anyone from the UK. 20c being the average. The trips off the ship were excellent. I particularly liked the visit to Sandeman and Mr Bean (Go, you will understand). The river is just stunning at this time of year. The colours were amazing. It must be one of the most picturesque of all river cruises as you are always in touch with the riverbank and wildlife. Thanks, Uniworld, I loved it..... Keep up the good work! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We have travelled with Uniworld on other cruises and had found them very good. The Douro Valley was on our 'must do' list. Both the cruise and the ship exceeded expectations. Although the usual things ( mentioned below) met ... Read More
We have travelled with Uniworld on other cruises and had found them very good. The Douro Valley was on our 'must do' list. Both the cruise and the ship exceeded expectations. Although the usual things ( mentioned below) met expectations it was the attitude of the staff on board and on arranged tours that made the trip very special. The staff were more than just friendly and helpful - they were an integral part of the experience. Their humour alone was worth the trip. Shore excursions were effortless and enjoyable, the scenery along the way was magnificant. Were held a professional conference on board for 80 delegates and although the ship was not designed for conferencing the ships crew did everything necessary to facilitate the smooth running of our conference including the rearranging of furniture and the set up of conference facilities daily, rescheduling tours, meals and events to accommodate conference sessions. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My brother has done several river cruises with UNIWORLD and has always spoke highly of those experiences. We decided to join him and his wife on the Douro River cruise on board Queen Isabel. I expected a five star trip but this was not the ... Read More
My brother has done several river cruises with UNIWORLD and has always spoke highly of those experiences. We decided to join him and his wife on the Douro River cruise on board Queen Isabel. I expected a five star trip but this was not the case. The actual cruising time is only four nights. I don't think we needed two nights in Porto before sailing. We certainly did not need two nights at a place that is nothing more than a fly spot on the map whilst waiting to be transferred to Madrid. Yes there was a tour to Castillo De Rodriguez but that only took care of three hours or so of that stopover. To be fair, I enjoyed the shore excursions put on by Uniworld and have no real complaints about them. However this does not apply to the food and drink on board. It really annoyed me that most of the decision on what to eat was restricted to main course only. This occurred on three occasions of the five nights aboard. The menu for the rest of the courses had been decided by the Chef. The food was not of five star quality- I had better on a recent cruise on board Celebrity Solstice. The wines were a big disappointment as like the food, all came from Portugal. The wines on offer were very high in acid. There was no Champagne and no other alternatives for the wines. Some of the wines we purchased ashore were of a far better quality than those aboard. The service was mixed. The waiters tried very hard but due to the lack of numbers of them, were often forgetful when servicing the needs of the diners. In particular, the situation on the sun deck. One (very new to cruising) waiter tried to meet the demands of at least 40 people. Just couldn't cope and rightfully so.There was also a language problem in that few of the waiters were fluent in English. Please know that this is not a five star cruise despite the very expensive price tag and the experience in my view, is a smear on UNIWORLD'S reputation. I understand that UNIWORLD charters the Queen Isabel and has little intervention over the use of Portuguese staff, food and beverages. Maybe UNIWORLD needs to rethink its presence on the Douro River. Scenic does the same trip and it is booked out. Maybe that is because Scenic has its own boat and does not have to compromise its level of service or its reputation. It would take quite an incentive for me to chose to cruise with UNIWORLD again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
I chose this cruise because I've always wanted to explore Portugal. Uniworld offered waived single supplements & I and several of my friends decided on this trip. From the moment we arrived in Lisbon to the day we reluctantly ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I've always wanted to explore Portugal. Uniworld offered waived single supplements & I and several of my friends decided on this trip. From the moment we arrived in Lisbon to the day we reluctantly left the cruise ship we were pampered with excellent service, delicious food, entertained with wonderful local talent and guided by amazing tour guides. I thoroughly enjoyed the language lessons, the castles, churches, shopping, & Quintas. Our waiters were so much fun. My cleaning lady left my room spotless. The cruise director was very knowledgeable & very well organized. 4 of my friends had met last year on The Uniworld Paris to Normandy trip. This year we added 2 additional friends who now love Uniworld as much as our original group. We've already booked a June 17, 2018 river cruise to Bordeaux with a Uniworld. Waived single supplements make it possible for us to thoroughly enjoy the Uniworld experience Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We were invited to go with a group. My wife had always wanted to go on a river Cruise. People had recommended Uniworld and the Duoro river cruise to us. It was a beautiful voyage to a unique place. I would have liked more physically ... Read More
We were invited to go with a group. My wife had always wanted to go on a river Cruise. People had recommended Uniworld and the Duoro river cruise to us. It was a beautiful voyage to a unique place. I would have liked more physically vigorous activities and a bit better fitness facility, especially in the light of the wonderful food and wine that was included. Our group was united in our appreciation of the wonderful staff on board from the Hotel Manager Andre, the head of the dining hall Anna, our waiter Artur and the bursor Sandra who all went way out of their way to make sure our group had a great time. The rest of the staff was terrific as well and its hard to mention every single person. We enjoyed our stays in Lisbon and Porto as well and the tours were interesting.We would recommend this trip to everyone. Read Less
Queen Isabel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.8
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 2.9
Family 2.0 2.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 N/A

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