4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I waited a few weeks to write my review because I simply didn't know where to begin. I took a 2 week European trip with 8 days being on the River Empress. From start to finish every moment I spent on the ship was memorable and worth ... Read More
I waited a few weeks to write my review because I simply didn't know where to begin. I took a 2 week European trip with 8 days being on the River Empress. From start to finish every moment I spent on the ship was memorable and worth every penny spent. From arriving at the dock and being greeted by the captain and crew who swooped my bags up and took them to my room. The room was smaller then I anticipated and I do wish I had paid for a larger room. The room was beautifully decorated and I felt the luxury. I was sharing the room with a friend and it was crowded all the time. Even so, we figured out a way to make it work and usually were in the room at different times. I also met people on the trip who traveled without having to pay a single supplement but I had not been able to find that option. Next time I will have my own room and that will make a big difference. I loved sitting in the room and watch as we navigated up River and through the locks. The crew was simply perfect. I really don't know how service could be better than it was. The crew remembered me and knew all my tastes and preferences and I noticed thAt was true for all the other passengers. Within one day, I had made many new friends and knew passengers and crew buy name. I would easily be Able to travel alone and have time to be alone as well as meet friends to spend time with. I became sick on the trip and the crew took care to make sure that I had extra care. They even helped get me to the apotheke to get some relief. Dining was always a treat and the staff in the dining room were superb. I loved that we could dress casually and be truly comfortable everywhere onboard. I loved the scenic stretch where we saw the castles but wish we could have had actual printouts to follow. The weather was cold and it was not possible to hear the commentary once I moved to the lounge. The gentle walking options were still difficult for me but that was because I was sick and had a hurt foot. Even so, they helped me figure out options that I could handle. They went above and beyond. Sometimes I felt very rushed and didn't have enough time to really explore the town but I realize that they have many people to accommodate. I actually liked the quietness of the ship and that they only had a pianist. I enjoyed being Able to look out the window, write in my journal and visit with new friends. I wouldn't want a bunch of flashy entertainment like on an ocean cruise. I enjoyed the daily meeting to learn about the next day's options. I thought Dirk and Ramona did an exceptional job of making sure everything came off perfect. I also enjoyed watching the crew work on the ship while they navigated the Rhine. The captain spent time talking to us and explained how the locks worked. When it was time to embark I found myself welling up with tears. It was quite overwhelming to think of al the things I saw and the wonderful people I met. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My mother, who passed away earlier this summer, swore she would never go on a cruise. My father, widowed at the ripe young age of 79 and overwhelmed by sadness and being alone, asked me to accompany him on a cruise. We had friends who ... Read More
My mother, who passed away earlier this summer, swore she would never go on a cruise. My father, widowed at the ripe young age of 79 and overwhelmed by sadness and being alone, asked me to accompany him on a cruise. We had friends who had traveled with Uniworld in Europe previously and raved about the experience. In fact, they took the exact cruise (Castles on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel) we signed up for several years before. So we planned the trip around my father's octogenarian cousin in Amsterdam... we'd start there and end there. The flight in coach class from LAX to Amsterdam was great for me, but my dad was super uncomfortable. He would have preferred a stop-over. I think he is nuts. KLM was nice, although they did switch aircraft on us at the last minute and it's conceivable that we got a plane with smaller seats. I admit that the seats were small and close to one another. Again, he would have preferred a break. I say get it all over with. (Note: the flight home was also nonstop, seats were roomier, and the flight was a breeze.) In Amsterdam we stayed at the modest but super comfy (and ideally located) Best Western Delphi on Apollolan, adjacent to the Beethovenstraadt shopping district. Easy to catch the trolley to the heart of Amsterdam, but far enough away for peace, quiet, and cost-effective travelling. Online pricing was great. Location was literally 5 to 7 minutes from the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum in super efficient and easy-to-use public transit. Got ourselves to the port in Amsterdam for the cruise, easy as pie. Cruise folk were welcoming from the very beginning. We ate lunch on board before sailing - with my dad's cousin, I might add - and despite the cold and light rain (mid-October departure) it was a fun and exciting day. Sites were great along the Rhine. Walking tours, particularly the gentle walkers tours, were ideal for my slow dad. And the availability of the Alpine walking sticks was genius. Whoever thought of that should get a raise. REALLY helped my dad (and many others on the cruise) get around on cobbled streets. Weather was cold, and for the most part grey; for me it was a tremendous and wonderful change from the California drought. My dad, also known as Grumpy Grumperson, was a bit put out, but had the proper clothing and was fine. Heavy coat, cashmere scarf, nice lined gloves and an in-room thermostat... what more could he ask for? Don't ask... Day trips were well-planned, well-guided, and not too overwhelming (not too fast, not too far, not too much information to manage), even though their cost was in addition to the cruise for the most part. My favorite was the Black Forest. Would have loved more time in Strasbourg - guess I'll have to go back. Heidelberg Castle tour was lovely, but if you've been before (as we both had), that field trip is ONLY a shopping excursion. Included for all excursions were ear pieces with transmitters so on tour with a guide, you could easily hear everything being said. That was SUPER clever, and worthwhile. Ship amenities were wonderful. Meals were plentiful, delicious, and varied. Super nice to be able to eat well (read healthy) at every single meal and not feel like I was missing out. The fact that drinks - ALL drinks - are included in the price of admission makes the cruise even better. I had prosecco a lot. My dad is a single malt scotch guy. Neither of us was disappointed. Would have liked a better rowing machine in the gym, but who goes on a cruise to row in the workout room? I guess I do. My dad had a couple of massages and loved them. Thanks for making that service available. Bar/lounge entertainment was a bit 1950s Vegas hotel, but I imagine it's hard to find excellence when you're at sea (on the river) for weeks at a time. Pianist was good, but not great. It's OK - it was background noise to the rest of the trip. And he was far better than having no music at all. Staff were OUTSTANDING. LOVE YOU GUYS! First, they put up with Mr. Grumperson. Second, and more importantly, they were charming, smart, witty, fun, professional, and attentive. Seriously, thank you all. Rooms were surprisingly (to me) comfortable for such a small space. The beds were plush, as were the bathrobes. Room safe was a breeze to use. Bathroom was totally great (love the nightlight feature). HATED when another ship was parked outside my bedroom window, but I'm guessing that couldn't be helped. If it had happened more than once and for more than a relatively limited time, I might have been uncomfortable. Would love to take a cruise with my love next time (although my dad can come too as long as he's less grumpy). But, I have to say, that as far as having a vacation where I was supposed to be looking after my dad while on holiday, the river cruise was ideal, and Uniworld made it totally possible. Thanks, Uniworld. I had a lovely time. I hope I can do it again, soon! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We had never been on a River Cruise, just Ocean cruises. The crowds did not appeal on the big boats. The River cruise with Uniworld was fantastic, we didn't want to leave. The bed was so comfortable, the ship beautiful and so well ... Read More
We had never been on a River Cruise, just Ocean cruises. The crowds did not appeal on the big boats. The River cruise with Uniworld was fantastic, we didn't want to leave. The bed was so comfortable, the ship beautiful and so well kept. The crew were all amazing. Our waiters and especially the cruise director could not have been more friendly or engaged in caring for us. The excursions and guides were excellent. We took some optional excursions which we paid for, but the included ones were great. Not having to worry about tipping, and the included alcohol were very, very nice. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
The holiday of a lifetime was how I would describe our River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on Uniworlds luxurious River Empress in early October. I have never experienced so much commitment toward the guests enjoyment of a holiday. ... Read More
The holiday of a lifetime was how I would describe our River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on Uniworlds luxurious River Empress in early October. I have never experienced so much commitment toward the guests enjoyment of a holiday. From the Captain to Zsanett, our stateroom stewardess, they were superb. I want to mention the waiting staff but then I would have to talk of the reception staff, the hotel manager, the bar staff, the Tour Manager, the Chefs, the sailors because everyone did their job expertly and then showed kindness and thoughtfulness beyond their duty. The moment we arrived on the quayside at Amsterdam we were swept up into the friendliness, efficiency and quality that is Uniworld. Our cases were spirited away and were there in our stateroom when it was ready, a buffet lunch was waiting along with a welcoming coffee, wine or soft drink. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner was first class with options always to suit everyone's taste and often reflecting the country and area we were in at that time. Drinks with meals were complimentary and again a reflection of the local area. Almost every day there was a town, castle or Church tour and almost all were included and well handled. If I could find a tiny fault with the holiday then I would say that one or two of the local guides fell short of the very best. We did not have to disembark and did, indeed, choose to cruise on one day and did not regret it as the scenery was superb. There was often evening entertainment on board or land. No cash is required on board as payment for all drinks, optional tours and gift shop purchases is signed for and paid by credit card at the end of the holiday. Alot of the cruising between stops is done at night and that was fine but I could have coped with more time on the river during daytime. The Rhine was beautiful with wonderful Autumn colours in the many surrounding forests but the Main was the star for me with the romantic Danube a close second. A highlight, amongst many others during the trip, was the Mozart and Strauss concert in the grand and atmospheric Liechtenstein Palace in Vienna. Thank you Uniworld for a wonderful holiday -- need I say more than to add that we have already booked the 11 day Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley for the same time next year. 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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