3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We had the suite right across the hall from the Mock's and totally agree with everything she wrote but we have some additional comments to present.... We have now cruised twice with both Viking and Uniworld. We even cruised this ... Read More
We had the suite right across the hall from the Mock's and totally agree with everything she wrote but we have some additional comments to present.... We have now cruised twice with both Viking and Uniworld. We even cruised this itinerary two years ago with Viking. We loved Viking and don't have anything bad to say about them but there are some differences between Uniworld and Viking that are worth considering. The Viking longboats are very Scandinavian and all of them are exactly the same while the Uniworld boats are very European and eclectically decorated. The Viking boats hold 190 passengers and are usually full. The Uniworld Empress and several others hold 120 passengers and both of our cruises with Uniworld only had about 80 passengers on board. The obvious difference is that the crew to passenger ratio is dramatically better on Uniworld. For example, each line had one bartender and cruise director. The Uniworld crew got to know us by name almost immediately and we got a lot more attention. The Empress is older but is absolutely perfectly maintained. Everything sparkled and worked perfectly. The technology is all up to date. The Empress has a very unique configuration different from the Viking boats and the River Baroness we cruised on last year. It has a glass walled room on the upper deck that can be used for relaxing or eating. The bar serviced the room and were constantly bringing extras such as hot chocolate up to the room. The front deck is lower than the rest of the sudeck. This allowed passengers to sit outside when the sundeck was closed for low bridges. Because there were fewer passengers, no one was ever jockeying for chairs as on the Viking boats. We found it interesting that Uniworld had a bus that travelled the entire itinerary with us from Amsterdam to Budapest. The driver.... darn, we forget his name... was great and got to know us. It just made for a great experience. The excursions were excellent and we even got to tour a BMW factory. OK, so it wasn't another cathedral, but it was very interesting and not a lickety split tour. It was over two hours and we were right on the factory tour watching a roll of steel being turned into a BMW. Really fascinating. We would be remiss in not mentioning how nice it was to not have to deal with gratuities at every turn and to have all wine and spirits included at all times....even Jonny Walker Black. On one of our Viking cruises, we were in line to pay our bill the last night. The very nice lady taking care of everything asked the lady in front of us if she wanted to add a crew and program director gratuity to hir bill. The passenger responded that she did not believe in gratuities. We also saw the same thing happen at the end of tours when it was time to hand the bus driver and tour guide a gratuity... many times we saw other passengers stiff them. We love the Uniworld inclusive plan and feel that should become the norm. One more thing, the dining room director only had 80 passengers to deal with. My wife has an onion food allergy. At EVERY meal, he would greet my wife and actually walk around the buffets at breakfast and lunch and show here what did or did not have onions in the recipe. For dinner, he would come right to our table and review the menu with her. Just some things to consider when choosing between Uniworld and Viking. We are signed up for a Viking Ocean cruise in 2018. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Cruise recommended by Dubbo Travel Agent. Note Stopped in Lucerne for couple of days. Jung Frau is great excursion. Top of Europe We are 50 and not sure of age group. People of all ages and great people. Cruise, Excursions, ... Read More
Cruise recommended by Dubbo Travel Agent. Note Stopped in Lucerne for couple of days. Jung Frau is great excursion. Top of Europe We are 50 and not sure of age group. People of all ages and great people. Cruise, Excursions, Staff sensational Highlights were Castles, all organised Excusions, Staff, in addition quick Hooray to Sylvia, Jose, Szandra and Rik Sensational people. Met some great people cruising from South Africa, Britain, Bahamas, Aussies etc. Seriously had a ball, great time and cant wait to do another river cruise. The staff are fantastic, all inclusive so no more to pay The Castles on the Rhine, i dressed up in the lederhosen for the castles section (bratwurst and beers on top deck) and all the staff and patrons loved it, made the day. All stops, Strasborg, Black Forest, Rudeshiem, Boppard, Koblenz, Colongne all great. Bike ride from Boppard to Koblenz unreal, plenty of exercise if you want, 7k walk from Rudeshiem, walking through towns Seriously, it is like 1 on 1, staff look after you. The 8 days went like that, To finish off a couple of days in Amsterdam. Windmills, Clogs, Cheese, life in Holland (insane) could not be better, Best 2 weeks ever Dave from Geurie (AUS) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first river cruise, Castles along the Rhine, and after doing research and looking over reviews we are 100% happy we chose Uniworld. The staff were outgoing, accommodating, always said hello, and wanted to please you. Captain ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, Castles along the Rhine, and after doing research and looking over reviews we are 100% happy we chose Uniworld. The staff were outgoing, accommodating, always said hello, and wanted to please you. Captain Ferdy was always present. At times even helping crew unloading garbage or tying up the ship. Food was excellent, with variety in the breakfast and lunch buffets. I loved the different cheeses they presented daily Dinner was well presented, 5 course with two mains to choose from along with fish, steak if you didn't like the mains. The included wines and bar drinks were very good. On our cruise there were mostly Americans, Brits, Canadians, Australians. We made good friendships. Great assets to Uniworld: and a shout out to cruise director Kirsten who lead some of the included shore excursions. Silva and Nick in the lounge, Anata and Pedro in the dinning. All remaining staff aimed to please. This is a little pricier than other river cruise lines, but everything is included, including Wi-Fi. No tipping, not even the tour guides. First Class. Keep up the good work. We are glad we chose Uniworld and look forward to other cruises in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Castles Along the Rhine. Just a top notch experience. Awesome ship and crew/staff. Everybody was wonderful. Cruise director Tabea as well as Sylvia and Robert in the lounge and many many more, were just great! The itinerary was ... Read More
Castles Along the Rhine. Just a top notch experience. Awesome ship and crew/staff. Everybody was wonderful. Cruise director Tabea as well as Sylvia and Robert in the lounge and many many more, were just great! The itinerary was excellent, the excursions were well planned and very valuable experiences. The food and service were just the best. The fitness center was a bit small and they might have benefited from more laundry facilities. Flexibility with special diets was well done. Our first Cruise of any kind. So awesome to wake up each day in a new city. The trip through the Rhine Gorge was especially beautiful and memorable. The ability to tour some of the castles was even better. There was something for everybody. They are very accommodating to the old and young alike. We will definitely be doing more River Cruises with Uniworld. If you've never done a cruise, we would highly recommend it. If you have done several, you'll love Uniworld's cruises. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I can't think of one bad thing to say about Uniworld or our cruise experience. Everything was well planned and well executed. The food was first rate, accommodations excellent, staff outstanding! When my wife made a minor request ... Read More
I can't think of one bad thing to say about Uniworld or our cruise experience. Everything was well planned and well executed. The food was first rate, accommodations excellent, staff outstanding! When my wife made a minor request the staff member replied "This is you home" and it really felt that way. The dining onboard was excellent. We were informed each evening of what to expect. The chef had his recommendation, but there were alternatives that were equally outstanding. A cocktail hour in the lounge preceded each dinner and appetizers and drinks were served quickly and readily. A good selection of varied excursions were available. We crammed as many as 3 into one busy day! The 16 mile bike ride along the Rhine while our ship cruised was a special treat. The tour guides were friendly and informed. We really got a good feel for the flavor of each area we visited. We could not have enjoyed the cruise more. We're already talking about our next Uniworld cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
We were referred to this cruise by a family member, who also took the cruise with us. We could not have been more pleased. Uniworld is very easy to work with. The boat was small, with only 126 passengers - so easy to manage, unlike an ... Read More
We were referred to this cruise by a family member, who also took the cruise with us. We could not have been more pleased. Uniworld is very easy to work with. The boat was small, with only 126 passengers - so easy to manage, unlike an ocean cruise. The crew on our boat, River Empress, was friendly, knowledgeable, and took excellent care of us. We were pampered all week. But, even on the last day when there was so much activity on the boat between passengers leaving and passengers coming, my husband became very ill and the cruise manager literally took personal care of us to get us what we needed. No stress or worries. The ports were both charming and interesting. The excursions were well planned, with local tour guides who added personal stories that provided local insight and culture in addition to learning the history. Plenty of choices and plenty to do, but not overwhelming. We will vacation with Uniworld again! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Chose this to enjoy exceptional comforts of cruise and learning excursions. Returned to Uniworld again in 2016 following MOST satisfactory and satisfying 2015 Paris/Normandy cruise (to celebrate 50th wedding anniversary). Physical ... Read More
Chose this to enjoy exceptional comforts of cruise and learning excursions. Returned to Uniworld again in 2016 following MOST satisfactory and satisfying 2015 Paris/Normandy cruise (to celebrate 50th wedding anniversary). Physical comforts were most satisfactory; service was exceptional, first class; food was outstanding; excursion guides and hosts were awesome!!! Both cruises, trips. It really is refreshing, relaxing, "freeing" to simply unpack and put your clothes in one closet for several days and let them follow you to numerous ports and land excursions with very knowledgeable, most cordial, patient and personable local guides and be continually welcomed and pampered by quality on board staff. And, the pre and post cruise experiences were comparable quality too. It was comforting to experience safety as foremost (but handled seamlessly) and for all activities, events, actions to occur on schedule. Uniworld even arranged to have, provide my favorite bourbon and were continually aware of and unobtrusively assisted with (vegetarian) diet foods. We will enjoy other river cruises with Uniworld! Again, the Uniworld team (ie: people) are OUTSTANDING! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We were going to try Viking, but then the Uniworld came on the horizon, and we thought: Why not try something else? The experience started out on the wrong foot. We were supposed to be met by a representative outside the customs area at ... Read More
We were going to try Viking, but then the Uniworld came on the horizon, and we thought: Why not try something else? The experience started out on the wrong foot. We were supposed to be met by a representative outside the customs area at Schiphol airport upon arriving Amsterdam, but no one was in sight to meet us. After a fruitless search for the evasive rep, we hailed a taxi and arrived at the main train station 80 Euros in the red. The driver did not know where the boat was, so we had to lug ourselves and the luggage another quarter mile to the boat. Luckily, Uniworld stepped up to the plate and reimbursed us for the taxi fare, and it was smooth sailing from there on. The ship is lovely, but a little reminiscent of grandma's house with swag curtains and brocade chairs. And you have to seek high and low for a chair that is comfortable to sit in, everything was rather straight backed all over. The cabin was small, but with ample room for our wardrobe, comfortable beds and a fabulous shower in the miniscule bathroom. Service was outstanding all over. Everybody was friendly and helpful and willing to tend to all our needs. The food was probably the among the best we have had on any cruise, and there was plenty of it. The wine flowed freely, and wherever you were sitting on the ship, a waiter was sure to find you and make sure you had a drink in your hand. The tours were arranged in comfortable buses with informative guides, and there was always enough time in every port to do some wandering around on one's own. The entertainment was rather mediocre, but then again, who needs to be entertained all the time with all the beautiful scenery. All in all, a very satisfying experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Just returned from the Uniworld River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel and cannot rave about it enough! We had 100 people on the cruise and everyone just raved about the quality of the food and service. In fact, some people on the cruise ... Read More
Just returned from the Uniworld River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel and cannot rave about it enough! We had 100 people on the cruise and everyone just raved about the quality of the food and service. In fact, some people on the cruise that had been on many Uniworld trips said this one had the best service they've seen. It was fabulous. Wine pairings were great, but the staff also served anything on request, from Mexican coffee, to Pina Coladas to hard drinks. We try and eat well when at home and the healthy choices at every meal, from smoothies, fruits/cereal to omelettes at breakfast, to wonderful salads at lunch and dinner that allowed us to cheat with desserts. But it was the wonderful tours, the lounging on top of the ship while passing castles, and small villages, the incredible staff that pulled out bicycles for us to ride when in port! This was our fourth cruise and was by far the best one. Uniworld has every single detail down to a science. After tours, the staff often greets returning guests with towelettes and tea or juice! We are already to planning our next Uniworld trip! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We choose this cruise on the recommendation of our AAA travel agent and took advantage of a limited time pricing advantage. Although we have cruised many times this was our first river cruise. We were impressed on our arrival with the ... Read More
We choose this cruise on the recommendation of our AAA travel agent and took advantage of a limited time pricing advantage. Although we have cruised many times this was our first river cruise. We were impressed on our arrival with the service, taking our luggage and delivering it to our stateroom and the ease with which we were able to check in. Our cabin was at the water line and was similar to the inside cabins we have had on an ocean ship. However, it was much more luxuriously furnished and the bed was wonderful! All of the products furnished in the bathroom were top of the line. The lounge was spacious providing plenty of room for presentations, entertainment, dancing and socialization. The best part was that all drinks were included in our cruise price and the bar service was exceptional! We spent our evenings making wonderful new friend. This is where we had our daily briefings from our cruise director for the next days stops and excursions. Our cruise director Anthony was wonderful with an extensive knowledge of our destinations and did an excellent job of arranging the excursions. Daily there were free excursions and some ports had excursions at a reasonable additional cost. These were for the Black Forest and the Heidelburg Castle and were well worth the additional charge. Best of all, the day we cruised past the castles was all blue skies and sunshine. Anthony described the castles in detail with interesting stories about each one. The dining room was also spacious and beautifully appointed. Our head of food service, Sam, did an excellent job of making every guest feel special as did the waiters. My husband is a big man who likes to eat and Sam made sure that he got enough each evening. My husband enjoys the variety of activities offered on the larger ocean ships, but I loved the intimacy of the smaller river cruise. If we ever go on another river cruise it will definitely be with Uniworld. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our second Uniworld cruise and it did not disappoint! The itinerary and adding Amsterdam and Switzerland made this trip one we will remember for many years to come. The Technik Museum Speyer was a welcomed surprise (and not on ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise and it did not disappoint! The itinerary and adding Amsterdam and Switzerland made this trip one we will remember for many years to come. The Technik Museum Speyer was a welcomed surprise (and not on the itinerary). The cruise director and captain recommended the visit and so glad that we did not miss it. The entire staff of the River Empress was friendly, attentive and accommodating. After several days into the cruise we experienced an issue with a leaky shower floor. The carpet in the cabin, along the outside wall of the shower, became wet. The Head of Housekeeping and our cabin housekeeper relocated us to another cabin, and moved all of our belongings into the reassigned cabin down the hall. The itinerary was a perfect mix of activity, history, and relaxation. The all-inclusive is the only way to go. The rooms could use some refreshing (flooring, upholstery, etc.). 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
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We sailed the August 26, 2015 Uniworld River Empress 7 night Castles on the Rhine cruise from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Uniworld picked us up at the Basel airport. We did the two night pre-cruise stay sponsored by ... Read More
We sailed the August 26, 2015 Uniworld River Empress 7 night Castles on the Rhine cruise from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Uniworld picked us up at the Basel airport. We did the two night pre-cruise stay sponsored by Uniworld in Basel at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois which I wholeheartedly recommend, a true luxury hotel directly on the Rhine, spectacular stay. Uniworld picked us up at the hotel and transferred us to the River Empress and our luxury cruise adventure began. Full disclosure, this was our first river cruise. The reputation of Uniworld as arguably the best river cruise line precedes itself which is why we chose it - top food, top service, top educational enrichment programs. We are passionate devotees of Celebrity Cruises when it comes to ocean cruising. From the moment we arrived at the dock, we discovered how different river and ocean cruises are - of course, we knew that, but it was very interesting to experience it. For instance, the captain of the River Empress met us at the van and took our luggage from us, yes, the captain! Every staff member on a river cruise does double and triple duty. These boats are small, the River Empress holding only 130 passengers, so the staff has the time, the inclination and yes the duty, to wear lots of hats, but it's clear they are enjoying themselves. The captain on the River Empress also is very young, coming from a long familial line of Rhine River captains, and I think he just enjoyed being front and center, playing a very active role in the guest experience at all levels, which the guests definitely appreciated! Our cabin, 312, was small, but we knew it would be. It was gorgeously appointed, top amenities and features, beautiful marble bathroom. Very posh. We loved our very large picture window which was like a giant flat screen TV frame looking out at the passing scenery as we would cruise along. We would sit on the chairs, our small table between us, enjoying the views. Going through the many sets of locks, looking out from your cabin, was very interesting, as the walls of the locks would be only inches from your window, the room darkens as if it's night, fascinating! Of course we spent most of our time when cruising on the top deck, moving all about the boat - there are many places on board to enjoy the views. There is actually little cruising time while you are on board, though, as travel is primarily at night, and during the day, you are on shore. The main body of cruising was the day when the boat sees the majority of the castles, a stretch on the Rhine when there are castles on both sides of the river, your head bobbing from side to side! The cruise director that day broadcasts a live commentary in the public areas explaining the historical significance of each of the castles, excellent. The ports of call are undeniably amazing, picturesque medieval village after picturesque medieval village. We enjoyed the Alsace area of France and the Rheingau of Germany. All excursions were expertly curated by top guides. Like everything on Uniworld (food, adult beverages), the shore excursions are included, no extra fee. However, three supplemental shore excursions are offered and they are timed such that you can do the free excursions AND the additional cost excursions. The cost for the additional excursions is remarkably low, so we took all three and are thrilled we did. After all, when will we ever be back here?? Our philosophy is to enjoy now, because who knows what tomorrow will bring - and who would want to miss a tour of the Black Forest or a tour of the Heidelberg Castle or a tour of the Marksburg Castle?? Not us, we did the tours, and they were some of the best and most memorable. But, like I said, all excursions offered were wonderful, lots of information provided by dynamic guides. The food on board was truly remarkable. Each dish at dinner felt like it was coming out of a 5 star kitchen, each dish individually prepared, fresh, bright, gorgeous presentation, excellent flavors - nothing bland or milk toast about the food. The chef is cooking for people who know and appreciate a quality experience. Breakfast is served as a buffet but you can also order many dishes made for you off the menu. Lunch is also served as a buffet, all beautiful fresh items. The chef cooks locally - items on the buffets and menus reflect the local produce and products of the various ports we stopped in daily. Produce and food products are brought in at the various ports of call. That is a very special thing and a highlight of the Uniworld experience. A special Savour Dinner was served three times on our cruise, three times so that every guest had a chance to experience it - you sign up for it - no extra cost, remember, everything is included on board (except for a few high end liquors, but their standard pours and vintages are exceptional). The Savour Dinner is served outside on the top deck with an even more special menu than the menu that is already special in the dining room! The chef comes and talks to the Savour guests about the dishes, the sommelier discusses the wine pairings - very lovely, fabulous meal as we drifted past the unparalleled scenery of the Rhine shores. Food is available throughout the day - the dining room has specific hours but at the bar, (the bar being the heart of the ship for the guests, BTW, as that's where all talks are given, entertainment is performed, etc) a light late breakfast is served and then sandwiches can be ordered in the afternoon in between the dining room hours for lunch and dinner. No need to ever be hungry, exceptional food is always available. I spoke to one guest who was suffering from insomnia and was served a lovely snack at 3am. The passenger comes first and foremost with Uniworld, that was clear. Being a small boat, you pretty quickly get to know your fellow guests which is a very nice thing, or not, up to you! Key to note is that no seats for meals are assigned, you can sit anywhere you want in the dining room during the dining times - you can sit alone, you can sit with new friends - there is no pressure at all. There are no huge communal tables, but if you choose to sit with new friends, then the staff is happy to push several tables together for you. So you can make friends, or not, it's your choice. The gym on board the River Empress is of necessity, pretty small, but it has everything you need, including a great view out of the windows as you workout on the elliptical or treadmill! A word to the wise, as I'm so very sorry we missed this opportunity - there are roughly a dozen bicycles on board that the guests can take out on their own in the villages when the boat is docked. The Fitness Director led a group of passengers on a bike ride from Boppard to Koblenz, Germany, while the ship cruised that route - thus, a dozen-ish passengers biked to the destination to which the ship sailed, a very fun experience for them! We didn't sign up in time to do this, maybe next time! We appreciated the washers and dryers for the guests' use - no charge, and the ship provides the laundry soap. Our experience with Uniworld was wonderful - first class, but not in the least stuffy, the staff made us feel very welcome! 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
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
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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