4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The River Royale sails the rivers in Bordeaux, France. It is touted as a “culinary” and “wine” experience. We chose this cruise as it s supposed to be upmarket and sophisticated. The focus is on food and wine. Nothing could be ... Read More
The River Royale sails the rivers in Bordeaux, France. It is touted as a “culinary” and “wine” experience. We chose this cruise as it s supposed to be upmarket and sophisticated. The focus is on food and wine. Nothing could be further from the truth. The food was mediocre. If they think the food they serve is a culinary experience, then they have absolutely no idea what they are doing. I get better wine at my local supermarket. Almost everyone I spoke to on the cruise was dissapointed. The service is shocking. They have “self service” coffee stations with the worst coffee in the world. There is no service on the deck, even though Uniworld promise that you can “snap” your fingers and someone will service you. I had to ask for service at the reception more than once. The staff spend more time at the smokers corner, looking at their phones, than servicing guests. On a number of occasions, we would have wine and coffee on the deck and then we would find our empty glasses and coffee cups at the same table the next day. Shocking. The captain saw all of this happen in front of him but not once did he reprimand his staff. Nie day I took all the empty glasses from the table that has been there for a whole day and night, and deposited it on the table where the staff where smoking and chatting and told them that they can take the dishes back considering that we are paying their salaries. They glared at me. Bad management. That s all it is. But it’s also more than that. It’s unethical to sell something and create these expectations and then to fail so miserably. This cruise is mediocre and most certainly not worth the money. And it’s not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. I told the cruise director that the coffee if really terrible. She said that she thinks the coffee is good. I told her that I am her customer and I know the coffee is bad. Unbelievable. Denial. Incompetence. I know that Bea Tollman would probably have a heart attack if she knew that her legacy is being disrespected like this. This is not the Red Carnation way. I expected so much more. We won’t go on another cruise with Uniworld, even if they gave it away for free. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We were looking forward to a "wine cruise" in the Bordeaux area; Medoc, St Emilion and Sauternes. We expected to visit Chateaux that we otherwise could not, with expert tour guides nd maybe some lectures. We had also hoped ... Read More
We were looking forward to a "wine cruise" in the Bordeaux area; Medoc, St Emilion and Sauternes. We expected to visit Chateaux that we otherwise could not, with expert tour guides nd maybe some lectures. We had also hoped for "Haut Cusines" and luxury experience. Regrettably: • Food provided was very average, nothing special although I daresay it was adequate. • Meal times were restrictive. In particular breakfast started / finished in line with tours. No tea (scones / cakes) was on offer. • Wines were on the cheap end and not representative of fine wines available in the Bordeaux region. We were gratified that we were able to purchase our own wines offshore and drink them over dinner without a corkage charge. • Only 4 of the 6 full days included wine tours, one of which was very poor. No on-board wine lectures were included. Given the nature of the cruise there were not enough wine experiences!!! • Cooking class which cost €119 which was very poor and decidedly not as advertised. A view shared by all 6 participants. On complaining no remedy was offered. • Entertainment offered on board was very limited. Singer was somewhat tedious and no broadcast of the world cup final was available. • Infuriatingly one night (captain’s birthday) there was a party on deck above our cabin with noisy music until 2.00 am. • I got the impression that the boat’s management did not react well to criticism. Specifically when I commented on one of the wine tours and my wife on the cooking class. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
The Bordeaux cruise was a very enjoyable, light, easy going trip. Perfect for seniors, but maybe we were below the average age. Saint Emilion and Bordeaux were the highlights of the journey, but other stops, like Blaye, Fort Médoc or ... Read More
The Bordeaux cruise was a very enjoyable, light, easy going trip. Perfect for seniors, but maybe we were below the average age. Saint Emilion and Bordeaux were the highlights of the journey, but other stops, like Blaye, Fort Médoc or Libourne weren´t really exciting. For a wine centered cruise I expected more wine tastings and better house wines on board. We had an average of one wine tasting per day, and asked for upgrade wines in almost every dinner. Sometimes we brought the bottles we bought at the wineries to the restaurant. The food was very good, but not memorable. The cabins were extremely small, with a narrow corridor around a Queen size bed. There is a table and 2 chairs between the bed and the window, to give the impression of a veranda, but they´re just annoying obstacles. The bathroom is also tiny and I wonder if a fat man can fit the shower. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Our June trip was a chartered cruise we chose with a group for continuing education but also for the opportunity to experience the amazing Uniworld service and the beautiful Bordeaux region of France. We were met at the Airport (CDG) in ... Read More
Our June trip was a chartered cruise we chose with a group for continuing education but also for the opportunity to experience the amazing Uniworld service and the beautiful Bordeaux region of France. We were met at the Airport (CDG) in Paris and drove into Paris by a driver in a van, which was a very slow and heavily trafficked route. We took advantage of Uniworld pre-cruise nights in Paris at the Westin Vendome to hit the major sites (hint, get your Eiffle tower tickets early to avoid disappointment, they are available online 3 months ahead of time) The day of the cruise we were escorted in a motor coach to the speedy and smooth TGV first class train to Bordeaux , which is also easily done on one's own if desired. The River Royale is beautiful, the service is impeccable. After a short 10 minute wait we were checked in at the boat. Our category 2 stateroom had lots of storage and a comfortable bed, but not much room to walk around besides that! Each member of the staff is friendly, welcoming, and attentive. The food is excellent. The wines were delicious. we had an enjoyable wine tasting seminar with the sommelier. The included tours were informative. We took bikes out in Bordeaux along the river for a lovely ride on the first day. There were optional tours, we did the cooking class with a master chef in a chateau which was magical. The Cognac tour sold out quickly so darn we missed that one. There was a WW2 bunker tour which was favorably reviewed by my husband. We especially enjoyed bike tours through the vineyards. The motorcoaches are luxurious. Evening entertainment was low key except for one dance party night, and very enjoyable. Uniworld sets up a rooftop self-serve bar which is nice in the evening, and we enjoyed evening fireworks due to the Festival of Wine in Bordeaux happening concurrently. We used the fitness center 2 times, the bikes, and active tours, as well as the jacuzzi and sauna. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Fabulous cruise with delicious local fresh food and very well presented. Plenty of variation to choose from each day. The red and white French wines were great however when we asked for French Champagne on arrival we were only offered ... Read More
Fabulous cruise with delicious local fresh food and very well presented. Plenty of variation to choose from each day. The red and white French wines were great however when we asked for French Champagne on arrival we were only offered sparkling wine. It wasn't until we enquired further that the sommelier then offered us French Jacquart Champagne. I would have expected French champagne to be offered as a staple when travelling in France on a 4/5 star all inclusive luxury cruise. The entertainment was very disappointing. The singer who sat at the piano singing voiceovers and occasionally playing a couple of notes would finish well before patrons had left the bar/lounge area each evening. We had expected lively entertainment that encouraged people to get up on the dancefloor and dance. The speaker sound system in the lounge/bar didn't work properly as we had to resort to playing music from our iphones once the entertainment had left for the night. Overall the staff were very friendly and helpful on board, particularly our sommelier and dining room manager, Plaman who arranged a special evening for us on the top deck with our selection of vintage French Champagne and canapes. Our tour manager, Adrian (AJ) was outstanding. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the tours. The Chateaux owners were very passionate about their wine making and incredibly generous with sharing their knowledge with us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
1st time river cruising, and after checking around, the dates suited us and we attended a dinner talk about Uniworld. The sailing date (29th April08-Days Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux @ River Royale) that we took was promoted at the ... Read More
1st time river cruising, and after checking around, the dates suited us and we attended a dinner talk about Uniworld. The sailing date (29th April08-Days Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux @ River Royale) that we took was promoted at the talk as an epicurean journey with fine wines, different from the other sailings. We booked our cruise based on that. Unfortunately, we were most disappointed to conclude that Uniworld over promises and under delivers....The wines were really not great (although these were regional wines) and what we had at the wine tastings at the wineries were much better, except for one winery in St. Emillion. On querying the sommelier on board, we were informed that the table wines were available at the supermarkets for about Euro 10-15 per bottle. Fine wines are not that cheap, no? The sommelier did produce another range on a later night, which was better. The others in our group found the wines served so unpalatable that they had to buy their own when there was an opportunity. (One of us is a great wine expert.) We were greatly disappointed with the food served. Portions were big and quality was just not there. There was hardly any french dishes/meals served except for the last night, the gala night. Hello... French epicurean meals was definitely mentioned at the presentation talk? When we complained, the restaurant manager's reply was that the cruise was catered for Americans! Well, that certainly put us in our place, as we were not Americans! There were Canadians, Australians, Mexicans, Spanish, English, Malaysians etc on board. French food is dainty & light on the servings, being more quality than quantity. In this case on the River Royale, it was all quantity that mattered. The fish dishes every night were pretty bad....one would think cruising up and down the river, we would get fresh French fish at every meal! The only thing that was actually good was the constant item on the menu every dinner, the steak, cooked American style! There was NO French dessert! We never had any escargot, truffle, fois gras, french specialites etc. White asparagus was in season which we saw in the fresh markets, huge stems, but we never saw them except finally on the gala night, on one dish(if you got lucky and ordered that dish!), and these were the skinny ones, 4 pcs only. Epicurean? So saddd... Dessert was another great disappointment as that is always my highlight, and being in France, French pastries & cakes are delightful. When did Uniworld think Bombe Alaska is a French dessert? Or brownies... you get the picture... it was American desserts all the way. And another great disappointment! You would think being in France, with all those utterly lovely bakeries, we would definitely get a variety of French breads for breakfast? NOPE! OK, the chefs were Spanish (the senior chef Manuel, who seems to be the PR guy) and a very young, junior sweet Bulgarian chef who tried very hard to cook whatever we requested. So, even if the kitchens can't cope or are unable to make those lovely French breads and pastries, all they had to do was go off the boat and get them fresh off the local bakers on the riverside! We saw quite a few, and these are beautifully delicious breads! Instead, we get American style croissants (huge and non buttery flaky - hydrogenated oils I am guessing), muffins, danish, etc... HUGE disappointment on the breakfast breads. The eggs benedict was done well, though not consistent (perhaps different chefs, different ingredients). First 3 mornings, it was creamy and delicious...after that, it was wateryyyy... Lunches were ok, nothing great, being buffet style. I enjoyed the salads and the cheeses and the Rose that was served. Funnily enough, it wasn't offered to us until the 3rd last day, when we noticed other tables drinking the Rose, then did we realised that it was served. We checked and double checked with our Uniworld agent about the laundry services and were assured that one can do self laundry without charge. When we were on board, we found out there is NO self laundry and everything was to be handed to housekeeping and were chargeable. The morning exercises were interesting, but only 30 min which does not do much. 30 min is just warm up! The "gym" was very small and I think there were 4 exercise equipment but no treadmill. One cross trainer and the other 3 were cycling machines. The rooms/cabins are the smallest I've ever seen (we took the window cabin and not the balcony, as the balcony eats into the room), but we have only cruised on the big ships. For my husband to pass at the foot of the bed, I either have to hop onto the bed or sidle to the side of the bed. And I am of petite frame and he is of average built at 5ft 8inches. There are 2 upright chairs at the window next to the bed, but one would have to put both legs up on the bed as there's no place for your legs. The bathroom shower is tiny! I hate to imagine how the bigger size men and women close the shower door let alone have a shower in there! Both my husband & I have to flatten ourselves literally along the shower wall to enable the shower door to close! Well, those are the bad points about this Uniworld cruise on River Royale. But of course, there are lots of good points too! The staff work really hard, doing whatever they have to do (and everyone has to lend a hand in everything except housekeeping & front desk seems to be standalone depts). The wait staff are serving at the bar, and then at the dining room and then back at the bar too! The wait staff were always cheerful and smiling, ever willing to assist or listen to suggestions/complaints and pour wines/drinks. At dinner times, one could see them working under pressure, with a few tables to wait on, so taking orders and serving and clearing took some time. We appreciated our sommelier's efforts, Nico, for trying to give us better wines at dinner but he was limited by Uniworld's regulations. He was most helpful and informative. The restaurant & bar staff were very hardworking indeed. Housekeeping was always excellent, kept the cabin very clean, topped up the lovely complimentary chocolates, and always gave extra water after my request on the 1st night. Very efficient and fast, in and out before we realised it! Toiletries were by Occitane but did Uniworld really have to screw down all the dispensers? LOL... The tours were very much enjoyed and were good. Very well executed, very good guides (especially our Irish lady guide) who made the tours very interesting, good and interesting wineries were visited, good lunch at a chateau, the optional wine cask factory visit was greatly enjoyed, the Remy Martin excursion was really worthwhile and enjoyed by everyone. The buses were comfortable, and the drivers were good. We greatly appreciated that Uniworld (Thanks, Pierre - Entertainment Manager) made extra effort to pick up our group upon arrival at the Bordeaux airport very late at night and a light supper was prepared at the bar for us. Due to unforeseen circumstances, our connecting flights were cancelled and we had huge problems getting another flight to Bordeaux. Entertainment on board was limited. There were 2 nights where we were entertained by different artists who came on board to sing (and these were good) and the rest of the nights, we had a resident singer, and she was good too. If it were not for the extremely disappointing meals & wines, I would give this cruise a 5 star rating... as it is 3.5 stars .. It was our first river boat cruise, so we had high expectations, having heard great things from friends and family members (but they did not sail on Uniworld). We purposely chose this sailing based on the selling point and description of "epicurean meals & fine wines" and to our great disappointment, Uniworld did not deliver on these 2 points. We were so looking forward to the French meals and wines on board. Sad to say, we felt very short changed on these 2 items. We will try the other river boat cruise companies next time, to different places and hopefully, have much better reviews to write about. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I researched thoroughly and came to the conclusion that Uniworld were the best in the market. I was not in anyway disappointed. The staterooms are a little tight (going to be refitted this winter and more spacious are part of the plan) ... Read More
I researched thoroughly and came to the conclusion that Uniworld were the best in the market. I was not in anyway disappointed. The staterooms are a little tight (going to be refitted this winter and more spacious are part of the plan) but the bed and bedding was to die for, there was plenty of space for storage and loads of hangers for the 2 of us. The shower was also excellent, room service superb. We cannot speak too highly of the staff, they work very hard and always have a genuine smile. The food was the best, simply delicious and beautifully served. The bar staff were superbly trained, all were excellent but special mention for Marietta the Bar manager and the Sommelier Nedko, his wine tastings were interesting, informative and fun. Reception staff and crew members were ready to help at any time. Sharon the Uniworld Rep organised all the off boat excursions and did a great job. I would love to mention everyone by name but I am afraid this would go on far too long but they all deserve to be congratulated. We will certainly travel Uniworld again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had a family event in Europe and I wanted to add a river cruise to our trip. We booked just three months before departure, and my only regret is that I am still not on the ship ! I was very attracted to Uniworld's small size ... Read More
We had a family event in Europe and I wanted to add a river cruise to our trip. We booked just three months before departure, and my only regret is that I am still not on the ship ! I was very attracted to Uniworld's small size (there were 119 passengers on our cruise) and all inclusive price, and it was wonderful not to have to think about tipping all the service people and guides, paying for shore excursions or paying for a pre-dinner cocktail or my beloved Diet Coke in the salon or on the sundeck. I think this encouraged people to mingle more before, and after dinner. Lovely dining salon and lounge, with a grand piano and comfortable tables and sofas. The ship was immaculately clean. We were blessed with great weather and enjoyed some cruising topside on the sun deck on very comfortable padded lounge chairs. There are also tables available. The waiters were quick to take drink orders and keep them coming if you desired, along with little silver bowls of salty snacks. My husband enjoyed trying a variety of different beers and scotches. There was a small hot tub we never used on this deck. There was also a small work out room with a nice view at the front of the ship, and morning exercise classes were offered. The food was outstanding. I was told they would be featuring 43 different kinds of cheeses during the cruise. I love cheese, and they did not disappoint. Breakfast and lunch buffets with made to order omelettes and other goodies. Dinner was multi course table service with at least three choices for all courses. If you did not care for what was being offered, there were other choices that were always available including steak, salmon and a vegetarian dish as well as different starters and salads. I am allergic to mussels, and they went out of their way to make sure I had a satisfactory substitution when these were offered. The desserts were incredible, and the sweet pastry chef was standing by to describe each one and encourage you to try several. You could also book a dinner in The Blue Fox which was an intimate room for 12 serving the same menu as the regular dining room or a glass enclosed room for about 20 on top of the ship which served the same set menu the whole trip. This was very pleasant on a beautiful fall evening while cruising and watching the beautiful sunset. We did both and enjoyed them. I would recommend signing up for these on the first day, before the general announcement. They fill up quickly. Casual dining was also available on the sun deck with a limited menu of items. We did not try this. The service was top notch in every way. A nice touch was the stewards standing by when you came in from an excursion to hand you a cool cloth with silver tongs to refresh yourself, and another with a tray of fresh squeezed juice or iced tea. Sharon, our cruise director was wonderful, as was the hotel manager Sebastion. The dining room servers and housekeepers could not do enough for you. I think they have been trained to never say no. If you want something, they will make find it, or make it happen. Since this was a Vineyards and Chateaux cruise, there was a lot of focus on wines. We explored several wine making regions. I never knew such different wines were produced so close together. I enjoyed the winemakers lunch we had in a Chateaux where we were greeted by the owner and had a three course lunch with three different wines to complement each course. This was the only the only excursion we all went to together, the others were broken up into smaller groups.The guides were very good. I particularly enjoyed Sarah, an Irish girl married to a French national and raising a family in Bordeaux. The tours never felt crowded and the buses to transport us were very comfortable. There were three different days where there was an option to do a bike tour, which my husband loved. Bikes were available at all ports to explore on your own if you did not wish to do the excursions. He enjoyed the Bordeaux by bike tour, while I went on the walking tour. This is not a tour for children or teens, and there were none on the ship. Ages ranged from mid 30's to upwards of 80, I would have to guess. There were two guests with walkers, there is an elevator on board and they do have "gentle walking" excursions. The guest were primarily Americans, with Canadians, English, Australians, Brazilians and Spanish in the mix. We enjoyed most of the passengers and became friends with a couple who we hope to meet up with again. Would I go again ? IN A HEARTBEAT ! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our third Uniworld cruise and like the others, it was very nice and good fun. We traveled with three other couples for a group of eight and were accommodated well with a table at each meal. This cruise had a younger crowd than ... Read More
This was our third Uniworld cruise and like the others, it was very nice and good fun. We traveled with three other couples for a group of eight and were accommodated well with a table at each meal. This cruise had a younger crowd than the others and the dance floor was swinging most nights. The food was well prepared and two of the dinners were outstanding. Staff was super attentive and friendly. The River Royale was in top shape and except for a bit of trouble with the door lock everything worked perfectly. The on board entertainment was ok, but the local entertainment was very good. That said, the entertainment we have had our=out Tauck cruises has been superior to that on Uniworld. The daily excusions were well run and the guides well informed, interesting and easy to understand. The chateaux we visited were lovely. The city tours were causal and easy to walk. Highly recommended. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I was invited by a friend to go on this river cruise and was a bit nervous as I suffer from motion sickness. The good news.......no motion sickness and it was an amazing experience. I would have to say the highlights were the Cruise ... Read More
I was invited by a friend to go on this river cruise and was a bit nervous as I suffer from motion sickness. The good news.......no motion sickness and it was an amazing experience. I would have to say the highlights were the Cruise Managers (Adrian) planned excursions which included cooking classes, bike rides through the vineyards and wine tastings. My favorite........St. Emilion, I could have spent a week there just strolling the ancient cobblestone streets and exploring all of the amazing little wine shops. The staff and crew were outstanding, I couldn't have asked for better service and they went out of there way to accommodate all of us. The food could have been a bit more "exciting", I'm a bit of a foodie and I feel that that's one area that they could improve. The wine selection was good, the pastry chef was outstanding. I would definitely sail with Uniworld again, they go above and beyond to make your vacation memorable and enjoyable. Read Less
River Royale Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 2.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 5.0 0.0

Find a River Royale Cruise