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River Duchess Review

-- / 5.0
Editor Rating
47 reviews

Uniworld River Duchess Review

Review for River Duchess to Europe River
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South Carolina Traveler
10+ Cruises • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Aug 2012
Cabin: Suite with French Balcony

We travelled on the Uniworld River Duchess on a 27 day cruise from Amsterdam to Giurgiu Romania and while much of our experience was positive, there were several significant problems and we are unable to recommend this trip.

We are experienced travelers, but had never taken a river cruise. We opted for one of the four suites due to the length of the cruise. The River Duchess was recently refurbished and is an attractive ship. The public area (Blue Danube lounge) is small for the number of guests and many events were standing room only. The meals were good to excellent. Our suite was well appointed with a small sitting area, an ample and luxurious bath with wonderful toiletries and sumptuous towels, and a comfortable bed with choice of bedding. We especially enjoyed the Delongie Nespresso coffee maker in our suite. Wireless internet was generally well received in our cabin and there are plentiful 110 volt outlets. The staff was polite and (with some notable exceptions) competent. The cruise itinerary was interesting in the main, although the last week was less compelling principally due to poor port/tour infrastructure (it was over 100 Fahrenheit with poor bus air conditioning and some very long bus rides). The cruise terminated at Turnu Magurele Romania, about 60 miles short of our planned ultimate port because the Danube was low due to a protracted drought, but Uniworld did their best to mitigate the inconvenience.

There were significant problems that were never resolved. Our suite was on the top passenger deck (as are all four suites on this ship) with only the sun deck above. River boat height is critical to passing under bridges, but the lack of reasonable sound insulation in the sun deck floor is appalling. Any foot traffic above was amplified in our cabin and heavy footsteps made our entire room shake! Nevertheless, we quickly reconciled to such noise during waking hours and attributed it to fellow passengers. However, the problem was that frequent footsteps (many very heavy) occurred between 11 PM and 6 AM. We ascertained by personal observation many times as well as by having the purser's desk admit to us that this was due to crew. The crew is housed in the lowest level of the stern; their smoking area is on the stern of the sun deck. The smokers utilized this area all the time, but it was a major problem before their early and after their late shifts. The only way crew can access the sun deck is to come up the passenger stairs amidships and then walk to the stern. The most convenient route was to the port (left) side which was our room's location. We complained about this often, but it seemed that the issue could only be slightly and very temporarily mitigated. We would never choose a top deck cabin again on the River Duchess; if you must be on the top deck, we suggest you opt for a starboard cabin.

Cabin Review

Suite with French Balcony

Cabin S

Do not book top floor port side rooms; the crew marches across the sun deck on the port side at all hours for cigarette breaks (before and after their shifts) which creates serious noise in the cabin! Passenger related walking noise was during normal waking hours and while occasionally annoying, was tolerable.

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