This was our 3rd Uniworld river cruise and our 6th river cruise overall. We have enjoyed every river cruise we have ever taken, but have stayed with Uniworld after our travel agent recommended that we switch to them. Uniworld's service is wonderful.
The excellent service starts the moment you get within eyesight of the embarkation area. The crew take your luggage and usher you onboard to a very short and easy embarkation process. If you board as we did late morning, you are invited to lunch and can then go ashore until sailing. In this case, sailing was after dinner and we went out for the afternoon in Basel. When we returned our luggage was in our cabin.
The staff takes works hard to respond to all requests. Our cruise director, Ramona, was excellent and seemed to be constantly available. When I had trouble with my return flight, Ramona helped me get the information that I needed.
It was unusually cold during our cruise. During the afternoon when we passed the most famous Rhine castles there was a strong, cold wind. The staff frequently brought hot drinks and checked to see if you wanted any additional blankets.
I really like the all-inclusive format and not having to have cash to tip local guides and drivers. The same driver handled all of our excursions and was very safe and careful.
The food was very good. My husband said that the veal we had the last evening was the best veal he had ever had in his life. My favorite that meal was the creme brulee fois gras.
I enjoyed a guided afternoon bicycle ride in Strasbourg. The bicycles were easy to use and in great shape. The staff made sure that the bicycle was properly adjusted for me before we departed. There was a large basket and we were given a bottle of water before we departed.
The River Empress was the most comfortable river boat we have been on thus far. The beds were wonderful and the bathroom well designed. The water temperature pulsed occasionally, but not so much that we got scalded and there was plenty of hot water. The lighting is excellent.