After researching potential cruise companies for my first ever river cruise in Europe, I decided on Uniworld with its consistent annual award-winning history. I wanted a trip that covered all expenses, including accommodation, food, beverage, tours/excursions with options for the less physically able - I use a walking stick - and gratuities, as once I stepped on board, I wanted to be carefree and to simply enjoy myself.
Though my luxurious cabin and ensuite were compact, the bed was super comfortable, and there was abundant closet space with, surprisingly, plenty of clothes hangers :) As the French Balcony door slid open, I could enjoy fresh air, sunshine and constantly changing view from my cabin without heading up to the sun deck.
Everything on this floating hotel was 5 star - the friendly yet professional staff bent over backwards to meet our needs - no request was too difficult; chef and his team cooked and baked everything onboard; and the ship was spotless. Cudos to the heads of departments who pulled their staff together into a wonderful team on the River Princess. Cudos to the staff as they helped each other out, even across departments, and radiated boundless and positive energy everyday, despite working hard for extremely long hours.
We feasted shamelessly on full buffet breakfasts and lunches and a la carte dinners, and if you had room for fruit and desserts, they too were in plentiful supply. I do believe the majority of us were glad we brought loose comfortable clothes to accommodate expanding waistlines. As we stopped at a different town every day, food and wines from that particular region were featured on the menu for that day.
Afternoon tea was available for those who still had an appetite between our main meals and the lolly counter was open 24 hours a day, and home-made cookies beside the self-catering hot drink machine on the patio. Cocktail hour tempted us with more exciting refreshments to try while we relaxed and chatted with soft gentle music played by the resident musician.
After dinner, most of us would head to back to the Piano Lounge for more chin-wagging and themed nightly music you could along and dance to, if you had energy left after the day's excursions.
Every evening before dinner, our cruise manager would go over what tours and excursion would be on offer the next day. This would be followed up with a printed schedule provided with a surprise of the day when our beds were turned down that evening.
If you're active, there were walking and cycling tours you could go on, while the rest of us either took the day and/or afternoon city tours and other options on offer, or chose to while away the time to sit or stretch out on the sun deck. As always, plentiful liquid refreshments found their way up to quench our thirst..
As one who chose the 15 day Budapest to Amsterdam European Jewels cruise, I had a field day seeing and absorbing history and culture at every stop. I also loved the concert in Vienna, which included demonstrations of the Viennese Waltz and some entertaining light opera. You simply can't go to Vienna and not enjoy the music in a beautiful historical building.
Though I arrived in Budapest then stepped on board straight away, I did stay a couple of days in Amsterdam on Uniworld's post-cruise package so I could explore the city and also look for windmills and tulips. I wish I had done a pre-cruise few days in Budapest as well.
Would I go again with Uniworld? Ooohhhh, a definite YES! This first time has set the standard so high, that it would be a challenge to find any other company able to exceed my now skyhigh expectations.
Luxurious with quirky paintings. Compact but with heaps of closet & storage space and plentiful hangers, which you don't get in hotel rooms. Serviced daily with evening bed turndown. Luxury toiletries in bathroom and a jar full of chocolates and bottled water always there.