To celebrate my 70th birthday my husband and I went all out and booked first class air flights, 5 star hotels and a suite (318) on the Uniworld Queen Isabel for a Douro River cruise.
This is an amazingly beautiful trip. Porto and the adjoining cities are charming. The Yeatman Hotel is over the top!
The city excursion guided by Uniworld was very good. Our guide was knowledgeable and engaged. We learned a lot about the city and the culture of the region.
The service on-board the Isabel was stellar. A special shout-out to Ricardo, the bartender who never met a drink he couldn't make and who looked out for the passengers. There were a couple of nights we weren't up to a big dinner and Ricardo hovered over us until he convinced us that for him to bring us a sandwich etc. was no problem.
Another shout-out to another Ricardo, our "cruise director". Ricardo's lectures on the area, port and the planned excursions were interesting, funny & informative. He was also a kind a caring person who truly seemed to care about the welfare of all his passengers.
Last but not least was Roberto, who was generally in charge of the ship. Another person who was always more than willing to go the extra mile to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
Unfortunately, even such excellent service could not make up for the very real short-comings of the Queen Isabel herself. The ship seems old with very low ceilings in the lounge and dining room. The furniture to be kind is dated and uncomfortable. Here you are on a river cruise...that cries out for a comfy chair and a hassock to put your feet up on and watch the world slip by. There is nothing like that anywhere on the ship. Not in our suite and not in the lounge. All the seating is straight backed and stiff and there are NO footstools of any kind. Yes, the top deck has some chaises but the weather is not always conducive to sitting up there.
Then finally there is Suite 318. This suite is right above the water pump which turns itself on and off all night and all day long. Because the noise goes on and off inconsistently, it never becomes "white noise" and you find yourself on edge waiting for it to start or stop. My husband and I did not have one good night's sleep the entire time we were on-board. Although the crew came to our room and listened and agreed yes it was disturbing, there was nothing that could be done. Since this was a very expensive room on this ship, it was very disappointing.
The issue with our room was so serious that I don't recommend Uniworld's Queen Isabel. From what I saw, there are far newer and more comfortable looking ships that offer the same or a similar itinerary. To go 7 nights without resting well has put me off Uniworld in general. They should not allow such an expensive room to have such a deep and apparently unfixable flaw.
Cabin was spacious. Water pump made it untenable. Worst aspect of the cruise.
Guide was knowledgeable and engaged with his group.View All 45 City Tour Reviews