April saw me join the first cruise of the season for U by Uniworld on the A, cruising from Amsterdam to Frankfurt.
It was Easter weekend in Amsterdam so was very busy.
I caught a taxi from the airport but the train would have been an equally good option as the boat was docked like 700 mtrs from the train station and due to the location the cabs do not get much closer.
The A cuts a nice figure on the water and due the black outside colouring makes it very easy to identify among the river boats.
Walking on the dock was quiet quickly greeted and helped with my luggage on board. Check in was completed in minutes and was in my room 201 very shortly after.
The rooms are compact which is to be expected on a river cruise, but there is plenty on storage areas. In fact the whole trip I kept finding new hidey holes. I was travelling alone so the room was more than adequate for me.
They are clean and sleek. The bathrooms are small but well laid out. 201 is the first cabin on the boat and I had thought you may get alot of noise of people walking by but I rarely heard outside.
There was USB and power points throught out the room. You could also cast from your phone or tablet to the TV.
The boat is very slick with artwork through out and the use of colours is well done. Even the outside signage changes colour from night to night.
The first day the boat was very quiet with people either out exploring the city or catching up on sleep from flying in.
In the afternoon there is a welcome aboard event with sparkling wine, introduction to the staff and U hosts, as well as all the security details.
Also where you get to meet your ship mates.
The line markets to a younger crowd, we had a wide mix of people from the 86 year old grandma to 20 something couples. This for me made for an interesting group and everyone was able to connect with others from time to time.
Dining on the A was a bit of a hit or miss to me. They say that they serve regional cuisine but found that more often than not they were trying to cater for a very wide range which people either enjoyed or didn't. To me alot of travelling is about experiencing local cuisines and feel this could have been better delivered. There is a brunch most mornings that consist of generally the some sort of hot breakfast bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. There is also an omelette station. Salads, pastries, yoghurts, breads and cheeses are also included. There is a good mix of healthy and less healthy options. Breakfast does at some point move to a more lunch menu but I did not see that much as you are usually out and about. Dinners run a mix of family style dining or a buffet. I found the family style nights had food of better quality. Dinner was generally a great time to meet and catch up with your fellow cruisers.
The last night there is a dessert special which was the best desserts all trip and is quite an experience.
Dinner time is up to your schedule usually from around 6pm to 9pm. However usually you found most people were there on 6pm as there is not alot of options onboard post 11am. A smaller selection at break and availability of some snacks in the afternoon would have been nice, which was a general consensus.
Service was hit or miss about getting drinks to go with the meals.
I had purchased the drinks package but felt overall I ended up feeling like I had to drink alot to make up the amount I paid. But they did have very nice cocktails.
There are a number of included excursions, and others that needed to be paid for.
Most locations include a walking tour with the U hosts to get your acquainted with the city and then time to explore on your own.
There are a couple of included excursions including canal tours in Amsterdam with champagne with was thoroughly enjoyable. There is a visit to a castle that you and your fellow cruisers get to experience castle living.
Bikes are available to be taken out in all cities that are visited with a 24km bike ride included if you wanted to ride instead of cruise which was a lovely experience.
Being April there was also a paid excursion to Kuekenhoff to see the Tulips which was great but busy as would be expected.
It was the first cruise of the season and the staff were still getting their groove on so it could be hit or miss.
Also some of the towns visited the timings were a little off. We had one town that we got in late and most places had closed other than a few bars and then left at 8am.
Onboard there is not a great deal of entertainment. There was an jazz player when we were sailing the Rhine and the U hosts Djd. Most nights tho were spent relaxing and getting to know your fellow cruisers.
There are U hosts that organising the different activities and everyone had their favourite.
On disembarking you need to be out of your room by 8am tho you can stay on the boats common areas till you need to leave. The cruise was also able to organise cab rides to the airport which picked you up right in front of the boat.
All in all the experience crusing the Rhine is pretty darn great. While there are things that could have been done better but as we noted one afternoon sitting in the sun, with a cocktail, jazz playing, amazing scenery passing by there was nothing wrong with life at that moment.
Great way to experience the cityView All 311 Canal Tour Reviews