I have sailed with Uniworld twice before and with Viking a few times. I chose this sailing because of the beauty of Portugal and the friendliness of its people.
Although the scenery was lovely, people do need to understand that the regulations on the Douro only allow for sailing during daylight hours. This means very limited time in port and a lot of time on the ship. Also, except for Porto, the ship docks in the middle of nowhere. Thus, one of the joys of walking off a river cruise and into a city or town is nonexistent. There was a lot of bus travel. I believe this applies to all Douro River Cruises and none of that was a problem specific to Uniworld.
Uniworld promotes itself as a luxury boutique line. It’s motto is “Nothing but the best for you” and you pay for that level of attention.
The staff was lovely and the food was good. The problem lies with the ship. Uniworld is supposed to have another ship sailing this itinerary next year, but that didn’t help us.
1. The new reusable water bottles that were left on our bed we clearly used and contained liquid - one of them brown.
2. The sink had a large chip in it and a mess of caulk on the back.
3. We only had hot water about half the time. This was not just during busy times but at any time of the day.
4. We heard the sound of every toilet on the ship flushing in our cabin. Hard to believe, but true. More details in cabin review.
All of this was reported to the manager. On seeing the condition of our sink, he offered to move us across the hall. He said he could move us to another level for another 1400€ each. We decided to stay. We did not yet know about the toilets.
We were awakened each morning as people began to rise for the day. We heard an average of four flushes a minute. One morning, I actually recorded this on my iPad. We reported this noise to the manager and he said that he knows and added that “We hate this ship.” He asked me to please report it to Uniworld as he has already done so many times. He held out his hands crossed in front of him and added, “My hands are tied.”
I contacted my travel agent while on board as well and she tried her best to try to remedy the situation. The best she could get was shipboard credit of 100€/pp. I said thanks, but no thanks. I sent a long letter to Uniworld Customer Service on my last day aboard. As I lay there listening to the constant sound of flushing toilets, I told them how unhappy I was. I even included the recording of the repeated sound of toilets.
Two weeks later, I heard back from them. They were sorry and offering 350€ future cruise credit and a little shipboard credit. I will not use it.
I am very disappointed in the ship and the way in which Uniworld handled this. Not only have they lost my business, but six friends were booked with Uniworld in the spring and they have canceled.