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Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this mini cruise as we were running out of annual leave - and although it was a short break the cruise company included a little bit of everything you might expect on a longer holiday. Very smooth embarkation at Southampton, and ... Read More
We chose this mini cruise as we were running out of annual leave - and although it was a short break the cruise company included a little bit of everything you might expect on a longer holiday. Very smooth embarkation at Southampton, and great new facilities on board. We had an ocean view stateroom on deck 2 which had not been updated in the refurb but which was fine. The highlight of the entertainment was the ice show, which we have seen before, but comes up fresh each time. Breathtaking. A great feature is the consistent quality of food onboard in the windjammer (wide selection) and the friendly service in the main dining room. There were only two port days, but easy access into and out of both Bruges and Le Havre meant we decided against further travel to Paris. The most important and memorable feature of our cruise was the amazing customer service and smiles from every member of the crew - they made the trip. We left the ship looking forward to a longer cruise with Royal caribbean n.ext year Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
First night hotel in Monte Carlo then a four hour coach ride the following day to pick up our ship in Arles, in fact it took over 5 hours because of a crash on the motorway! Ships crew were there to welcome us on board and as we were ... Read More
First night hotel in Monte Carlo then a four hour coach ride the following day to pick up our ship in Arles, in fact it took over 5 hours because of a crash on the motorway! Ships crew were there to welcome us on board and as we were late dinner was delayed but we had no time to shower and change! Cabin excellent and liked the position of the bed facing the window, nice to lie in bed and watch the world go by. Cabin furniture a bit dark and dated compared to more contemporary designs on other river cruises we have travelled. Spotlessly clean and the cabin steward was very helpful when I complained that the pillow was too soft, she managed to find me a firm one. Food and wine excellent, service attentive. Relaxed dining experience and not rushed in any way. On board entertainment good, enjoyed the local foods sample bought on board at Viviers. Daily pre dinner talk of the next day activities and port of call always informative. Service excellent, everyone very friendly and professional and eager to make the trip a memorable experience for us. Shore excursions guides were all knowledgeable and made the excursions very interesting and fun. Shore excursions about the right length of time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Chose itinerary. Loved Provence countryside. Guided tours were always well paced, informative, and the guides were pleasant and very entertaining. The ship was contemporary simple; beautiful really with all the orchids scattered about. ... Read More
Chose itinerary. Loved Provence countryside. Guided tours were always well paced, informative, and the guides were pleasant and very entertaining. The ship was contemporary simple; beautiful really with all the orchids scattered about. Can't say enough about the responsiveness of all staff on the ship. Cruise director, Tony, was outstanding, very involved, always a presence, and attentive to any questions or issues. Our bags were handled every step of the way; from our arrival to our departure. We enjoyed onboard tastings....cheese, wine, and confections. As a frequent large ship cruiser I found the river cruise by comparison to be more relaxing, the ship more friendly, the service more personal. No problems with motion sickness as the ride was smooth and motionless. The many locks along the way were a surprise and added to our adventure. A few hours at an outdoor market offered up fresh bread, cheese, dried meats, honey, nugat, and fresh picked strawberries and other produce. Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and will consider this type of adventure again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
1st time river cruising, and after checking around, the dates suited us and we attended a dinner talk about Uniworld. The sailing date (29th April08-Days Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux @ River Royale) that we took was promoted at the ... Read More
1st time river cruising, and after checking around, the dates suited us and we attended a dinner talk about Uniworld. The sailing date (29th April08-Days Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux @ River Royale) that we took was promoted at the talk as an epicurean journey with fine wines, different from the other sailings. We booked our cruise based on that. Unfortunately, we were most disappointed to conclude that Uniworld over promises and under delivers....The wines were really not great (although these were regional wines) and what we had at the wine tastings at the wineries were much better, except for one winery in St. Emillion. On querying the sommelier on board, we were informed that the table wines were available at the supermarkets for about Euro 10-15 per bottle. Fine wines are not that cheap, no? The sommelier did produce another range on a later night, which was better. The others in our group found the wines served so unpalatable that they had to buy their own when there was an opportunity. (One of us is a great wine expert.) We were greatly disappointed with the food served. Portions were big and quality was just not there. There was hardly any french dishes/meals served except for the last night, the gala night. Hello... French epicurean meals was definitely mentioned at the presentation talk? When we complained, the restaurant manager's reply was that the cruise was catered for Americans! Well, that certainly put us in our place, as we were not Americans! There were Canadians, Australians, Mexicans, Spanish, English, Malaysians etc on board. French food is dainty & light on the servings, being more quality than quantity. In this case on the River Royale, it was all quantity that mattered. The fish dishes every night were pretty bad....one would think cruising up and down the river, we would get fresh French fish at every meal! The only thing that was actually good was the constant item on the menu every dinner, the steak, cooked American style! There was NO French dessert! We never had any escargot, truffle, fois gras, french specialites etc. White asparagus was in season which we saw in the fresh markets, huge stems, but we never saw them except finally on the gala night, on one dish(if you got lucky and ordered that dish!), and these were the skinny ones, 4 pcs only. Epicurean? So saddd... Dessert was another great disappointment as that is always my highlight, and being in France, French pastries & cakes are delightful. When did Uniworld think Bombe Alaska is a French dessert? Or brownies... you get the picture... it was American desserts all the way. And another great disappointment! You would think being in France, with all those utterly lovely bakeries, we would definitely get a variety of French breads for breakfast? NOPE! OK, the chefs were Spanish (the senior chef Manuel, who seems to be the PR guy) and a very young, junior sweet Bulgarian chef who tried very hard to cook whatever we requested. So, even if the kitchens can't cope or are unable to make those lovely French breads and pastries, all they had to do was go off the boat and get them fresh off the local bakers on the riverside! We saw quite a few, and these are beautifully delicious breads! Instead, we get American style croissants (huge and non buttery flaky - hydrogenated oils I am guessing), muffins, danish, etc... HUGE disappointment on the breakfast breads. The eggs benedict was done well, though not consistent (perhaps different chefs, different ingredients). First 3 mornings, it was creamy and delicious...after that, it was wateryyyy... Lunches were ok, nothing great, being buffet style. I enjoyed the salads and the cheeses and the Rose that was served. Funnily enough, it wasn't offered to us until the 3rd last day, when we noticed other tables drinking the Rose, then did we realised that it was served. We checked and double checked with our Uniworld agent about the laundry services and were assured that one can do self laundry without charge. When we were on board, we found out there is NO self laundry and everything was to be handed to housekeeping and were chargeable. The morning exercises were interesting, but only 30 min which does not do much. 30 min is just warm up! The "gym" was very small and I think there were 4 exercise equipment but no treadmill. One cross trainer and the other 3 were cycling machines. The rooms/cabins are the smallest I've ever seen (we took the window cabin and not the balcony, as the balcony eats into the room), but we have only cruised on the big ships. For my husband to pass at the foot of the bed, I either have to hop onto the bed or sidle to the side of the bed. And I am of petite frame and he is of average built at 5ft 8inches. There are 2 upright chairs at the window next to the bed, but one would have to put both legs up on the bed as there's no place for your legs. The bathroom shower is tiny! I hate to imagine how the bigger size men and women close the shower door let alone have a shower in there! Both my husband & I have to flatten ourselves literally along the shower wall to enable the shower door to close! Well, those are the bad points about this Uniworld cruise on River Royale. But of course, there are lots of good points too! The staff work really hard, doing whatever they have to do (and everyone has to lend a hand in everything except housekeeping & front desk seems to be standalone depts). The wait staff are serving at the bar, and then at the dining room and then back at the bar too! The wait staff were always cheerful and smiling, ever willing to assist or listen to suggestions/complaints and pour wines/drinks. At dinner times, one could see them working under pressure, with a few tables to wait on, so taking orders and serving and clearing took some time. We appreciated our sommelier's efforts, Nico, for trying to give us better wines at dinner but he was limited by Uniworld's regulations. He was most helpful and informative. The restaurant & bar staff were very hardworking indeed. Housekeeping was always excellent, kept the cabin very clean, topped up the lovely complimentary chocolates, and always gave extra water after my request on the 1st night. Very efficient and fast, in and out before we realised it! Toiletries were by Occitane but did Uniworld really have to screw down all the dispensers? LOL... The tours were very much enjoyed and were good. Very well executed, very good guides (especially our Irish lady guide) who made the tours very interesting, good and interesting wineries were visited, good lunch at a chateau, the optional wine cask factory visit was greatly enjoyed, the Remy Martin excursion was really worthwhile and enjoyed by everyone. The buses were comfortable, and the drivers were good. We greatly appreciated that Uniworld (Thanks, Pierre - Entertainment Manager) made extra effort to pick up our group upon arrival at the Bordeaux airport very late at night and a light supper was prepared at the bar for us. Due to unforeseen circumstances, our connecting flights were cancelled and we had huge problems getting another flight to Bordeaux. Entertainment on board was limited. There were 2 nights where we were entertained by different artists who came on board to sing (and these were good) and the rest of the nights, we had a resident singer, and she was good too. If it were not for the extremely disappointing meals & wines, I would give this cruise a 5 star rating... as it is 3.5 stars .. It was our first river boat cruise, so we had high expectations, having heard great things from friends and family members (but they did not sail on Uniworld). We purposely chose this sailing based on the selling point and description of "epicurean meals & fine wines" and to our great disappointment, Uniworld did not deliver on these 2 points. We were so looking forward to the French meals and wines on board. Sad to say, we felt very short changed on these 2 items. We will try the other river boat cruise companies next time, to different places and hopefully, have much better reviews to write about. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I researched thoroughly and came to the conclusion that Uniworld were the best in the market. I was not in anyway disappointed. The staterooms are a little tight (going to be refitted this winter and more spacious are part of the plan) ... Read More
I researched thoroughly and came to the conclusion that Uniworld were the best in the market. I was not in anyway disappointed. The staterooms are a little tight (going to be refitted this winter and more spacious are part of the plan) but the bed and bedding was to die for, there was plenty of space for storage and loads of hangers for the 2 of us. The shower was also excellent, room service superb. We cannot speak too highly of the staff, they work very hard and always have a genuine smile. The food was the best, simply delicious and beautifully served. The bar staff were superbly trained, all were excellent but special mention for Marietta the Bar manager and the Sommelier Nedko, his wine tastings were interesting, informative and fun. Reception staff and crew members were ready to help at any time. Sharon the Uniworld Rep organised all the off boat excursions and did a great job. I would love to mention everyone by name but I am afraid this would go on far too long but they all deserve to be congratulated. We will certainly travel Uniworld again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Ship was beautiful, cabins were huge very spacious the bathroom was a very generous size with a amazing shower. The dining on board is the best dinning experience i have ever had the waiting staff very polite and knowledgeable ... Read More
Ship was beautiful, cabins were huge very spacious the bathroom was a very generous size with a amazing shower. The dining on board is the best dinning experience i have ever had the waiting staff very polite and knowledgeable regarding wines and dishes being served. The port of call were fantastic great choice with very knowledgeable guides who were happy to answer any questions along the way. Seeing the Eiffel Tower illuminated and sparkling was a great start to our cruise. Service we received from every single staff,crew member was brilliant. The whole experience from start to finish was seamless Entertainment was very low key which was fine, nice music playing in the background each evening. I would 110% recommend a Scenic Cruise to friend and family i can guarantee you will be blown away. Looking forward to planning another one and i know Scenic will be my first choice every time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We just returned from a Cannes to Cannes cruise which stopped at ports in Italy, Corsica and Sardinia with excursions to Pisa and Mt. Carbonne in Elba among other offerings. This was our 1st Clipper cruise but we will sign up for ... Read More
We just returned from a Cannes to Cannes cruise which stopped at ports in Italy, Corsica and Sardinia with excursions to Pisa and Mt. Carbonne in Elba among other offerings. This was our 1st Clipper cruise but we will sign up for another without a doubt. With about 200 passengers, a 3rd from the US and the rest from Europe mainly, it was easy and comfortable meeting each other especially with the open seating policy for dinner which we particularly appreciated. Due to minimal winds, we motored for the most part but when leaving a port, all the sails are down, the send off music plays and the magic is felt. We found the food very good and the room sizes quite adequate and comfortable. The staff from program director, waitstaff, cabin crew to the chef and captain could not have been more professional, friendly and attentive. We recommend this ship in particular but the Star Clipper line without reservation. The whole experience left me nostalgic and yearning to return even 2 weeks after it ended. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Why would I want to go to France and eat Costco food for 3 meals a day? We started bringing our own bread & dessert as these are particularly wonderful in France. What a shame to have missed out on fabulous fresh fish that we saw at ... Read More
Why would I want to go to France and eat Costco food for 3 meals a day? We started bringing our own bread & dessert as these are particularly wonderful in France. What a shame to have missed out on fabulous fresh fish that we saw at many of the ports. Instead, we ate frozen strips of fish in 2 ounce portions (we could ask for a second piece, but sometimes with complaints from the servers). The first 2 ports were all closed up on the days we were there. We had way too much time in the departure/return port of Conflans where there is nothing of interest. We were in Normandy on the first day of scallop season. Unfortunately, the 175 of us were in a little restaurant having our lunch of fish (which was actually the best meal of the entire trip). The sole tour director, Sebastian, had his hands full with this many people. He did a fantastic job, but he was overworked. There were 2 injuries during our trip all due to the extremely large group sizes trying to hear the different local guides and walking on uneven pavement unable to see where one is stepping. One woman broke her finger on her fall. This is definitely a penny pinching organization. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
This is our third barge we've been aboard with European Waterways. Each barge was very different, but the experience, service and cuisine were superb! It was especially fun to meet Florian and Judith again after our trip in 2015 ... Read More
This is our third barge we've been aboard with European Waterways. Each barge was very different, but the experience, service and cuisine were superb! It was especially fun to meet Florian and Judith again after our trip in 2015 aboard La Belle Epoque. We brought along two other couples who were new to hotel barges. Now they are as excited as we are about this experience. Our chef on this trip, Ollie, made the experience special. His mantra "butter, butter and more butter" will ring in our ears for a very long time. His cooking is magical! If you want to be spoiled, pampered (11 guests with 6 staff to indulge your every whim) then European Waterways will exceed all expectations. The boats are kept in bristol-fashion. Shore excursions were fun, especially going to Thursday morning market with Ollie to gather food for the day's meals. Two luxury Mercedes passenger vans shadow each barge, ready to take you anywhere you would like to go. It was also great fun and welcome exercise to hop off the barge on one of the bikes provided for each guest. We immediately began planning for our next trip with European Waterways. An excellent value for money! Read Less

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