Line: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Established: Uniworld was purchased by The Travel Corporation in 2006
Passengers: 126 - 160
What's included in the price
- All onboard meals
- Complimentary fine wine, beer, soft drink and specialty coffees
- Bottled water in stateroom
- Shore excursions with state-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio headset system
- Onboard entertainment and insightful signature lectures
- All transfers
Uniworld is a North American company that operates a fleet of large modern riverboats on the major rivers of Europe. Rivers that are cruised are the Rhine, Danube, Moselle and Main and some others from time to time. The company also offers cruises in Russia, Vietnam, Egypt and China. The company has been offering cruises for over 30 years and has steadily expanded not only its fleet, but cruising destinations. The line was founded by Serbian born Serba Illich and whilst other riverboat lines concentrated on European cutomers, Serba targeted North Americans. Regardless of their nationality, all crews on Uniworld boats speak very good English. The strategy certainly paid off as the line now has one of the highest proportions of repeat cruisers on its boats.
The riverboats are fitted out to a very high standard and are decorated to give the atmosphere of an upscale hotel. The luxury of the materials used is reflected in the fabrics, extensive polished wood, leather and engraved glass in both the public areas and the cabins. Cabins are spacious by riverboat standards. All have river views with most having large windows, even in standard class. Many have French balconies but because of the cabin space they take, they are not popular with everyone. Air conditioning in cabins is individually controlled on most ships. All cabins are fitted with closed circuit TV and able to access satellite news channels and other programs, depending on the location of the riverboat at the time. One of the most popular channels in the one showing the view from the riverboat’s bridge showing how the ship is being operated at the time. As is usual on a riverboat, bathrooms are compact. They are nevertheless fully fitted, comfortable and fully stocked with toiletries. Some riverboats have suites. These are very popular and have to be booked very early.
Unlike the large cruise ships, riverboats only sport one dining room however, the standard of the food on Uniworld cruises is outstanding. Food generally reflects the location of the riverboat but is still very much designed with the American palate in mind. Breakfast is a magnificent meal served buffet style but special dishes can be ordered from the kitchen on many of the company’s riverboats. Lunch is also served buffet style but each day there is a roast carved by the chef as well as a range of salads, pasta and fish dishes. There are usually two Captain’s dinners on a weeklong cruise and these consist of five courses. Dinner is served by waiters and courses must be ordered at the beginning of the meal. The cuisine is classic French in style but there are always vegetarian dishes available. Special dietary requirements can be satisfied if pre-warning is given. There is no cabin service on the company’s riverboats but there are 24/7 coffee and drinks machines and bowls of fruit are available in one or more of the public areas. Together with the fruit are trays of tempting pastries and other snacks available from early morning to late at night.
Entertainment for the most part on river cruises is the visiting of towns and ports along the way. There is not usually any organised entertainment available on board a Uniworld riverboat. During daytime cruising many passengers like to sit on the upper deck and watch the river go by. Crew members circulate offering drinks and light snacks to add to the general enjoyment. Expert guides accompany shore excursions. There is always at least one but there may be two or a whole day excursion. The company has introduced a “Quiet vox” system whereby the guide speaks into a microphone and passengers have an earpiece. This mean that they can hear what the guide is saying without have to crowd him in order to know what is going on. Some of the riverboats have small fitness centres, a sauna or even a beauty therapist or a hot tub.
Uniworld cater to the American market but there are usually Australians and Brits on board.