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Caligirl58

Has Uniworld Changed?

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We were on the same cruise.  Bucharest to Prague.  It was our first cruise with Uniworld and we were very pleased.  We do agree that Max was a wasted space.  We also were aware of the change in demographics from the first week to the second week.  Enjoyed the change, although we were in the older group. Sorry we couldn’t cruise all the way to Nuremberg, but enjoyed a few hours cruising from Passau to Regensburg.  Cruising is the only way for us.  What an interesting itinerary.

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Farang, regarding the excursions, what were some of the problems, if you don’t mind giving some specific examples.

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Agree totally with Farang. We have 3 Uniworld under our belt. The first was Normandy and  met our expectations, the second was Provence, a great experience and the last was Danube, just as Farang described. Less staff, inedible meals with cost cutting  of product as well as mediocre chef, and guides who were uninterested in the passengers.  After the last Uniworld  cruise we decided to never cruise with them  as our polite requests were met with negative attitude.  

We tried Crystal last year and were pleased with the product. The ships are  new and rooms are far better in design.  Uniworld can be described as Liberace meets Laura Ashley; Crystal is chic.  The meals on Uniworld were of poor quality, and not well presented. Between meals you can find candy only if you want a snack. On Crystal the Bistro offers charcuterie, cheeses, delicious freshly baked breads, and pretzels. and an abundance of sweet items including tortes, cookies and fruit.  Wines were well chosen.There is a 24 hr coffee bar, that has wine, yogurt and cookies.    Crystal's tours were terrific, a far better experience than Uniworld.  

JKLC123 here is a great example of Uniworld tours,  We were in Budapest and opted to take the City tour.  The guide dumped us at a church and said she would return in an hour. The group requested to see several sites, and the guide said that would not be possible . We drove through the shopping district of the city and returned the ship.  We certainly did not see the Pest side or any of the very important memorials.  A total waste.  If you want further examples just let me know. 

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Wow......

I MAY lower my expectations for next month's cruise but I still plan on having a wonderful time.

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jklc123 Since this thread is about changes perceived in the Uniworld product, I'll limit my comments to my general observations based on my experiences 2015 through the present.  With respect to excursions, on our first cruise with Uniworld, the groups excursion groups were always less than two dozen (one group per bus) and there was ALWAYS a separate group for the "gentle walkers"; also with own bus.  This last trip, there were no "gentle walker" provisions other than occasionally telling them to board a specific bus that also was for non-gentle walkers.  Group size, except for rare occasions, was only limited by the number of seats on the bus (50+?).  Seemed cost savings (1 to 2 buses per day) was paramount.

 

Another observation was that there were some excursions of the included options variety that were limited to maximum number of passengers, this meant queuing up at the front desk to seek coveted "seats on the bus" and disappointed passengers.  I understand that the capacity of the excursion provider (farmhouse, parlor, etc.) probably dictates capacity, but when you have a ship operating at capacity (140+), opportunities limited to 20% of passengers seems poorly conceived.

 

As Shoeman 1mentions, guides were less informed and engaged than previous trips and have taken to "leaving you to explore" in situations where there was nothing to explore - example 45 minutes to explore 4 or 5 roadside souvenir stands at an archeological site in Bulgaria.

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Lois, we just came back from a wonderful trip on Uniworld's Joie de Vivre on the Seine and also had a great first river cruise last year on Uniworld's S.S.Antoinette on the Rhine.  We are considering booking them again or a cruise on the Danube next year since we have been pleased with their product and they offer a 10% discount if you pay in full by the end of the month.  I have found them to be very responsive to any minimal suggestions that we have made on mid itinerary surveys.  I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip if the Danube cooperates.

 

Having said this, we will still listen to our travel advisor if they feel there is a better option.  We are locked into a certain week so it limits some options.  We are also looking at Crystal (Esprit - Adriatic Sea) and AmaMagan for the Danube.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, skinnylegs said:

Lois, we just came back from a wonderful trip on Uniworld's Joie de Vivre on the Seine and also had a great first river cruise last year on Uniworld's S.S.Antoinette on the Rhine.  We are considering booking them again or a cruise on the Danube next year since we have been pleased with their product and they offer a 10% discount if you pay in full by the end of the month.  I have found them to be very responsive to any minimal suggestions that we have made on mid itinerary surveys.  I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip if the Danube cooperates.

 

Having said this, we will still listen to our travel advisor if they feel there is a better option.  We are locked into a certain week so it limits some options.  We are also looking at Crystal (Esprit - Adriatic Sea) and AmaMagan for the Danube.  

 

 

Thanks for the reply😁 I am sailing on The Po, not The Danube.

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Yes, wow! Shoeman1 and  Farang, I am so disappointed in what you experienced. Not at all what one would expect. We’ve been in Budapest twice with Uniworld and had excellent tours, one trip less than a year ago.  Have always been able to get tours we wanted, although now on some itineraries there do seem to be more choices, so I see how some tours could fill up, and we always had groups of fewer than 25, except on the Christmas cruise when all the passengers descended on Princess Anita von Hohenberg at her castle! Thanks to both of you for sharing your concerns. On many evaluation forms I had mentioned the lack of alternative dining sites, but what was done to the Beatrice doesn’t sound like the right way to go on that issue.

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On 7/19/2019 at 6:02 AM, jpalbny said:

 

If your choice was between Uniworld and AMA it would be really hard to make the "wrong" choice as both consistently receive excellent reviews. Please, stop worrying. No cruise (or holiday, for that matter) is perfect but our four on Uniworld have come very close. We have friends who equally love AMA.

 

The cruise booklet should be available for download in the "already booked" section of the Uniworld website, as Ritabob has mentioned. Go have a look; it will answer most of your questions.

 

Prague is great but because it is so great, it's crowded. We went on our own for 3 days, 2 years ago. I did not blog about the trip but I have some pictures in SmugMug here: https://jpalbny.smugmug.com/Europe-201705/ The pictures are from the first few days (the rest of that trip is elsewhere).

 

If you have any specific questions about Prague, ask away, though it may be best to start a new thread because this one isn't about Prague and you may not get many replies here.

 

Thanks for sharing your photo blog and especially for putting titles of each shot.  You've made me more anxious to book a river cruise including a few days in Prague.

 

What time of year did you cruise and visit Prague?  I noted some folks where wearing light Winter jackets.  Living in the South near the beach now, I rarely wear a heavy jacket but luckily still have those options in the closet.  TIA

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The Danube cruise was in April 2016. Prague on our own was in May 2017. Hope you have a great trip, whenever you can visit!

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We have done 5 Uniworld cruises over the past 6 years or so .  We have also done three Seabourne cruises with a fourth planned.

 

I have read similar threads about declining experience on both.  And probably other lines as well.

 

I wonder if it is just perception.

 

The first cruise on a line is eye popping.  “Look at all the options on the buffet!” “So many excursions-I don’t know what to pick”  “ I love the chocolate on my pillow”. “The staff knew my name by the second day”. “ Everything is so bright and shiny and clean”

 

The  cruise exceeded your expectations.  You come home telling everyone how great it was and you write a glowing review on Cruise Critic.

 

Then a year or so later you book another cruise with the same cruise line. Your expectations are understandably high - probably even higher than your first cruise.

 

But this cruise does not wow you.  You raised the bar. And things that you might not have even noticed the first time jump out at you.

 

Your experience was “good” - even “very good”. But “gee - service/food whatever- is not as exceptional as my first cruise.” “Does anybody really care about a chocolate on their pillow?”   “The carpets looked a little worn.” “No variety in the dinning room”.  

 

“Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great time. Maybe a 7 or 8.  But that first one was a 10.  Is my cruise line slipping?”

 

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38 minutes ago, JPH814 said:

We have done 5 Uniworld cruises over the past 6 years or so .  We have also done three Seabourne cruises with a fourth planned.

 

I have read similar threads about declining experience on both.  And probably other lines as well.

 

I wonder if it is just perception.

 

The first cruise on a line is eye popping.  “Look at all the options on the buffet!” “So many excursions-I don’t know what to pick”  “ I love the chocolate on my pillow”. “The staff knew my name by the second day”. “ Everything is so bright and shiny and clean”

 

The  cruise exceeded your expectations.  You come home telling everyone how great it was and you write a glowing review on Cruise Critic.

 

Then a year or so later you book another cruise with the same cruise line. Your expectations are understandably high - probably even higher than your first cruise.

 

But this cruise does not wow you.  You raised the bar. And things that you might not have even noticed the first time jump out at you.

 

Your experience was “good” - even “very good”. But “gee - service/food whatever- is not as exceptional as my first cruise.” “Does anybody really care about a chocolate on their pillow?”   “The carpets looked a little worn.” “No variety in the dinning room”.  

 

“Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great time. Maybe a 7 or 8.  But that first one was a 10.  Is my cruise line slipping?”

 

I love your reply.:classic_smile: Thank you for that.....I will be on Uniworld in 2 weeks and I have sailed enough to know that what you have posted is very true. I am planning for a positive experience!

 

I have my first cruise on Seabourn booked for April and was reading on that forum a thread that is making

me think about that decision...I would think some of that negativity is not the norm.....or it is from folks

who are the "glass 1/2 empty" people...…...I am hoping for 2 great trips:classic_biggrin:

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3 hours ago, JPH814 said:

We have done 5 Uniworld cruises over the past 6 years or so .  We have also done three Seabourne cruises with a fourth planned.

 

I have read similar threads about declining experience on both.  And probably other lines as well.

 

I wonder if it is just perception.

 

The first cruise on a line is eye popping.  “Look at all the options on the buffet!” “So many excursions-I don’t know what to pick”  “ I love the chocolate on my pillow”. “The staff knew my name by the second day”. “ Everything is so bright and shiny and clean”

 

The  cruise exceeded your expectations.  You come home telling everyone how great it was and you write a glowing review on Cruise Critic.

 

Then a year or so later you book another cruise with the same cruise line. Your expectations are understandably high - probably even higher than your first cruise.

 

But this cruise does not wow you.  You raised the bar. And things that you might not have even noticed the first time jump out at you.

 

Your experience was “good” - even “very good”. But “gee - service/food whatever- is not as exceptional as my first cruise.” “Does anybody really care about a chocolate on their pillow?”   “The carpets looked a little worn.” “No variety in the dinning room”.  

 

“Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great time. Maybe a 7 or 8.  But that first one was a 10.  Is my cruise line slipping?”

 

I am the original poster.  As to whether it is "just perception", I can only tell you  (as I stated in my original post)  that we visited with several other passengers who had cruised Uniworld in the past - some more than once-  and all had the same "perception" that this cruise did not measure up to previous cruises.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But unlikely, in my opinion.  

I am very happy to see this thread active again.  It is always helpful to hear all sides.

 

 

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