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  #1  
Old April 15th, 2013, 06:33 AM
twoboys twoboys is offline
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Default Uniowrld - Queen Isabel

Anyone been on the new Queen Isabel yet? We are going at the end of June and its our first River Cruise. I keep looking for new Uniworld reviews in general. There hasnt been a new one since December. Are there no cruises between December and April? I know its a smaller population that takes river cruises and once you divide it by company, its even smaller. But I do love reading the reviews. If anyone has been on this ship or any Uniworld cruise in the past couple of months, I would love to hear what you have to say

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  #2  
Old April 20th, 2013, 05:04 PM
Barrheadlass Barrheadlass is offline
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I don't think Uniworld cruises from the xmas time cruises until late March.
I'm assuming you are doing the Douro cruise. We did it last year with Uniworld, although on the Douro Spirit, in September. It was our second Uniworld cruise, and I'm planning a third. Every thing is done nicely...food is very good, they are generous with wine, staff is well trained, tour directors are very good. Our first Uniworld cruise was in the next to lowest level cabin, or slightly above...I don't remember. It was basically aquarium class.
Our Douro cruise featured a French balcony. My next cruise will be back to aquarium class...I spend so little time in the room that the extra cost isn't worth it to me. Whether in the lounge, or on the sun deck...that is where we spend our time.
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  #3  
Old April 21st, 2013, 08:44 AM
twoboys twoboys is offline
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Thank you for your reply. We actually booked a Jr Suite with a balcony which I think will be quite nice. Maybe you can help me with some other questions:
1-Is dinner at a set time? If so, what time?
2- What is there to do after dinner? We have only been on ocean cruises (our favorite is Seabourn) that have some entertainment at night and usually a casino.
3- when you go on the excursions, do they keep all the passengers together or will they break up into smaller groups?
4- did you have time on your own to explore more off the beaten path?
5- any tips for what not to miss in Lisbon?

Thank you
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  #4  
Old April 21st, 2013, 11:22 AM
Cruz-OR Cruz-OR is offline
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Haven't been on the Isabel but was on the Baroness which might be similiar. There was a set time for dinner at 6:00 as I remember. No casino but usually some entertainment like a singer and a small musical group. On excursions we had three buses with a guide for each. We could explore on our own to a limited degree. We usually had some "free" at each stop and would meet the bus at a set time. Won't be in Lisbon until later this year so no help with that question. You will enjoy most every aspect of traveling with Uniworld.
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  #5  
Old April 21st, 2013, 11:44 AM
twoboys twoboys is offline
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Thank you Cruz-or. Wow, 6:00??? That us so early. Usually on vacations, especially in Euorpe, we don't hear until 8 or 9. But I guess we shall wait and see.
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  #6  
Old April 21st, 2013, 01:40 PM
Barrheadlass Barrheadlass is offline
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I'm pretty sure dinner is at 7, not 6...but everything else the previous poster said is right on. As to Lisbon, we just walked around, and after one of the guided tours stayed "downtown" and had lunch, then took a taxi back to the hotel after walking around. We only had a brief time on our own in Lisbon...we did take the tour to Sintra, etc.
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  #7  
Old April 22nd, 2013, 06:12 AM
twoboys twoboys is offline
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Thanks again. I am looking into some independent tours to Sintra. I believe that there is an extra charge anyway from Uniworld for that.So I will compare and contrast. But I figure if we will be on larger groups on the excursions once we are on the ship. it might be nice to do something with a smaller group on our own. We are pretty much independent travelers, and I tend to do alto of research before we go anywhere. Between iPhone apps, guidebooks, Trip Advisor Guides, etc, we have done and seen some amazing things on our own (many for free!).
I am awaiting our final documents from Uniworld so once I have that in hand I can make an educated decision. Our trip starts on Juen 27th, so I imagine we will get them soon.
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  #8  
Old April 22nd, 2013, 08:04 PM
Barrheadlass Barrheadlass is offline
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You can pretty easily take a train on your own to Sintra. The Uniworld tour included Cascais that day too, and you could do that on your own too.
I just returned from a 3 week land tour in Italy. I, too, did things on my own, went places on local buses and the vaporetto in Venice. Loved being independent! Enjoy your trip! I saw the jr. suite and it was lovely. Weather should be wonderful for your trip too. We had terrific weather...
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  #9  
Old April 25th, 2013, 01:39 AM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twoboys View Post
Thank you for your reply. We actually booked a Jr Suite with a balcony which I think will be quite nice. Maybe you can help me with some other questions:
1-Is dinner at a set time? If so, what time?
2- What is there to do after dinner? We have only been on ocean cruises (our favorite is Seabourn) that have some entertainment at night and usually a casino.
3- when you go on the excursions, do they keep all the passengers together or will they break up into smaller groups?
4- did you have time on your own to explore more off the beaten path?
5- any tips for what not to miss in Lisbon?

Thank you

We were on the River Beatrice (Passau to Budapest) this past September. Not sure if the times, etc., will apply to your cruise, but here's what we experienced on our cruise:

1. Most evenings dinner was served at 7:00 pm. Dinner was a little earlier one evening, and a little later one other evening (this had to do with the timing of the tours on those days).

2. There was nightly entertainment in the lounge. Some evenings the onboard musician played and other evenings local entertainers came aboard for an hour or so. No casinos. For the most part, we were up early ... and after a full day of activities, we were ready for bed by 10:00.

3. When we went on the ship excursions, we stayed with the group (for the most part). When we were in Melk, we did get ahead of our group, but we knew we'd meet up with them at the end. On all of the ship tours we took, we had some free time to explore on our own. We were given a time to be back at a specific location.

4. Our experiences were that when we were with the group, we really didn't have a lot of time to go off the beaten path. If there's something you specifically want to do and the tour isn't going to get you there, or you want to spend a lot of time at this particular place, then ask the concierge for assistance and she (or he - ours was a she) will take care of this for you. Whatever we asked, Tania smiled and took care of it for us.

5. We've not been to Lisbon, but it's on our list!

Your junior suite with a balcony sounds really nice! We were in a suite and loved it.
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  #10  
Old April 25th, 2013, 06:21 AM
twoboys twoboys is offline
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Thank you Twinkletoes. This will be a brand new experience for us. I have read so many reviews and posts and it looks like river cruising has many raving fans. I hope that we too will write a glowing review when we return.
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  #11  
Old April 25th, 2013, 11:41 AM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Originally Posted by twoboys View Post
Thank you Twinkletoes. This will be a brand new experience for us. I have read so many reviews and posts and it looks like river cruising has many raving fans. I hope that we too will write a glowing review when we return.
Our River Beatrice cruise was our first river cruise. We're now hooked! If the flights weren't so long to get to cruises, we'd cruise a couple of times a year. I am looking forward to hearing your impressions of your cruise.
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  #12  
Old April 29th, 2013, 05:31 PM
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We just returned from the April 4 Ė 14th Lisbon/Douro Queen Isabel tour. From what we were told, the first cruise on the new ship never got above the 1st dam. The second cruise got to the 2nd dam but no farther due to high water. It rained almost every day for the first two cruises. We managed to have perfect weather every day Ė that makes a big difference.

High water had us stuck in Rťgua for 3 days. They bused us to Pinh„o, a very small sleepy village with nothing to do or see except for several dogs snoozing on the sidewalk. The next day, they bused us to Salamanca, Spain. A great city tour but 4 hours each way - UGH!

They offered another tour the following day that required 4 hours RT that we passed on. Then the Captain got clearance to go farther up river as far as Pinh„o (again). Then we returned to Porto.

The new ship has some nice features such as a WiFi access point in every cabin. Also big screen HD TVs but the one in our room and the one across the hall didnít work. They gave us a temporary fix so we sometimes had one or two channels but mostly, nothing.

This all sounds very negative but there were quite a few tours that we really enjoyed. The river landscape is beautiful and there is lots to see in Porto where we had free time. Uniworld provided a very generous credit toward a future cruise to compensate for river conditions that were out of their control. Well done, Uniworld!

It should be noted that this is not a Uniworld ship. It is operated by DouroAzul . Service was OK but definitely not up to the standards we have come to expect from our six previous Uniworld cruises. Housekeeping was flawless but the service staff seemed inexperienced. Waiters didnít know the menu. I guess itís because itís a new ship with new people Ė things just didnít seem to flow smoothly.

1-Is dinner at a set time? If so, what time?
It varies based on what time tours return to the ship but usually 6:00 Ė 7:30 start.

2- What is there to do after dinner?
No casino and except for Porto, nowhere to go off the ship. There is a keyboard player in the lounge. Drink lots of port and make your own fun.

3- When you go on the excursions, do they keep all the passengers together or will they break up into smaller groups?
All the passengers will travel in two brand new buses. Once at the destination, local tour guides lead groups Ė sometimes 2 groups, sometimes more. They use radio devices so can always hear well through individual ear phones.

4- Did you have time on your own to explore more off the beaten path?
Yes

5- Any tips for what not to miss in Lisbon?
We took the Sintra and Caccais tour and enjoyed it. The Lisbon tour manager mentioned a little family run restaurant about 3 blocks from the Tiara Hotel. Itís not for everyone. We were the only customers that night. The owner didnít speak English but we had a great meal and a memorable evening with him.
We also booked dinner at a high end Fado club that was listed on a sheet the tour manager handed out. Fantastic!

Iím sure youíll enjoy your tour. Water levels were returning to normal, the weatherís great now and hopefully, the shipís early life glitches will be resolved.
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  #13  
Old April 29th, 2013, 06:10 PM
twoboys twoboys is offline
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Thank you so much Globeman for taking the time to write this post. It did make me a little nervous. But I am hoping that with "normal" water conditions and a staff that has a couple of months under its belt, the kinks will be ironed out. This is our first time on a river cruise. you know what they say, "You only have one chance to make a first impression" Im sure we will enjoy it. And if we dont think its completely fabulous. we will go back to Seabourn cruises.

One thing is certain, the people on this board are very generous with their information and wisdom and I truly appreciate it. This bodes well for the character of river cruisers so Im sure we will meet some nice people
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  #14  
Old April 29th, 2013, 08:33 PM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Originally Posted by twoboys View Post

One thing is certain, the people on this board are very generous with their information and wisdom and I truly appreciate it. This bodes well for the character of river cruisers so Im sure we will meet some nice people
The kindness and generosity of our fellow CC members has certainly made our travels easier. Enjoy your cruise!
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  #15  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 03:24 PM
harbourside harbourside is offline
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You mention that you have been on 6 previous Uniworld cruises. Apart from the service , how did the food rate on this cruise. Was it comparably to the other Uniworld cruises. Did you get to have any regional food.
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  #16  
Old May 4th, 2013, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harbourside View Post
You mention that you have been on 6 previous Uniworld cruises. Apart from the service , how did the food rate on this cruise. Was it comparably to the other Uniworld cruises. Did you get to have any regional food.
Over the years, I've felt that Uniworld's food quality has shown consistent improvement. The quality and selection was very impressive on our December '12 Christmas market cruise. That experience may have set our expectation level too high for this one.

I'm not suggesting that the food was bad. It wasn't. The Portuguese bread was so good, I could have made a meal of it. But overall, it wasn't as good as previous Uniworld cruises. (NOTE: This is a Uniworld tour with a DouroAzul cruise.)
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Old September 5th, 2013, 04:09 PM
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Nana4x Nana4x is offline
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Default Many Many thanks...

Hi GlobeMan,

Finally a review on the Queen Isabella. Had to search long and hard to find this.

We are booked in a Cat 1 considering an upgrade to a Jr. Suite if there are any open.

We were on the River Countess this past August the cabins are smaller than on Isabella. We did find then completely adequte with plently of storage and a nice bathroom. Half window was not to my liking in Cat. 2. The window might have nice views but it was a pain to raise and lower the curtain with the chain. I prefer drapes that I can part to peek out or fully open depending on my state of undress (grin).

Sorry to hear about the water problems. We had the reverse not enough water in the Po to allow for cruising. We had a not so nice long ride on the bus to Padua. If this happens on the Duro next year I would skip Salamanca as we have been there a long time ago. Hopefully the CD could help us to arrange an alternate on our own.

What cabin were you in? Just wondering if the Jr. Suites hear noise from folks on the sun deck in the evening.
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  #18  
Old September 7th, 2013, 09:26 AM
CanEcosse CanEcosse is offline
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We were on the Queen Isabel in August. Our first Uniworld so nothing to compare with. The Jr. Suite balcony is just big enough for two and I'm not sure we would pay the upcharge again but that's a personal preference of course. The curtains are motorized so no need to 'pull the chain'.
The major noise issue was while docked in Porto - from a very noisy nightclub just across the way. If the boat always docks the same way you might want to pick an even numbered cabin (on the river side). We were in 303. No problems with noise from above. Queen Isabel had a selection of Portuguese type dishes as well as traditional. We would agree with GlobeMan that the food was good without being spectacular. Very generous with good Douro region wines at dinner. Tour managers, guides, staff, etc. were excellent in our opinion. No problems.
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  #19  
Old April 17th, 2014, 03:17 PM
bunnsie bunnsie is offline
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Default Going in June

any suggestion where to eat in Lisbon tour on your own or with group?
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  #20  
Old April 20th, 2014, 09:04 PM
Joc123 Joc123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twoboys View Post
Thank you so much Globeman for taking the time to write this post. It did make me a little nervous. But I am hoping that with "normal" water conditions and a staff that has a couple of months under its belt, the kinks will be ironed out. This is our first time on a river cruise. you know what they say, "You only have one chance to make a first impression" Im sure we will enjoy it. And if we dont think its completely fabulous. we will go back to Seabourn cruises.

One thing is certain, the people on this board are very generous with their information and wisdom and I truly appreciate it. This bodes well for the character of river cruisers so Im sure we will meet some nice people
We have just returned from our first river cruise - Uniworld SS Catherine. I know this is a different ship but we have sailed Seabourn for many years and we were nervous about river cruises. All I can say is Uniworld is as good as, and better in some ways than Seabourn. This is something I didn't ever expect to say. The food and wine was much better (Seabourn has gone down hill lately IMO) and the crew were incredible. The tours were better and the the vox box is a great idea. It allows you to wander off and still hear the guide. As the tours are included, there is no pre booking and you can decide in the morning if you want to do something on your own. On 3 of the 8 days, there were optional tours (for an extra fee) and these had to be booked the night before. The suite is on the small size ( Seabourn are much larger) and the furniture seems to be too big for the room, but maybe that is just personal taste. That is all I could fault. As far as entertainment, really there was not much, but we didn't miss it. All in all, Uniworld gives Seabourn a run for its money, but at heart, I'm an ocean girl. Having said that, we are looking at another river cruise if the dates are right. I hope you enjoy your trip - it's lovely to have the choice.
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