Overall, we had a great trip and thought Uniworld did a very nice job. I have done several ocean cruises and was convinced to try a river cruise because I am an obsessive planner to the point where planning for a vacation stresses me out more than it should! The idea of not really needing to know much about the ports before I got there sounded nice - just get off the ship and follow the tour leader! The ports visited on this Enchanting Danube itinerary were also fantastic, with Salzburg, Vienna, and Budapest being the highlights. Finally, with the inclusions of wine/beer, wifi, tours, etc., river cruising actually represents a nice value. I can't even begin to imagine trying to do a similar itinerary on my own or by tour bus! With the river cruise, we just had to unpack once (when our luggage finally arrived - more on that later...) and enjoy the vacation as our floating hotel took us to each port!
I was surprised by how packed the schedule was though - I imagined a river cruise as leisurely, with plenty of time in port on your own to explore and do as you please, but on most days, it felt like the entire day was planned out. This isn't the worst thing in the world and we could have found more flexibility by skipping included tours or meals on the ship, but we wanted to get our money's worth! Because most morning tours started before 9am, meaning we had to get ready and have breakfast before then, we found ourselves fairly tired after the trip and tried to sneak in naps during the day. I was so thrilled to be able to see everything we did - don't get me wrong - but it just wasn't as relaxing as I had imagined. However, I have a holiday markets cruise booked with Uniworld in December that I'm so excited about and it looks like that itinerary provides shorter included tours and more time to explore on your own, which should be nice.
I'll try to present my thoughts in a semi-logical fashion by category and then some tips on the ports we visited, along with some pictures we took and menus. Apologies if I jump around or forget something!
The Ship - River Beatrice
- As one of the newest ships in the Uniworld fleet, the River Beatrice was very well-appointed and definitely felt you were in a luxe, boutique hotel. The public areas were always spotless and felt comfortable.
- I was actually surprised at how much longer the ship was than what I expected. However, with the exception of the Captain's Lounge/Library, all the public areas were at the front of the ship - Restaurant, Lounge, Laundry facilities, Gym, and Reception Desk.
- The sun deck was nice, although the weather was a bit chilly and didn't always encourage sitting outside. We also discovered the awnings are not waterproof, after we tried sitting up top after some rain came through - the chairs and tables were all wet! There are also some small, nice areas to sit outdoors right outside the Lounge (front) and Captain's Lounge (aft).
Our home for 7 nights
Reception Desk - notice the tempting candy jars!
Uniworld bikes on the sun deck
The sun deck
The Captain's Lounge at the rear of the ship
The Library section of the Captain's Lounge, including two computers (free to use), board games, and books
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway - Inaugural CTN (Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway - Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic - E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic - W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)