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About Farang

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  1. Hi Skinny, perhaps you are missing my point because you were fortunate to not feel the sting of this price adjustment, given your sailing dates. Look at the "Enchanting Danube" cruise as an example. This itinerary has 33 sailings in 2020, 17 of which are offered at a 30% reduction (10% for suites) - this represents more than 50% of the non-suite capacity for the entire season. So, anyone who has already booked this cruise for the 50%(+) discounted part of the season and paid Uniworld in full by October 31, just paid 20% more than the passengers that will book the same cruise between November 5, and January 3, 2020 (no payment in full required).
  2. Received a promotional email from Uniworld today touting 30% reduction on a significant number of 2020 sailings. Pretty appealing! What about those that took the 10% discount for paying 100% in advance for what may possibly be the same sailings?
  3. Just returned from Bucharest to Prague. This was our fourth cruise with Uniworld. Our experience with the availability and sign-up process was the same - unorganized lineup "up" the staircase from front desk to foyer of upper deck immediately after CM briefing (actually second time around the lineup began before CM finished his presentation). Personally experienced being shut out of a brochure listed optional excursion. Never had experienced such a scene on previous cruises with Uniworld. In addition, many on board disappointed at last minute removal of BMW factory visit.
  4. 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.
  5. My wife and I just returned from a cruise with Uniworld. The cruise, Portraits of Eastern Europe (August 26 to September 13) was our fourth with Uniworld since 2015. The Uniworld product has declined in quality with each successive experience, so much so, that we probably will no longer consider Uniworld as the front-runner as we seek cruise lines for our next river cruise. The three specific "cruise experience" areas we see a decline in quality are Staffing (not quality of the staff, but number of staff necessary to deliver a quality experience), Food and Beverage (quality, not quantity or preparation and presentation) and excursions. Though we have no experience with the Beatrice before conversion to super ship status, our experience with the super ship iteration was not good. The dining area designated as Max's (an an added-fees revenue center) is a wasted space. During our fourteen days on the ship, I am only aware of it being utilize on two separate evenings - otherwise it sat empty while the regular dining room (Mozart's) was overcrowded and understaffed. Then there is Schubert's, a dining area at the front of Wolfgang's, the fourth deck bar and general assembly area (one deck above the normal dining room and kitchen deck), with terribly uncomfortable seating for dining and a drain on the already under-staffed wait staff that has to hike all meals up a stair case. Speaking of Schubert's, it is an isolated area at the front of the upper deck that robs from the already inadequate Wolfgang's which is used for cruise briefings and presentations. Coupled with the obvious understaffing, the poor traffic flow designs of the utilized dining areas made it impossible for the excellent wait staff to provide the dining experience they clearly wished they could. As to excursions, they were not well thought out and, in some cases, an insult. Emphasis regarding excursions is clearly on added fee "optional" excursions. We have always encouraged our friends to choose Uniworld when considering a first time river cruise, but unfortunately we will no longer do so.
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