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wanderingoz

Uniworld Excursion Information

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I am having some difficulty finding as much information as I would like about some of the Uniworld excursions. (Ultimate European Journey, Bucharest -> Amsterdam)

 

Can I ask of anyone who has cruised the Danube or Rhine with Uniworld, whether they have information sessions on board before excursion selections are made?

 

If so, are these usually the day or evening beforehand?

 

Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Hi Wanderingroz.  I am also a Roz. 😉

 

I've sailed Uniworld 3 times.  Yes, there will be information sessions onboard conducted by the cruise director.   We usually had a big session the first night where we got an overview and could ask questions.  They will ask you to sign up for certain excursions ahead of time so they have a head count.  Along the way there may be changes or additional information.  The cruise director will have a session in the evening before dinner where he/she will inform you of the next day's activities. 

 

Roz

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We did 2 Uniworld cruises this spring, Paris/Normandy and Bordeaux. In both cases the excursion presentation was held after the first excursions took place. In one case, the excursion we wanted the first day was limited capacity. Those in the know booked at the front desk as soon as they boarded, something people new (like us) to the line did not know about. We did eventually get on that excursion but we were disappointed about the process. When you board and you see something you really want, try to book it right away. (Our only other river cruise had been with Viking and we booked our excursions well before we boarded.) Enjoy your cruise.

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10 minutes ago, travlr21 said:

We did 2 Uniworld cruises this spring, Paris/Normandy and Bordeaux. In both cases the excursion presentation was held after the first excursions took place. In one case, the excursion we wanted the first day was limited capacity. Those in the know booked at the front desk as soon as they boarded, something people new (like us) to the line did not know about. We did eventually get on that excursion but we were disappointed about the process. When you board and you see something you really want, try to book it right away. (Our only other river cruise had been with Viking and we booked our excursions well before we boarded.) Enjoy your cruise.

Great tip, thank you.

They don't mention anywhere in their literature that numbers may be limited. 🤨

I'm imagining the Walking Tours would not fill up but some like the Masterpiece excursions that are extras may very well fill. 

Thinking about it more, the Bike tours may also fill as they only have a limited number of bikes available on board.

 

Does anyone recall if payment for any Masterpiece excursions was expected at the time of booking?

 

 

 

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We booked a Masterpiece excursion on board as we had a cabin credit. Some of these were limited. As you mention, there are limits on the bike ones.

 

The one we were concerned about was a somewhat strenuous hike, there was no extra cost, and was supposedly limited to 12 people. In the end, there were about 22 of us. They had a hike leader and a 'sweep' following at the end so no big reason for a cap on people hiking. And, we started directly from the boat so no bus involved. The typical walking tours have no limit, we had 3 guides every day to accommodate everyone.

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The bike tours are usually lead by an outside company that provides touring bikes.....not the Uniworld bikes on board.  We have always been accommodated.

Be aware that some excursions you have to sign up for may not happen because they do not meet  the minimum number required.

The first day when you get into your cabin, read , or at least glance through the papers there.  There may be a page with all the choices for every day listed as an 'at a glance'  spreadsheet .  That will note which activities you have to sign up for, and by what day.  Once you've got an idea, go to the lobby desk and sign up.

Have a wonderful trip.

RB

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28 minutes ago, Ritabob said:

The bike tours are usually lead by an outside company that provides touring bikes.....not the Uniworld bikes on board.  We have always been accommodated.

Be aware that some excursions you have to sign up for may not happen because they do not meet  the minimum number required.

The first day when you get into your cabin, read , or at least glance through the papers there.  There may be a page with all the choices for every day listed as an 'at a glance'  spreadsheet .  That will note which activities you have to sign up for, and by what day.  Once you've got an idea, go to the lobby desk and sign up.

Have a wonderful trip.

RB

Thank you RB, more great tips.

We have gone through the existing information and chosen most of what we want to include based on that so will check for anything different once we board.

I'm trying to reach out to Uniworld at the moment regarding the first day of our trip as there is an excursion listed we want to do but this is even before we actually board the ship.  So hopefully we will have some contact with Uniworld staff while still at the hotel.

Thanks to everyone for the assistance.

Steve

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Steve,

I just looked up the itinerary for your trip to see exactly where your concern is.  No worries.  The first day is when you arrive.  If you are flying in that day, and you have given Uniworld your flight information,  there will be a rep waiting for you once you are exiting the controlled area with your luggage.  They will take you to the hotel, where you will be introduced to yet another rep who will make sure you get checked in and give you papers and information.  This is where they usually tell you about a meeting some time that afternoon or evening where they cover the plan for day 2 and what the procedure is going to be for day 3 about checking out and where to be for the bus transfer to the ship, etc.  The rest of day 1 is for you to explore on your own or to crash on your bed and try and deal with jet lag.  That evening meeting will sort everything out and get the numbers for the tours on day 2.

We have not done this specific  itinerary,  but I am assuming it will be similar to the ones we've done starting in Prague. 

RB 

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As Ritabob just said, there will be Uniworld reps at the hotel, assuming you're staying at the cruise hotel.  Uniworld runs a seamless operation, at least in my experience.  I think you're just experiencing some anxiety because this is new to you, but they will do everything they can to accommodate you.  

 

I should mention that I did have to reserve some excursions ahead of time on last year's cruise down the Rhine.  It was one of the Jewish Heritage cruises, and we had to let them know ahead which of the Heritage tours we wanted to do.  There were explicit instructions on how to do this.  

 

Roz

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Thanks RB & Roz for the reassurance.

You are right about the anxiety as I'm a bit of a details person and TBH I don't have a lot of confidence in our agent. I'm sure things will work out.

We are booked in to the Uniworld hotel (Radisson Blu) in Bucharest and the timeline is as you say.

Looking forward to it immensely.

Cheers

Steve

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22 minutes ago, wanderingoz said:

Thanks RB & Roz for the reassurance.

You are right about the anxiety as I'm a bit of a details person and TBH I don't have a lot of confidence in our agent. I'm sure things will work out.

We are booked in to the Uniworld hotel (Radisson Blu) in Bucharest and the timeline is as you say.

Looking forward to it immensely.

Cheers

Steve

Steve,

 

First apologies.  I was reading your username as Wanderinroz instead of Wanderingoz (as in Australia).  Duh!  

 

I did Bucharest to Budapest and Uniworld used the Radisson Blu in Bucharest.  Very nice hotel.  A Uniworld rep (who was a tour guide the next day) and driver met me at the airport and took myself and another lady to the hotel.  There was a table set up to the side of the lobby, and 2 ladies welcomed us and gave us info packets and answered questions.  The Radisson has a great breakfast buffet with food from around the world.  I loved the assortment of sausages and cheeses.  They had a wonderful eggplant salad, along with all kinds of Eastern European breads.  

 

The tours the next day met in the hotel lobby.  It was very well organized.

 

Roz

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4 hours ago, Roz said:

Steve,

First apologies.  I was reading your username as Wanderinroz instead of Wanderingoz (as in Australia).  Duh!  

🤣I did wonder about the comment earlier.

It all sounds very organised and reassuring.

Cheers

Steve

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Hi there Steve,

   We are the other couple on the trip with you. Just over a month before we arrive in Bucharest and we are finally getting ready for the trip. 😀 We cruised with Uniworld last fall out of Bordeaux & liked Uniworld very much. Like Travlr21 stated before, sometimes the bike tours are limited & fill up quickly as we saw on our cruise with Uniworld. I too looked around on Cruise Critic about the Masterpiece excursions & I what little I saw basically said we had to wait until after we arrive (or board) before we could sign up for those excursions. So we are crossing are fingers & hoping for the best. 

   We recently had a change in plans for the end of the trip in Amsterdam.  Our daughter & her family just moved there so now we are spending a few days there instead of flying directly home. Since we made the change, we decided to book some tickets for Anne Frank’s house & did just that today. 

   Looking forward to meeting you. 

- Rose & Alan

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19 minutes ago, Mimosa09 said:

Hi there Steve,

   We are the other couple on the trip with you. Just over a month before we arrive in Bucharest and we are finally getting ready for the trip. 😀 We cruised with Uniworld last fall out of Bordeaux & liked Uniworld very much. Like Travlr21 stated before, sometimes the bike tours are limited & fill up quickly as we saw on our cruise with Uniworld. I too looked around on Cruise Critic about the Masterpiece excursions & I what little I saw basically said we had to wait until after we arrive (or board) before we could sign up for those excursions. So we are crossing are fingers & hoping for the best. 

   We recently had a change in plans for the end of the trip in Amsterdam.  Our daughter & her family just moved there so now we are spending a few days there instead of flying directly home. Since we made the change, we decided to book some tickets for Anne Frank’s house & did just that today. 

   Looking forward to meeting you. 

- Rose & Alan

Looking forward to meeting you too.  We received our Uniworld parcel last week so it's all very real now.

I was mostly concerned about the Peles Castle tour at the start of the trip but all the advice above has been reassuring. We will definitely be signing up for some of the other excursions as soon as we can.

We have one extra day in Amsterdam before hopping the train to CDG Airport in Paris and picking up a hire car. Another new experience for me, driving in France.  Will be avoiding Paris though and heading back north to do some exploring.

34 days on my countdown now 😃

Steve

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Just off Uniworld Amsterdam to Bucharest.  Prior to departure I was concerned about the Masterpiece options filling up, and little did I know there was a risk of the listed options also filling up.  I certainly don't mean to cause you concern, but pass on the information because it was what I would have wanted.  We had two cruise managers (CM) on board as the first departed mid-cruise.  Both had different ways of booking what I am calling listed excursions like do as the locals or bike tours.  The first had a meeting day two to book the days 3-9, and a second meeting to book 10-15.  We were not "allowed" to book up to day 15 on day 2.  I was very concerned about excursions filling up that I booked specifically to see, and I told the CM that we would have a problem if the day 12 excursion was unavailable.  At the end of each of the two meetings there was a mad dash to sign up.  Not at all dignified, and not acceptable to me based on the price and expected level of service.  Imagine having a mobility issue and not being able to get to the front of the line.  Horrible.  The second CM held a meeting and opened up booking for the rest of the cruise.  Again there was a dash, but not as much because there were more slots in each option.  As a note, others said that on previous Uniworld cruises they had to book every single night for the next day. Outrageous in my opinion.

In the end most people got their first choice which added a bit of frustration for creating a negative situation.  I hated looking at the faces of friends I had made at the back of the line knowing I may have taken the last spot.  We all paid the same and should have the same options because there is no mention whatsoever of limits placed on the listed excursions in the brochure.

I have traveled extensively but this was my first full river cruise, and I will be looking into other options that do not have the same issue with limits and inconsistency in the booking process.  It is up to the CM how things are done on board, and I am a traveler that likes to plan and know I am getting what I signed up and paid for.  I am most interested in Scenic because I traveled through Egypt and Jordan with them and there were no limits on any of the options.  Not sure if the same goes for their river cruises, but I will be looking into them. 

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Thanks HappyTvlr for coming back and reporting on how your trip went.  I would love to hear more about your overall impressions if you are willing to share.  My email is my CC username at gmail dot com.

 

I recall our previous discussions about this same issue before you left. Sorry that it seems to have caused you so much irritation despite your best efforts to get clear information before you boarded.

 

It certainly sounds like the process is inconsistent and that is why it is so worrying.  It's hard to understand how, with a capacity of only 130 passengers, it is so difficult to offer the "included" excursions to every passenger.  Even if everyone wanted to do the bus tour to wherever, it should be available, without any undignified jostling for position and concern about missing out.  This is supposed to be a "Top Shelf, High End" operator.

 

I understand the minimum number provision so I guess we would just have to suck it up if that happens.  What is harder to understand is why forward bookings can not be made if a passenger is certain they want to do a particular Masterpiece excursion.  I don't even mind paying for it at the time of booking.  If it is advertised that there are limited numbers available, those who wish to leave it to the last moment, take their chances.  This could easily be made clear in excursion documentation.

 

Hopefully the experience of others reported above and in other threads will prevail and all will be fine.

Cheers

Steve

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Thanks Steve.  I will be happy to get in touch via email.  I do want to clarify that it was not the MC that filled up, but the general excursions.  MC can be booked prior to travel, but the others can not.  To Uniworld's credit, they did appear to do their best to make things right.  However, the race to sign up was definitely not in keeping with high end travel.

I just started following a thread here on CC from a person in France on Scenic.  I was over the moon to see that they are provided a full list of options at the beginning of the cruise and simply have to tic their choice, and there is no mention of limits. As it should be.

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Posted (edited)

@HappyTvlr did you meet anyone who was “closed out” of the excursion they wanted to get on? It’s unfortunate that your sailing was stressful in booking the tours. It seems that the fact that there were 2 CMs complicated the issue. 

 

 

Edited by Got2Cruise

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Yes, some were closed out. Having 2 CMs didn’t seem to impact things closing, but illustrated the inconsistency in the process. It seems totally up to them how things are booked, and my opinion is that there should be a fleet wide standard. It should also be made clear in pre-cruise literature that most excursions have minimum  and maximum slots.

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I’m dismayed to read the reports of excursions filling up. On 7 cruises with Uniworld, the most recent in December 2018, we’ve never experienced this.

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46 minutes ago, jklc123 said:

I’m dismayed to read the reports of excursions filling up. On 7 cruises with Uniworld, the most recent in December 2018, we’ve never experienced this.

 

My most recent Uniworld cruise was November 2018, and I wasn't aware that anyone didn't get what they wanted.  We had to sign up, but passengers weren't made to feel that if they got an excursion they were taking it away from someone else on the ship.  There was a line to sign up, but we didn't have to storm the Bastille. 😄

 

Roz 

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I am cruising on Uniworld in just over a month as well:classic_biggrin: sailing out of Venice the River Po. Cannot wait!

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Agree it sounds an unacceptable way to get people to sign up for included excursions.

Hope you gave Uniworld feedback about that process.

We are interested in traveling with Uniworld having done many European river cruises and keen to try their product.

It would be disappointing to treated in the manner you have described.

The impression we have from research is they are a quality inclusive cruise operator.

It looks as if Amsterdam to Bucharest is a combination of 2 cruises?

did you have a change of passengers on the cruise?

Cruise directors and staff can greatly influence the cruise experience we have found,

some are excellent some are not. 

 

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