Why I’m Loving UniWorld River Cruises

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UniWorld River Cruises – A Touch Above the Rest

UniWorld River Cruises is an amazing product rooted in the boutique hotel industry – they want you to feel that you’re on a floating hotel and not a mass-market ship.  It’s often the perfect choice for my discerning travelers who want a culturally immersive trip full of thoughtful details.

If UniWorld hasn’t been on your radar before, let me tell you why it’s one of the top choices for a truly all inclusive experience.



Heart of the destination:

With traditional ocean cruises and sea cruises, ports are often located an hour or more away from the main cities. Passengers have to disembark and then take taxis or coach buses to see the main attractions – wasting time that they could be spending exploring a new destination. Yet, river cruising puts you right in the middle of the town, often allowing you to just step off the boat and within five minutes you’ll be immersed in a cultural experience.


Pack and unpack once:

With traditional land tours, passengers are often shuffled to a new hotel each night, requiring them to repack their suitcase every evening.   Passengers on river cruises, however, can unpack just once and never look at their suitcase again for the duration of the trip.


Intimate ambiance

River cruising ships can never be as large as the massive ocean cruisers we’re so used to seeing in the Bahamas or Mexico. 443 ft long is actually the maximum that any river ship can be in length. Uniworld puts approximately only 140 guests on these ships (some other companies put 190), attaining some of the highest staff-guest ratios in the industry.

Smooth waters

River cruises are a perfect option for those nervous about open waters or seasickness.   No seasickness on river cruises = a happy traveler!

UniWorld is value packed even for premium prices:

UniWorld is a truly all-inclusive experience. You can pay once and confidently know that you’ll only be charged for spa or salon services, or some optional extra excursions. Here’s what’s included:

  • All gratuities – no extra “mandatory” charges for shipboard service
  • Transfers from the airport to the ship, even if you don’t purchase airfare from UniWorld!
  • Beverages such as spirits, wine, specialty coffees, mineral water, and so forth – all day, not just at meal times!
  • Shore excursions – tours and activities in port to show you around, with multiple options per day
  • Entertainment and cultural activities onboard the ship
  • Internet (wifi)
  • Laundry facilities
  • Bicycles onboard the ship for you to explore the countryside on your own if you wish

Speaking of excursions, UniWorld tries to think outside the box and offer the luxury of choice.   They are keenly aware that many of their clients are repeat travelers, and so they designed additional excursions to offer well-traveled guests the opportunities to explore their host city beyond the standard first timers’ tourist sites.

There are different themed excursions at every port, including Gentle Walks, Do As The Locals Do, Exclusive, (activities you won’t be able to book anywhere else!) and Go Active.  You’re are always free to forgo excursions and to strike out on your own, including returning to the boat for lunch and then coming back on shore.

River cruising can be as active or as independent as you like – you’re never obligated to join the shore excursions, although visiting with UniWorld often gives you extraordinary access to some incredible experiences, such as high tea with a duchess or a private concert in a castle.

UniWorld is True Boutique River Cruising

UniWorld prides itself on the fact that it is a floating boutique hotel. Some of its ships, for instance, have over the top décor – one even has an Andy Warhol painting in a gentleman’s restroom! Their land partner is the prestigious Red Carnation Hotel brand,  and you will see several similarities between the hotel rooms and the ship rooms.

Like a boutique hotel, however, UniWorld is not stuffy – but it’s designed to cater to travelers who like thoughtful details.   In fact, UniWorld staff members refer to “TNT” – Tiny Noticeable Touches; which range from bringing local wines, cheeses, and fruits onboard at each port, or having a surprise chocolate tasting after a day of excursions,   or pointing out a chandelier that hangs in the ship’s foyer as once belonging to the company’s owner.

UniWorld’s décor looks formal, but it’s not – no ties are required at dinner, for instance.   It’s closer to country club chic onboard, rather than black tie stuffiness.

Where does UniWorld sail?

Some of their most popular journeys in Europe include, “”Castles Along the Rhine,” “Enchanting Danube,” “Burgundy and Provence,” “Paris and Normandy,” “Danube Discovery with Prague,” and “Portugal and the Douro.”

These are just some of their most popular itineraries. Non-European itineraries include Egypt, India, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China, for those of you who want to experience a luxurious cruise in exotic locations.


Photo courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.


Special Programs

UniWorld also offers special sailings for the Connoisseur Collection, particularly in France and their Food & Wine Collection.   For instance, although the itinerary may be the same as other sailings, extra attention and perks will be added to these sailings – perhaps bringing a local chef on board to run a cooking class, or taking cruisers to the vineyard where the ship’s wines come from.

UniWorld is also one of the few river companies to offer children’s programs on select sailings.

In fact, UniWorld has been rated the “Best MultiGenerational Trip Offerings” by RiverCruiseCritic.com.   River cruising is a great option for multigenerational families with children who will consider the whole thing a spectacular, grand adventure.

UniWorld goes above and beyond to create memories your family will love. On family-designated sailings, children sail for 50% off the adult price, and single supplement fees are often waived.   There are additional excursions added to the sailing, catered especially towards young curious minds (hawking lesson at a castle, anyone?), and there are additional activities onboard to enrich your children’s cultural experience.


UniWorld staff say these sailings are some of their favorites as they watch grandparents, parents, and children discover the wonders of Europe and other destinations together.   (The most popular age range for these cruises tends to be ages 8 – 13, but 18 year olds and below qualify for the 50% discount.)

The list of benefits with UniWorld just goes on and on.   They have special promotions for solo travelers, where there is no penalty for only having one person occupying a cabin. This is great news for friends in sets of three who felt restricted in their travel options.  UniWorld also periodically runs special airfare promotions or special savings promotions.

Want to see why river cruising’s upfront pricing is a better value than piecing it together yourself? Read my comparison of how a river cruise can be value-packed at this article.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.

Confused about UniWorld or perhaps a different river cruise brand?

Here’s where I come in.  I’m not only a UniWorld River Cruise Specialist, with a proven track record of designing wonderful luxury trips for my clients, but I am also certified in several other river cruise brands.  I’ll talk to you about what inclusions are important to you, which atmosphere on which ship suits your personality, and which specific river cruise route ticks all your boxes.  A 30 minute complimentary consultation call will save you hours and hours of research – I already know all the insider tips as to which river cruise you should choose!  So go ahead and contact me today if you have any questions about UniWorld and let’s start putting together your perfect cruise!