Uniworld River Cruises Coronavirus update
Uniworld Cruises suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all European riverboats) cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures March 14, 2020, through early-February 2021. Operations resumed on February 8 (fleetwide) and on May 7 (U by Uniworld).
All affected bookings were fully refunded. Uniworld's cruise cancellation policy was expanded to allow penalty-free cancellation of new bookings up to 14 days prior departure with rebooking. The fare paid as FCC (future cruise credit) is then transferred to another / any Uniworld cruise itinerary planned for 2021-2022.
Review of Uniworld
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Uniworld suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all European riverboats) cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures March 14, 2020, through early-February 2021. Operations resumed on February 8 (fleetwide) and on May 7 (U by Uniworld). All affected bookings were fully refunded. Uniworld's cruise cancellation policy was expanded to allow penalty-free cancellation of new bookings up to 14 days prior departure with rebooking. The fare paid as FCC (future cruise credit) is then transferred to another / any Uniworld cruise itinerary planned for 2021-2022.
This CruiseMapper page reviews Uniworld as river cruise itineraries, travel destinations, departure ports (homeports) and shipboard experience. We have all the Uniworld ships' cruise schedules (sail calendar with dates and prices PP). Another feature is the Uniworld cruise tracking service integrated into each page. It shows on a map the boat's location now (current position on the river).
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection (website) is located in LA California and operates a fleet of river cruise ships along the rivers in Europe, Russia, China, Egypt and Brazil Amazon. Uniworld river cruising line also has operational offices in France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and China. The company is part of TTC (The Travel Corporation) group, including businesses such as Contiki Tours and Trafalgar Tours.
Uniworld River Cruises
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection boasts a fleet of boutique-style river ships with an average capacity of 130 guests. Their cruise itineraries feature exceptional cuisine and top dining, custom shore excursions and outstanding service from all-English speaking staff.
After 2004 (when TTC-Travel Corporation acquired Uniworld) the company fully refurbished and upgraded the existing fleet and also acquired new riverboats. Among the newest are SS Antoinette (2011) and SS Catherine (2014) as both have larger cabins, al-fresco dining, swimming pools with bars, marble bathrooms and "smart windows" that transform into French balconies with a button touch. In 2013, seven Uniworld vessels were listed in "Top 20 River Cruise Ships" of Travel + Leisure. The top-ranked was River Countess (in 2020 renamed SS La Venezia).
What's included in your Uniworld ticket price? Soft drinks, beer, and wine during lunch and dinner, specialty tea and coffee bar, bottled water in all staterooms, a variety of dining options, local entertainment and signature lectures, airport transfers, most shore excursions (by English-speaking experts using Quietvox audio systems).
As for the Uniworld's tours and excursions ashore, an interesting alternative is that they can be personalized for either a "gentle" or an "active" physical level. Evening activities onboard Uniworld river ships are similar to the ones on other river lines and typically consist of local entertainers. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection clientele are mostly senior North Americans and some Brits. The company also attracts 40+ passengers and each year successfully runs themed multi-generational family cruises.
U by Uniworld
At the end of 2016, Uniworld introduced a new cruise line brand named "U by Uniworld". The new brand was created specifically for younger travellers (aged between 18-40) - recreationally active and curious. It is operated with a fleet of two newly refurbished ships and offers longer port stays on the company's European river cruise itineraries.
- The new brand's fleet includes the 116-passenger sisterships THE A (launched 1999 as River Ambassador) and THE B (launched 1997 as River Baroness). The fully-renovated riverboats feature all-black exteriors, more contemporary interior design, communal tables for dining, onboard cocktail mixologists, onboard DJs.
- Sales started in March 2017, with bookings for 2018, when the new brand starts operations.
- "U by Uniworld" is operated with separate brochures, a new website (ubyuniworld.com) and separate pricing.
- U's product is tailored for cruisers ages 21-45 with fewer inclusions than the higher-priced sister line.
- The new line's social media campaign is hashtagged #AllAboutU, to collate requests and suggestions for Uniworld's new cruising vacation experience.
Since April 14, 2018, "U by Uniworld" ships offer 8-day cruises on Danube, Main, Rhine, and Seine rivers. The itineraries feature overnights and longer port stays in Amsterdam, Budapest, Paris, Vienna.
"U by Uniworld" deals are inclusive of 2 gourmet meals per day, unlimited drinks (coffee and tea), wine and soft beverages (lunch and dinner), free Wi-Fi, gratuities. Prices start from USD 2500 (8-day THE A cruise) and USD 3000 (7-day River Baroness cruises on Seine River, leaving roundtrip from Paris to Normandy).
The ships are renovated to have a gym, main lounge, rooftop lounge, coffee bar and 2 dining establishments (main restaurant and rooftop dining venue). There are 3 categories of cabins, which range from "I just need a comfortable place to sleep and stash my stuff" to "I'm going all out in a suite".
Signature themed shipboard activities are outdoor yoga, classes (cooking, painting with wine, bar mixology), sundeck boutique bar lounge, "silent disco" (on the sun deck, passengers dancing with earphones on), themed excursions (Seine River kayaking, Budapest river rafting).
In January 2018, Luftner Cruises (aka Amadeus River Cruises) announced launching its own millennial-focused voyages in 2019. The 6-day cruise tours are on Rhine, Rhone, and Danube. Each voyage is hosted by a popular social media person and facilitates a themed program onboard. The programs are centred around trendy topics, such as healthy living, nutrition, diets, fitness. The campaign started in Spring 2018 with Luftner's newest boat Amadeus Provence.
In 2021, U by Uniworld introduces new experiences and inclusions (from airport transfers to offshore excursions) with 4 itineraries throughout popular port cities and towns, plus themed cruises tailored to the younger U cruisers. Inaugurated in 2021 is also "GenZ on U" (a family program created exclusively for teens and their parents) perfect to celebrate special occasions, birthdays, graduations, or simply connect as a family via unconventional experiences that both generations enjoy.
Following the 2020's debut of the themed "U in Drag" and "Tattoo on U" voyages, in 2021 was introduced Uniworld's first food-themed cruise (departure July 24) via partnership with Salvatore DiBenedetto (aka The GrubFather) sought after for his food photography and travel inspiration.
Since 2021, U by Uniworld cruise deals are inclusive of wine and beer by the glass (at lunches and dinners) and roundtrip airport transfers. Also complimentary are 3x daily meals (with locally sourced ingredients), 2x U Hosts (dedicated staff / destination experts), daily shore excursions, local DJ performances (on the boat's rooftop bar lounge), all gratuities, shipwide Wi-Fi.
Uniworld Cruise Experience
From its start in 1976, the Uniworld line ("Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection") has expanded its fleet and its market share, covering more than 20 countries and operating over 500 river itineraries annually. Uniworld cruises range in length from 7 days to 1 month. The line's worldly renowned boutique-hotel style vacations appeal to a wide variety of passengers and interests. Along with its primary operations in Central and Western Europe, the company works in partnership with major lines and travel groups in China, Vietnam, Egypt, and Portugal, to bring the Uniworld classic experience to other parts of the world.
On all river cruising ships, whether newly built or refurbished, Uniworld's signature is a colourful and dynamic ambience. All cabins and public rooms are furnished in high standards, with lush fabrics, original artwork and antiques nestled next to state-of-the-art flat-screen televisions, comfortable Savoir brand beds, and plush bathrooms.
Service and cuisine are on a par with oceangoing luxury cruise ships, though, as riverboats are smaller, options like entertainment venues and alternative restaurants are less in number.
Uniworld has moved towards all-inclusive riverboats and most fares (excluding China, Vietnam, and Russia) include unlimited fine wine, spirits and beer, as well as gratuities for services on board and ashore, such as pre- and post-cruise extensions. Ticket prices include most of the shore tours. Some extra options, such as bicycling and wine tasting tours in Danube's Durnstein, are for a fee. Each Uniworld Cruises’ river ship carries a complimentary fleet of bicycles to be used by passengers while in call ports.
While "big ship" entertainment options (Broadway-style productions and casinos) are not available, each evening provides diversions ranging from bands that play for dancing to local acts who come on board in ports of call.
The following YouTube video provides a review of the experience on Uniworld river cruises in Europe.
In 2018, the company launched an impressive onboard dining program with new options, including alternative and al-fresco venues, progressive dinners and farm-to-ship meals prepared with locally sourced ingredients. The new options were introduced on all "Super Ships" and offer passengers to enjoy 7-course meals with each course served at a different location on the boat. The experience starts with appetizers in the galley (ship kitchen) and ends with desserts on Sun Deck. Beverage and food menus vary (by destination, itinerary, season, chef) and include local craft beers, wines from nearby vineyards, special cocktails.
In late-October 2018, Uniworld announced company's plans to build 4 new riverboats - 1 for Russia (launch in 2021) and 3 other (launches in 2020) for cruises on Nile (SS Sphinx), Mekong (Mekong Jewel) and Douro (SS Sao Gabriel).
The January 2021-launched Uniworld Support Hub (online trading platform) contains digital brochures and content designed to help travel partners (agents and agencies) to host virtual sale promos and events. Sales assets were previously emailed to the agents. Media (10-minute videos) showcasing various Uniworld-operated destinations and rivers was also added to the hub.
Itinerary of Uniworld
This section has links to all Uniworld cruise ships providing information on sailing schedules (dates and prices), current positions (cruise tracker) and also internal links to related review articles.
Uniworld's top luxury boats offer itineraries along the largest European and Asian rivers - including in China, Egypt and Russia. The company's operations include more than 20 countries with over 500 departures annually. The itineraries range from one week to a month.
Follows the list of all Uniworld ships and their itinerary regions:
- Ganges Voyager II (launched 2015) - a chartered luxury boat for India cruises on Ganges River
- Prince Abbas - Lake Nasser - Egypt
- THE A (launched 1993 as River Ambassador) - Rhine, Main, Danube - Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic
- THE B (launched 1994 as River Baroness) - Seine River - France, departures from Paris to Normandy
- River Duchess (launched 2003) - Rhine, Main, Danube - Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia
- River Empress (launched 2001)- the Rhine, Main, Danube - Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic
- River Orchid (launched 2013)- Mekong River - Vietnam and Cambodia
- River Princess (launched 2001)- the Rhine, Main, Danube and "Christmas Markets" - Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey
- River Queen (launched 1999) - Rhine, Main, Danube, "Christmas Markets" - Holland, Germany, Switzerland
- River Tosca (launched 2009) - Africa / Egypt cruises on Nile River
- River Victoria (launched 1982) - Volga River - Russia
- Queen Isabel - chartered for Spain and Portugal cruises on Douro River
- SS Antoinette (Super Ship, launched 2011) - Rhine River, "Christmas Markets" - Germany, Switzerland, France
- SS Catherine (Super Ship, launched 2014) - Rhone River - France river cruises in Burgundy and Provence leaving from Paris
- SS Joie de Vivre (Super Ship, launched 2017) - Seine River - France river cruises in Normandy leaving from Paris
- SS Maria Theresa (Super Ship, launched 2015) - Holland, Rhine, Main, Danube
- SS Beatrice (Super Ship, launched 2009 as "River Beatrice")- Danube River and "Christmas Markets" - Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary
- SS Bon Voyage (Super Ship, launched 2006 as "River Royale") - Garonne River - France river cruises from Bordeaux, "Food and Wine" themed
- SS La Venezia (Super Ship, launched 2003 as "River Countess") - Po River - Italy river cruises from Venice
- SS Sphinx (2020) - Nile River (Egypt)
- RV Mekong Jewel (2020) - Vietnam and Cambodia
- SS Sao Gabriel (2020) - Douro River (Portugal)
Century Legend and Century Paragon offer Yangtze River cruises in China. Both ships are privately-owned and operated by Viking under a charter. These riverboats are also chartered by other major European lines, like AmaWaterways, Avalon and Viking.
RV Aria Amazon (16-cabin houseboat) starts in September 2020 Uniworld-chartered cruises on the Peruvian Amazon River with 3 itineraries. The Uniworld-charter cruises on Amazon River are first-time for the company. The program starts with 15-day "Peruvian Amazon and Machu Picchu Exploration" (inclusive of 5-star hotel overnight in Lima Peru), follows .7-day cruising through the Amazon Rainforest (with visits to Cusco and Machu Picchu) and ends with 11-day "Peruvian Rivers and Rainforest Discovery" (roundtrip from Iquitos, cruising through Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve / Amazonian jungle in northeastern Peru). Bookings were opened on December 16, 2019, with prices from USD 12,000 pp (double-occupancy houseboat cabin rates).
UNIWORLD Mekong cruise itineraries
Since January 2020, Uniworld with Mekong Jewel ship operates a 13-day cruisetour itinerary between Saigon and Siem Reap (northbound and southbound), with ports (sequence on the northbound route) in Vietnam's Mekong Delta (My Tho, Cai Be, Vinh Long, Sa Dec, Cu Lao Gieng Island, Tan Chau), Phnom Penh (Cambodia's capital), Angkor Ban, Kampong Cham, Wat Hanchey Temple.
Next is listed Uniworld's day-to-day schedule as call ports:
- DAY 1: Saigon - arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, optional group transfer or private transfer, Uniworld representative greet-and-meet, bus transfer to a luxury hotel, private check-in with welcome drinks
- DAY 2: Saigon excursions (Ho Chi Minh City, Dinner Cruise on Saigon Princess)
- DAY 3: Saigon, bus transfer to My Tho (cruise ship embarkation), cruising to Cai Be, excursion (Cu Chi Tunnels)
- DAY 4: Cai Be, Vinh Long
- DAY 5: Sa Dec, Gieng Island, Hong Ngu, Mekong cruising
- DAY 6: Hong Ngu, Mekong cruising, Phnom Penh
- DAY 7: Phnom Penh
- DAY 8: Phnom Penh, Mekong cruising
- DAY 9: Angkor Ban, Wat Hanchey
- DAY 10: Kampong Cham (cruise ship debarkation in the morning), bus transfer to Siem Reap
- DAY 11: Siem Reap - excursions (Angkor Wat Temples, Khmer Noodle House / Preah Dak Village)
- DAY 12: Siem Reap - excursions (Angkor Thom ruins, Bayon, Ta Prohm), shipboard Apsara dance show and gala dinner
- DAY 13: Siem Reap - hotel check-out, transfer to Siem Reap-Angkor Airport for home flight.
Uniworld's "Masterpiece Collection" (fly-cruise) itineraries
Uniworld's "Masterpiece Collection" ("flight and cruise" deals) was inaugurated in 2018.
Deals applied to departure dates on selected 2018 river cruise tour itineraries, including the themed "Splendors of Italy", "Gems of Northern Italy", "Paris and Normandy", "Remarkable Rhine", "Legendary Rhine and Moselle", "European Jewels", "Bordeaux, Vineyards, and Chateaux".
"Masterpiece Collection" cruise tour deals are all-inclusive packages with included scheduled airport transfers (to/from the riverboat), all onboard meals and beverages (including spirits and wines), gratuities, Wi-Fi, bicycles (on land tours), Nordic walking sticks, also onboard fitness classes and all guided shore excursions offered in each port city along the itinerary route.
Uniworld's "Masterpiece Collection" cruise prices start at USD 3700 pp and vary by departure date and cruise tour itinerary. Fares are also inclusive of the flights (offered from several major airports in the USA). Fly-cruise deals can be upgraded to business class (prices start from USD 2500 pp).
Uniworld 2021 itineraries-2022
Example Uniworld 2021 itineraries include:
- 8-day "Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy" aboard SS La Venezia, prices from GBP 2,070 pp, including airport transfers and return flights.
- 8-day "Brilliant Bordeaux" itinerary aboard SS Bon Voyage, prices from GBP 2,250 pp, including return flights (or Eurostar & train journey from London Saint Pancras railway station to Bordeaux via Paris) and airport transfers.
- 13-day "Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia and Mekong" cruise aboard Mekong Jewel, prices from GBP 4,500 pp, including return flights, with a complimentary one-way business class upgrade.
The Uniworld preview collection 2021 features voyages on 4 new "Super Ships" for this year - SS Sao Gabriel (on the Douro River in Portugal), SS Sphinx (on Nile River in Egypt), SS La Venezia (Venice Lagoon and Po River in Italy) and RV Mekong Jewel (on Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia).
For 2022, Uniworld added 2x new itineraries to its "cruise and rail" program.
- In July-August 2022, 3 departures were scheduled for the 18-day "Milan, Venice and Istanbul" cruisetour itinerary on the fully-reconstructed riverboat SS La Venezia.
- In March-October 2022 are scheduled 8 departures on the 12-day "Enchanting Danube and The Castles of Transylvania" cruisetour. The itinerary (Budapest to Bucharest) on SS Maria Theresa has included a train travel package in Romania.
- (2021-2022) The 14-day "Milan, Venice and the Swiss Alps" cruisetour itinerary (from Milan to Zurich) is also price-inclusive of the Uniworld's cruise-and-train package.
All these packages are via Uniworld's partnership with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains - the UK's "Trans-Siberian Express" operator.
Uniworld cruise tracker
Our Uniworld cruise ship tracker is a function integrated into all Uniworld river cruise review pages. At page-bottom on each page, you'll find a map with the boat's current location (AIS position). All the real-time tracking data is provided by VesselFinder. It's all about convenience - you will find where is your Uniworld ship cruising today and right now along its current itinerary - in real-time!
Enjoy the "boutique luxury" river cruising on your Uniworld vacations!
Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All river passenger shipping line companies and their fleets are listed there.
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