Gliding along the Rhine and Danube rivers, Uniworld’s River Princess is one of the line’s royally good ‘River’ class of ships, and together with its sisters, including the Countess, Duchess, Empress and Queen, the River Princess provides a regal way of seeing some of Europe’s most iconic and breathtaking sights. Benefitting from a full refurbishment in 2011, which added French balconies to all of the Rhine Deck staterooms and suites, the River Princess offers indulgent river cruises through Europe’s heartland. Interiors are executed beautifully, from the modern monochrome lobby to the sophisticated and stylish public areas – including the glassed conservatory-style Sky Lounge – you can guarantee a comfortable, relaxing and luxurious river cruise from start to finish.
Passengers Despite its size, the River Princess, along with its sisters, has a smaller capacity than similar-sized vessels that sail Europe’s rivers, which leads to higher crew-to-passenger ratios and a high quality of hospitality. The maximum capacity of the ship is 130 guests, and there are 41 staff members onboard who are all fluent in English. The Uniworld Cruise Manager is on hand throughout to ensure every guest is looked after. The majority of guests tend to be from the USA, but Uniworld’s itineraries are also popular with well-travelled guests from the UK, Canada and Australia.
Dining The main restaurant can be found on the Rhine Deck, which is stylishly decorated and operates an open seating policy. Breakfast and lunch are served from the central buffet station, but some made-to-order dishes are also available on request. A four-course dinner is available every evening, served by professional waiters. Menus take inspiration from European cuisine, and guests can enjoy a range of regional specialities as well as failsafe international dishes. If you’re hoping to enjoy lighter bites and snacks, there are alternative dining venues onboard, including the Sky Lounge situated on the Sun Deck. The Captain’s Lounge and Library offers exclusive private dining facilities several times during each itinerary, at no extra cost to the passenger. Reservations are essential, however, because there’s only space for 24 diners per evening. Suite guests can also enjoy in-room breakfasts thanks to room service, and there are 24-hour hot beverage stations onboard. Uniworld passengers can usually enjoy unlimited drinks, inclusive in the fare, from wines, beers and spirits to non-alcoholic beverages.
Entertainment There are several lounges onboard, including the open-air Patio Lounge on the Main Deck, the Sky Lounge on the Sun Deck and the intimate Captain’s Lounge which features a full service bar. The main social venue is the Main Lounge, situated on the Rhine Deck, which also benefits from a full-service bar, as well as a dancefloor and the music of a resident pianist. Occasionally, local performers are invited onboard to showcase regional music and dance. Guests can also look forward to welcome and farewell dinners, and cocktail receptions, which offer a perfect opportunity to dress up and mingle.
Activities There is an Internet corner situated on the Main Deck, and guests can make use of the complimentary Wi-Fi in their staterooms and public areas. There is also a library, where guests can curl up with a book or play one of the games available, and the Sun Deck is home to giant chess and shuffleboard if you fancy a challenge. The enrichment programme which complements every itinerary typically includes Signature Lectures, cooking demonstrations and wine tasting. Uniworld’s itineraries are well-rounded, offering guests a choice of excursions in most ports thanks to the ‘Choice is Yours’ programme that is provided. Guided tours are all led by local guides who speak fluent English, and Quietvox audio headsets are available to ensure every word can be heard and understood, regardless of where you are standing. Nordic walking sticks and bikes are complimentary and can be enjoyed in every port. There is also a wide range of excursions available to suit every ability, from ‘gentle walking’ and coach tours to the more lively ‘go active’ activities.
Accommodation There are four 214 sq. ft. suites and 61 151 sq. ft. staterooms onboard the River Princess, split into six categories. Staterooms and suites on the Rhine Deck all have French balconies – the remaining staterooms feature large picture windows and portholes, instead. All cabins are beautifully-decorated and well-appointed, with high-quality furniture and features, including signature Savoir of England beds, luxury bedding (including 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, European duvets and pillow menu), en-suite marble bathroom, flatscreen TV, safe, hairdryer, bathrobes and individual climate control. In addition to the common amenities, suite guests can enjoy special features, including a bottle of wine on arrival, Nespresso coffee maker, stocked mini-bar, iPod dock, slippers, DVD player, larger bathroom, room service, complimentary shoe shine and laundry service.
Spa/Wellbeing There is a Serenity River Spa onboard, which offers massages and treatments courtesy of the professional therapist, and a sauna is also available. There is also a well-equipped fitness centre. If you’d prefer to kick back and relax, the Sun Deck is the perfect place, kitted out with plenty of sunloungers, deckchairs, tables and chairs, with canopied areas if you wish to have shelter from the sun.
Itineraries The River Princess currently offers a range of enthralling itineraries that focus on the Rhine and Danube rivers, from the festive 13 day ‘Grand Christmas & New Year’s Cruise’ and 8 day ‘European Holiday Markets’ to the popular ten day ‘Delightful Danube & Prague’ and 21 day ‘Portraits of Eastern Europe’, or the 12 day ‘Highlights of Eastern Europe & Istanbul’ river cruise. If you wish to escape for the holidays, one of the festive cruises would be an ideal choice. Both the ‘European Holiday Markets’ and ‘Grand Christmas & New Year’s Cruise’ itineraries begin in Nuremberg, and follow the same route to Vienna. The former takes you on a longer journey to Budapest. Highlights of these itineraries include walking tours of Nuremberg, Regensburg, Linz, Durnstein, Vienna and Budapest, with activities including gingerbread making, floral decorating, mulled wine tasting, and a classical concert in Vienna. The ‘Delightful Danube & Prague’ sails from Budapest to Prague, visiting Austria and Germany as well. Walking tours of cities including Budapest, Vienna and Passau, and excursions including wine tasting in Spitz, bicycle rides and hiking trips, and behind-the-scenes tour of Prague’s Estates Theatre, are available. The ‘Portraits of Eastern Europe’ sails between Prague and Istanbul, and the shorter ‘Highlights of Eastern Europe’ travels between Budapest and Istanbul. Both offer similar itineraries from Budapest onwards. The longer trip includes visits to Regensburg, Passau, Spitz and Vienna before arriving in Budapest.