Setting sail along the river Rhine aboard the River Empress, Personal Travel Advisor Elizabeth takes us through everything she got up to during her one-of-a-kind luxury Uniworld boutique river cruise. Read on for everything you need to know about these indulgent escapes, now on Xclusivity.
I will talk you through my experience on the most beautiful ship, the River Empress. One of Uniworld’s luxury river cruise ships that set sail on the river Rhine. I was lucky enough to join its voyage in Mannheim, Germany for five days and least to say, it was an adventure getting there, but it was all certainly worthwhile.
All-Inclusive Luxury with Uniworld River Cruises
Uniworld ships are all inclusive, including all food, drinks, gratuities and one excursion to choose per day, meaning that all is taken care of. My first day started in Mannheim, where you will find the town of Speyer, a quaint town where you will find boutique shops and a lovely cathedral. After this, we headed back to the ship for a Michelin star four course evening meal.
My second day on the River Empress took us to the town of Rüdesheim where I started the day at a wine tasting excursion in the castle, Schloss Vollrads. This castle is a wine estate in the Rheingau region and has been producing wine for over eight hundred years. Here, we were told stories about the original owners of the castle and of course got to try several glasses of traditional German white wines. We then headed back to the ship to find lunch with “Frühschoppen” consisting of local German sausages from the area of Rüdesheim. And, the local wine that we had just tasted was being poured.
This was followed by the River Empress setting sail for Boppard, Germany. This was my favourite afternoon on the ship as we sailed along the Rhine to see the castles along each side, along with a Champagne sabering with our butler Dragos on the sun deck.
Day three presented two choices of excursions. The bike ride from Boppard to Koblenz, or the tour of Marksburg Castle, of which I ended up doing both. A word of warning do not try the sixteen mile bike ride if you haven’t ridden a bike for twelve years. On the other hand, the tour of the Marksburg Castle was enjoyable. Showing us how the castle was created for protection for the royal family rather than as a residence.
This day ended with a treat of seeing one of Uniworld’s super ships the River Antoinette. This held only thirty more passengers than the River Empress but was slightly larger in size having a pool overlooking the views of the river and a cinema on board. We spent the night sitting in their leopard lounge sipping cocktails and listening to the on-board entertainment.
For my final full day on the ship we had arrived in Cologne and choose to take the walking discovery tour. This explained the histories of the city, showing us where cologne originally came from and took us on a visit to the Gothic Cathedral. I also took a trip to the chocolate museum to pick up some treats, before heading back to the ship for one final night before disembarking in Amsterdam and flying home.
Different groups were arranged for those who wanted to walk at a slower or faster pace, catering to everyone’s ability. Additionally, those with children had a separate tour guide to engage with the children more. If any passengers wanted to see anything else our ship manager was happy to arrange this also.
One great thing about all the excursions on this trip was that an audio box was provided to every cabin so you could always hear the tour guide.
Conversely, if you preferred to do your own exploring this was absolutely fine. As long as you didn’t miss the ship of course! This makes Uniworld a cruise line suitable for all. With their brand U by Uniworld, they offer a full board experience at reduced rates plus more activities for those young at heart. Meaning there is something for everyone to choose from.
All our holidays are ABTA & ATOL protected so you can book with confidence.