I recently returned from leading a small group on a Uniworld River Cruise. It was absolutely wonderful in pretty much every way, and it exceeded the group's expectations.
Prior to embarkation we spent 3 nights in Prague. What a JEWEL Prague is! You could easily be in Prague for 7 nights and still have left some corners of the city undiscovered. It is a beautiful city with some amazing historical architecture –from Art Nouveau to Baroque to Gothic. Prague has a lively nightlife – thanks to a terrific selection of beers in some very historical pubs and restaurants! It is a wonderful city to walk, walk and walk – but is also very easy to get about on the rail system. The areas of Prague to explore are Old Town, Old Town Square, New Town, Wenceslaus Square, Charles Bridge, Lesser Town and much more. I would recommend spending a whole day up at Prague Castle as well.
We stayed at the Hotel Adria while in Prague, which is a LUXE Hotel located on Wenceslaus Square. Terrific location on the Square – very easy to walk from there to Old Town, Charles Bridge, etc. The hotel staff was just okay – I found that as a group leader they were not as helpful as I would have hoped, and even snappy when I would ask for information for my group. Housekeeping, however, did a terrific job – the hotel was very clean at all times. Breakfast was included in the rates and it was very good. One day the breakfast room was closed so we had breakfast in the ‘Cave’ Dinner restaurant – which was a fun experience. There is a small lounge off the lobby which provided a fun, convivial meeting place. The hotel is made up of several buildings, so it was a bit confusing as to which elevator serviced your part of the hotel - but we soon caught on.
While in Prague, I did a site-inspection of the Four Seasons and it was absolutely stunning. First of all the location was fabulous – just down from the Charles Bridge, with a fantastic view of the River and the Prague Castle. Having a river view room is a MUST, especially for a honeymoon couple, however all of the rooms were very well appointed, spacious and quiet (even on the city side). They are doing some renovations this year to some of the rooms and the Bar on the Lobby level. They did a beautiful job of combining centuries old architecture with new buildings and making it one of the nicest Four Seasons I've seen!
Sadly, the time came for us to depart Prague and travel the 4 hours down to Nuremburg. It was a beautiful country drive and we were in good hands with our Signature Destination Specialist.
The River Countess is very lovely and we all enjoyed the facilities very much. The Reception Desk and the Cruise Directors desk are in the center as you enter the ship. The staterooms are small, but very well appointed and the bedding was luscious! Most of the group was confirmed in a Category 2, which had picture windows. One room was confirmed in a Category 4, which was on the Moselle Deck (lower deck) and had a ‘Tip-Toe’ Window. While the room was fine, they had the experience of a bad odor in the room. We talked with the Reception and they kindly moved the guests. Once they had moved, they said that next time they would definitely book a higher category because it made a BIG difference in their experience having a window. Definitely something to think about when planning your honeymoon. The bathroom was also finely appointed and the best part is that Uniworld offers L'Occitaine products in the bathrooms - what a treat!
The Main Restaurant was aft on the Rhine Deck, which was wonderful with all floor to ceiling windows so you really had some great panoramas nearly all of the time (except when in the depth of the locks). The tables were very well spaced and the center buffet area had plenty of room for everyone to move through. Even with the ship full it never felt crowded. The food was VERY good. There was always a terrific selection and the wines served for dinner were lovely. The staff was excellent and the Restaurant Manager went above and beyond. We had 2 members of our group that had food allergies and diet restrictions and he made sure to go over the menu with them daily to advise as to what they could or could not consume.
The Main Lounge was a beautiful room, forward on the Rhine Deck. Again, very spacious, and there was always nightly entertainment provided by a couple that also gave massages during the day! There was also local entertainment on 3 of the cruise nights which was very lively and fun and it was wonderful to hear local musicians and really get a feeling for where we were.
Other public areas were the Captains Library, which was just off the Main Lounge, where there were 2 computers that you could use during the cruise. There was a nice selection of games in the library as well. There was a small Fitness room on the Moselle Deck which, if you were so inclined, had a small selection of machines to work on . The Boutique was on the Main Deck and had a nice selection of local handicrafts. Next to the Boutique was a 24hr Coffee/Tea Station with a few nice tables and Bistro chairs to sit in.
The Sun Deck was wonderful, complete with chess and shuffleboard. The Sky Lounge was also on the Sun Deck and is the location for the ‘Al Fresco’ Dining option. On our cruise they offered the ‘Al Fresco’ option on 2 evenings . The option is open to only 20 guests and we were fortunate enough to confirm the night of outdoor dining when we sailed through the Passau Valley. What an AWESOME night and experience! Another memorable experience was making use of the bicycles that were available on board. We grabbed the bikes the day that we were in Regensburg and took a 4 hour trip along the Danube through the countryside and a couple of villages.
All in all, we had an absolutely fabulous time. If you'd love to travel through Europe, especially on a honeymoon, but a tour just isn't your thing, be sure to consider a river cruise. I can recommend some fabulous and romantic itineraries for honeymooners!