Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).
Uniworld has a firm grip on the market when it comes to river cruises — and for good reason. Its totally inclusive pricing and fashionable ships make for relaxing, aesthetically-pleasing journeys.
The food is unique and interesting, if not always familiar. And its itineraries hit key bucket list destinations and some less touristy ones, as well — we’re looking at you, Peru.
The price is pretty competitive when compared to luxury competitors like Scenic or Tauck. For example, based on rates sourced in March 2020, an eight-day Rhine river cruise with Uniworld starts at $2,999 — compared to a similar all-inclusive eight-day Scenic getaway for $3,695.
Still, not everyone will fall head-over-heels for Uniworld. Folks hoping for a budget cruise with Las Vegas-style entertainment should look elsewhere. And travelers searching for immersive experiences that lend insight into unfiltered local culture will be disappointed. Uniworld cruises are for lovers of luxury — not necessarily authenticity.
That said, you’ll get what you pay for on Uniworld cruises: premium spirits, lush amenities and 5-star service. The cherry on top? Expertly organized shore excursions and the chance to visit some of the world’s most famous and talked-about sites — without worrying about needing to tip the guide. Much like everything else on these cruises, that’s taken care of.
Compare Uniworld cruise ships
Erase all your notions of cramped cabins and stark staterooms. Custom-designed river cruise ships are decorated with panache and style — meant to be boutique hotels at sea, rather than resort-style playgrounds. Uniworld draws inspiration from its sister company, the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, which is evident in the sophisticated design, unique works of art and dynamic antique collections.
Aboard, you’ll find all the standard amenities of 5-star river cruise ships — restaurants, spas, fitness centers, bars and lounges and wide sun decks. Some of its ships even have swimming pools.
Every stateroom has a riverside view.
Where do Uniworld cruises depart from?
Uniworld’s itineraries are designed around some of the world’s greatest rivers. But it doesn’t launch from anywhere in the US.
Here’s where you can begin your Uniworld cruise:
Amsterdam, Antwerp, Avignon, Basel, Bordeaux, Budapest, Giurgiu, Lyon, Moscow, Nuremberg, Paris, Passau, Porto, St. Petersburg, Venice, Vienna
Uniworld cruises destinations
Uniworld‘s Nile cruises are of particular note, as well as its itineraries along the imperial waterways of Russia, the rainforests of Peru and beyond.
It also offers holiday and family cruises along with themed cruises for lovers of French food and wine, plus Jewish history tours.
Here’s a list of where Uniworld sails:
Arabian Gulf, Asia, Europe
What’s included in my Uniworld cruise?
Uniworld leads the pack when it comes to totally comprehensive fare. Here’s what you’ll get when you book a Uniworld cruise:
Premium alcoholic beverages
Locally-inspired, 5-star dining
Choose from a curated selection.
Bikes and walking sticks to borrow at port
Workout room with fitness classes led by a certified instructor
Airport transfers to and from the port
Also, 24/7 butler service is included with suites.
Uniworld river cruises pricing
The cost of Uniworld river cruises can vary drastically, depending on the itinerary you choose and the dates you sail. But we know getting a ballpark idea can help when you’re shopping for that perfect cruise. Here’s a sampling of Uniworld‘s prices:
Cairo, fly to Luxor, depart from Dendera, Kom Ombo, Aswan, Edfu, Esna
*Prices obtained February 2020 and are calculated based on the per-person rate for double occupancy of the least expensive staterooms, and do not include port charges.
Keep in mind that you can usually save up to 10% by booking and paying the full amount ahead of time.
Why you should — or shouldn’t — cruise with Uniworld. Weigh the pros and cons:
Hermès toiletries, marble bathrooms, fresh-baked cookies
Beautifully decorated, one-of-a-kind ships
Guest lectures and enriching activities
Food is locally-inspired and award-winning
Ranked by Savoir and Food & Travel magazines
Fare can be pricey up front.
Onboard entertainment options are fewer than larger cruise lines.
No US departure ports.
Excursions tend to focus on major tourist attractions and don’t always showcase the authentic culture of each port, according to some online reviews.
Frequently asked questions
Uniworld is owned by the Travel Corporation, which operates 40+ tour and cruise brands worldwide.
Smart casual — with a focus on comfort. Bring good walking shoes. And keep in mind that shorts are not allowed at dinner on Uniworld ships.
It’s a good idea to pack at least one formal outfit in case there’s a special event on shore that requires dressing up. But neck ties are not required.
And pack warm layers, depending on the itinerary. You’ll receive a more specific packing list before departure.
No. Smoking is not allowed inside Uniworld ships, but it is allowed in a designated area on the sun deck.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, However, it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated domestic travelers as of April 2021. International travelers need to get tested three days prior to flying out of the US and within three days after returning, even if you are fully vaccinated. It recommends that you delay travel if you’re not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.
If you’re planning a trip outside the US, bear in mind that many countries have placed restrictions on US tourists. Check the US embassy website for updates before booking international travel.
Latest Uniworld cruise deals
Save 30% on select 2020 voyages with Uniworld US!
Uniworld's 100th Anniversary Celebration Event! Book your next adventure now!
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