Uniworld River Cruise on the Danube
Imagine relaxing on a lounge chair atop a riverboat, a soft warm breeze brushing your face while gazing at blue skies contrasted by green hills covered with vineyards. Quaint, cobblestone towns with church steeples reach up high along the hillside. The sound of water gently lapping against the boat mixed with laughter and the tinkling of champagne glasses celebrates the moment, the hour, life. Ask anyone on the cruise...It was the perfect day.
Uniworld River Cruises gifted this perfect day to its 150 passengers on the SS Marie Theresa, and we will forever be grateful. I was asked to blog about this cruise from Budapest to Passau, Germany, and while it’s easy to write about what happened, it’s difficult to relay our true experience.
Do I write about the Budapest Parliament and Palace luminated at night along the River or the exclusive before-hours tour of the Vienna Fine Arts Museum? Maybe I should mention the wine tour to Nikolaishof vineyard in Austria where we toured this family’s 2000 year old wine cellar and sat in their courtyard tasting their refreshing Riesling while the bell tower rang every half hour? How about the afternoon in Melk Austria, gazing up at the majestic Melk Abbey from the biergarten on the river?
Really though, it’s all about Uniworld. Because Uniworld provided the transportation, accommodations, staff, service, cuisine, libation, and the guests so the experiences would not have happened if not for Uniworld River Cruises. When you first step onto the marble floors of the SS Maria Theresa and see the grand staircase with the intricate chandelier hanging over a large painting of Maria Theresa, you feel special, important, and exclusive. You tingle with excitement because you know right then that the next 8 days will be unforgettable. Have you had an experience where the answer is always yes? It doesn’t happen often, but it happens on a Uniworld River cruise.
Yes and Nice to Meet You! Dining on a river cruise is both elegant and casual because the cuisine and service is five star yet you wear your resort casual clothes that you wore on excursions that day. The wine, beer, champagne and spirits flow so be careful; you never know how much you have had to drink because your glass is always full! Who do you sit with for meals? Sit alone or feel free to join complete strangers because those strangers will be your best friends by the end of the cruise! The atmosphere on the ship encourages interaction and building relationships with other passengers.
It’s all about the food! Using local ingredients and serving regional dishes, the award winning chef did not disappoint! For some, the best is still not good enough. So, what happens on a Uniworld ship when they don’t have what you are craving on the menu? The Maitre’d walks to the market to buy it, the Chef cooks it perfectly and serves it to you. Yes, that happened to one of our fellow passengers, and I have the pictures to prove it! I have been gluten free since forever. When I sat down in the dining room on the first night, the maitre’d was at my side immediately with a basket of gluten free baguettes! I wanted to scream for joy! The theme for the week was YES! We will make that gluten free just for you!
The Salon - We perfected the Salon experience. The Salon is located on the top deck with floor to ceiling windows. It is the front 1/2 of the ship with a dance floor, many seating areas and the main bar. You can start your day in the Salon with coffee, enjoy an afternoon tea (or Apple Spritzer) and keep the party going after dinner with martinis and more! Our Salon time was usually in the afternoon, but our crew (remember I told you that the strangers at dinner become your best friends aka our crew), retreated to the Leopard Lounge after dinner.
The Leopard Lounge? We perfected the Leopard Lounge, too, thanks to Sylvia, the most talented bartender on the Danube. Leopard prints may force your brain to envision New York City, long nails and big hair, but the decor in the Leopard Lounge is classy and intriguing. It’s hidden behind a door in the very rear of the ship with its own bar and verandah. What did we do in the Leopard Lounger? Google a French Martini! Yes!