Uniworld — european jewels river cruise between october 19 and november 3
My wife and I completed the European Jewels cruise between October 19 and November 3. The purpose of this message is to convey our very high level of dissatisfaction with this cruise and the manner in which Uniworld has managed the issue of low river levels this year. This was our third cruise with Uniworld, and the first time we were ever less than totally thrilled with the experience.
Of course, this complaint has to do with the impacts of the extended drought and low water levels in Europe. Since returning from our trip, we have seen numerous other complaints filed about this issue on-line. I will not go into a lot of detail about the impacts on us. You certainly have the specific data from this cruise, as well as numerous previous comments about people's desires to cruise on the river versus travel by bus. You have also heard from customers about the frustrations of having to pack and repack multiple times. We would certainly echo all of those complaints.
Distinct from the comments of others we have seen on-line, the core of our complaint is that Uniworld has been aware of this issue all summer and did not give us the opportunity to decide for ourselves whether we wished to proceed or postpone. We had purchased expensive trip insurance for just such an eventuality. However, Uniworld only notified us late the day before we were scheduled to depart for Budapest, effectively taking the decision away from us and forcing us into a highly substandard experience of tremendously less value than we booked.
Before going further, let me complement all of your personnel for working hard to make the best of a bad situation. The Uniworld personnel on all three ships (SS Beatrice, River Empress and River Princess) performed magnificently, as always. The only exception was that the level of food quality seemed to be less than we had experienced previously on the SS Catherine and SS Maria Theresa. We were especially disappointed with the number of buffet dinners early in the cruise. Regardless, the meal service provided by the staff was outstanding.
Specifically for us, it was disappointing that our cruise was slowed in the section between Budapest and Passau which we had cruised in 2017 on the Maria Theresa.See the Top 10 Worst Complaints in Charlotte, NC It resulted in us missing scheduled sites in the Passau to Amsterdam section. For example, an added stop in Linz that was inserted to pass time waiting for water levels to hopefully change was completely undesirable to us. Even then, that excursion was abbreviated and far less interesting than we had experienced the year before. Throughout the entire recent trip, we either missed excursions entirely (e.g. Weissenkirchen Village Day, BMW Factory Visit, Rothenburg Walking Tour, Bamburg) or our time in a location was extremely accelerated (e.g. very brief time in Nuremberg where we entirely missed the Documentation Center tour). Of course, the lengthy bus rides from Budapest to Vienna and then from Vilshofen to Wurzburg were totally unexpected when we booked our trip and highly undesirable. The net effect was a vacation of far less value, certainly not worth what we paid.
As compensation for these deficiencies, Uniworld provided us with a letter at the end of the cruise on October 31 offering $200 per person onboard credit plus a Future Cruise Credit of $1, 500 per person that must be used during 2019. Frankly, we feel that this level of compensation is far below the value we lost on this cruise. In addition, we think that any Future Cruise Credit should be more generous in the period of time it could be used. The credit should be available for at least two years in order to facilitate vacation planning.
This letter only covers the highlights of our issues and concerns. Our two previous experiences with Uniworld were both outstanding and have set our level of expectation very high. We request that you consider offering us much more favorable compensation for this disappointment in order to continue enjoying our business. Feel free to respond by email or call us at the telephone number you have on file if you would like more information.
We previously submitted this information to you via a direct email on November 5. We immediately received an automated response from you stating we should hear from you in 7-12 business day. I followed up with you on November 15, but did not receive a response. It has now been 13 business days and 18 calendar days without a specific response. We appreciate a timely response, even if you choose to otherwise ignore our concerns.
RANDY & ELAINE STANSBERRY