River Beatrice: Sail through the heart of Europe in luxury
Every one of the 21 ships in the Uniworld fleet is different. For my money, River Beatrice has the feel of a boutique hotel. It freely mixes traditional and contemporary decor. A modern wood and stainless steel staircase and dramatic white-glass chandelier dominate the lobby area while the lounge transports you into a traditional English country-estate style with clusters of green and red pinstriped sofas and chairs. The dining room is a large expanse of crisp white table clothes and tall white chairs.
River Beatrice is upmarket and luxurious with incredible service and interaction with the crew, as well as between the passengers (with only around 160 of them on board). The fares are all-inclusive and cover food, drink, entertainment, wi-fi, all the tours in each town and gratuities. Facilities are limited although there is a small laundry, fitness room, large lounge, smaller captain's lounge with an internet station and a large open deck with loungers.
Who will like sailing on River Beatrice
The typical guests tend to be retired couples, although you will find some families in peak holiday times. The ship appeals to people who want a very organized way of traveling as everything is arranged and organized including food, tours, transfers to and from the ship and there are very few decisions and things to arrange once you are on board. In short, River Beatrice suits people looking for a luxurious, organized, safe and gentle way to explore and see Europe.
Where River Beatrice sails
Home port: Passau, Germany
Destinations: Uniworld's River Beatrice cruises the Danube River between Passau, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary. Waltz in Vienna, visit the botanical Gardens in Linz, Austria, and glide past some of the prettiest countryside in Europe.
Other choices: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection operates a fleet of 21 river cruise ships along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Egypt and China.
Meal times offered many options, and all produce and meats were sourced from local farmers markets and suppliers. Early morning Continental breakfast can be taken in the intimate Captains' Lounge with views of the river from the rear of the ship, while a full buffet breakfast was served in the main dining room. A smaller breakfast station for late risers was always set up in the lounge.
Lunch is always served in the main dining room and is based on the region you are passing through that day. On my cruise, that included a Bavarian lunch of German sausages and Sauerkraut and an organic Austrian meal. There is usually a light buffet of cold meats and cheeses in the lounge.
Dinners are only served in the main dining room and are multiple-course events with a choice from three appetizers, two soups, four main courses (pasta, meat, fish and vegetarian) and three desserts. A Travel Light menu of low-calorie dishes was always available as was USDA Prime steak, Norwegian salmon and locally sourced chicken breast. The highlight of the menu every night was an appropriate local delicacy such as Vienna Schnitzel and Apple Strudel in Austria and Hungarian Beef Goulash and Gesztenyepüré in Budapest.
The River Beatrice, like other river ships, does not have a multitude of choices and facilities but does provide the following:
- A large lounge which can seat all passengers. There is a bar and small dance floor where local entertainers come on board to perform. In the evening, a pianist and singer also entertain guests.
- A main dining room with open-seated dining. The dinner meal has a set time that all guests need to be seated for.
- The Captain's Lounge at the rear of the ship with complimentary coffee and tea, and two computer stations.
- A laundry room.
- A small fitness room.
- A large open deck on top of the ship with loungers, chairs and covered space.
A choice of tours is offered in each destination and is included in the fares from the Uniworld Choice is Yours program. You can select from a walking excursion of the town, designed to satisfy first-time visitors with major highlights. There is also a Do as the Locals Do tour, which took repeat visitors to more unusual sights and markets, as well as a scenic Go Active cycling or hiking activity or Gentle Walking tour for less mobile passengers.
Groups of fewer than 25 people are escorted by a guide wearing a radio microphone, and you listen to their commentary through personal earpieces while strolling around the sites. This means you do not have to stay huddled close to the guide straining to hear them.
The cabins are compact but luxurious with soft a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a Juliet-style balcony that means you can enjoy the full benefit of the glorious scenery drifting by. The wall opposite the bed is mirrored to create a bright and airy feel. The bathroom has a comfortably sized shower with plenty of hot water and great water pressure.
I liked the added touches such as the pillow menu, a choice of bathroom toiletries including L'Occitane and Rituals and the different treats delivered to my room each day such as local pralines and peanut brittle, which was a nice change to the same predictable bedtime chocolates.
Gary Bembridge sailed on River Beatrice on a press/blogger trip as a guest of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.
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Top highlights on this ship
- All-inclusive fares which cover food, drink, tours, wi-fi and gratuities
- Mix of traditional country-home style public rooms and plush cabins
- Regional-based menus using locally purchased produce along the river
- Local entertainers brought on board at various points to demonstrate regional traditions, culture, music and dance
- Exclusive land-based events included in the fare, such as a private classical concert in a palace in Vienna
Top dining options on board
Editor & community ratings
“This boutique river ship offers elegant décor and chic, quality cruising with fairly spacious cabins. The open-seating restaurant provides good food, and facilities include a complimentary passenger laundry.”