Recently, I was afforded the wonderful opportunity to sail aboard Uniworld’s S.S. Antoinette along the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam. This was my first experience on a river cruise and I was blown away by the attention to detail and level of hospitality displayed by Uniworld. I was initially uncertain about the river cruise experience as I was concerned I might not have the freedom to explore on my own, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn the my inner curiosity was consistently content with new sights and exciting discoveries around every bend, not to mention the supreme choice of shore excursions selected by Uniworld that kept us engaged and excited to learn more about each destination we sailed to.
There are so many things to love about a river cruise…. whether it be getting to see so many wonderful places while only having to unpack once, landing in a port and being able to wander straight into town, or never having to think or worry about what to do next because everything’s being laid out before you, the river cruise experience is ideal for the traveler who wants to discover the world in supreme comfort.
My most memorable moments:
• When I first arrived on the ship, one of the first things that I noticed was the blue Strauss Baccarat chandelier. It’s quite impressive! At 10-feet with huge sapphires, it seemed to take up the entire 2-story foyer. I remember thinking it was an interesting choice given its massive presence in the room, but every day I grew to love it more and more as it created lovely dancing rainbows everywhere when the sun was in just the right place giving the foyer an air of enchantment.
• Our included excursion one morning was “Wine at 9” – a private tour and Riesling tasting at Castle Vollrad. We made our way from one beautiful room to the next, tasting the various wines as we went which was quite a relaxing way to begin our day. It was an experience that we never would have had otherwise and we were so grateful that Uniworld offered it as part of their all-inclusive fares.
• Spending the afternoon floating up the Rhine Gorge on the beautiful S.S. Antoinette, watching countless castles pass us by. At any given moment, there was always at least two castles within view while we curled up in a lounger and sipped our cocktails. Our knowledgeable cruise director explained that the castles were built to be used as “tolls” for the traders that worked their way up and down this busy river. Many of them have had to be rebuilt after being damaged by the various wars, and are now used as museums and sometimes even youth hostels. The journey up the Rhine concluded as we arrived in Koblenz, with the gondolas spanning the river as they carried riders to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress above. It was a sight to behold. I felt the itinerary that was carefully chosen by Uniworld was a beautiful one, with each port unfolding to a captivating destination every time the ship moored.
• Our final day of the cruise, we spent the morning in Cologne and departed at lunchtime for our journey to Amsterdam. After lunch, we spent some time relaxing in the lounge watching the world go by before retiring to our cozy room. We watched movies in our bed and left the curtains open so that we could observe the river as we floated along. It was the perfect time to take a moment and reflect on all that we had experienced, before moving on to the next phase of our journey.