I have always loved being on the water. I grew up across the street from the Mississippi River, which meant my family spent weekend after weekend boating. Our vacations always revolved around water as well, whether they were quick getaways to the lake my grandma lives on or farther away to the Pacific or Atlantic coasts.
It’s no surprise, then, that I absolutely adored my European river cruise with U by Uniworld this summer, a seven-day sailing down the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. There are about 1,000 things that made the trip special—the chic ship, the welcoming crew, the tasty meals, the incredible excursions, just to name a few. Together, they’ve made it a struggle to put pen to paper and share all the details. I want to do the experience justice—to fully capture the magic of river cruising!
In an attempt to do so, over the next couple weeks I’ll be breaking the trip down into bite-sized pieces, giving you a look at various parts that left me wanting to book another one of U by Uniworld’s itineraries for a getaway with Mr. Smitten next summer. (Hello, Budapest!)
First up: The ship, of course!
U by Uniworld: The A
I do not consider myself a “cruise” person, at least not in the traditional sense. Oceanliners that sleep thousands of people just don’t appeal to me, which is exactly why river cruising with U by Uniworld was so perfect.
The ship I sailed on with Mr. Smitten, my sister and her hubby—The A—can accommodate about 120 guests. In other words, The A is essentially a boutique hotel (my favorite type of accommodation), while also serving as a “taxi, bar, restaurant, nightclub, spa and yoga studio,” as U by Uniworld describes their ships. (They currently have two; The B sails on the rivers of France, while The A cruises through The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.)
It’s the perfect size ship in my opinion, not to mention its aesthetic makes it just plain fun to look at and live in for a week (or more). U by Uniworld’s ships are the only matte black vessels cruising Europe’s rivers which give them an edgy, youthful vibe. They also include everything you need to feel right at home and travel effortlessly between city after city. Diving even deeper, here are some of my favorite parts about U by Uniworld’s The A:
The A features four suites, and if you’re sailing with U by Uniworld you’re going to want to snag one. The room category comes with far more amenities than the balcony rooms or studios, such as an in-room cappuccino maker, mini-fridge and so much more space to spread out and relax in. Oh, and the bathrooms? Well, not only are they marble, they’re huge!
The sun deck
This was by far my favorite place to hang out during my week on board The A. It’s a beautiful space, perfect for admiring the European countryside—complete with vineyard-clad valleys, historic castles, sweet little farms and charming villages. The sun deck also includes an indoor bar area and games, like life-size chess. All you need to do is pull up a chair and enjoy!
Both The A and The B carry around 50 bikes that guests can use to explore when the boat is docked. It’s a super easy way to see the city, especially if you want to cover more ground than would be possible on foot. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even take the bikes from one port to the next for some scenic exercise. While the bikes were a little big for a shorty like me, I managed just fine and loved exploring Haarlem in The Netherlands via two wheels and “racing” The A from Bonn to Remagen, Germany.
If you’re looking for a week in Europe and want to explore more than one city, The A (or The B) makes it a breeze, while offering oodles of comfort and convenience.