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Uniworld River Baroness cruise review

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RIVER BARONESS crew in Paris

ABOVE: We found this souvenir photo of the officers, enginers, sailors, and hospitality staff in our cabin on the last night of the cruise. (Click for larger image.)

Officers and crew

River Baroness normally has a crew of 38 to serve a maximum of 120 passengers. On our cruise, the staff included:

RIVER BARONESS captain at helmA first and second captain. A river vessel typically has two captains or river pilots, who take turns steering the ship from the wheelhouse or--in locks or while mooring--from remote consoles on the Sun Deck.

A chief engineer and engine-room staff. These crew members were mostly out of sight and out of mind, but we occasionally saw a man in a boiler suit walking around purposefully.

Sebastien Wendling on RIVER BARONESSA hotel manager. Sebastien Wendling, the hotel manager on our cruise, was a warm and witty man from Strasbourg who had been employed by Hilton Hotels in the UK before entering the river-cruise business. He was in charge of the ship's hotel operations, and his immediate assistants included the purser and reception staff.

Ramona Kurcsics on RIVER BARONESSA cruise manager (the equivalent of a cruise director on oceangoing ships). Ramona Kurcsics oversaw shore excursions, previewed upcoming ports and tours in the lounge each evening, and helped passengers with their transfers and other travel arrangements. (Note from Durant Imboden: Seeing Ramona again was a blast from the past. I'd cruised with her on a Peter Deilmann cruise from Venice in 2003.)

Frederic Roland and George Muresan on RIVER BARONESSBar and dining room staff, including executive chef Frédéric Roland and restaurant manager George Muresan (shown at left), a bartender, and a crew of cheerful, hard-working waiters.

Housekeeping staff, both male and female, mostly from Eastern Europe. The housekeepers during our voyage were friendly and efficient, and our cabin was kept spotlessly clean throughout the cruise.

Several sailors who maintained the ship, handled the mooring lines in ports, and helped the captains deploy and retrieve the gangways.

About tipping:

Starting in 2014, Uniworld is including all tips for onboard and onshore services (including pre- and post-cruise excursions) in its European cruise fares.

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