River Countess cruise review
Is River Countess right for you?
By nature and intent, river cruising is different from ocean cruising:
The ships and cabins are compact, the number of passengers on board is small (100 to 150 on most European river vessels), and the focus is on port visits and sightseeing--usually with shore excursions included in the fare. In many ways, a river cruise is like a group tour, except that you aren't being driven to a different hotel and restaurant every night.
Also, cruise itineraries vary in their ratio of cruising to sightseeing. On a river like the Rhine or the Danube, you might cover several hundred kilometers a week, crossing several countries' borders along the way. A River Countess cruise is at the opposite end of the spectrum: The cruising distance between one port and the next is seldom more than two or three hours, and you'll spend several nights moored in Venice or Polesella (or Chioggia, if conditions prevent the ship from reaching the Po River, as they did on our cruise).
You'll also spend more time on buses than you might on, say, a River Baroness cruise from Paris to Normandy and back, because the ports--except for Venice--are mostly jumping-off points for visits to interesting cities in the region.
Should you consider a River Countess cruise? We'd say "yes," if any of the following apply:
As we mentioned earlier, Uniworld's River Countess ranked No. 1 among all cruise ships (including river and oceangoing vessels) in the 2013 Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards. Uniworld has also raked in awards from Condé Nast Traveler, Saveur, CruiseCritic.com, Zagat, and Travel Weekly, so you're likely to be delighted by your experience on board.
If you like upscale small-ship cruising, don't mind a few bus rides, and take pleasure in sightseeing, you'll probably enjoy a cruise on River Countess--especially since it includes the magical atmosphere of Venice and the Venetian Lagoon.
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