The Scoop: What to Know About Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Personal service, a focus on great food, and wellness offerings set this river cruise company apart.

Uniworld S.S. Sphinx river ship in Egypt at sunrise with hot air balloons in background
(Photo: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises)

River cruise company Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers luxury river cruises to destinations throughout Europe, Egypt, Asia, and South America. With one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios in the river cruise industry, the company is known for its personal service, cuisine made with fresh locally sourced ingredients, and wellness offerings.

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The company was acquired in 2004 by The Travel Corporation (owner of Trafalgar, Contiki, and more than a dozen other tour companies), and investments were made in the ships and other features to create a boutique hotel experience on the water modeled after sister company Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Ships feature artwork and decor inspired by the waterways on which they travel.

TourScoop Takeaways

Uniworld ship River Empress on the Rhine with castle in background
Uniworld’s River Empress on the Rhine (Photo: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises)
  • Destinations: 12 itineraries/four continents
  • Tour Size Average: Ships have an average capacity of 120 guests
  • Tour Type: River cruise

How to Book

You can browse and book on the Uniworld Boutique River Cruises website. Request a quote or click “Book Now” to begin the booking process.

Once you’ve filled out all the necessary information and provided payment information, you’ll receive a booking confirmation via email. You can also book through a travel professional.

Credibility Check

Uniworld has received multiple awards and accolades over the years and was named best river cruise line by Travel + Leisure (in 2021, 2019, and 2018) and Cruise Critic (in 2018, 2016, and 2015). It has a Cruise Critic user ranking of 4.3 out of 5 and rates 5 out 5 on TravelStride. 

Tour Destinations

Uniworld ship on the oxbow of a river
Uniworld sails on itineraries in Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, and India (Photo: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises)

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers 12 different itineraries in 2024 and 12 for 2025 where travelers can explore destinations such as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Central Europe, Peru, Egypt, Southeast Asia, and India.

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Itineraries are offered for eight- to 10-day trips or 15-plus-day excursions, with some options for pre- and post-cruise extensions. Tailored to the location and time of year, they include activities like guided city tours, wine tastings, local cuisine experiences, and active excursions.

Uniworld also offers an annual “Rivers of the World” 55-day sailing that that travels across three continents and to 10 countries aboard four different luxury ships.

Tour Types

Uniworld’s river cruises navigate waterways such as the Danube, Rhine, Ganges, Nile, and Mekong Rivers on destination-inspired ships where no two suites are the same (though all feature butler service and large all-marble baths). Itineraries include land excursions hosted by English-speaking local experts, cultural enrichment activities, and onboard meals and local entertainment. 

Tour Guides

Uniworld’s tour guides provide travelers with authentic, immersive experiences and a local perspective of the destinations on each itinerary. The company’s “Nights Out” excursions include private after-hours tours of popular attractions and local nightlife experiences, while its “Let’s Go” excursions feature activities like walking, hiking, cycling, and kayaking. Passengers also have the opportunity to book customizable, private excursions.

What’s Included

  • Most meals, including welcome and farewell receptions and dinners
  • Unlimited beverages onboard, including wine and spirits
  • A choice of excursions, with bicycles and walking sticks for onshore use
  • Ship-wide internet and Wi-Fi
  • Onboard fitness centers and wellness classes
  • Onboard entertainment
  • Airport transfers
  • Gratuities 

What’s Not Included

  • Optional pre- and post-cruise extensions
  • Optional excursions
  • Spa services
  • “Bon voyage” gifts like birthday cakes, chocolates, and wine

Typical Travelers

Uniworld ship bistro with Portugal in background
Uniworld’s onboard offerings include seasonal regional fare inspired by the destination (Photo: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises)

Uniworld caters primarily to an adult demographic, with a typical age range of mid-30s to seniors. The Generations Collection of sailings offers itineraries created for families with activities specially designed for kids.


Travelers can contact Uniworld at 800-257-2407 or via the Guest Relations email. The website offers a range of important pre-trip information, and there’s also customer service dedicated to after-hours and emergency support.

Loyalty Program

Uniworld is a member of The Travel Corporation (TTC), which offers a loyalty program called the River Heritage Club. Travelers can become members after completing their first Uniworld Boutique River Cruise, and members receive exclusive benefits and recognition that includes perks like priority notification of new programs and cruises, special onboard amenities, access to member-only events, and complimentary laundry service. 

Sustainability Efforts

Uniworld’s commitment to sustainability includes a goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and efforts to eliminate more than 60 types of single-use plastic.

It’s also partnering with Leanpath to cut down on food waste onboard its ships and offers “Make Travel Matter” experiences on cruises that provide positive environmental or social impacts on travelers and destinations and support one or more of the United Nation’s Global Goals.

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The company works with local artisans and small businesses everywhere it travels and has a sustainability officer overseeing these efforts.

Health and Safety Practices

Uniworld offers a Travel Protection Plan available for purchase that allows travelers to cancel up to one day prior to their first Uniworld-arranged travel date for any reason and receive a future travel certificate. Full refunds are available for select covered reasons, and travelers are also covered if they become sick while traveling and need to return home. Passengers can find the most current travel requirements and health and safety info for the countries they’ll be visiting on the Uniworld website.

Family Companies

Uniworld is part of The Travel Corporation family of companies, which also includes Trafalgar, Contiki, and Brendan Vacations.

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Beth Luberecki writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics. Her work has appeared in publications including The Washington Post, USA TODAY,, and The Indianapolis Star. The Florida-based writer shares her travels on her website and on Instagram at @bethluberecki and @findingfloridafun.