First Glimpse River Duchess, the last of the "River Queen-class" vessels, which include siblings River Queen, River Empress, River Countess and River Princess, features three passenger decks plus sun deck, an elevator and a launderette.
Unlike the earlier and later ships in the fleet, though (River Ambassador, River Baroness, River Royale and Douro Queen), staterooms on these vessels, including the four suites, have no windows that open. Otherwise, the cabins are well-equipped, with flat-screen televisions, DVD players, international direct telephone service (outbound only), air conditioning, hotel-style beds, one armchair, a small settee and a coffee table. Standard staterooms measure 151 square ft.; suites have an additional 65 square ft. of living space, and suite guests get additional amenities such as an in-cabin fridge, slippers, sparkling wine and fresh fruit.
The onboard ambiance is casual, with guests congregating in the lounge or on the sun deck. There is a library for quiet time, a beauty salon, a sauna, small gymnasium and a computer station from which outgoing e-mail can be sent (2.50 euros each); incoming e-mail goes to the reception desk and is printed out for the passengers.
Open-seating dining offers fresh regional cuisine, with wine available for purchase. Dress is resort casual with the exception of the Captain's Gala and other occasional "formal" events, which on this vessel means jacket and tie for men, cocktail attire for women.
All interior space on the ship is smoke free; smoking is allowed on the sun deck only.
Suggested gratuities total 13 euros per person, per day. Uniworld will move towards all-inclusive in 2014, when most cruise fares (excluding Russia, China and Vietnam) will include unlimited fine wine, beer and spirits, as well as gratuities for onboard and onshore services, including pre- and post-cruise extensions.
River Duchess offers cruises from 12 to 28 days from Amsterdam to Bucharest, Vienna to Amsterdam, Vienna to Bucharest and reverse.