Uniworld River Cruises is billed as a luxury, boutique cruise line.
By boutique they mean decor. They are partners with Red Carnation hotels who operate a group of luxury boutique hotels in Europe. Their ships all have different themes that are very reminiscent of upscale Bed and Breakfast hotels.
By luxury they mean the highest quality food and service as well as all inclusive features such as included gratuities, unlimited beer, wine and soda with meals, included high quality shore excursions, and many smaller touches (bedding, toiletries, free wifi, etc.).
Destinations - Uniworld River Cruises covers most of the world's rivers - Europe, Russia, Egypt, and Vietnam. In Europe they are the only company that cruises the Po river in Italy. Their Russia, Egypt, and China cruises are extensive with considerable land tour offerings. In Europe their itineraries are much the same as the other river cruise companies.
Ships - in Europe the size and shape of ships on the rivers are constrained by width of locks and height of bridges thus their ships are very similar to all of the other companies in the market. Their ships hold 150 or so guests. Their fleet has two new ships built in 2011. All of their older ships have been extensively refurbished in the last several years. Their older ships standard cabins are small by current industry standards - most of them are 128 sq ft. The newer ships are more in line with others in the market place at 160 sq ft.
Costs - the Europe and Russia river cruises are in the $500 to $700 range per person per night for a standard cabin. In Egypt prices are a little lower - in the $500 pp pn range and in Vietnam they are lower yet - some under $400 pp pn.
Evaluation - Uniworld has both the look and the prices associated with a luxury product. The decor of the ships is absolutely first class (thanks to the corporate relationship with Red Carnation Hotels) but it is special - if you like the decor of upscale Bed and Breakfasts, you will like what Uniworld has done. Their older ships have cabins that are smaller than today's norm. The newer ships are very similar, although still a little smaller, than the competitor's. Their itineraries are very similar to others. Their included shore excursions may be a small step up from others. In conclusion, they are certainly a good competitor but, if the price is higher, each person needs to decide if the luxury is worth the price.
Sample Itineraries - here are some examples of Uniworld's detailed itineraries from all of the places they sail:
Visit Uniworld Site