This River Cruise Is a 'Mystery' — and Guests Have No Idea Where They're Going Until They Get to the Airport

It was such a success that Uniworld will host two more Mystery Cruises this year.

Uniworld Cruise experience in Cochem
Photo: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises by Hello Fotographie, Germany

Would you ever book a trip without knowing your destination? That's what dozens of guests signed up for when they placed a deposit on Uniworld's first-ever Mystery Cruise, which just completed its 10-day itinerary.

The journey took guests from Basel, Switzerland, to Baden-Baden, Germany — but they had no idea that's where they'd be sailing until after they left home for the airport. After the enigmatic trip was first announced in April, it sold out in a mere 48 hours, despite the only information being the rate, the date, and the fact it was a Uniworld European river cruise. On the plus side, guests knew they could expect a luxury all-inclusive experience; from the spirits and wines aboard the ship to the in-suite butler service to airport transfers. The only thing guests had to worry about was packing, which is perhaps easier said than done, seeing as they didn't know where they were headed.

Uniworld Cruise experience in Mainz
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises by Hello Fotographie, Germany

In the lead-up to departure, Uniworld gave guests a few pretty ambiguous clues. The first was an unofficial clue: a packing list. After that, guests received three formal clues, which included statements like "A voyage fit for royalty, and gardens maintained perfectly." They were also clued into the fact that Uniworld president and CEO Ellen Bettridge was hosting the sailing.

Uniworld Cruise experience in Strasbourg
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises by Hello Fotographie, Germany

While some clever guests might've sussed out the destinations, the majority were likely surprised — and very delighted — by the 10-day itinerary aboard the River Queen, sailing the Rhine and Moselle rivers in Switzerland, Germany, and France.

Uniworld Cruise experience in Germersheim
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises by Hello Fotographie, Germany

Embarking in Basel, Switzerland, guests began their sailing with a high-altitude adventure: a visit to Jungfraujoch viewing point atop the Eiger Glacier, with an elevation of 11,361 feet. They then visited Strasbourg, France; the German towns of Germersheim, Cochem, and Eltville; and the German city of Mainz. Excursions ranged from a tour at the Porsche factory to dinner at the Castle Ehrenburg. When guests returned to the River Queen each evening, they were entertained by surprise acts and celebrations, from a magic show by Gary Keaton to a James Bond–themed fête, complete with martinis.

Uniworld Cruise experience in Eltville
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises by Hello Fotographie, Germany

The itinerary then continued on land, as guests were brought to Baden-Baden, where they spent two nights exploring the city through excursions like a backstage tour of the Festspielhaus opera house and a visit to the Caracalla Thermal Bath, plus a farewell dinner at the glamorous old-school casino in town.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises by Hello Fotographie, Germany

If you're intrigued by the idea of letting someone else handle all your travel logistics — including the destination — you're in luck. Given the success of this first Mystery Cruise, Uniworld is hosting two more later this year, one that departs on Sept. 23 and another that departs on Oct. 2. There's not much information available, of course, but rates start at $7,299, including airfare; you can book here.

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