By Staff Writer
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has announced a substantial expansion of its fleet, with three new vessels in Vietnam, Egypt and Portugal to launch in the next ten months. This comes following the extensive renovation of the S.S. Beatrice last year and S.S. Bon Voyage in April this year, with the renovation of the River Countess into a Super Ship occurring in Italy ahead of its 2020 relaunch.
The cruise company began transforming its fleet in 2017 with the launch of the S.S. Joie de Vivre, and when the three new cruise liners planned for the Mekong, Nile, Venetian Lagoon and Douro rivers float out in 2020, more than half of the ships in Uniworld’s fleet will be Super Ships.
Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge says the expansion of the Uniworld fleet is one that is considered, as opposed to the rapid and aggressive expansion models of other cruise lines in a time when cruising is king in the travel industry. “We have been in a consistent and relentless pursuit of excellence. But expansion for expansion’s sake has never been our business model.”
The new floating boutique hotels will feature the signature touches and distinctive themes the company’s ships are known for – more suites, more dining venues and luxurious finishes, while maintaining their high crew to guest ratio, and will showcase bold and adventurous interior design concepts that buck the trend of the overly-cautious, minimal interiors found on many other vessels.
“Our ships are absolutely unique and like a boutique hotel, reflect the destinations they serve from décor and artwork to food, beverage and programming. We look forward to making our high calibre of service and personalisation in these remarkable destinations even better,” says Bettridge.
Uniworld’s new ships launching in 2020 include:
S.S. Sphinx, Egypt
With Egypt back on travellers radars, Uniworld will solidify its position as the only luxury river cruise line in Egypt when it launches the newest, most luxurious ship on the Nile river on January 6, 2020. Named after the goddess of the Nile, the S.S. Sphinx will offer three gourmet dining venues, including a private dining room and an al fresco dining experience on the upper deck, a swimming pool, massage room and 42 suites. Locally-sourced Egyptian artwork, fabrics and hand-carved furnishings will be used to bring the beauty of the region to life onboard. This ship will include 12 adventure-filled days to experience Egypt and the Nile’s top sites starting and ending in Cairo.
S.S. São Gabriel, Portugal
Launching on March 26, 2020, Uniworld’s S.S. São Gabriel will be the newest ship on the Douro river. Designed to embody the beautiful Douro River Valley region, the entire top deck will offer all lavishly appointed suites, enhanced with Butler service, giving guests the option to dine at any time they’d like while enjoying the ship. Guests on S.S. São Gabriel will experience the UNESCO-designated Douro River Valley and indulge in the best of Spanish and Portuguese culture and cutting-edge, locally sourced cuisine.
S.S. La Venezia, Venice
The River Countess will undergo a complete design renovation and re-emerge as S.S. La Venezia on March 27, 2020 bringing guests complete luxury while exploring Northern Italy. The S.S. La Venezia will offer a 10-day itinerary that starts with an included two-day land stay in Milan where guests will visit Da Vinci’s renowned The Last Supper, and then continue with an eight-day of cruising through and around Venice, the Po river and three outer-lying Venetian islands: Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello. Guests will also have the option of purchasing the eight-day cruise-only portion of the itinerary.
Mekong Jewel, Vietnam & Cambodia
Debuting on January 3, 2020, this will be the newest and most luxurious ship on the Mekong river. Uniworld’s all-suite ship will include two dining venues: one main restaurant and an al fresco eatery on the upper deck. The Mekong Jewel will be 10 metres longer than the Mekong Navigator, but with the same capacity offering guests more space and amenities. The ship is being constructed with sustainable and eco-friendly materials, such as special paint used for the hull of the ship that creates less drag caused by bio-fueling, specially designed ship propellers that increase performance and efficiency, energy-efficient LED light fixtures, automatic air conditioning controls to optimise cooling resources, and water cooled air-conditioning system that will save energy. The 13-day itinerary will take guests from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, with visits to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat and more.
For more information visit uniworld.com or call 1300 780 231.