Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is set “to evolve its offerings” even further throughout the next two years with major expansion and renovation plans.
By 2020, more than half of the ships in Uniworld’s fleet will be a “Super Ship” with the addition of three new vessels in Vietnam, Egypt and Portugal and another Super Ship renovation in Italy.
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 more luxurious finishes, while maintaining their high crew to guest ratio.
According to Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge, over the last five years the company has aggressively moved on its plan to transform the fleet that began in 2017 with the successful launch of the S.S. Joie de Vivre, the debut of the fully renovated S.S. Beatrice in 2018 and the premier this April of the completely transformed S.S. Bon Voyage. The plan continues in 2020 with four new Super Ships planned for the Mekong, Nile, Venetian Lagoon and Douro rivers.
“We have been in a consistent and relentless pursuit of excellence,” says Bettridge. “But expansion for expansion’s sake has never been our business model. We are fortunate to operate under the guidance and vision of the Tollman family – a family synonymous with hospitality and innovation. We do not answer to a board of directors or investors, but instead, boldly commit to the projects that will continuously elevate Uniworld to the leading position within the river cruise industry. 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 personalization in these remarkable destinations even better.”
Uniworld’s new ships launching in 2020 include:
- S.S. Sphinx, Egypt
Egypt is back and continues to be a top trending destination for travellers seeking culture and adventure. Uniworld will be launching the newest, most luxurious ship on the Nile river on Jan. 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. Continuing the company’s commitment to sustainability, 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 ship will bring the destination to life through its décor and delectable food and wine. 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 reemerge 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 cruise 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 Jan. 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 optimize 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.