Guests will visit Rome’s Colosseum on the La Serenissima itinerary. // © 2016 Insight Vacations
Feature image (above): Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy, is just one stop on Insight and Uniworld’s 22-day La Serenissima trip. // © 2016 iStock
River cruise lines are increasingly stretching themselves to find more ways to satisfy passengers’ thirst for a combination of luxury and authentic culture.
And now, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is capitalizing on its sister company to provide it. Uniworld and Insight Vacations, owned by The Travel Corporation, are extending a collaboration that began years ago in Egypt and rolling out new VIP vacations for 2016 that blend inclusive luxury river cruising and privileged touring.
The 10 itineraries in the new Europe’s Finest collection include three Luxury Gold Egypt itineraries that are eight to 13 days in length, as well as combined experiences from 16 to 23 days that cover much of Europe. Luxury Gold trips feature stays at exceptional hotels, dining on regional cuisine in Michelin-starred restaurants, insider experiences and private tours in the destinations.
For example, the 22-day La Serenissima itinerary in Italy, offered through October, is one of the new Luxury Gold vacations. Guests will have lunch at Michelin-starred restaurant Il Riccio on the island of Capri; attend a workshop to learn about the production of handwoven textiles in Perugia; and sample the culinary art of Sergio Dondoli, an award-winning gelato-maker in San Gimignano.
Privileged access is at the heart of luxury travel, and on this itinerary, guests will also have an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Uffizi Gallery in Florence; walk the Vasari Corridor, the once-secret passage commissioned by the Medici over Ponte Vecchio that is now closed to the general public; and visit the Sistine Chapel before opening hours for a private tour, all while cruising onboard Uniworld’s elegant ships and traveling by first-class rail.
Other trips within the Europe’s Finest collection include the 18-day Portugal and the Douro; the 16-day Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Rhine; the 17-day Bohemia and the Danube; the 16-day Switzerland and the Rhine; the 23-day Eastern Europe and the Danube; and the 16-day Gems of Italy and the River Po.
“Insight and Uniworld have collaborated on several itineraries before, and they were so successful that we recognized more were needed in the marketplace,” said Phil Cappelli, president of Insight. “Expanding our partnership to include multiple itineraries with multiple departures is a win-win for our travel agents and consumers.”
In addition to deepening travelers’ experience of the region, the itineraries introduce guests to both tour and river cruise products, giving agents opportunities for cross-selling.
“We’ve ensured that these journeys highlight the best of both companies,” said Guy Young, president and CEO of Uniworld. “Guests can expect Uniworld’s luxurious suites and staterooms and our fantastic all-inclusive offerings — including personalized shore excursions, unlimited premium wine and spirits and all gratuities onboard and onshore — as well as Insight’s authentic Signature Experiences, handpicked scenic and central hotels, business-class legroom and personalized service from attentive tour directors.”