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The luxuries of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection continue to abound as the line introduces new alternative dining and prepares to redesign another ship. This year already marks the new culinary options, while the transformation of an existing ship to become the Bon Voyage will be complete by 2019.
Fresh on the menu are now progressive dinners and the chance to cook alongside shipboard chefs. On all of the brand’s Super Ships, guests can enjoy each course at a different venue. Food selections vary by chef, destination, specific region and season, with appetizers in the galley, dessert on the top deck and other spots in between.
I had the chance to experience a progressive meal onboard Joie de Vivre. It was a pleasure to nibble on savory cones in the wheelhouse, and equally intriguing to enjoy a warm soup appropriately outside the toasty engine room.
Complementing the soup of the day could be puff pastries, a seafood cigar accompanied by sweet chili dip, beef roulade, local vegetables and sorbet.
Also keeping to alternative dining are more interactive and elaborate meals. Max’s restaurant on Beatrice, for example, presents cooking courses where passengers can learn how to make the likes of European wienerschnitzel and goulash. L’Osteria on River Countess similarly showcases the region with Italian antipasto, salads and breadsticks from the market, pizza made by the ship’s pizzaiolo (a professional pizza maker), prosciutto di Parma and local desserts.
Once more, Joie de Vivre’s La Cave du Vin also offers a seven-course instructional dinner in which participants join the chef in preparing foie gras, lamb de Provence and other regional delicacies and cheeses. On my sailing, I helped to peel the entree’s carrots — which turned out rather well given my otherwise little experience in the kitchen. Another treat was our amateur-turned-pro tarte tatin, which, along with everything else, reflected Uniworld’s signature “Farm-to-Ship” approach to fresh ingredients.
Rounding out the line’s culinary alternatives are all-inclusive 24-hour room service; destination-inspired cocktails as well as local wine and craft beer; and alfresco dining on the top decks of River Empress, River Princess, River Countess, River Duchess and River Queen.
Welcoming Bon VoyageBut that’s not all the news from Uniworld: On Oct. 28, River Royale will exit service and begin an extensive redesign of the S.S. Bon Voyage to relaunch on April 14, 2019. It will be the fleet’s second such conversion following Beatrice and sixth Super Ship overall.
With enhanced dining venues, additional suites and state-of-the-art amenities, Super Ships are the future for our entire fleet.
Bon Voyage will differ and build upon Beatrice, says Ellen Bettridge, president and CEO of Uniworld.
“We’re particularly excited to unveil Bon Voyage, which will not only carry forward our brand promise of unparalleled service, but will weave in the incredible culinary experiences of the Bordeaux region throughout its itinerary,” she said. “That’s certainly something to ‘toast’ to in 2019."
The vessel will sail the Dordogne and Garonne rivers and take its design inspiration from the region’s wine and food scene. To start, the former Blue Fox Cafe will make way for a new casual dining space overlooking a new pool. It will specialize in light local delights such as ham-and-cheese baguettes, Nicoise salad and pizzas during the day. At night, the venue will serve as a bar and center for French cooking courses.
Additionally, at the ship’s bow, a bistro will be introduced in the Parisian style of Bouillon Pigalle. Shared dinner plates will include favorites such as boeuf bourguignon, pates and escargot. A fresh buffet will also be featured in the main restaurant complete with a demonstration space, and Claret’s will remain a private room for Captain’s Table dining or VIP wine tasting after receiving its own enhancements. Meanwhile, new culinary excursions will be presented at the restaurants of Bordeaux.
Enhancing the vessels accommodations further will be four additional suites, and all bathrooms will be upgraded from tile to marble. Meanwhile, the gym and spa will be refreshed, and the top deck will get a new outdoor pool and seating with evening lighting. Plus, the staff-to-guest ratio will receive a boost when crew numbers are increased, and the guest capacity is reduced from 128 to 124.
“We’re redefining the term ‘unsurpassed luxury’ with our continuously evolving Super Ships,” Bettridge said. “With enhanced dining venues, additional suites and state-of-the-art amenities, Super Ships are the future for our entire fleet.”
The DetailsUniworld Boutique River Cruise Collectionwww.uniworld.com