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Super Ship ss Antoinette... WOW!


Lobby with grand twin staircase and gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, Baccarat Crystal Chandelier.

During the past ten years, river ships have made truly phenomenal strides in design, comfort and amenities. So much so that it’s hard to believe they’re from the same mold as their predecessors. Larger river view staterooms most with balconies, queen and king-size beds, luxury linens, plush towels and bathrobes, flat-screen TVs, and sensational cuisine and wines are only a few of the many customer-focused changes that make river cruising the fastest growing segment of the cruise industry.

One of the most recent, notable addition to the luxury river ships is Uniworld’s SS Antoinette sailing the Castles Along the Rhine itinerary (CLICK HERE to view all her sailings and offers!). As I began to write about why we found this ship so special, the immortalized words of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning flashed into my mind... it was the moment she put pen to paper and so poetically wrote, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

Launched in March 2011, Uniworld’s “Super Ship” is a full-bodied river ship some 443 feet in length, but her “SS” designation is less about her girth and more about enjoying the luxurious appointments, spacious accommodations, extraordinary cuisine and personal service. Guy Young, President of Uniworld, made this observation, “What began as an inspiration, a dream without limitations, has become the ship you’ll never forget.” He is so right. You’ll see why, as we count the ways...

Mrs. Antoinette Tollman, godmother and driving force behind the ship’s design and décor revealed her concept to us: “The opulent ambiance and atmosphere is 18th-century France woven seamlessly into 21st-century luxury, comfort and technology, thus visually embodying the spirit and élan of France’s Chateau de Versailles combined with all the modern-day conveniences of an ultra-chic 5-star resort.” (VIEW DECK PLAN)

She told us that the concept was built around the ship’s focal point: a spectacular, white and blue sapphire 10-fott Baccarat crystal chandelier adorning the two-story atrium lobby. This very chandelier once hung in New York’s famous Tavern on the Green. When the restaurant closed, Uniworld purchased the chandelier and it became the genesis for the entire design of the vessel. This concept generated the creation of the beautifully rich, classically-inspired ship’s interiors, notably: The Salon du Grand Trianon, inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles and adorned with bouquets of fresh flowers and original artwork, commands the beautifully appointed public areas. The Salon features floor to ceiling windows ensuring comfortable viewing of every exciting inch of the Rhine.

Other exquisite settings include the trend-setting Bar du Leopard, an enclosed bar replete with faux leopard skin chairs and the L’Orangerie, a conservatory where one can relax and watch the world float by. These two public areas are truly incredible; even more fascinating is that the roof above can actually be retracted into the ship when it sails under low-lying bridges on the Rhine. Remarkable. Both venues serve light breakfasts and lunch should you care to stray from the elegant dining room. Speaking of which, inspiration for the Restaurant de Versailles interior decor was taken from the ornamental gardens of Versailles.

Antoinette's ultra-comfy theatre, la Pigalle. Time for popcorn!
An incredible indoor swimming pool with panoramic views and retractabe skylights.
Time to gather and chat with friends and a before dinner cocktail in the Antoinette's trés chic Salon du Grand Trianon.

When it comes to the Antoinette’s luxuriously appointed staterooms and suites, two words immediately pop into our mind: Wow factor! These words may not exactly help you visualize how sumptuously designed the accommodations are, but it is exactly how you’ll react when you first open the door to your divine stateroom.

Most of the 73 staterooms are a comfortable 196 square feet; the eight suites [which include butler service] measure a very spacious 294 square feet and feature open-air private balconies. For those who enjoy “gadgets”: with the mere touch of a button you can raise the floor to ceiling window glass to completely enclose the balcony during cooler weather, or lower it on warm days. Staterooms on Deck Three feature French balconies and these, too, allow you to raise or lower the glass. (VIEW DECK PLAN)

Every stateroom or suite is lavishly decorated in jewel-tone color palettes, draped in rich fabrics and hung with original artwork. All accommodations have the most comfortable, handmade-in-England-beds you’ll ever sleep in, too, and feature full marble bathrooms with large showers, plush towels and robes as well as bath and body products from L’Occitane.

Still another amenity we love is the heated indoor swimming pool. You say: It’s just a pool. Sure, it’s a pool, but if you’ve booked with Premier before, you’ll remember reading in one of our exclusive COMPASSPOINT™ Guides that swimming is absolutely one of the best ways to overcome jet lag. This pool is heated and even has a resistance jet. Can you imagine a better way to shake jet lag than swimming as you sail the Rhine River? Wow!

Sound pretty good so far? You haven’t heard anything yet! This “Super Ship” also has the river cruise industry’s first “at sea” theater “ [With Dolby surround sound no less!], plush seating and first-run movies.

If you prefer traveling light, Antoinette has a unique [and sad to say aboard most ships a vanishing] feature: a self-service laundry facility — yet another example of how the experience aboard a Uniworld ship is simply better. Oh, and we really love this amenity: an elevator which goes to all three passenger decks! Other amenities include: fitness center, massage room, spa, a really cool “fresh” juice bar, a boutique shop, and a complimentary 24-hour coffee and tea station.

With all we’ve written above, we can confidently state that the first 160 lucky guests who sailed the Rhine this year on Antoinette were completely immersed in luxury from the moment they stepped aboard!

We know you’ll love the fabulous 7-night Castles Along the Rhine itinerary, love the Antoinette with its warm and attentive crew, and we’re really sure you’ll love your bed. And while that is all really, really important, we’ve got to say that it’s the cuisine you’ll experience on a Uniworld river cruise that will make you want to stay on board. It is just flat-out sensational! Uniworld is the only river cruise company rated by Zagat. (To see ALL of Uniworld's itineraries, sailing dates, and prices, CLICK HERE for our Uniworld cruisGENIE™ CRUISE CHART.)

To write that Uniworld understands the art of dining well is an understatement. The culinary experience aboard is unique and changes every day with menus designed to reflect the itinerary, regions and seasons. Brought aboard daily [mostly from local producers], each meal is prepared by a culinary team of some of Europe’s finest professionals using the freshest of ingredients for the finest results.

Served in the shimmering atmosphere of the Restaurant de Versailles, the crowning jewel of any evening is dinner. Dressing informally, you can enter at anytime and dine with whom you please and enjoy an exquisitely prepared meal. Each dinner is accompanied by complimentary sommelier-chosen regional wines and beers, all properly served by a warm and friendly wait staff.

Alternative shipboard dining experiences include al fresco dining, the Captain’s Welcome Gala and Farewell Dinners, early-riser breakfasts, and Afternoon Tea. There’s also a “Traveling Lite” menu should you prefer, and on some cruises a wonderful BBQ evening [weather permitting].

The trend-setting Bar du Leopard is a favorite gathering place at any time of the day or night!
Just so dreamy... a detail shot of a luxurious suite on La Princesse Deck [FYI: It's stateroom 406!]

For wine and food lovers, it gets even better on Antoinette’s 2012 Castles Along the Rhine itinerary (CLICK HERE to view all sailings and offers!). Why? These sailings are part of Uniworld’s in-depth epicurean themed cruises. In addition to the usual included shore excursions there are special wine and culinary demonstrations, guest lecturers and several more complimentary, culinary and wine-focused excursions for you to experience.

Uniworld is a family owned company and we truly feel this is why there’s a better connection between the guests and the company. While each Uniworld ship has its own style and character, they share the same philosophy of hospitality and service that distinguishes Uniworld from the competition. That philosophy also includes elegance, spacious design, comfort, delectable cuisine, an extraordinary level of warmth and caring, and indulgent service offered to every guest without stint. Each aspect of this philosophy is meticulously woven together to create one of the most memorable experiences you’ll ever have on a river OR ocean cruise vacation! (Do you want to find out more about Uniworld? READ MORE in our Uniworld review!)

The culmination of this philosophy can best be illustrated by a quote we recently read from a returning Uniworld guest who wrote, “My wife and I – stateroom 320 – just completed a vacation that was one door away from heaven.”

Antoinette sells out very quickly and now that Uniworld has annouched their cruises are "ALL INCLUSIVE," we anticipate even greater demand on this breathtaking ship, so please take a hint: if you like what you’ve read here, pick up the phone or email one of our Personal Travel Planners to select your  departure date before she sells out again. The ship is a WOW, and Premiers’ ALL Inclusive price make her very affordable. If you're going as a Single or Solo Traveler, we have a few departures where the single supplement can be waived — call us now for details. VIEW ALL SS ANTOINETTE CRUISES!


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