Five Things to Know About Uniworld's S.S. Antoinette Cruise Ship
Best for: High-end cruisers looking for luxury and gilded Old World grandeur (Minimalists need not apply.)
Sails: The Rhine River
At a Glance: The S.S. Antoinette was Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s first “super ship,” and like its sister vessels, the S.S. Catherine and S.S. Maria Theresa, the pervasive feeling onboard is pure opulence. Marie Antoinette would feel right at home.
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The Design Is Lavish
Eschewing the one-décor-fits-all approach, Uniworld has assigned a different aesthetic to each of its ships, ensuring repeat cruisers will be tempted to sail on every vessel in the fleet. Designed with the aid of Uniworld’s sister company, Red Carnation Hotels, the S.S. Antoinette feels more like a floating boutique hotel than a riverboat. A blue Strauss Baccarat chandelier with sapphires that once belonged to New York’s Tavern on the Green hangs above the Brazilian-marble-covered two-floor lobby; black wicker tables topped with white orchids set off the graphic black-and-white flooring in the glass-walled L’Orangerie Sky Lounge; and the Salon du Grand Trianon, where passengers gather to sip cocktails and listen to live music each night, looks like something out of 18th-century France.
The Cabins Are Luxe
The attention to detail so noticeable in the rest of the ship translates to the staterooms, as well: think ornate handcrafted Savoir of England beds, rich draperies, and gilded touches. Even the marble bathrooms serve up little luxuries, from heated towel racks to L’Occitane en Provence and Hermès bath products. Sizes range from 163 square feet for a standard cabin to 391 square feet for a Royal Suite with a balcony and glittering chandelier. Like the other suites on the ship, the latter comes with in-suite butler service.
No need to keep an eye on your bar bill. Your cruise fare covers almost everything, from exercise classes and gratuities to drinks and WiFi. Most excursions are complimentary, too: think a Riesling tasting at a castle, a canal cruise through Strasbourg, and a visit to a vinegar estate in the Palatinate wine region.
Passengers Can Swim Indoors
Pools are a rarity on river ships. Even rarer is an indoor pool like the glassed-in one on the S.S. Antoinette, a boon during Europe’s chilly winter months. Another popular feature: Le Cinema Pigalle, where guests settle into movie-theater-style seats surrounded by vintage film posters to snack on popcorn and check on the 3D flick du jour.
Decadent Dining Reigns
Dinner in the ship’s Restaurant de Versailles is an experience. White tablecloths cover the tables, and menus are filled with locally inspired dishes like foie gras crème brulée and seared scallops with an herb crust, along with classic cruise fare like steak with pepper sauce. Careful consideration is also paid to the wine list, and a complimentary red and white, usually selected from the region, is served at lunch and dinner.