The S.S. La Venezia will start sailing the islands of Venice next spring.

By Paul Brady
September 25, 2020

Though visiting Europe may still be a dream for most Americans, there’s plenty to look forward to when those borders finally reopen. The latest good news is the unveiling of the S.S. La Venezia, the newest ship from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.

The stunner of a ship has been designed to look like a classic, Venetian boutique hotel, with just 63 cabins for a maximum of 126 guests. To get the look, Uniworld partnered with Fortuny, the design firm founded in Venice in 1907 by the Spanish textile genius Mariano Fortuny. (The company still makes its trademark fabrics on the Venetian island of Giudecca.)

Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

On board, decadent prints, Murano glass sculptures, and art deco motifs dominate the public spaces. Staterooms are bright — with big picture windows, brocade fabric wall coverings, and lots of marble. A top-level sundeck is dotted with striped parasols that look straight out of an Italian piazza.

Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

“Guests will enjoy the artistic touches of the ship as they stroll the marble, or brass-inlaid parquet floors,” says Toni Tollman, one of Uniworld’s artistic directors, in a statement. “They will see echoes of the portico of the landmark bridges in the patterns of the fabrics or a reference to the local fish dishes, the basis of classic Venetian cuisine, and enjoy the unmistakable swirls and pops of color of Murano blown glass.”

Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Though the look is fresh, the ship is in fact a complete overhaul of the River Countess, a favorite of Travel + Leisure readers, according to feedback in the World’s Best Awards. Among the upgrades made to the Venezia are two “Grand Suites,” a private dining room, a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes, and more top deck seating.

The ship’s restaurants have also gotten an upgrade: Among the four options on board are two of particular note. Rialto’s is focused on Venetian cuisine, with a decor inspired by the Orient Express, Uniworld says. Another, La Cantinetta, is a private dining experience where guests can, on some itineraries, enjoy meals prepared with ingredients sourced the same day from Venice’s famed (if “endangered”) Rialto market.

Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

The vessel will sail the waters of Northern Italy when it debuts next spring, including eight-day trips dedicated to Venice and the city’s lagoon. Other options will add detours to cities including Bologna, Milan, and Padua, among others. Rates for those trips will start at $2,899, Uniworld says, and trips are slated to start on March 26, 2021.

And while the Venezia is one design triumph for Uniworld, it’s not the only one the brand has recently announced. Earlier this year, the company launched the gorgeous Mekong Jewel in Vietnam, a vessel that turned heads thanks to its over-the-top look and spacious cabins.