Five Things to Know About Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection's River Royale Cruise Ship
World's Best 2016 Awards Rank: #4 River Ship
Best for: High-end cruisers looking for an immersion in Bordeaux food and wine.
Sails: Dordogne River, Garonne River
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2016 winner, placing fourth in the River Ship category. Refurbished in 2014, the elegant River Royale sails France’s Bordeaux region. With food and wine tastings onboard and at port, it’s the perfect ship to celebrate the region’s epicurean culture.
The Cabins Are Luxe
Designed with the aid of Uniworld’s sister company, Red Carnation Hotels, staterooms are stunning, with custom headboards, rich wall treatments, and matching drapes. Even the marble bathrooms serve up little luxuries, from heated towel racks and floors to Hermès and L’Occitane en Provence bath products. Sizes range from 151 square feet for a cabin with a window to 217 square feet for a suite with a French balcony.
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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. (More on that later.)
The Excursions Go Above And Beyond
Many river ships include walking tours and visits to landmarks in their fares, but few cover extravagant experiences like a day of wine-tasting, followed by a wine-paired luncheon at a chateau. That’s day two of River Royale’s Bordeaux, Vineyards, & Chateaux cruise. Also on the agenda: a visit to a Libourne farmer’s market, a wine-tasting at Grand Cru estate near Saint-Emilion, and a guided bike tour (and tasting) through Pauillac.
There Are Wine Tastings Onboard
In addition to the wine tastings off ship, there are also tastings on ship. Several times during your sailing, the sommelier will gather passengers in the Claret Room to discuss and sample local vintages. Also on tap: a selection of French cheeses.
The Food Is World-Class
As befits an epicurean cruise, dinner in the restaurant is an experience. Menus are filled with local ingredients and dishes like foie gras, salad Niçoise, and a roasted rack of lamb with a Provençale herb crust, along with a complimentary red and white French wines. In the mood for something simpler? There’s also classic cruise fare like Norwegian salmon and grilled chicken breast.