146-passenger river-cruise vessel brings new wow factor to river cruises
A big new step in river cruises was taken at the weekend when, coinciding with the launch of the river cruise season, the river-cruise company Uniworld unveiled in Amsterdam its first-ever newbuild, the SS Antoinette. The 146-passenger vessel is the most innovative vessel sailing the rivers of Europe and the first of three ships commissioned by the company to debut in 2011.
Uniworld is owned by Travel Corporation, but it remains very much a family business. The new vessel is named after the owner’s oldest daughter. “This design has been a true labour of love,” she said at the unveiling ceremony.
There’s a serious wow factor onboard the SS Antoinette, which boasts lush cabins, superb service and cuisine, and suites with alcoves that can easily alternate between being open-air balconies and glassed-in conservatories. These are the first full suites – separate living and sleeping rooms – on Europe’s rivers. There is also a retro-style 22-seat cinema (popcorn available) and a spa. Unusually, the pool is at the rear of the ship, quelling the engine vibrations by adding mass at a strategic point. And the top deck has two all-weather rooms – a bar and a dining venue whose ceilings and windows can collapse on demand if the vessel has to pass under a low bridge.
[pictured: SS Antionette Stateroom; courtesy Uniworld]