Inaugurated by Uniworld in 2011, the SS Antoinette oozes luxury and sophistication, both inside and out. It’s considered to be the line’s first Super Ship and boasts a number of stand-out features, from the fine marble walls and floors and stylish Bar du Leopard, to the two-storey foyer complete with 10-foot Strauss Baccarat chandelier with massive sapphires glistening in the natural light. An impressive collection of original artwork can be found across the ship, which gives guests plenty to look at - when they’re not mesmerised by the astonishing views of the Rhine River, that is.
The line predominantly markets its river cruises at American passengers, but it is also very popular with well-travelled, affluent guests from the UK and Australia. Most passengers tend to be more mature, but the ambience onboard entices slightly younger travellers, too. The line is also known for offering family-friendly river cruises – something that is seldom seen on European waterways.
All 57 staff members onboard are English-speaking, and the service they provide is faultless. With a maximum capacity of 154 passengers, the SS Antoinette boasts an excellent crew to passenger ratio of less than 1:3, ensuring all guests can enjoy personalised and attentive service throughout.
The main restaurant – the Restaurant de Versailles – can be found on La Duchesse Deck and dishes up tasty regional and traditional dishes that are prepared from the finest seasonal and local produce. Breakfast, lunch and dinner service are all available in this restaurant, which is beautifully decorated.
Alternatively, guests have a choice of two dining venues if they’re looking for something a little lighter. Both the Salon du Grand Trianon and L’Orangerie Sky Lounge serve up some flavoursome morsels if you’re after light bites.
Guests can enjoy unlimited beverages throughout their voyage, from local fine wines and beers to soft drinks, mineral water and speciality hot beverages. The 24-hour tea and coffee station will ensure guests can grab a brew whenever they like – plus there’s a poolside juice bar on La Princesse Deck. The dress code is casual elegant, and open-seating dining means guests can sit wherever they choose.
There is a selection of low-key entertainment options onboard, which often reflect the daily activities and ports that the vessel is moored in. The programme of entertainment is diverse, and provides plenty of opportunities to relax, enjoy, dance and listen to the musical revues and local performers.
The main lounge is the Salon du Grand Trianon on La Princesse Deck, and is a popular area for guests to reconvene, chat and choose from the wide selection of drinks from the full-service bar. Alternatively, passengers can chill in the L’Orangerie Sky Lounge, or the Bar du Leopard on the Sun Deck, where panoramic views are unhindered and spectacular.
Social highlights of every itinerary are the ice-breaking welcome and fond farewell gala dinners, which are wonderful opportunities to dress up and mingle with fellow travellers.
Onboard, guests have a range of activities and facilities to stay occupied, including the state-of-the-art 3D La Cinema Pigalle movie theatre on La Countesse Deck, where you can enjoy a selection of films and snacks, including popcorn from a vintage popcorn cart. There is also an onboard enrichment programme, including expert-led lectures and workshops, to help guests to immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of the destination.
Shore excursions are diverse, and allow guests to take control over what they do with the personalised ‘Choice is Yours’ programme. Most options are included in the fare, while others are available for a fee. Some are exclusive to Uniworld. There is a fleet of bicycles onboard, to help guests explore the ports independently. Nordic walking sticks are also available.
There are 64 staterooms onboard, across five categories, and ranging in size between 163 sq. ft. and 196 sq. ft. There are also 9 suites across two classes, which range between 294 sq. ft. and 391 sq. ft. in size.
Staterooms and suites on La Princesse Deck benefit from open-air balconies that morph into enclosed conservatories at the touch of a button. La Duchesse Deck staterooms have French balconies, instead. Even the 15 most basic, Cat 4-5 staterooms boast handcrafted Savoir of England beds and marble bathrooms with L’Occitane en Provence bath and body products. Other amenities include hairdryer, safe, individual climate control, flatscreen TV with infotainment system, bottled water, bathrobes and slippers and plush towels.
Antoinette and Royal Suites benefit from added extras, including spacious living areas, heated bathroom mirrors, separate rain shower and tub, and secluded toilet and bidet (Royal Suite), in-suite butler service, daily fruit and cookies, iPod dock, Nespresso coffee machine and fine teas, mini-bar, wine on arrival and a special dinner in L'Orangerie Sky Lounge.
There is a Serenity River Spa on La Princesse Deck, where guests can enjoy a variety of treatments. This deck is also home to a heated, indoor swimming pool, for a refreshing dip at any time of the day. There is a well-appointed fitness centre on La Duchesse Deck, for active sorts who like to start the day with a workout.
The SS Antoinette focuses on cruises along the Rhine River, and currently offers two exciting itineraries – Castles on the Rhine and Rhine Holiday Markets.
The ‘Castles along the Rhine’ tour (eight days) between Basel and Amsterdam offers sensational fairytale landscapes as you sail along the Rhine, weaving through parts of the Netherlands, France, Germany and Switzerland. There are six days of excursions included, with a variety of “Choice is Yours” options, such as taking the cable car ride to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in Koblenz, and “Do as the Locals Do” in Salzburg or a trip to a vinegar estate, including tasting!
The ‘Rhine Holiday Markets’ tour (eight days) travels between Basel and Cologne, and provides guests with a festive voyage filled with trips to Christmas markets. Sail through France, Germany and Switzerland, and visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as a variety of magical markets.