How quickly things change.
Just over a month ago, I was in Düsseldorf aboard the S.S. Antoinette with our sales team and crew members for Uniworld’s annual kick-off event. We worked hard all week preparing for the 2020 season and ended the event on a high note, celebrating the team’s success and anticipating a year of adventure.
As the entire world is now aware, travel plans have been put on hold for the immediate future. Nevertheless, the progress that Uniworld has been able to make up until this point has me very excited for the season ahead, whenever it will commence. Our fleet stands ready to sail along with our wonderful onboard crew, who I’m happy to report we will be able to retain.
In the meantime, here are some of the many exciting things you can look forward to:
- S.S. São Gabriel is getting its finishing touches and will be the most luxurious ship on
Portugal’s Douro River. The ship’s entire top deck is fitted with suites and we have created
additional dining venues giving guests options which enhance the experience. The incredible essence of
Portugal has been brought to life onboard with bright Portuguese tiles and local art. I look forward to
sailing on the Douro in the near future.
- The S.S. Antoinette, which sails on the popular Castles along the Rhine itinerary, was the first Super Ship
in the Uniworld fleet and this past winter she was refreshed to ensure she continues to delight guests for
years to come. Three of her suites were completely transformed and all her staterooms rejuvenated. The S.S.
Antionette is ready to go!
- Our new Peruvian experiences will launch September 23, 2020. With most of Peru covered in jungle, river
cruising is one of the best, and sometimes only, ways to explore the dense Amazon. We have two immersive
itineraries to offer, both based out of the port of Iquitos. For both the 11- and 15-day experiences we have
partnered with Aqua Expeditions. Guests will enjoy the all-suite Aria Amazon ship. The itineraries have been
on sale for only a few short months, and I am thrilled to see that 82% of the guests are past passengers.
Come join them!
One enhancement you will not be able to see, but we are still very proud of, is the new living spaces our crew will enjoy. Over the winter we also completed new crew cabins on River Duchess, S.S. La Venezia, S.S. Beatrice and River Princess. These new crew cabins are well designed, bright and welcoming, because our wonderful crew deserves the very best – just like our guests!
- Last but not least is the incredible transformation of River Countess to S.S. La Venezia. The S.S. La Venezia is just about ready to go. The final stages were brought to a halt when our team from the Netherlands were sent home prior to the quarantine to ensure they remained safe. We are anxious to get back onboard to make the final touches and at last show off the latest new floating boutique hotel in Venice. S.S. La Venezia has been designed to celebrate Venice’s history of artistic movements, immersing guests in Venetian style and antiquity. Much of the décor has been influenced by the local design house, Fortuny, creators of fine, handmade, printed cloth since 1907. These exquisite Venetian fabrics are an elegant homage to mid-century Italian style, sweeping floor to ceiling throughout the ship. Every space has been designed to celebrate Venice. Whether guests stay in a classic stateroom, one of the four junior suites or two grand suites, they will experience the unmistakable essence of the city from the meticulously orchestrated décor. S.S. La Venezia’s restaurants and bars are culinary revelries, fit for a country famous for its unique cuisine. As expected from Uniworld’s signature dining experience, there are several options to choose from. Italy is one of the most sought-after destinations and I personally can’t wait to step onboard and experience S.S. La Venezia for myself.
We have a lot to look forward to, and most of all—being together again. Most of our crew are at home anxiously awaiting the first sailings of 2020. Each of our ship’s Hotel Managers and Captains are in constant contact with them, keeping them informed and ensuring they have what they need. All the ships are docked and manned with a Captain, an engineer and a few sailors to ensure they continue to be properly maintained and secure.
I am at my home in Westlake Village, CA and spending my days in video meetings with my employees in the US, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore and Switzerland. All our employees are safe at home, spending some extra time with loved ones and learning how to maneuver through these times. I have tried to keep a regular routine of getting up early, going on long walks (which includes a huge hill) and connecting with my team virtually. We are busy finalizing Uniworld’s 2021 brochure and developing our 2022 itineraries, connecting with partners and adjusting plans so we are ready to go when the time is right.
Today, I’m hosting a virtual happy hour with my teams and am looking forward to seeing all their faces, making sure they are well, sharing stories of containment and reminding them that we are very fortunate. Uniworld is a proud member of The Travel Corporation, a fourth-generation, family-owned and passionately family-run company. We are completely debt-free and financially very strong. I am confident that we will get through this crisis and come out even stronger. We have the support, the team and the most beautiful floating boutique hotels and we will be here for a long time to come, working together to deliver the very best!
I am so honored to lead the dedicated and passionate Uniworld team and we all look forward to welcoming you onboard very soon.