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River Cruise
SS Joie de Vivre

Uniworld River Cruises: Our Expert Shares Her River Cruise Experience

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers luxurious, relaxing river cruises in some truly stunning destinations. Each of their vessels is lovingly designed for its guests comfort and enjoyment and each boat is different, filled with unique flourishes for a truly special holiday. Their new vessel, the S.S.Joie de Vivre, even boasts its own on-board masterwork by none other than Picasso.

Exclusive Cassidy Travel Offer!

And we’ve got an exciting special offer for your very own river cruise holiday on the S.S. Joie de Vivre - discover gorgeous Paris and Normandy onboard a floating boutique hotel.

A different way to travel

River cruises are an ever more popular alternative to the traditional cruise aboard an ocean liner, offering a more intimate, personal experience and a different way of exploring amazing holiday destinations around Europe and the world.

One of our own expert travel advisors, Michelle, had the opportunity to get on board one of Uniworld’s other beautiful vessels, the S.S. Maria Theresa on one of its amazing voyages - we just had to share!

Uniworld Suite

First Impressions

From the moment we were picked up from the Airport by the Uniworld team, I knew we were in for something spectacular. We were collected by a luxury coach, making the transfer from the airport to the port in Budapest was smooth and luxurious. This coach chaperones the ship along its journey so it is there to transport you on your included excursions, and for your return journey to the airport.

We arrived at the port and our luggage was taken care of. The captain welcomed us on board - this continued every day, when we returned from our excursions, the captain welcomed us home, and home it certainly was.

Check in at the beautifully appointed reception was welcoming and smooth. I was able to get my first impression of the interior.  I was amazed by the décor of this vessel, and the pictures in the brochure did not do it enough justice. Our luggage had already been delivered to our room, and a member of the ship’s team showed us everything we needed to know about our rooms -  how to work the heat/air conditioning, how to operate the touch style light settings, how the mirror magically transformed into the TV, and how to operate the window of the French balcony.

 Rooms were spacious enough for two people, with plenty of storage space, and bathroom decorated in marble, with under floor heating and a beautiful shower, with a rain fall head suspended from the ceiling and complimentary toiletries supplied by Hermes.

The best bit for me by far was the bed, never had I experienced anything like it, and there has been nothing in comparison since. Each state room boasts a handmade €10,000 Savoir bed. Its beautiful mattress and luxury bedding felt like sleeping on a cloud. Uniworld spare no expense for your comfort and well being.

After making our way around the ship, which is small in comparison to sea cruises, I was very impressed to find a cinema room, a tea and coffee room, and at the back of the ship another lounge known as the Leopard lounge, with a swimming pool.

Our boarding day was spent getting to know our new surroundings. Thanks to the smaller size of the ship, it meant that we could dock in the city, with no need for transfers, it was easy to go for a wander around magical Budapest at our own leisure as the first night on board is spent in the city you arrive in.

Uniworld Budapest

Day 1

We enjoyed a welcome drink in the main bar while we waited for our rooms, making our way to the top deck which was lined with canopies, sun loungers, tables and chairs, so we could enjoy, sit and relax while taking in the beauty of the surrounding city of Budapest.

Each evening before dinner, there was a cocktail reception, where the sommelier would speak about the wine that was chosen to perfectly compliment the starter, main course and dessert. With food inspired by the chef and owner Bea Tollman, every meal was an experience in itself and all sourced locally on arrival into each new port.

After the sommelier had introduced us to the menu, our tour director told us which tours were available the following day - most days contain three different activity types for you to choose from, that would suit your individual needs, from gently paced guided tours of the city, to the active cycling/walking tours, to the ‘do as the locals do’, which took you around the local market to experience the local specialties of that area.

Our first night on board the ship, we had dinner while sailing on the Danube, passing by the some of the city’s main attractions such as Parliament buildings, beautifully decorated in bright lights, it was a sight to behold, as we ate delicious food, and sipped on hand picked fine wines, after dinner we relaxed in the lounge to the mellow sounds of the piano, playing favorites of a time gone by, a beautiful evening to end a beautiful day .

Uniworld Food & Drink

Day 2

The following morning, after an amazing night’s sleep, I took a coffee to the top deck before breakfast, and sat looking out at the early morning haze that surrounded Budapest on a crisp March morning.

On joining the rest of my group for breakfast, we were shown around the buffet with a plethora of amazing food, but if that did not excite you, there was also an a la carte menu to choose from.

On our second day in Budapest, I took the easy paced option, while some of the rest of the group experienced the go active bike ride and the do as the locals do market tour. The city is steeped in history, with visits to the local Buda Castle, and a drive around the streets of Pest, to crossing some of the 8 bridges that span the Danube, the Margaret Bridge being one of the most famous.

After our tour had ended, we had the afternoon to ourselves, before we set sail to our next destination, that time could be spent sunbathing in the warm spring sun, or doing a spot of shopping on the famous Vaci street.  A visit to Budapest would not be complete without a trip to the Gellert thermal Baths.

Next we set sail and soon it was time to explore our new destination of Bratislava.

Strolling around at our leisure through the winding cobbled streets of this city which resembled something out of a fairy tale was absolutely amazing, sampling some of the local delicacies and enjoying a coffee in the sun, and all just a stone’s throw away from where our ship was docked. The benefits of the river cruise is not rushing to get back to the ship miles away, at all times we were within walking distance.

The sommelier came up on deck and showed his amazing skills, of taking the top clean off a bottle with a sword. Everyone sat around nibbling on canapés and enjoying a drink in the sun. If that didn’t suit, you could opt for a massage, a swim, or even go to the cinema room and watch a movie of your choice.

After our Captain’s dinner that evening, I and my group made our way to the top deck to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sun go down as we sailed along the river. As the night drew closed, and the sun set on the city behind us, we were attended to with the service you would expect of this 5 * boutique floating hotel. One of the staff members arrived with hot water bottles and fresh blankets so we could enjoy our time up on deck.That evening went on late into the night, after our group managed a singsong in the Leopard Lounge located at the stern of the ship.

Uniworld Chandelier

Day 3

Our final day had arrived, and I was never so sorry to know something was ending as I was that day. We had one more night on board to enjoy every second of the luxury, from the food, to the staff, to the beautiful Hermes creams left for us to take home so our experience of luxury could continue even after we arrived home.

After breakfast on our final day, we made our way into Vienna, where we took a horse and cart ride around the city and stopped off for some cool refreshments and some Apple Strudel with ice-cream.

We had quite a lot of free time to enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful city, before we had to make our way back to the ship to get ready for the Gala evening.

 A private visit to the Viennese Opera (totally optional of course), and what a beautiful night that was. On arrival back at the ship after a stunning performance, we were greeted with a lovely late night buffet. Those little touches are the things that make the experience what they were.

Experiencing these days on board the S.S. Maria Theresa was definitely one of the highlights of my travel career, An experience full of wonderful memories of three beautiful cities on board a luxurious ship, with the benefits of unpacking once, and being a short distance away from the main hub of each city, was definitely a winning point for me.

The food, the service and the staff were all of very high standard, and if you, like me, like the finer things in life, where every need you have is taken care of to the highest standard, then this is the trip for you.

Embark on an amazing journey of your own

You can have your very own experience like Michelle’s with our special offer for an exciting trip on the S.S. Joie de Vivre - wind your way along the stunning riverscapes of Paris and Normandy, experiencing the best of French culture and cuisine along the way - tres chic! This is an exclusive offer just from Cassidy Travel - see it here!

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Michelle Buckley

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