Luxury river cruising on the Rhine with Uniworld
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Uniworld SS Antoinette - Image courtesy Uniworld

As one of the most popular European rivers to holiday on, the Rhine has its fair share of river cruise ships. Which means there are times when ships need to tie up next to one another so passengers can pass through or over another ship to reach the riverbank.

At these times it’s hard not to get a little, shall we say, competitive, as passengers check each others’ ships out and wonder if they made the best choice.

When I told a friend who had also cruised the Rhine that I was going to be on Uniworld’s SS Antoinette he revealed that it was the ship he wished he had been on.

After seeing SS Antoinette’s foyer as he passed through he’d asked for a tour and soon discovered why impromptu ship tours can lead to such good conversion rates for future trips. Talk about having an immediate and direct comparison between ships.

I’d experienced Uniworld before on the Venice and Gems of Northern Italy cruise on the River Countess, so was confident in my choice. But hearing him describe my new ship to be made me all the more excited about the trip ahead.

And so it was with a spring in my step that I hopped out of a taxi in Amsterdam and met my home to be for the next week.

Uniworld’s River Cruise Style on SS Antoinette

One of the first things you see when you step onboard Uniworld's S.S. Antoinette is a huge blue chandelier hanging in the two-storey foyer.

This 10-foot blue Strauss Baccarat chandelier once hung in New York’s Tavern on the Green and I’m told there are large sapphires in it, though I’ll confess I couldn’t quite tell which of the twinkling blue pieces were gemstones. That’s a skill I’ll have to work on.

Uniworld’s first Super Ship is 443-foot long, carries 154-passengers and has a few things I hadn’t seen on a river ship before.

First up is the swimming pool. And we’re not talking a little top deck number that could be easily confused with a spa bath here.

SS Antoinette’s pool is a generous size for a river ship and in a space where the walls are either glass or decorated with beautiful mosaics. There are sun loungers to lie on, where I happily discovered I could see the view and feel the warmth without being out in the sun.

Having the pool at the back of the ship isn’t just good for the view, it helps create a quieter ride by having its weight in an area that could otherwise have problems with vibration.

As well as a top spot to relax, the pool is also used for water aerobics which I can report really get that blood pumping.

The ship’s top deck is another unusual feature, with two enclosed areas that can collapse on command. When approaching a low bridge, the walls on the L’Orangerie Sky Lounge and Bar du Leopard Bar start to come down, then once out the other side they go back to their full height. Which means the top deck is more than a sun deck, it also has two sheltered and air conditioned areas to relax in.

Other public areas onboard include the dining room, bar and lounge areas, fitness centre, spa and onboard cinema with Dolby surround sound and vintage movie posters on the wall.

Then there’s your own little private area for the week ahead. The staterooms.

SS Antoinette Staterooms

Having loved my stateroom on the River Countess I was excited to meet my floating room for the week on SS Antoinette, and I was not disappointed.

The ship’s design is inspired by Marie Antoinette’s France and I found myself smiling as I was surrounded by Toile de Jouy.

The handmade Savoir of England beds with their high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets were just as heavenly to curl up in as I remembered, and there were L’Occitane products waiting to be used in the bathroom.

Next to the retractable window there was a small section with a little mirrored table and two chairs that could be closed off from the rest of the room with sliding glass doors. As I was travelling solo it took me a moment to realise how handy that must be if your travelling companion was sleeping and you wanted to open the window and let the sounds of river life in.

As much as I love to be social, I also have times when I want to retreat and when I realised both room service and on demand movies were free, I knew I’d have to allow myself a night in some time.

That said I could have spent all week in my stateroom and not made it through the movie selection. There are 91 free movies to choose from, including one that I was excited to see.

After staying at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin for the first time I’d been wanting to see Greta Garbo’s Grand Hotel, which was filmed in the original Adlon and is where she first uttered the words ‘I want to be alone’.

And so on the night when I wanted to be alone I slipped into my soft robe, ordered room service and a nice glass of red and hit play. Heaven.

Uniworld’s Castles Along the Rhine River Cruise Stops

Of course you don’t go all the way to Europe to sit in your stateroom, as lovely as it may be. There’s much to see and do when you’re cruising down the Rhine, and while some stops and experiences are shared with other river ships, there are also special things that we got to do with Uniworld.

Our eight-day itinerary took us from Amsterdam to Basel, with stops in Cologne, Koblenz and Boppard, Rudesheim, Germersheim, Strasbourg, and some gorgeous Alsatian wine villages before arriving in Basel.

The river cruise is called “Castles Along the Rhine” and as well as watching them go by from the river we visited Marksburg Castle, the only hill castle on the Rhine that was never destroyed, and the Castle Vollrads for an exclusive wine tasting.

While we shared Marksburg Castle with passengers from other ships, Uniworld is the only river ship company to take passengers to Schloss Vollrads and share its turbulent history.

Schloss Vollrads has been making wine for more than 800 years and has seen 27 generations of the same family live in the castle. That is until the last Earl, who unfortunately took his own life. At the time people weren’t buying German wine, the castle was millions of dollars in debt, and it seemed like there was no way out.

Since then Schloss Vollrads has been brought back to life and is successful once again. Not only is the castle itself beautiful to explore, the guides do a great job of sharing the tales and there’s the added advantage of sipping on some lovely Rhine Reisling as you move from room to room. ...Donwload the full story below.

(1953 WORDS)

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Attached Files

Looking out at the Rhine from Uniworld SS Antoinette, image Amanda Woods.jpg
Looking out at the Rhine from Uniworld SS Antoinette, image Amanda Woods.jpg
Uniworld SS Antoinette on the Rhine, image Amanda Woods.jpg
Uniworld SS Antoinette on the Rhine, image Amanda Woods.jpg
Rhine river cruise, image Amanda Woods.jpg
Rhine river cruise, image Amanda Woods.jpg
Uniworld SS Antoinette swimming pool, image Amanda Woods.jpg
Uniworld SS Antoinette swimming pool, image Amanda Woods.jpg
River cruising down the Rhine, image Amanda Woods.jpg
River cruising down the Rhine, image Amanda Woods.jpg