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Uniworld's SS Bon Voyage

Uniworld's SS Bon Voyage

Celebrating the inauguration of a river ship is always a less high-profile event than the razzamatazz which accompanies the christening of a large ocean vessel, so it was with Uniworld’s S.S. Bon Voyage during a preview cruise from Bordeaux. On a gloriously sunny evening as the ship sailed along the Garonne River, the company’s CEO and President, Ellen Bettridge deftly sliced the top off a bottle of champagne with a sabre. We then toasted the arrival of the latest Super Ship to join the Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.

The 124-passenger S.S. Bon Voyage was specifically designed to elegantly and comfortably immerse guests in French culture, art, wine and cuisine.  According to Bettridge, “Like the finest couture, S.S. Bon Voyage was built with a singular purpose, to share the marvels of this amazing destination with our guests, and there isn’t another like it in the world. It is certainly more expensive to build ships exclusively for a particular destination, but we know our guests value authentic experience above all else.”

Renowned for its boutique approach to interior design that combines fine antiques, original art and distinctive colour palettes, Uniworld’s latest addition references its French heritage throughout.  Boasting opulent exuberance with daring and colourful décor, every guest room and suite is awash with cool marble bathrooms and unique features. The ship’s stunning lobby, clad in polished wood with subtle brass details, compliments the magnificent hand-crafted balustrade; the stylish emerald tones found in Le Salon Champagne bar were inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s home, Villa Majorelle.

Additional dining venues also capture the essence of France, including the quintessential Parisian La Brasserie with its natural green and hints of yellow décor inspired by the famous Bouillon Pigalle and serving traditional bistro fare. Le Grand Fromage restaurant boasts menus reflective of the cuisines of the featured itineraries, all prepared from locally sourced ingredients. The intimate La Cave Des Vins offers connoisseurs the chance to gather for mouth-watering food and wine pairing dinners. 

Perhaps most striking of the design features is the Soleil Deck, a stunning open air space awash with vibrant fabrics that contrast elegantly against a fresh blue and white palate reflected in the comfortable deck furniture.  Here, the newly installed and only infinity pool on the rivers of Europe gives a splash of modernity and offers spectacular views of the French countryside. Poolside service at the Le Café du Soleil completes the experience, offering a casual cuisine reflective of relaxed French culture, as well as open-air cooking demonstrations from specialist chefs.

The S.S. Bon Voyage sails on three itineraries through France: the eight-day ‘Brilliant Bordeaux’, 15-day ‘A Portrait of France’, and 22-day ‘Ultimate France’. 

  • 29th April 2019

Gary Buchanan

Edinburgh-born Gary Buchanan has been a travel writer for over 30 years. He has been a specialist cruise writer for 25 years contributing to leading British publications including national newspapers and consumer magazines. He is the author of five books about cruising and spends over seven months every year at sea sailing the world’s oceans.