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Exploring the Wonderful World of Cruise Ships

Uniworld Launches Its Best Ship Yet

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SS Antoinette

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises latest and best ship, SS Antoinette, was christened last Sunday by her godmother and namesake, Antoinette (Toni) Tollman in Amsterdam.  Ms. Tollman, daughter of parent company Travel Corp’s CEO, Stanley Tollman, was also the lead designer and guiding spirit for the ship’s interior decor.

The ship’s design was inspired by the Chateau de Versailles, and embodies an 18th century French style brought into the 21st century.  As she explains it: “The design of the ship began with the spectacular blue sapphire 10-foot Baccarat chandelier that adorns the Antoinette’s two-story lobby.  This very chandelier once hung in New York’s famous Tavern on the Green restaurant. My family and I had dined many times under that chandelier, and when the restaurant closed, we purchased it for sentimental reasons, planning to use it somewhere.”

Guests will see echoes of Versailles throughout the ship.  Of particular note, the Salon du Grand Trianon was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors, and the Restaurant de Versailles by the ornamental gardens there.

The Antoinette, sister ship to River Beatrice (launched in March 2009 and named for Ms. Tollman’s mother), is 443 feet long and 37.5 feet wide.  She has 73 staterooms, ranging from 167 square feet up to 391 square feet for the Owners Suite.  Suites and staterooms on Deck 4 have private, open air balconies which can be enclosed by a retractable glass wall in cooler weather.

Among other innovations, the Antoinette has the first heated indoor pool on a river boat, as well as a 20 seat movie theater.

The Antoinette will sail the Rhine River, offering the “Castles Along The Rhine” itinerary.  Service begins this Sunday, March 27th.

Technorati Tags: Antoinette Tollman, Rhine River, River Beatrice, river boat cruises, river cruise, river cruises, SS Antoinette, Tavern on the Green, Trianon, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Versailles

Ocean Cruise? River Boat Cruise? Why Choose?

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Emerald Princess

Princess Cruise Line has come up with something quite interesting for next summer.  Cruise tours are nothing new.  They give passengers an opportunity to extend their trip beyond the scope of a cruise and explore areas not easily accessible from the ship.  Think Alaskan lodges or three nights in Beijing, for example.

On July 31, 2011. however, Princess will offer a cruise tour which is actually another cruise.  Princess Cruise Line has partnered with Avalon Waterways to offer a river boat cruise along the Rhine River on board Avalon Felicity prior to a Baltic Sea cruise on Emerald Princess.

The 9 night cruise tour includes a 7 night river cruise along the beautiful Rhine River from  Basel to Amsterdam, stopping in Strasbourg, Heidelberg,

Avalon Felicity

Mainz, Rüdesheim, Koblenz and Cologne.  Guided tours will be included at each of these stops.  Along the way, passengers will enjoy a sail through the Rhine Gorge, probably the most beautiful stretch of the river and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  After the river boat cruise, passengers will overnight in both Amsterdam and Copenhagen, prior to joining Emerald Princess.

Emerald Princess will depart Copenhagen for an 11 night Scandinavia and Russia cruise, with stops that include Stockholm, Berlin, Helsinki and the incomparable St. Petersburg.  Passengers will enjoy two days in Peter the Great’s “Window on the West”.

Space is limited, with group space blocked in a few cabin categories on Avalon Felicity.  Prices begin at $6549.00 per person in an inside cabin for the 20 night cruise tour. With only 2 sea days while on board Emerald Princess, this will appeal to the most energetic and enthusiastic sightseers among us.  If successful, Princess will consider similar tours in 2012.

Technorati Tags: Avalon Waterways, Baltic Sea cruise, Cruise line, cruise ship, Princess Cruise Line, Rhine River, river boat cruise, Russia and Scandinavia cruise, St. Petersburg

River Boat Cruises in Europe

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The Viking Pride

Europe has the most developed and extensive river boat sector in the world. River boat cruises are offered along the Danube, Main, Rhine, Moselle, Rhone, Saone, Seine and Douro rivers. Competition is brisk and the selection wide. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, AMA Waterways, Viking River Cruises and Avalon Waterways, in addition to many smaller companies, all have numerous vessels plying European rivers.

Europe’s rivers were the highways and trade routes of early Europe. As a result, the river banks became the birthplace of many towns and cities. River boat cruises afford the traveler the opportunity to visit great cities, such as Paris, Vienna, Budapest – and smaller towns, like Koblenz, Trier, Wurtzburg.

BY exploring Europe via its beautiful rivers, one experiences European travel in a more traditional manner, approaching destinations the way they were originally meant to be reached. And since river boats are relatively small, carrying perhaps a couple hundred passengers, they are able to dock in the heart of town. Gone are the hassles of train and bus travel. Passengers spend less time getting there, and more time being there.

A river boat cruise along one of Europe’s great rivers allows the traveler to immerse himself in the cultures of several regions in one trip. Consider the Danube, the second longest river in Europe. The Danube rises in the Black Forest and empties into the Black Sea. Along the way, it passes through 10 countries. More than a dozen languages are spoken along its banks.

The Danube is witness to 2000 years of European history, with all the variety of culture, food, and architecture that that history implies. Four capitals grew up along its banks – Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Belgrade – more than any other river in the world.

The Rhine rises in the Swiss Alps, passing through Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, Germany, France and the Netherlands, before emptying into the North Sea. Only about half the length of the Danube, the Rhine still engages the traveler, boasting more than 40 castles and fortresses along a single stretch in Germany.

The rivers, the sites, the options and the opportunities go on and on. A river boat cruise offers just about the best way for a traveler to visit the heart of Europe. Perhaps even more accurately stated, it is the best way for the traveler to be touched by Europe’s heart.

Technorati Tags: Danube River, Europe, Rhine River, river boat cruises, river cruises