Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has revealed the first images of its highly-anticipated S.S. La Venezia, one of the newest Super Ships in its fleet of floating boutique hotels. Sailing Northern Italy, the completely reimagined ship embodies the country’s timeless beauty, its artisan’s commitment to enduring quality and the passion Italians bring to food, art and living well.
Previously branded as River Countess, Uniworld’s Italy-based luxury ship was run down by an out-of-control MSC Opera in Venice last June, before returning to service in late September 2019.
Reimagined and transformed over the last northern winter, the design of the reborn S.S La Venezia has been led by the cruise line’s in-house artistic directors, Toni Tollman and Brian Brennan, and inspired by the work of celebrated Italian artist and textile designer Mariano Fortuny.
“Over a century after its founding, Fortuny continues to prize originality, made only possible by artisans deeply committed to their craft. This speaks to the Uniworld philosophy,” said Uniworld CEO and President Ellen Bettridge. “For our guests, this means a setting and style of service that is wholly immersive in the enduring fascination and magic that is Venice; and is born from more than 100 years of experience.”
Much of the design and décor aboard S.S. La Venezia was influenced by local Venetian design house, Fortuny, renowned for their handmade fabrics whose creation is still a closely held company secret.
“There is a mystery to the quality and beauty of Fortuny fabrics that are still made in Giudecca,” said Tollman. “We appreciate the reverence they bring to their craft that is so much a part of the Venetian way and sought to carry that care and attention to every guest touch point.”
Tollman notes that like all Uniworld ships, S.S. Venezia is unique, ‘a work onto itself’ that was designed to complement and enhance its carefully curated Venetian itineraries. “Mirroring our ships to reflect the destinations they sail is an exclusive Uniworld feature that our guests have come to know and love. We’re certain they will delight in the S.S. Venezia where every space has been crafted to expressly 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, beginning in the lobby which strikes a bold resemblance to 1930’s Venice,” added Tollman.
“Guests will enjoy the artistic touches of the ship as they stroll the marble or brass-inlaid parquet floors. They will see echoes of the portico of the landmark bridges in the patterns of the fabrics or a reference to the local fish dishes, the basis of classic Venetian cuisine, and enjoy the unmistakable swirls and pops of colour of Murano blown glass, another signature craft of Venice.”
The Fortuny story is so intricately woven into the design of the ship that Uniworld guests will have the exclusive opportunity to visit its private showroom and gardens to learn about the company and its Venetian legacy.
S.S. La Venezia’s restaurants and bars are culinary celebrations, bringing the local gastronomy to life with ingredients sourced straight from the local markets. In line with Uniworld’s signature dining experience, there are several options to choose from including:
- Rialto’s, the largest dining venue onboard, is a warm and cosy restaurant, offering traditional Venetian fare. Surrounded by intricately etched panels, inspired by the interior of the Orient Express, the charming booth seating immerses guests in a bygone era of luxury travel while they enjoy the finest cuisine.
- Hari’s Bar and Lounge is a more relaxed affair, with live music, cocktails and an impressive champagne list. Guests can settle into the sumptuously upholstered love seats to enjoy the entertainment, choosing from a selection of traditional paninis as they sail through some of the most iconic sights in Venice.
- With its hand-etched glass walls and polished ebonised wood, La Cantinetta is the most intimate of the ship’s venues. Offering private dining with expert wine pairing, guests are invited to start their La Cantinetta experience earlier in the day accompanying their chef to source ingredients at the famous Rialto food market, a vibrant hub where local producers sell their wares from fresh Adriatic fish and fine Italian cheeses and salami to locally grown artichokes and asparagus. These delicious ingredients are masterfully prepared in the demonstration kitchen to create a mouth-watering repertoire of traditional Italian dishes.
- For pure Italian comfort food with the best view of Venice, guests can relax at Cielo’s Pizzeria on the Lido di Venezia Deck. Serving wood-fired pizzas, hot from the oven along with fresh accompaniments from the salad bar, Cielo’s is the place for vibrant al fresco dining.
Once she makes her debut, the S.S. La Venezia will uncover the magic of the Venetian Lagoon during its signature eight-day Venice & the Gems of Northern Italy itinerary, with guests experiencing a private evening opening and lighting ceremony at St. Mark’s Basilica, the peaceful canals unique to Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello and the famed cities of Bologna and Padua.
Three additional itineraries will be offered throughout 2021 and 2022, including the 10-day Milan, Venice & the Gems of Northern Italy; and recently launched 12-day Cruise & Rail: Venice & the Swiss Alps and the 14-day Cruise & Rail: Milan, Venice & the Swiss Alps.
Pricing starts at $4,049 per person, based on double occupancy. For more details or booking, click here.