The innovations seen on the S.S. Antoinette are somewhat surprising, given the size constrictions that European river boats have. Although ocean-bound cruise ships have much latitude in size and configuration, the width and length of locks on the European rivers dictates the size of European river boats. Moreover, their height is constrained by the low bridges that river boats must pass under. So, the exterior of all European river ships looks much the same--narrow, long, and low, with usually only three interior passenger decks and a sun deck. It's the interior decor and innovative features that make the S.S. Antoinette special.
The S.S. Antoinette is named for Antoinette (Toni) Tollman, daughter of the founders of the Travel Corporation and owners of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Ms. Tollman was the visionary of the ship's interiors, and she and lead designer Brian Brennan primarily used an 18th century theme reminiscent of a more famous Antoinette--Queen Marie Antoinette of France. The ship's ornate, formal decor looks much like a French chateau and is certainly more luxurious than I've seen on any other river vessel.
I attended the christening of the S.S. Antoinette and spent three nights on the ship during a preview cruise following the naming ceremony. The ship was full of media, travel agents, executives from Uniworld and its parent company the Travel Corporation, shipyard executives, and travel partners. The following pages of this article describe various elements of the river boat:
- S.S. Antoinette Common Areas
- S.S. Antoinette Cabins and Suites
- S.S. Antoinette Dining and Cuisine
- S.S. Antoinette Photo Gallery - 36 pictures of Uniworld Super Ship Antoinette
The S.S. Antoinette is sailing Uniworld's 8-day "Castles Along the Rhine" itinerary between Basel, Switzerland and Amsterdam until November, when she will do four, 8-day "Rhine Holiday Markets" itineraries.