When I heard that Uniworld was the recipient of Travel & Leisure’s “Best River Cruise” in 2018, I had to see why! This past October, I set sail on a tour of France on one of their ships, a floating boutique hotel known as the Joie de Vivre and traveled from Paris to Giverny, Rouen, the Normandy Beaches, Versailles and back. Joie de Vivre means lust for life and that is precisely how I felt during the 8 days I spent cruising the Seine. I loved it so much!
5 reasons you will love Uniworld’s award-winning line:
1. Floating Boutique Hotels
Uniworld has some of the most aesthetically pleasing river cruising ships. They are literally “floating boutique hotels.” The Joie de Vivre felt French in every way, with gorgeous chandeliers and modern art, including a Picasso, on board. There are special luxe touches like a self-service bar on the back of the boat, lounge chairs on the deck for reading a book in the sunshine and a lap pool and spa. The ship is simply gorgeous!
2. Smaller is better!
With an average passenger size of 150 this cruising is intimate and exclusive. It is the perfect “not too big, not too small” experience, where you really get to know everyone, but still have your space to break away as much as you need. The staff is so caring! One of my colleagues wanted a special kind of soda they did not have on board and the next day at port the staff stocked it. They learn how you like your coffee every morning and give a detailed itinerary tailored to your tastes. Everyone was so friendly!
Amanda Knows Best: The Uniworld staff has an usually high return ratio, which means that they truly love their jobs and it is reflected in their service!
3. All-inclusive AND Gourmet
The term gourmet originated in France and means a to be connoisseur of eating and drinking. This ship offers such excellent food and wine pairings and food, alcohol and gratuity are all included. The meals on the ship were simply phenomenal. There were stunning culinary creations on the ship’s buffet-style breakfast (with 32 varieties of local cheese!) and fresh French breads. Most of my lunches were out and about, but I did enjoy a few days of the curated meat tea sandwiches and delectable housemade soups for lunch. Dinner was the real show-stopper, with something for every palatte. And the bartenders get to know you and make personalized recommendations from their ample bar selection. You can dine whenever you want and where you want. There is a fun café on board with lighter fare, as well as the main dining room. There is no assigned seating, so you can sit with different folks each night and meet likeminded travelers!
Amanda Knows Best: Part cooking class, part showstopper gourmet meal, reserve the private dining experience in Le Cave du Vin (for an additional nominal fee).
4. Tours Included, Too
The tours were the pinnacle of this voyage for me, with our local guides and small group size. There were a few options a day of what you could do with plenty of leisure time to rest up and relax, as well.
5. So many options!
There are numerous voyages to choose from across the globe. In France, here are the sailing options. I was on the Joie de vivre ship. Check out the Normandy sailing and the Bordeaux sailing in France.
Who should take a Uniworld River Cruise?
Couples or groups of friends 55+
People who don’t want to pack and unpack multiple times on a trip
Those like me who love a curated and personal experience with a balance of activity and rest with sophisticated food, kind people and exposure to culture!