Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection was founded in 1976 in Los Angeles, California by Yugoslavian entrepreneur Serba Illich. At the time, most other river cruise lines were focusing on marketing to Europeans, but Illich wanted to try a different approach. He hired English-speaking staff on his new line, and created dining choices that would appeal to Americans. In 2004, the company was acquired by Bermuda-based organization, The Travel Corporation. The company transformed the onboard ambiance of the ships, and gave them – and new builds – a more upscale feel. Now, the cruise line operates over 500 departures per year to over 20 countries in the eastern hemisphere.
How Many Passengers: From 56 to 398 passengers.
Personality: Each river ship is essentially a boutique hotel, and every one is different in theme and colors, but maintain a rich character with a blend of luxurious furnishings and old-world elegance. Uniworld puts a heavy focus on details, so every space and piece of decor is very well thought-out. You’ll find antiques next to state-of-the-art amenities like flat screen televisions.
Fellow Passengers: Voyages appeal generally to the 40+ market; the itineraries more so to older guests, and the ships themselves to middle aged passengers. Mostly North Americans can be found onboard, as well as many Australian and European travelers.
Cabins: From 128 to 410 square feet. Elegance and luxury reign supreme in Uniworld’s cabins. Guests will find high-quality linens, lush fabrics, bold colors mixed in with neutrals, and marble-lined bathrooms. Cabins hold a regal type of atmosphere with lots of details.
Dining Experience: Dining is open seating, with buffet breakfasts and lunches, and sit-down dinners. Lunch will often include a pasta, hot and cold dishes, and a salad bar. Dinner is meats, seafoods, pasta, vegetarian options, and rich desserts. Dress code is resort-casual, and meal choices are fresh and often regionally-inspired. There is also an afternoon tea that is served in the lounge. On most ships, there will be an outdoor area on the front of the ship where meals may be served, too.
Amenities: Free wifi, exercise and wellness classes, a fitness center, bicycles for use ashore, and local acts that come onboard to entertain guests as well as bands that play for dancing. Some ships also include a heated swimming pool. There are loungers on the sun deck for relaxing, and lounge area with a bar to have a drink and enjoy a conversation as well.
Best For: Older couples, well-traveled guests, English-speaking passengers, and those that enjoy the height of luxury cruising.
Included Alcohol: Most (not all) voyages include premium wine, beer, and spirits.
Where They Go: Europe, China, Vietnam and Cambodia, Russia, Egypt, and India
Contributor: Sarah Bretz