I have witnessed the renovation of many a ship in my career, but the word we usually use to describe it—refurbishment—hardly does justice to what just happened to the River Beatrice. “Incredible transformation” was the term that rushed to my mind when she debuted on April 4th as our newest Super Ship the S.S. Beatrice. From stem to stern, she is more dazzling than ever.
You step aboard and are greeted by a grand staircase—the signature design element of all our Super Ships—then quickly realize that, from its yacht-inspired décor to its new dining and public spaces to its collection of fine art, you are experiencing a brand new Beatrice.
The Super Ship designation is the one we reserve for the newest vessels in our fleet. Now with a total of five, the growing category is taking the river cruising experience to the ultimate level. River travel may have its size limitations—based on the size of the locks, the ships can only be so long and so wide—but Uniworld has found a way to stretch the boundaries. We do it, not by making the ships bigger, but by making them better.
The S.S. Beatrice is bright, modern and elegant and every detail is perfect. The new visual motif is based on yacht-style blonde wood and touches of blue and white everywhere. The lounge features sofas and chairs with hand-made upholstery, a parquet floor, upholstered ceiling panels, solar shades and new USB ports allowing guests to charge their devices anywhere they are sitting.
You are greeted by elegance right off the gangplank, just after you meet our security guard that is (a standard on all our Uniworld ships). The lobby features a white Murano Chandelier with blue shades, elegant mirrors and white marble floors. The grand staircase, fashioned from nickel and iron, follows. Then you’ll start to notice the original artwork placed throughout the ship–pieces by Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Pino Signoretto.
To enhance the onboard culinary experience, we added two additional dining venues. Located at the stern, Max’s is named for the Austrian-born composer Max Stein who wrote the scores for Gone with the Wind, Little Women and King Kong. He was also the first recipient of the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, which he won for his score for Life with Father and his wife’s name was Beatrice–what a coincidence! Max’s offers intimate cooking classes led by the chef as well as the best reimagined steak dinner on the rivers with gorgeous meat aged to perfection in our dry ager.
At the ship’s graceful new bow is the other dining addition: Schubert’s. It’s an Austrian-styled café that offers lunch and afternoon refreshments. In the evening, the wonderful locally-inspired menu starts off with a tempting shared plate and ends with Mrs. Tollman’s famous Honeycomb Ice Cream. Of course, Mozart’s, the ship’s main restaurant, and Wolgang’s, the bar and lounge, are always an option. (Are you starting to recognize the Austrian composer theme here?)
And while we couldn’t make the ship any bigger, no one said we couldn’t add suites. The S.S. Beatrice has two new Grand Suites (310 square feet) as well as an additional Royal/Owner’s Suite (390 square feet). The staterooms are pretty amazing in themselves. They all come with the usual lush, Uniworld appointments: marble bathrooms, ample storage space, Savoir® of England beds draped in high-thread-count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, along with a menu of pillow options. Connecting rooms, ideal for friends and families traveling together, have also been added.
Lest you get the idea that this Super Ship is only about onboard amenities, let me describe the inaugural itinerary. The Highlights of Eastern Europe cruise is a 10-day trip beginning in Budapest, Hungary, and ending in Bucharest, Romania. Before the journey begins you can explore Budapest on one of our Do As the Locals Do excursions or by exclusive guided Let’s Go bicycle tour. In Croatia, you can see ajvar being made in the courtyard of a monastery or visit the Vucedol Culture Museum followed by lunch at the Goldschmidt winery. Belgrade offers a plethora of architectural styles – Gothic, Ottoman, baroque, art noveau, modern high-rises as well the opportunity to explore the 19th century Residence of Princess Ljuubica and tomb and memorial of Josip Broz Tito. When you get to Golubac, the Danube presents more of its treasures, like the Iron Gates, an 83-mile stretch of scenic gorges cut through mountains that offers dramatic and beautiful sights. In Vidin, drive through scenic Bulgarian red rock country to Belogradchik and explore the astonishing rock formations nearby. Rousse has the ruins and history of Veliko Tarnovo, perched on the hills above the Yantra River. Finally, in Bucharest, there’s the chance to explore the opulent Ceausescu Mansion, home of Romania’s infamous former leader, Nicolae Ceausescu. And that’s just the beginning. This is an itinerary not to be missed!
In other exciting news, I’m already planning a cruise on another one of our newest Super Ships. Beginning December 6th my husband Jack and I will be hosting a River Heritage Club reunion cruise on the beautiful S.S. Joie de Vivre on our Parisian Royal Holiday itinerary. Please come join us as we explore the Christmas markets of France and have some fun!