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An exclusive Q&A with ROL Cruise Ambassador Jennie Bond

Step on board SS Antoinette with Jennie Bond

SS Antoinette, Uniworld

Posted on

30 Mar 2020

Can you describe the unique details of the Uniworld experience and what you think makes them so special?

I always imagined that river cruising would be an interesting, but rather less glamorous, version of ocean cruising. How could a river boat compare with the spacious luxury of a cruise liner? But how wrong I was... as Uniworld proved to me. From the moment we stepped on board, we were wrapped in a world of luxury where absolutely nothing was too much trouble for the crew, and we were pampered like movie stars.

Can you tell us a bit about any Uniworld cruises you’ve been on?

Our first voyage was on board SS Antoinette and took us along the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam in around ten days. It took us past fairy-tale castles and magnificent countryside.

Uniworld’s ships are renowned as being akin to floating hotels, please can you tell us a bit about your accommodation on board?

We were in a French Balcony stateroom, one grade up from the Classic, and it easily surpassed our expectations. It was quite spacious and oozed luxury, with plush furnishings, a huge bed grand enough for Marie Antoinette herself, and a marble bathroom. An upgrade buys you a full open-air balcony, but our large window dropped down so that we could lean outside and watch the world go by.

Uniworld states that there is “No request too large, no detail too small.” – what are your experiences of the service on board?

The service on board was impeccable. I was simultaneously touched and slightly alarmed that the bar staff knew exactly what I like to drink within 24-hours of arriving! My chilled Sauvignon Blanc would be ready for me almost before I sat down! You really couldn’t ask for more.

What can guests expect from the cuisine on board?

Uniworld say they treat cooking as a very delicious art form....and it was. We particularly enjoyed the local produce sourced from the regions we travelled through. This really enhanced the whole experience. The quality of both the food and wines was excellent.

Uniworld offer carefully curated shore excursions, do you have any stand-out moments from your excursions?

All the excursions were exceptional, with guides who were extremely interesting and very well-informed. We learned so much about the towns and cities we visited. But the one excursion that we still talk about is the one that seemed completely off the wall at the time. It was a vinegar tasting tour, something I had never heard of. It turned out to be absolutely fascinating. We had to don monk-like robes to inspect the ancient barrels (they were being protected from us, not vice versa) and we sampled some of the finest vinegars in the world. We learned that they can all be served as aperitifs or digestifs, and many of them allegedly carry medicinal qualities or even act as aphrodisiacs! Completely captivating.

What are some of your top Uniworld highlights?

There is so much to see and do on a river cruise. You can find yourself sailing past quite large cities and there are always things to see on each bank. So, it’s a constant 360° experience, whereas at sea there is often just the water to watch. And I loved the fact that Uniworld provides bicycles on board, so you could just borrow one and whiz off on a tour of your own when moored at a new destination.

The design of Uniworld ships is one-of-a-kind, what are your experiences of this?

I was surprised by how much room there is on board. I didn’t expect to find a swimming pool and spa. Then again, I didn’t think the first thing I would see as I stepped on board would be a stunning 10-foot-high blue chandelier hanging in the foyer. Nor did I expect to see original artwork on the walls throughout the ship. There’s only one word for it really, and that is “classy”.

What do you think makes Uniworld so impressive as a river cruise line? 

I would say it is Uniworld’s extreme attention to detail. Every member of the crew seemed determined to make our stay on board the very best it possibly could be, from the smallest detail. And they succeeded.

What do you think are the benefits of booking a Uniworld River Cruise with ROL Cruise?

It’s wonderful to have ROL Cruise make the whole process of choosing, booking and setting off on a cruise so easy. They’re always happy to give you informed advice about what might suit you best and then sort out your holiday from beginning to end. And you always know that they’ve got your back, which makes every cruise all the more pleasurable.

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