Iconic French actress Catherine Deneuve and Uniworld’s new French river cruise ship, S.S. Catherine, make a perfect pairing.
By Janice Wald Henderson
Ah, Catherine Deneuve. The timeless French beauty and actress extraordinaire. (If you haven’t seen her classic film “Belle du Jour,” download from Netflix asap.) How fitting that this iconic actress, once the face of Chanel No. 5, is the Godmother of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s new “super ship” S.S. Catherine. The 159-passenger ship will sail the Rhône and Saône rivers in Burgundy and Provence and Ms. Deneuve will christen the ship in Lyon, France on March 27, 2014.
S.S. Catherine will sail two of Uniworld’s most popular itineraries, “Burgundy & Provence” and “Grand France.” Imagine sailing such idyllic scenery while nibbling croissants by morning and sipping bubbly at night. And all the excursions to famed vineyards.
S.S. Catherine will debut a stunning décor. All six suites (including one Royal Suite) and upper deck staterooms offer full open-air private balconies, which convert to enclosed conservatories R the touch of a button. (Clever for drizzly days; while not depicted in any cruise ship brochure or video, they do occur. And that’s when S.S. Catherine’ towel-warmers come in handy, too.) Middle deck staterooms feature French balconies. And no matter the deck booked, handcrafted Savoir® of England beds and swank marble baths (starring L’Occitane en Provence body products) are yours.
By the way, don’t yawn over the bed bit. These slumber masters are very “Downton Abbey.” Design and construction methods date back to 1905. The Savoy hotel, one of London’s most prestigious properties, commissioned beds from this manufacturer more than 100 years ago and still uses them. Everyone from the late King Hassan of Morocco to Marilyn Monroe and Winston Churchill has slept in Savoir® of England beds. If ever a word was overused, it’s “bespoke” - but for these beds, consider it accurate.
S.S. Catherine has a distinct, elegant boutique feel – no cookie-cutter riverboat design here. Cruising on this ship is much like sailing in a petite Parisian property. You know, those small Latin Quarter hotels loaded with personality.
The ship’s public rooms are jewel-like. Take the Leopard Lounge. Among the eye-catchers: elephant-head bar rails, leopard print furnishings and other safari-esque decorating touches. (What better place for a gin-and tonic?) Original art, Old World antiques and mirrors add to the French boutique feel.
Outdoor dining, fitness center and spa, and 24-hour specialty coffee and tea bar up the cool factor. And yes, Internet and Wi-Fi are complimentary. That’s a good thing; consider the beaucoup opportunities to snap fabulous Instagram pics to ensure friends turn green with envy. Not PC, but terribly fun.