Capturing the brilliance of Bordeaux and joining the fleet as the newest Super Ship, S.S. Bon Voyage is a spectacular vessel paying homage to the typical French flair that Uniworld Cruise Line is known for.
Reborn from the former River Royale, the ship underwent a $14 million transformation to reveal new accommodation, dining venues, pool facilities and decor and a new name – S.S. Bon Voyage.
Alison Earnshaw, Managing Director of RiverVoyages.com, recently stepped aboard to explore the renewed ship and visit Bordeaux in true Uniworld style.
Stepping aboard S.S. Bon Voyage immediately elicits a feeling of welcome luxury, as the Reception staff greets you by name (a daily acknowledgement which added a comforting touch).
After meeting our personal butler and enjoying our own tour of the ship’s decks, and enjoying the in-suite touches such as macarons and a handsomely-stocked mini-bar, we delved into the harmonious fusion of French decor with regional culture and cuisine.
This ship is certainly one which immerses the itinerary into life on-board, with excursions, dining and surrounding views marrying the two perfectly. In my case, the region was Bordeaux where S.S. Bon Voyage sails along the Seine, Dordogne and Garonne rivers.
Experiences on-board and excursions onshore are curated to feature more personal, experiential tours which are not only enriching to be part of, but fond to remember. Visiting Blaye, a commune in France, we headed to an ancient 17th century citadel for a unique yoga session led by a wellbeing coach. Calming our minds and taking in the panoramic views of the Gironde Estruary was the perfect way to start the day.
Following this, we headed to a small winery where a passionate, informative and engaging owner gave us a wine tasting tour. Exploring his wine cellar, which had champagnes and wines, we were offering generous tastings of his favourite choices, many of which were sold at a price of €325 for six bottles.
He also allowed us to peek at his exceptional wine collection, for his most valued clients, which are stored in their own cellar and even showed us his vintage car collection. He told us that the vineyard and winery was previously owned by French actor, Gérard Depardieu, which only added to the unique experience of the tour!
Another tour option was a countryside bike tour, combining fresh air with the gorgeous scenery and fine wine in the Médoc vineyards. Starting with your bicycle in Paulliac, you set a course through the landscapes of historic estates and towns that have seemingly remain unchanged for centuries. Learning about the history of the region and its chateaus, you end the experience with another indulgent wine tasting.
There are two standard tours included each day, with a full briefing provided by the Cruise Director each evening beforehand. For those who are active and long for a sense of adventure, there’s even additional choices to include walking or bike tours.
S.S. Bon Voyage blends the experiences you enjoy during these shore excursions with menus specially-curated to reflect the local cuisines. The Brasserie serves traditional bistro fare within in a cosy restuarant which is a great alternative to the main dining room. I’d recommend booking as soon as you arrive on-board, as it’s a popular choice!
For an even more expert dining experience, La Cave des Vins is an intimate venue where connoisseurs can enjoy a six-course tasting menu paired with wines. This ‘chef’s table’ style dining is highly recommended while on-board.
As for life on S.S. Bon Voyage, the level of inclusions and little touches provided were incredible. In my stateroom, I recieved fruit, chocolates and homemade cookies daily and both laundry and ironing were complimentary throughout my stay. There is also a selection of wines, beers, soft drinks, speciality coffees and selected spirits included throughout the sailing, alongside a well-stocked mini-bar for those in a suite.
All guests on-board are also gifted a steel water bottle, eliminating the need for plastic bottles being used on-board, which could then be taken away at the end of your sailing, highlighting Uniworld’ active changes towards sustainability while river cruising.
With her stunning lobby clad in polished wood, subtle brass detailing, and stylish tones of emerald and sapphire throughout, S.S. Bon Voyage is certainly a jewel in the Super Ship crown and the ideal vessel to explore French culture across Bordeaux.
New ships joining the Uniworld fleet
S.S. Bon Voyage is one of five new ships set to join the cruise line’s fleet by 2020, elevating the luxury experience along unusual rivers to exciting destinations. In 2020, four more ships will debut for Uniworld including:
- Mekong Jewel for Vietnam and Cambodia
- S.S. La Venezia for Italy
- S.S. São Gabriel for Portugal
- S.S. Sphinx for Egypt
Each of these will exemplify true artistry, offering the boutique luxury cruise experience to a range of fascinating destinations.
Would you like to explore the world’s waterways aboard S.S. Bon Voyage like our Managing Director? See all the fantastic sailings on offer here, and call our Cruise Concierge team to book your cruise today.