Boutique river cruise company Uniworld has unveiled plans to launch four luxurious new ships to cruise the rivers of Vietnam, Egypt, Portugal and Italy by 2020.

The ships will include a major renovation and transformation of the River Countess into a super ship named SS La Venezia to cruise Northern Italy.

Uniworld's River Countess
Uniworld’s River Countess

Uniworld’s extensive expansion comes as the company targets multi-generation families with discounted prices, special kid-friendly menus, two dedicated family hosts and special excursions and activities for young travellers.

Junior and teen cruisers aged between four and 17 will enjoy a 25 per cent discount on the cruise fare when travelling with an adult.

Kids will also enjoy a dessert-making session with the pastry chef, a ship’s tour with the Captain or hotel manager and an exclusive kids lounge stocked with snacks and games.

Dessert-making session with a pastry chef
Dessert making with a pastry chef

Itineraries include Castles along the Rhine, Delightful Danube and Prague, Gems of Northern Italy, Christmas Markets and Parisian Royal Holiday.

“Share the enchantment of a Uniworld cruise with your entire family,” says Uniworld’s 2020 Boutique, River Cruises brochure.

The new ships will feature more suites, more dining venues and more luxurious finishes.

“Our ships are absolutely unique and like a boutique hotel, reflect the destinations they serve from décor and artwork to food, beverage and programming. We look forward the making our high calibre of service and personalisation in these remarkable destinations even better,” says Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge.

With Egypt now trending as a hot destination for travellers seeking adventure and culture, Uniworld will launch its luxury ship SS Satet on the Nile River on 6 January next year. There will be three dining venues including a private dining room and an al fresco dining eatery on the upper deck, a swimming pool and 42 elegant suites.

Locally-sourced Egyptian artwork, fabrics and hand-carved furnishings will be used to bring “the beauty of the region to life onboard.” Itineraries of 12-adventure-filled days to experience Egypt and the Nile’s top sites will start and end in Cairo.

In Portugal, Uniworld will launch SS Sao Gabriel on the Douro River on 26 March 2020. Designed to take in Portugal’s delectable food and wine, the entire top deck of the ship will have lavishly appointed suites with butler service, giving guests the option to dine at any time they like. Cruising down the beautiful Douro River Valley, guests will indulge in the best Spanish and Portuguese culture and cutting-edge, locally sourced cuisine.

In Vietnam and Cambodia, the company will launch the Mekong Jewel which will be 10 metre longer than Mekong Navigator, offering guests more space and amenities. here will be two dining venues with a main restaurant and an al fresco eatery on the upper deck. The Mekong Jewel will be constructed with sustainable and eco-friendly materials including special paint on the hull to create less drag, energy-efficient LED light fixtures and water-cooled air-conditioning system to save energy. The Jewel will offer 13-day itineraries from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap visiting Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat and more.

Venice, Uniworld

In Italy, the River Countess will undergo a complete overhaul and re-emerge as the SS La Venezia to be launched on 27 March 2020. The 10-day itinerary will start with a two-day stay in Milan where guests will visit Leonardo Da Vinci’s renowned mural painting, The Last Supper, then continue with an eight-day cruise through and around Venice, the Po River and three outerlying Venetian islands – Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello.

Uniworld has also debuted its newest super ship, the SS Bon Voyage in France last month after she underwent an extensive makeover. The ship features spacious new suites, four dining venues, an infinity pool and a sundeck with panoramic views of the countryside. SS Bon Voyage will cruise on the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde rivers to immerse guests in French culture, art, wine and cuisine.