Uniworld, the boutique luxury river cruise line, today reaffirmed its faith in the French market, despite recent terrorist outrages that deterred some from visiting the country.
Australia managing director Fiona Dalton pledged “unwavering support” at a special function to present the line’s 2017 season, which includes the launch of a new vessel, the SS Joie De Vivre.
“Over the last six months, we have seen some enormous challenges to tourism in France. I believe The Australian newspaper recently reported there has been a Euo750 million drop in tourism in the first half of 2016 as a result of the external threats.
“The bottom line is that we will have four river ships in France in 2017, and now more than ever this destination and the French people really need our unwavering support.
“We intend to offer this – and the launch of the new Joie De Vivre really does demonstrate our solidarity with this wonderful destination.
“This is at a time when other operators are withdrawing or shifting away their operations from France.
“Uniworld remains completely dedicated to this destination. And we think the best way to demonstrate this is to move forward with the successful launch of this luxurious and elegant ship.”
The SS Joie De Vivre will sail on the Seine on itineraries from Paris to Normandy, taking in the history of the Normandy beaches. Included will be two golfing opportunities at top courses along the way.
The new ships features an indoor swimming pool which converts to an open air cinema, a French bistro, a restaurant and a café, as well as the Serenity River Spa.
Ms Dalton previewed two new itineraries: a 10-day Rhine-Main Discovery tour which includes Munich, and the historic Jewish sites from World War II including the site of the famous Nuremberg war trials and a shore excursion to Adolf Hitler’s Alpine lair; and Paris and Impressions of the Seine, an artistic heritage cruise visiting Rouen’s Museum of Fine Art and the Orsay Museum, Paris as well as the Monmartre.
The Ambassador will sail the Rhine-Main Discovery tour and the itler’ Adol
River Baroness the Paris and Impressions of the Seine journey.
Multi generational cruises are proving a big hit with Australians, according to Ms Dalton, and as a result Uniworld is offering more school holiday dates and itineraries.
“Two major trends in travel right now: the increasing trend towards river cruising, which Australians just can’t get enough of, and the growing trend for multi generational travel.
A lot of parents, grandparents and primary school children and teenagers are travelling together.”
Two “family hosts” travel on board Uniworld ships – “it’s like having Mary Poppins travel with you,” she said.
Another trend is an “enormous amount of interest” in Christmas market cruises.
“Our volume of guests travelling this year has tripled. And we have more departures to support that,” Ms Dalton said.