(4:30 p.m. EST) -- Uniworld is planning a wide variety of enhancements for its river cruise fleet in 2019, including new and amended itineraries, extra inclusions, new pre and post cruise options, a refurb of its Bordeaux ship and new cabin allottments on a vessel on China's Yangtze River.
"Year after year, to provide our guests with the absolute best and secure our position as the leader in luxury river cruising, we will continue to add new ships and renovate our current ships," said Uniworld President and CEO Ellen Bettridge in a statement. "We will never stop getting better. Never stop improving."
Highlights for 2019 include:
- Cabin allotments on a new ship on China's Yangtze River, Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer. Refurbished in 2017, the 136-passenger ship has private balconies, a crew-to-passenger ratio of 1:1, a two-floor theater and spa, beauty and fitness facilities; Uniworld will have an allotment of cabins for its passengers. Uniworld will also offer a new seven-day pre-cruise tour to Mongolia that includes visits to the Gobi Desert and Ulaanbaatar.
- An interior refurbishment of River Royale, the line's 130-passenger vessel in Bordeaux. While the redo won't turn the vessel into a "super ship," like this year's transformation of River Beatrice did, it will provide significant updates to the 2006 ship.
- Inclusion of gratuities and beverages on all Uniworld itineraries in Russia, Asia and Egypt. Previously, the line included these only on its European sailings.
- New itineraries on River Princess -- 15-day Alluring Amsterdam & Vienna and 10-day Authentic Danube & Prague -- that offer optional two-night extensions in Vienna.
- A 10-day Magnificent Moselle & Rhine cruise that travels roundtrip from Frankfurt. The sailing on River Queen includes bus and train transfers, as well as luggage transfer service, between the final port of Cologne and Frankfurt.
- Adjustments to several itineraries: A Jewish culture and heritage itinerary on the Rhine and Holland has been expanded from seven to 10 nights. After a hiatus in 2018, the line is bringing back its seven-night Holland & Belgium tulip time cruise. A Mekong River itinerary has been shortened, with a new four-night extension to Hanoi and Halong Bay added.
- A new wellness program centered around yoga for the line's Ganges River cruise in India. On each sailing, a resident yogi will lead daily sessions, lectures and classes. An accompanying wellness menu with organic and healthy options will be available at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Two new extensions on Egypt itineraries: a pre-cruise tour to Jordan with stops in Amman and Petra and a post-cruise tour to Jerusalem.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor