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Uniworld's S.S. Elisabeth (Photo: Uniworld)

Uniworld Acquires Two New River Cruise Ships

Uniworld's S.S. Elisabeth (Photo: Uniworld)
Senior Editor, News and Features
Aaron Saunders

Last updated
Oct 24, 2023

Read time
3 min read

(11:45 a.m. EDT) – Uniworld Boutique River Cruises made a surprise announcement Wednesday, revealing it has picked up two former luxury river cruise ships that previously sailed for Crystal River Cruises when that line was in operation.

Uniworld acquired the former Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler from Riverside Luxury Cruises, which had purchased the vessels following the collapse of Crystal River Cruises in 2022. It will rename both vessels as two of its Super Ship fleet, the S.S. Victoria and S.S. Elisabeth.

Both ships are under a three-year charter agreement that will see Uniworld operate the vessels with Uniworld staff, along with all of the luxury river cruise operator’s long-standing hallmark touches and amenities.

“We’re thrilled to add two stunning new ships to the Uniworld fleet, beginning with the S.S. Victoria on the beloved Rhine, fulfilling our promise to maintain the best and most luxurious ships on the rivers,” said Ellen Bettridge, President and CEO of Uniworld.

“The S.S. Victoria and S.S. Elisabeth are unique vessels that we know our guests will love, featuring a modern design, some of the largest suites on the rivers, and an ambiance that exudes contemporary luxury.”

S.S. Victoria and S.S Elisabeth Will Enter Service Starting in 2024 in Europe

Cabins and suites aboard S.S. Victoria and S.S. Elizabeth are lavishly appointed (Photo: Uniworld)

Both S.S. Victoria and S.S. Elisabeth can carry 110 passengers in 55 luxury suites and staterooms. S.S. Victoria will enter service first in 2024, debuting in March on spring Tulip Time cruises from Amsterdam before switching to Uniworld’s “Castles Along the Rhine” itineraries that run between Amsterdam and Basel, Switzerland. The ship rounds out the 2024 season with the “Belgium Holiday Markets” voyages that sail roundtrip from Brussels.

S.S. Elisabeth, meanwhile, will debut in time for the start of the 2025 river cruise season in Europe. Exact itineraries and departure dates for that vessel have yet to be announced.

New Ships Were Previously Operated by Crystal, Bought by Riverside

The restaurant aboard Uniworld's S.S. Victoria (Photo: Uniworld)

Both S.S. Victoria and S.S. Elisabeth were custom-built for Crystal River Cruises in 2017, and won raves for their innovative design and tremendously appointed staterooms and suites.

Riverside bought all five former Crystal ships and renamed them. Riverside Mozart and Crystal (Riverside) Ravel are already in service, with Riverside Debussy to come in 2025, operating out of Amsterdam. The line, which is owned by the German hotel corporation Seaside Collection, has chartered two ships, Riverside Mahler and Riverside Bach, to Uniworld for three years.

Meanwhile, Crystal (Riverside) Mozart is no stranger to charters, as it had been used this year by Transcend, a line specializing in those kind of cruises; Transcend will now need to find a new ship.

For Uniworld, however, the addition of these two opulent ships is a real win, and one that complements their existing Super Ship fleet – including vessels like S.S. Antoinette and S.S. Maria Theresa – well. Uniworld is known for its sumptuous décor and appointments, as well as its dedication to service.

More information on these two new vessels will be posted here as it becomes available.

Publish date October 11, 2023
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