S.S. Bon Voyage, formerly known as the River Royale, is the newest of Uniworld's line of "super ships," which feature enhanced amenities, like more dining options, more suites and a higher passenger-to-staff ratio than other ships in its fleet. This is the sixth super ship with four more to follow in 2020, and this is the second Uniworld ship to undergo the conversion upgrade to super ship status.
With 62 cabins, S.S. Bon Voyage will exclusively sail the Bordeaux-Medoc region of southwestern France on wine- and art-infused cruises. As a result, its French decor is meant to immediately immerse passengers in the region from the moment they arrive.
What sets Uniworld apart from the competition is its intense focus on more imperial-style interior design, as opposed to contemporary. Expect marble, polished brass, Murano glass chandeliers and fabric-covered walls at every turn. Bea Tollman, the company's founder and owner, and her daughter are responsible for the eclectic and clever design found throughout the ship, which often sparks lively conversation among passengers.
This formality has a loyal following, especially among American travelers searching for an elevated standard of service. All of those Murano accents come from the Tollman's own glass factory on Murano Island in Italy. Massive bouquets of fresh sunflowers and rosemary plants remind passengers of this beautiful part of southwestern France. With ample public spaces, including a top deck with awnings for shade and thickly cushioned lounge chairs, there are plenty of options for relaxation.
If you're a first-time cruiser with little to compare things to, the smaller cabins may not be as much of a surprise. Experienced cruisers may find them to be on the smaller side compared to other river ships, including Uniworld vessels. Luckily, the beautiful design with new marble bathrooms and the lavish public areas provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy your time on the ship.
Excursions run the gamut from fitness-focused activities, like trekking and biking, to cultural pursuits, such as chateau visits and wine tasting. Uniworld is all-inclusive, meaning that daily activities, food and drinks, gratuities and airport transfers are part of the package.
If you're the kind of traveler that likes to dress for dinner while being more informal during the day, this one is for you. The entire experience is designed around posh design, impressive cuisine and a growing focus on wellness and active lifestyle.
Most passengers hail from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, although according to Uniworld, there is growing demand from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong. The official language onboard is English.
The average customer is in their 60s and looking for a more active experience. Uniworld also runs several family cruises especially during the holidays. The minimum age to sail is 4 years old, making it a great option for multigenerational travel.
During the day, there is no dress code, and the numerous excursions allow passengers to wear what they want for each experience. Breakfast and lunch also have no formal dress code, but dinner hours suggest no shorts or jeans in the dining room. While jackets are not required most nights, many travelers feel more comfortable dressing a bit for dinner, especially with the formal design and service of Le Grand Fromage, the main dining room.
Part of the joy of a Uniworld cruise is not having to sign receipts at every turn. Included in the rate are airport transfers, excursions, all meals and drinks, and gratuities. Only few premium liquor brands and wines carry a fee. There's also an additional cost for specialty dining in La Cave du Vin for special wine pairing dinners and spa services. The primary currency used aboard is the euro.
This was the only Uniworld ship that did not have complimentary, self-service laundry, but with the remodel, now it does. The option for standard laundry services are still available.
Needs attention to detail - not quite there