Uniworld’s S.S. Maria Theresa: A Floating Palace

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Uniworld's S.S. Maria Theresa. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

Uniworld’s S.S. Maria Theresa. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

This week I have been cruising on Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s S.S. Maria Theresa. Because I was on the new Viking Star when the Uniworld cruise started, I joined the 15-day Amsterdam-to-Budapest voyage five days late.

Even so, ten days on board has been enough to see that Uniworld operates a nearly flawless product, offering what may just be the highest standard of luxury possible on a river cruiser.

What You Should Know About Small Ship Cruising

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Cruise lines understand that different guests look for different types of onboard experiences; and, the onboard experience on any ship is largely driven by its size.

Viking Star Main Pool with Roof Open

Larger ships amaze guests with expansive dining options, activities and performance spaces, while small ships excel at providing a more intimate, even cozy, atmosphere.

If your ideal cruise features lots of on-board activities, Vegas-style shows, multiple dining venues, and special programs for children and teens, a small ship may not be for you.

River Cruising with Scenic Tours – An in depth look

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At times, we pedaled alongside Scenic Jasper © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

Scenic Jasper on the Danube. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle


Earlier this week, I was in Vienna for the christening of a new river cruise vessel from a company that I knew little about. Scenic (formerly Scenic Tours) launched its new Scenic Jasper alongside the Danube River in the lovely Austrian city.

As is customary at such events, the godmother, Australian novelist and comedienne Kathy Lette, made a speech and cut a ribbon that sent a bottle of champagne smashing against the hull.

A New River Cruise Itinerary: The Loire In France — On A Paddle-Wheeler

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The beautiful Loire. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

The beautiful Loire River. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

Been there? Done that when it comes to cruising?

Here’s something you haven’t done: six- and eight-day itineraries along the Loire River, with visits to the region’s storied palaces — on a modern-day paddle-wheeler.

The paddle-wheels at work. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

The paddle-wheels at work. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

I just stepped off of the new Loire Princesse in Nantes, France.

Previewing Uniworld’s S.S. Maria Theresa, Coming In March

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It is an intriguing invitation: Experience the fantasy of an 18th-century floating palace.

That’s how Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is positioning its newest vessel, the S.S. Maria Theresa, which launches on March 26, 2015.


Named for the Archduchess of Austria and the Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, the new river cruiser will feature classical Baroque interiors and a three-tiered lobby dominated by a sweeping marble staircase with a wrought-iron, hand-gilded balustrade, and royal crown detailing.

Three Of My Favorite AmaWaterways’ Cruises & Three That I’d LIke To Do

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Christmas cruise 8

One of my top three: An AmaWaterways’ Christmas Markets river cruise. Photo © Ralph Grizzle

I’ve been fortunate to have cruised with AmaWaterways about a dozen times, particularly during the period when co-owners Kristin Karst and Rudi Schreiner were trying to get the word out about their small company. They needed journalists like me, and invited plenty of us, to experience their river cruises and to write about them.

Uniworld Restarts Egypt River Cruises

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Egypt is back.

In October 2015, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection will once again be operating river cruises along the famous Nile River. Uniworld is now accepting bookings for its fabulous Splendours of Egypt & the Nile itinerary, which departs roundtrip from Cairo aboard the 82-guest River Tosca.

Uniworld's 12-day Splendors of Egypt & the Nile itinerary is back as of October 2015. Illustration courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Uniworld’s 12-day Splendors of Egypt & the Nile itinerary is back as of October 2015. Illustration courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

All-Inclusive River Cruises: How Are They Defined?

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There is a fairly wide variation among river cruise companies with regard to what is included in the cruise fare. Some companies are much more inclusive than others. Although, the trend in the industry is that more and more companies are offering all-inclusive fares; or, at the very least, including more in the base price of the cruise.

On A-ROSA Stella, Dining At Paul Bucose

Michelin Three-Star dining at a restaurant operated by legendary chef Paul Bocuse, at no extra charge on A-ROSA Stella. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Smithsonian Journeys aboard Regent Seven Seas

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Regent Seven Seas cruise line is taking their on board education to a new level thanks to a partnership with the Smithsonian, creating The Smithsonian Collection.

Couple exploring Greece

Cruisers who already enjoy their great programs will create even more fabulous memories and expand their knowledge thanks to a wide-range of charismatic and knowledgeable experts on a variety of subjects, from art historians to leading authors.

Beginning July 2015, one specialist will be on board most voyages providing new and exciting opportunities to make history and education come to life!

Solo Travel: Where Can You Find the Best Rates for River Cruises?

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Where can solo travelers find the most favorable rates? We’ve compiled a list of companies that cater to solo travelers.

If you’re a solo traveler, you will likely want to know which river cruise companies offer the best rates for singles. After all, those companies count on at least two people occupying a room, and hence, double the revenue that would come from a cabin with only person occupying it.