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Uniworld welcomes S.S. Bon Voyage, a transformed Super Ship

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FORT MEDOC, France -- Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection president and CEO Ellen Bettridge Thursday officially welcomed the company's latest Super Ship, the S.S. Bon Voyage, with a champagne sabering.

The ceremony marked a relaunch of the former River Royale following a $14 million top-to-bottom transformation that added three more suites, new dining venues, a heated infinity pool and a blue and green French-inspired vintage decor.

CEO Ellen Bettridge sheared the top of a champagne bottle with a sword in a ceremony to welcome the reborn S.S. Bon Voyage.
CEO Ellen Bettridge sheared the top of a champagne bottle with a sword in a ceremony to welcome the reborn S.S. Bon Voyage. Photo Credit: Jeri Clausing

The ship will sail exclusively in the Bordeaux-Medoc region and, like Uniworld's other ships, was designed to make guests feel like they are in the region they are sailing, "whether they are on the ship or off the ship," Bettridge said.

Because it was not an official christening, Bettridge marked the occasion by shearing the top of a champagne bottle with a sword rather than the traditional smashing of a bottle of champagne against the hull.

The ship passed its final inspection on Wednesday, just in time to welcome a group of travel professionals for a four-day familiarization cruise before opening the season for paying guests.

With the overhaul, Uniworld eliminated several cabins to increase the number of suites from one to four, including two royal suites with oversized soaking tubs and double vanities.

Uniworld also added an enclosed rooftop dining venue, blue-and-white tiled heated swimming pool, deck chairs covered by blue umbrellas, and a private dining room, Cave de Vins, where guests can have a five-course dinner and wine pairing.

Like all of Uniworld's ships, the Bon Voyage has a gym and spa treatment room and a wellness coach who leads daily yoga classes and active excursions.

The launch of the ship brings to six the number of Super Ships in Uniworld's European fleet.

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