On March 19, Uniworld’s S.S. Antoinette was christened in Amsterdam by Antoinette “Toni” Tollman, daughter of Stanley Tollman, Chairman of The Travel Corporation, Uniworld’s parent company. Mrs. Tollman, who also designed the ship’s interior, was inspired by Marie Antoinette and 18th century France. It is interesting that Uniworld’s newest ship is called the S.S. Antoinette while all of its other ships are preceded by the word “River.” You probably surmised that “S.S.” doesn’t stand for steam ship; in fact, it stands for “super ship.”
S.S. Antoinette Features
There are many features on the S.S. Antoinette that you won’t find on any other ship cruising the European rivers including staterooms that have full open-air balconies, that with a touch of a switch, will raise the glass to create a completely enclosed conservatory; butler service for suite guests; Le Cinema Pigalle, a 20-seat movie theater with state-of-the-art flat screen Dolby surround sound; and a heated indoor swimming pool, complete with underwater music, designed by South African ceramic mosaic artist Jane du Rand. But the one thing that most blew my mind about this new ship is the number of original works of art on display. I would expect it on a Holland America Line 2,000 passenger ocean-going cruise ship but not on a 164 passenger river cruise ship. Before you rush off to visit art museums ashore, take the time to thoughtfully tour the ship.
The one work of art you surely won’t miss no matter how distracted you might be is the breathtaking blue sapphire 10-foot Baccarat chandelier that defines the S.S. Antoinette’s two-story lobby and once hung in New York’s famous Tavern on the Green restaurant.
The S.S. Antoinette displays a beautiful collection of original art by artists all over the world, with a surprising number of paintings by Russian artists. There are seven vibrant oils by Yuri Matushevski, which were inspired by his travels in the Urals, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The one that particularly caught my eye was Bassin d’Apollo, Versailles by Marie-Paule Carpentier because it reflects brilliantly the luxurious elegance of the S.S. Antoinette. I called Uniworld and suggested that they offer an iPod tour of the works of art on board with a story of why they were selected to adorn the new ship. Given Mrs. Tolland’s personal involvement with the S.S. Antoinette’s conception and design, I imagine her story, in her own words, would be fascinating.
I’m really looking forward to my upcoming trip on the S.S. Antoinette sailing from Basel to Amsterdam May 1-8 and am hoping that she lives up to my expectations. A funny thought just occurred to me: I’m a thoroughly modern 21st century woman cruising among medieval castles along the Rhine built during the 10th to 14th centuries aboard a ship that captures the essence of 18th century Versailles…….could this lead to a good future blog post?
Follow Colleen’s upcoming S.S. Antoinette Voyage
Interested in seeing pictures and reading about Colleen’s upcoming experience on the S.S. Antoinette? She’ll be sharing the experience on the Cruise Holidays | Bellevue Facebook Page.