Uniworld affirms commitment to Paris with new river ship

Actress Joan Collins, godmother of the S.S. Joie de Vivre, christening the ship on Monday. At left is Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge. Photo Credit: Michelle Baran
PARIS — Actress Joan Collins christened Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s new river cruise ship, the S.S. Joie de Vivre, here on Monday, signaling the company’s confidence in the enduring allure of Paris.

“Like so many places in the world, [Paris has] had problems in the last couple of years, and like everything else in life and history, that too shall come to pass,” Stanley Tollman, founder and chairman of The Travel Corporation, Uniworld’s parent company, said during the christening ceremony to the backdrop of one of Paris’ most iconic landmarks, the Eiffel Tower.

“Paris is coming back. It’s coming back strongly, ” he said, adding that the Joie de Vivre is nearly 90% booked for 2017, indicating that the $26 million investment The Travel Corporation made in the Joie de Vivre is paying off, despite some initial hesitation about whether to go forward with the launch following the November 2015 attacks in Paris,

Dressed head-to-toe in white, Collins on Monday morning officially named the ship, which set sail on its maiden voyage along France’s Seine River toward Normandy shortly after the ceremony.

The 128-passenger Joie de Vivre is the latest of Uniworld’s Super Ship class of vessels and is a floating ode to Parisian aesthetic and charm, including an impressive collection of unabashedly French artwork throughout the vessel. The entire ship combines rich wood finishings with intricate upholstery, resulting in vintage-looking details that are at once both classic and clean.

The Joie de Vivre houses several new spaces and features for Uniworld, namely a greater variety of onboard dining experiences, including Le Bistrot, an endearing eatery with red banquette seats situated adjacent to the lounge that serves traditional bistro fare throughout the day.

At the aft of the vessel is Club L’Esprit, a pool and juice bar by day that transforms into Claude’s, a lively supper club and live music venue by night with a dance floor atop a retractable pool cover. Here, a covered patio also allows guests to sip their beverages and nosh on small bites either al fresco, weather permitting, or enclosed behind a glass roof and windows. Claude’s will be open about three nights on any given one-week sailing, and will become a small cinema that will show movieson two nights of each sailing.

Passengers on the Joie de Vivre will also be able to reserve a seven-course wine-pairing dinner at La Cave du Vin, a 12-person venue on the lowest deck of the ship where a cooking demonstration will be followed by a menu that incorporates the resulting dishes. While all the other dining experiences are included, this one costs an additional 92 euros per person.

The Joie de Vivre also has a fitness and a spa room, two 24-hour tea and coffee stations and a guest laundry room.

There are five categories of staterooms, ranging from 162-square-foot lower-deck cabins to 410-square-foot suites. Most staterooms range from 180 square feet to 260 square feet. All suites and staterooms on the upper two decks have wall-to-wall retractable windows that drop down with the flip of a switch, converting into French balconies. Some suites can accommodate up to three people and there are adjoining staterooms available, too. There are USB ports in the cabins and the lounge and free WiFi is available to guests onboard.

The christening was attended by numerous Travel Corporation executives, including Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge; Beatrice Tollman, president and founder of Red Carnation Hotels, Uniworld’s sister company; Brett Tollman, The Travel Corporation’s chief executive; and Gavin Tollman, CEO of Trafalgar, The Travel Corporation’s guided vacation brand.