Uniworld Boutique River Cruises inaugurates their new Super Ship, S.S. Antoinette, and those who attended the inaugural weekend festivities were treated to a very special experience that no other river cruise line in the world can deliver. Uniworld is the world’s only authentic boutique cruise as no other cruise line in the world has a partner and sister company like the award-winning luxury boutique hotel operator, Red Carnation Hotels, to design and train staff on the luxury boutique hotel experience.
Lead by Mrs. Beatrice Tollman, President and Founder of Red Carnation Hotels, and her daughter Mrs. Antoinette Tollman, godmother and namesake to S.S. Antoinette, who is also the designer and the visionary behind the S.S. Antoinette’s lavish design and décor, and their lead designer Mr. Brian Brennan, they worked closely with the shipyard De Hoop to bring a new class of ships to the cruise industry.
Mrs. Antoinette Tollman explained the concept of the ship’s design was based on 18th century France in the 21st century as it embodies the spirit of France’s Château de Versailles with all of the conveniences of modern day living. “The design of the ship began with the spectacular blue sapphire 10-foot Baccarat chandelier that adorns the Antoinette’s two-story lobby. This very chandelier once hung in New York’s famous Tavern on the Green restaurant. My family and I had dined many times under that chandelier, and when the restaurant closed, we purchased it for sentimental reasons, planning to use it somewhere.”
Wanting to find the perfect home for the chandelier, they placed it in the lobby of the S.S. Antoinette and designed the ship around this beautiful focal point that reflects the sunlight so perfectly. “From there, we were inspired by Marie Antoinette and 18th-century Versailles to create the beautiful, rich, and opulent, yet classic style. The Salon du Grand Trianon is inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, and the Restaurant de Versailles by the ornamental gardens there. Above all, it was designed to take the guest on a journey and, as I learned from my mother, to give them the absolute best experience possible,” furthers Mrs. Tollman.
When you are a family-run company such as Uniworld and Red Carnation, you have greater passion, greater commitment, and a greater connection to ensuring your hotels—whether on land or on the water—provide guests with the ultimate experience incorporating the finest luxuries and comforts, as evident throughout the S.S. Antoinette and all of Uniworld’s ships; a world-class Food and Beverage program as recognized by Zagat; and intuitive and award-winning hospitality as evident by esteemed travel entities including Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
Uniworld, the world’s only river cruise line to have been acknowledged by Zagat Survey® for “Top Dining,” can certainly be attributed to Mrs. Beatrice Tollman’s philosophy on food and her desire for ensuring both her hotel guests and her family were always treated to sumptuous cuisine using the finest ingredients. Mrs. Beatrice Tollman wrote her memoir, A Life in Food, as a cookbook made up of recipes she has collected over the years during her travels and from people she has met. She has since refined and personalized the recipes and taught many chefs in her hotels and at Uniworld, including Bernhard Zorn, Uniworld’s Global Master Chef. In the book, she recounts how she came to learn and love the recipes—many of which have become Signature Comfort Dishes at the hotels and onboard Uniworld’s ships. Uniworld’s professionally trained culinary team creates these Signature Comfort Dishes, including the more traditional such as “Bea’s chicken soup” to the more exotic “Black peppered prawns” to the sweeter side with “Honeycomb ice cream and Bea’s cheese cake.”
The S.S. Antoinette begins her inaugural season sailing on March 27, 2011 on Uniworld’s popular Castles along the Rhine, and certainly guests traveling on this “Super Ship” will be in for a “Super Experience.”