Cruise to Paris Aboard the S.S. Joie de Vivre
If you dream of a decidedly slow meandering through the river ways of the world, consider the views from a luxury ship. River cruises hit all the same notes as ocean tours-excursions with gourmet cuisine, comfortable cabins, the soothing smoothness of travelling by water. Adventurers will find themselves continuously within their desired element of movement. Beyond the traditional, try a voyage through Russia, China and Tibet, India, Egypt, Vietnam, or Cambodia, and find your senses filled with the sights and sounds of the cities and cultures surrounding you.
”We are delighted to welcome the S.S. Joie de Vivre to our impeccable fleet of floating boutique luxury hotels, as the first of Uniworld’s Super Ships to sail the renowned Seine River,” announced Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO. “Our company has brought travellers to France for more than 70 years and we are thrilled to introduce a new, enticing way to experience the country.”
Earlier this year, Uniworld launched the S.S. Joie de Vivre on its maiden voyage along the Seine River following a christening by the ship‘s Godmother, acting legend Dame Joan Collins. The ship embarked on its journey through Northern France with a stellar ‘Paris & Normandy’ itinerary. This route brings the best of each region together, including exclusive outings to Richard the Lionheart’s Chateau Gaillard, the medieval capital of Rouen, Monet’s beloved home in Giverny, and the beaches of Normandy. Majestic palace tours to Versailles and Chateau de Malmaison satisfy those with an architectural and historical predilection.
With a length of 125 metres, rather than the typical 135 metres, the S.S. Joie de Vivre purrs into dock in the heart of Paris in the shadow of the iconic Eiffel Tower. The ship maintains two Royal Suites, eight Junior Suites, and 54 staterooms for an intimate capacity of 128 guests.
The playful 20th-century Parisian influence is reflected throughout the interiors. Bold, bright, colourful, and classically designed, reflecting the Golden Twenties through to the free-spirited Sixties. The ship features highly-polished wood and metal finishes throughout the vessel, each surrounded by luxurious fabrics and carpets in a minimalist setting. The designers’ cunning play with symmetry and mirrored reflections throughout the common areas create a stunningly sophisticated motif.
Farm-to-table is the onboard philosophy when it comes to cuisine, all paired with superb local wines. The Restaurant Le Pigalle, Salon Toulouse, and Le Bistrot all offer amazingly different experiences, and when the occasion calls for something a touch extraordinary, guests reserve at Le Cave des Vins, an intimate venue offering a hands-on dining experience which encourages guest participation. Patrons collectively choose fresh ingredients to be transformed into a seven-course meal with the assistance of the ship‘s onboard chefs. Add French wine pairings with expert advice from the sommelier, and travellers are treated to a perfect evening. At Club L’Esprit, passengers are invited to relax and indulge their senses at the elite onboard spa and wellness venue featuring yoga, aquatic fitness, massage therapies, and beauty treatments. Afterward, pony up to L’Esprit Bar for refreshing smoothies while planning the day’s activities.
As the afternoon eases into the evening, Club L’Esprit becomes Claude’s Supper Club with a flick of a switch. The tranquility of the pool area transforms into a dance floor and those with a love of nightlife will flock to Claude’s for tapas, curated cocktails, and live music. For a few nights throughout the duration of the journey, Claude’s also screens classic French cinema under the stars.
For eight days, leave your world behind and enter a journey steeped in wonder. The voyage begins and ends in Paris, but for those magical moments in between, guests can enjoy hiking to Chateau Gaillard in Giverny or golfing at Rouen’s Mont-Saint Aignan, discover a painter’s haven in Caudebec-en-Caux, walk the historic Utah and Omaha beaches at Normandy, and revel in opulence at Versailles, Uniworld’s ‘Paris & Normandy’ has one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the river cruise industry, and with the S.S. Joie de Vivre offering such elegance and enchantment, travellers would be remiss in not following in their pursuit of fine food, wine, and adventure, to France.
Whether it is strolling on moonlit walks through torch-lit gardens, losing yourself in breathtaking artworks, exploring towering castles, or indulging in the simple pleasure of waking to the aroma of fresh croissants and a cafe first thing in the morning, a river boat cruise may be exactly what you have been searching for.
All images courtesy Uniworld River Cruises.
(This article was originally published with my byline in HLM Magazine).