Luxurious and elegant, the new waves of boutique ships offer a unique holiday experience. Here are five of the best.
Seabourn – Quest: Number of passengers: 450
With its sleek, contemporary design, Quest is designed for an ultra-glam cruise experience. The 225 guest suites have ocean views, most with their own veranda, separate living areas and bedrooms, walk-in closets, fully-stocked bars replenished daily, granite bathrooms with a separate tub and shower, two sinks, and flat-screen interactive television. Quest even has its own built-in marina, where you can join in watersports straight from the ship.
Uniworld – SS Antoinette Number of passengers: 164
As the name suggests, Antoinette’s decadent interior was inspired by 18th century France – and the style of decor on this river ship is all about opulent luxury, from the blue Strauss 10-foot Baccarat chandelier in the two-storey lobby to the flamboyant leopard-print bar on deck and the luxurious staterooms. There’s even a cinema and mosaic-tiled heated swimming pool on board.
But the atmosphere on this beautiful river ship is far from formal – guests are able to relax in the glamorous green lounge, the Salon du Grand Trianon, with a cup of tea and a book just as much as they can dress up and sample the cocktail menu, mixed in front of you by the friendly bar staff who learn your preferences straight away.
To see the sights on both sides of the river, the best viewing point is up on deck where big gold-edged fleece blankets and cosy loungers are available for guests to curl up and watch the world go by until the on-deck L’Orangerie opens for a spot of light lunch.
For more information and to book see titantravel.co.uk or call 0800 988 5253.
Voyages to Antiquity – MV Aegean Odyssey: Number of passengers: 350
Classically elegant, Aegean Odyssey has been designed to offer the sophisticated traveller every comfort at sea. With tastefully understated interiors, the ship combines the best of traditional elegance with all the modern= conveniences of a first-class hotel.
The personal service on board is exceptional and the relatively small ship is able to visit ports that larger vessels are unable to, navigate close to the scenic islands of the Adriatic and Mediterranean, as well as berth upriver in the heart of Bangkok, Yangon and Ho Chi Minh City.
See voyagestoantiquity.com for more information or call 0845 437 9737.
Paul Gauguin – MV Tere Moana: Number of passengers: 90
Previously Le Levant, Tere Moana will be unveiled in December after the ship has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation. The luxurious new Polynesian-influenced look promises laid-back cool. All 45 staterooms will have an ocean view, and eight will offer private balconies. There will be two restaurants including L’Etoile, featuring culinary creations by Michelin starred chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, and in select ports, the ship’s watersports marina will offer kayaking and paddleboarding.
Guests will be able to enjoy views from the decks, relaxing on chaise lounges by the pool or a Balinese bed.
See paulgauginship.com or call 0208 133 2862.
Viking – Odin Number of passengers: 190
Swathed in natural light, first-class engineering, green technology and modern chic interiors by Norwegian firm Yran & Storbraaten, the longship Odin features unique innovations such as the indoor/ outdoor Aquavit Terrace, the organic herb garden and sun deck with 360-degree views. Al fresco dining, regional specialities and specially selected wines make your everyday dining simply unforgettable.
Visit vikingrivercruises.co.uk or call 0808 256 2492.