Sunday, July 26th ~ Transfer from the River Baroness to our new ship, the SS Catherine
The Uniworld river cruise we are on is called Grand France. It is in fact TWO cruises that are taken back-to-back with a high-speed train thrown into the middle of the mix to get you from ship #1 to ship #2 or in our case from the River Baroness to the SS Catherine.
We are now at the half way point in our cruise and say goodbye to the River Baroness. I never did give you much information on our 1st ship, but in brief she is lovely, well-appointed, has an outstanding staff, fabulous itinerary and state rooms (at 128 sq ft) that are a little smaller than I would like under ideal circumstances. That said, they were certainly more lavishly accoutered, (haha, being in France I somehow thought that word sounded perfect), than either of the two previous river cruise lines we have sailed on.
Here is a slide show of a few pictures I took of our stateroom, bathroom, and one of the dining room on the River Baroness:
Here are some statistics on the River Baroness:
Length: 361 ft
Width: 37.5 ft
Voltage: 220 volts
Suites: 4 (256 sq ft)
Categories 1 – 3 Staterooms: 55 (128 sq ft)
We had only 79 passengers on board the first leg.
The food was exceptionally tasty, and Tim never once got any type of unpleasant reaction. For anyone who travels with food allergies, you can appreciate that this is a HUGE benefit for him. In fact for the entire two weeks we were on board the Uniworld ships, he had only one incident, and that was from eating a commercially packaged piece of candy. Every single thing he had in the dining room, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, was made from whole, healthy, in most cases locally obtained, organic ingredients.
If you would like to really get an idea of just how special the first 7 days were on the River Baroness, then check out this seven minute video. The first week from Paris to Normandy can also be selected as a stand alone cruise. You can find the information for that option here.
There were 35 passengers from the first portion who were continuing onward with us.
The transfer itself went very smoothly as I have come to expect from the Uniworld staff. Well coordinated, we had our luggage out early before eating our usual wonderful breakfast on the River Baroness. Our luggage was collected for us and then driven by truck from Paris to Leon. The next time we would see it was when we arrived at our new floating home, the SS Catherine.
In the meantime, we were escorted from ship #1 to the train station in Paris, escorted onto our pre-reserved first class HIGH SPEED train car and accompanied to Leon where a Uniworld bus met us for the transfer to ship #2, the SS Catherine.
We boarded the SS Catherine just in time for lunch! By the time we finished eating, our cabins were ready and we reunited with our luggage, already waiting in our room for us.
The SS Catherine is the jewel in the crown for Uniworld. Named in honor of the legendary actress, Catherine Deneuve, this ultra luxurious super-ship sets the bar very high for the boutique river cruise industry.
Oh, I forgot to mention the beds! They are handcrafted Savoir of England beds with Egyptian cotton linens. We even received a pillow menu where we could select our choice of pillow size, material and firmness. For two people who have distinct preferences of a firm mattress and love fine linens, this was a huge plus.
The second portion of our cruise will take us from Leon to Avignon through the Burgundy and Provence areas of France.
Here are similar statistics for the SS Catherine:
Length: 443 ft
Width: 37.5 ft
Voltage: 110/220 volts
Royal Suite: 1 (410 sq ft)
Suites: 5 (305 sq ft)
Categories 1 – 3 Staterooms: 61 (194 sq ft)
Categories 4 – 5 Staterooms: 13 (162 sq ft)
With only 109 passengers on our sailing the ship seemed open, and never crowded. Our stateroom was a roomy 194 sq ft, which was more than comfortable. The marble bathroom added a touch of luxury.
I especially enjoyed having a window that could be fully opened, allowing a fabulous view of the passing shoreline in the evening or daytime cruising. There was also a window screen that could be rolled into place with the touch of a button if needed.
And here is a slide show with an over view of the SS Catherine:
The second portion of our cruise, from Burgundy to Provence, can also be booked as a separate cruise. Click here for details.
Gratitude Moment: When being so pampered it is hard to feel anything but grateful. I must admit that our normal travel style is less luxurious, so this was a wonderful treat for us.