December 12, 2009 – Uniworld
Brand New River Tosca Out of Service!
A Message from the President & CEO of Uniworld:
There has been quite a bit of information written about the River Tosca since it launched a couple of months ago, and I wanted to take this opportunity to personally give you an update on where things stand.
Over the last several years, we have seen a growing interest in Egypt, which is a glorious destination. As a company, we saw the need and opportunity to provide travelers to Egypt with a Nile River cruise ship that would be of a similar high standard as our ships in Europe. Uniworld commissioned the River Tosca with the goal that it would be one of the most luxurious ships to sail the Nile.
Unfortunately, we experienced some unexpected challenges in introducing the River Tosca and we are not happy with the current quality of workmanship finishes in several areas of the ship. The most obvious examples are the floors in the staterooms, main stairwell and corridors which were damaged and scratched during the installation; the mosaic tiles in the restaurant; and the paint and woodwork in the staterooms. We have therefore made the decision to dry dock the ship for seven weeks to correct the current deficiencies. The ship will therefore be out of service between February 1, 2010 and March 19, 2010.
We do have an alternative ship, the Miriam, which we will use while the River Tosca is dry docked. Uniworld has successfully used the Miriam prior to introducing the River Tosca and the ship is a good substitute. The crew from the River Tosca – including the Hotel Manager, Executive Chef, and Executive Housekeeper, all Uniworld employees from our European operation, will be onboard the Miriam. We will also bring onto the Miriam some of the special amenities currently available on the River Tosca, such as bed linens, robes, slippers, and bath products. We will be offering a compensation package to those clients sailing on the Miriam as we understand that some of our guests will be disappointed with the ship change; however, we will work very hard to ensure they still have a wonderful vacation in Egypt.
We are also going to proactively reach out to our guests who are traveling prior to February 1 to update them on the status of the River Tosca.
This was a very difficult decision because we know that this will have an impact on our valued guests – some who have chosen to travel with Uniworld because they wanted to experience the new River Tosca. It is also a difficult decision because, even with the current deficiencies of the ship, the overall feedback we have been receiving from guests who have already traveled on the River Tosca is very positive. The Cairo program, the Tour Managers, the excursions, the food, and the service onboard the ship have all been very well received. And of course the destination itself is fabulous. It is however the right decision for us to make.
Uniworld has built our very good reputation today on being a very reliable river cruise operator and we are committed to providing our guests with a fantastic vacation experience and value – in every region where we operate. When we re-launch the River Tosca in March, we are confident that we will achieve this commitment in Egypt.
After several years of successfully launching ships in Europe, the experience in Egypt has been a humbling one for me and the entire Uniworld team. I want to personally apologize to any of our guests who we may have let down and please know that we are working hard to achieve our stated goal of operating a luxury product in Egypt.
November 19, 2009 – ScenicTours
New Ship Under Construction
Currently under construction for ScenicTours, the Scenic Pearl will join the fleet in the Spring of 2011. The Pearl is being built at the Den Breejen Shipyard at Hardinxveld near Rotterdam in Holland. Scenic placed the order for their fifth vessel due to the growth in popularity of the brand and subsequent increased demand, particularly from North America. Scenic will be able to add more diverse itineraries to its schedule. Scenic’s “Space-Ships” are longer than typical European river cruise ships and carry 169 guests. The ships feature true private balconies in 82% of all accommodations; choice of two restaurants, complimentary wine and beer served both at lunch and dinner, all onboard gratuities as well as all sightseeing ashore are included in the fare.
November 16, 2009 – Uniworld
ZAGAT and ZORN—Two Milestones In Uniworld’s Culinary Program
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises proudly announces two milestones in their Culinary Program. Uniworld hired a new Culinary Director, Bernhard Zorn, who holds the prestigious honors from the "World Association of Chefs Societies" as a Global Master Chef. With over 30 years of culinary experience, including creating culinary delights for passengers from six around-the-world cruises such MS Marco Polo, Crystal Harmony, Silver Cloud, MS Deutschland and Berlin, Chef Zorn will continue to evolve Uniworld’s Food and Beverage program to an even higher standard.
Uniworld has certainly set this standard high for Chef Zorn as Zagat, the world's most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay, and play around the globe, and as such has become a symbol of quality, just released the results of their first Cruise Line survey. The survey, conducted on ZAGAT.com, covers 22 major cruise lines as voted on by 2,379 regular cruise-goers who had taken 9.5 trips, each averaging nine days. All told the surveyors had taken a total of 22,700 separate cruises. Each line was then rated on Zagat's signature 30-point scale for five aspects of its performance: (1) Cabins, (2) Service, (3) Dining, (4) Facilities, and (5) Shipboard Activities, with an “Overall Score” based on an average of the five separate ratings. Uniworld was the only river cruise company to be ranked on the entire Zagat Cruise Survey, and received honors in the categories of dining and cabins, and as such, shares these honors with some of the premiere ocean cruise companies in the world, such as Silverseas, Crystal, Cunard, Seaborn, and Windstar.
“Uniworld is absolutely delighted to have been recognized by Zagat. The shared opinions of thousands of consumers who have taken more than one cruise reflects more realtisitic opinions than just one or two critics, and all of this is testament to where Uniworld continues to take the company,” states Guy Young, President of Uniworld. ”These recognitions we receive are only reinforcement for us to continue raise the bar on everything we do as evident with hiring Master Chef, Bernard Zorn, as Uniworld’s Culinary Director. There were many reasons for hiring Chef Zorn, and among those is his shared philosophy for passion and excellence in delivering a world-class product to our guests,” furthers Young.
November 9, 2009 – Viking
VIKING RIVER CRUISES NAMED TO CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER’S 2009 READERS’ CHOICE LIST
Best Small-Ship Cruise Lines Category
Viking River Cruises, the world’s leading river cruise line, today announced its recognition by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler in its annual Readers’ Choice Awards. The Readers’ Choice Awards commend the “Best in the World” in travel categories such as cities, islands, hotels, resorts and cruises; this year’s vote reflects the impressions of 25,008 of the magazine’s readers based on their recent travel experiences.
“Recognition by the readers of this leading travel publication is both thrilling and humbling,” said Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen. “Of course we are delighted to be named among the best in the world at what we do, and it also inspires us to work even harder to delight our guests.”
Readers of Condé Nast Traveler vote for cruise lines in three categories: mega-ship lines, large-ship lines and small-ship lines. A small ship carries fewer than 500 passengers. “River cruising used to be a ‘best-kept secret’ within the cruise industry, but it is clearly growing in popularity as travelers discover what an enjoyable and convenient way to travel it is,” commented Mr. Hagen. “And is it a great travel value, especially with Viking where guests are purchasing vacation packages that include accommodations, meals and tours.”
Viking River Cruises started out with Russia cruises and has now expanded into Europe, China, Ukraine and Egypt. It has continuously upgraded its fleet; its newest ship, Viking Legend, is a state-of-the-art river cruising vessel complete with “green” diesel-electric hybrid propulsion systems.
October 21, 2009 – Uniworld
2009 CRUISE CRITIC EDITORS AWARD UNIWORLD AS THE BEST RIVER CRUISE LINE AND WITH THE BEST NEW RIVER CRUISE SHIP, RIVER BEATRICE
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises was honored by Cruise Critic, the popular independent cruise reviews and news site, with their 2009 Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards. Uniworld was awarded as the “Best River Cruise Company” and with the “Best New River Cruise Ship, River Beatrice.” The awards honor the world’s top cruise lines and highlight the best of the best in cruising.
Cruise Critic's editors base their choices on the wide range of cruises and ships available to travelers. The Cruise Critic editors draw on their collective cruise wisdom to select their picks of the best in cruising for the annual Editors' Picks Awards. According to Cruise Critic, some awards are decided easily, others are fiercely debated, but all are given much consideration to create a list which honors those that offer the very best in each category.
“Uniworld is so very proud to be awarded by Cruise Critic as the best river cruise line and with the best new river cruise ship, River Beatrice,” states Guy Young, President of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. “What makes these awards especially meaningful is Cruise Critic is an independent cruise review and news site, and it provides an open forum for avid and first-time cruisers to share their independent insight on the cruises they have taken—whether positive or negative. Additionally, these awards reflect and reinforce Uniworld’s commitment to delivering the absolute best river cruise experience to our guests onboard the best ships, which is Uniworld’s number one goal,” furthers Young.