The “S.S.” in front of Uniworld River Cruises’ S.S. Catherine is not a nautical term. The initials stand for “Super Ship.” They could also stand for “Sensational,” Stunning,” “Superior,” “Sublime,” “Splendid” and “Superb.” Take your pick. All of the descriptors fit.

Cruising on the S.S. Catherine

Uniworld, a boutique river cruise line, launched the S.S. Catherine in March, 2014, sending her on eight-day/seven-night “Burgundy & Provence” cruises. The ship travels between Avignon and Lyon on the Rhône River and forks along the Saône for a brief stretch into Burgundy.

s.s. catherine

Uniworld S.S. Catherine cruising through France

Many cruise ships traveling the Rhone and Saône follow similar itineraries. And most river cruise ships are similar-size vessels built with widths to move through locks and heights to fit under bridges.

But the S.S. Catherine is the crème de la crème in every which way.

Design and Decor: Ooh-la-la!

First is its interior design and decor. The ship is simply gorgeous.

Dramatic porcelain sculptures cover walls of the reception area and swimming pool. (Yes, Catherine sports an indoor pool!)

Framed contemporary art lines the halls. Stateroom walls and furnishings are dressed up in silks, velvet and other fine fabrics. And Murano glass sculptures, chandeliers and lattice work gracing mirrored walls add shimmering pizzaz here, there and everywhere throughout the ship’s public areas.

But rather than put-off opulent, the Catherine’s stylish ambiance reflects comfortable easy-going charm.

Lobby of Uniworld S.S. Catherine

Lobby of Uniworld S.S. Catherine

Food and wine: Magnifique!

The food and wine, too, raises the bar of cruising pleasure.

To the delight of gourmets and oenophiles, Catherine’s food focuses on the International with a French flair – always perfectly prepared – and her wine list overflows with labels available only locally.

Food and drink on Uniworld S.S. Catherine is as good as it gets!

Food and drink on Uniworld S.S. Catherine is as good as it gets!

Dinner on Uniworld S.S. Catherine

Everything about the Catherine is shipshape, include the staff who pull out all stops to please and pamper passengers. Attention takes place not only while on board, but also on guided tours, as staff sees that passengers with different physical capabilities can equally enjoy sightseeing in the legendary cities, tiny medieval villages, famous vineyards, lovely gardens, castles and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Okay, so I gush. But when it comes to the Catherine, even lavish praise seems to understate.

The ship has it all – style, substance and a certain Je ne sais quoi  that encases passengers in five-star joie de vivre.

s.s. catherine

Watching the world pass by from this S.S. Catherine lounge is a pleasant pastime (Credit: Uniworld River Cruises)

 What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler? 

  • Ease of traveling
  • Beauty of surroundings
  • Pampering staff
  • Shore excursions geared to different physical abilities
  • Fabulous food and wine
  • Interesting stops

Take note

  • Staterooms occupy each of the three main decks and offer different amenities according to cabin category (determined by location, size and configuration), but even staterooms in the least-expensive category are decked out with style.


Be sure to get the whole scoop on Susan’s voyage on Uniworld’s S.S. Catherine!

Read Susan’s article: “S.S. Catherine River Cruise Ship & Double Chocolate Chip Cookies”

*All photo credits (except where noted): Susan Manlin Katzman


The author’s trip was partially subsidized by Uniworld River Cruises.

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