Courtesy of Uniworld
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Courtesy of Uniworld
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Courtesy of Uniworld
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S.S. La Venezia Review

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Venice and the other dazzling islands of the Venetian Lagoon can be tricky to navigate independently — especially for older travelers or anyone with luggage that isn’t easily maneuvered up and down centuries-old stone bridges, across bumpy cobblestones, and getting on and off of crowded, bobbing vaporettos. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers a solution: The intimate and lavishly appointed S.S. La Venezia river ship. The equivalent of a floating five-star hotel, it not only allows you to unpack just once, it also includes the added perks of professionally guided tours and included gourmet meals. 

S.S. La Venezia, which debuted in 2021 after a transformation of the former River Countess, accommodates 126 guests and is a splendid homage to the craftsmanship of Venice in the early 20th century. It surrounds guests in the opulence of the era while sailing an 8-day Venice & the Jewels of Veneto itinerary from March to October that explores colorful Burano, windswept Torcello, picturesque Chioggia, and more. 

Uniworld, which operates a dozen ships on European rivers and waterways, as well as vessels on the Nile in Egypt and the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia, is known to blend local cuisines and culture with stellar service and a carefully curated ambiance that immerses guests in the history and culture of the region they’re exploring — in this case, one-of-a-kind Venice and the Veneto.

What We Love

Décor With a Sense of Place: Uniworld is known for river ships that feature interiors inspired by historical periods from the regions in which they cruise. While this has at times resulted in some seriously over-the-top designs (like the opulence of S.S. Maria Theresa, inspired by the 18th-century Austrian empress), the S.S. La Venezia is a lesson in lavish restraint, incorporating custom Fortuny fabrics and sculptural Murano glass to create interiors that feel both nostalgic and modern. 

The Itinerary: While S.S. La Venezia was designed to cruise both the Venetian Lagoon and the Po River, current itineraries focus not on river cruising but rather on island-hopping in the lagoon. Enjoy day trips to a pair of Veneto cities: Vicenza, home to the architecturally significant 16th-century Teatro Olimpico designed by master Italian architect Andrea Palladio, and Padua, a medieval gem where you can stroll across the largest public square in Italy. The itinerary also offers three days in Venice itself with excursions that focus on gondola construction, Carnival mask-making, a visit to the Doge’s Palace, and sightseeing walking tours.

The Evening Tours: Whether it’s a golden hour walking tour of Burano, where houses are painted in saturated Crayola hues, or a guided after-hours visit to the Basilica of San Marco with a dazzling ceiling reveal and a descent into the crypt, Uniworld offers evening excursions that add to the appreciation of Venice and its history.

Best Known For

All-Inclusive Pricing: The price you pay for your stateroom or suite onboard S.S. La Venezia covers airport transfers, all onboard meals and beverages (including unlimited premium spirits and wines), curated excursions, and crew gratuities.

Locally Inspired Cuisine: From creamy burrata and seafood linguine to wood-fired pizza served with a side of views on the rooftop Cielo’s cafe, the chefs of S.S. Venezia are masters of the fresh, local flavors of Italian cuisine. On top of that, your glass will always be filled with delicate prosecco or a perfectly crafted Negroni. 

Superb Service: S.S. La Venezia’s staff of 44 strives to deliver impeccable and personalized service to guests, from remembering your favorite beverages to surprising you with little unexpected extras.

Who It's Best For

Mature Couples and Single Travelers: River cruising has innate appeal to mature travelers, generally couples and singles aged 60-plus. S.S. La Venezia’s demographics tend to even be slightly older. And while the ship’s décor might be fancy, the overall vibe is friendly and casual. You’ll get to know your fellow guests during excursions and while sipping cocktails in the beguiling Hari’s Bar & Lounge with its gilded bar and ornate Venetian masks. It’s there that the captain will welcome you aboard, local entertainers will liven pre- or post-dinner gatherings, and the passing scenery will enchant you.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Most Staterooms are Snug: At 151 square feet, the three main stateroom categories (Classic, Deluxe, and French Balcony) are definitely on the snug side, but the beautiful Fortuny fabric on the walls and the handcrafted Savoir Beds of England are so plush you’ll feel blissfully cocooned. Suites measure 214 square feet while the Grand Suite is a roomier 302 square feet and there are no accessible staterooms that accommodate wheelchairs.

You’ll Be on Group Tours that Require Good Mobility: Although there’s time allotted to independent exploration at your own pace, mostly in Venice itself, much of your time will be spent on group tours, which are often guided walks. That means comfortable shoes and good mobility are musts if you want to fully enjoy the sights.

Donna Heiderstadt
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger
Cruise Expert