S.S. La Venezia
Fodor’s Expert Review
Uniworld cordially invites you to cruise the Venetian Lagoon on S.S. La Venezia, a veritable palace on the water with 63 lavish staterooms. Built in 2002 and formerly known as River Countess, a 2020 refurbishment upgraded her to a Super Ship — the cream of Uniworld’s crop. This top-to-bottom renovation saw the addition of new luxury suites and dining venues and deftly adapted the riverboat for the modern traveler lured by the nostalgic romance of early 20th-century Venice. A Uniworld signature, design inspiration was drawn from the ship’s destination with elaborate fabrics from famed Italian textile designer Mariano Fortuny, Murano blown glass, and glass walls with stylish etchings of Venice’s skyline. The panoramic Hari’s Bar & Lounge is where this local design ethos shines brightest with Venetian carnival masks permanently on display along with gold accented throne-like chairs.Read More
The regal onboard comforts extend to the shore excursions and Uniworld certainly doesn’t disappoint. Guests have Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica all to themselves during private after-hours tours to soak up knowledge with a world-renowned art historian specializing in Venice, a truly money-can’t-buy experience. S.S. La Venezia’s eight-day itineraries — packing in the likes of neighboring islands Burano, Murano, and Chioggia — are your chance to explore the world’s most beautiful city on the most sophisticated vessel plying its waters.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
What to expect on board
Staterooms & Cabins
The 126-passenger S.S. La Venezia has four decks named after islands along the route with accommodations ranging from 151 to 302 square feet. The staterooms are places of sheer elegance and even the smaller-sized ones feel opulent with textured wall covers. All staterooms have river views, handcrafted Savoir® Beds of England, and luxurious touches like marble floors and Hermès and Asprey bath products.
Deluxe staterooms take up the Burano and Mazzorbo decks and a handful are available as connecting lodgings. French Balcony staterooms on the Murano Deck boast floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that are perfect for taking in the delightful sights which include three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Suites and Grand Suites (also on the Murano Deck) enjoy additional pampering in the form of 24-hour butlers, in-room breakfasts, and a fully-stocked mini bar.
Passengers with mobility issues have access to all staterooms by elevator. Only the Lido di Venezia top deck cannot be reached by lift. The vessel does not have dedicated accommodations for wheelchair-dependent guests though corridors and stateroom doors are sufficiently wide for access. The bathrooms in the staterooms are not spacious enough to enter comfortably with a wheelchair but showers do have grab bars. Guests with limited mobility have the option to join “gentle walking” excursions and while in Venice, the ship docks at the San Basilio port which means that the city’s attractions are quite close by. Overall, cruisers with limited mobility are advised to travel with a companion that may assist with their needs. For the hard of hearing, special amplify devices (Quietvox portable audio headsets) are available during shore activities.
Food & Drink
S.S. La Venezia cruisers savor exquisite meals made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients at three dining venues: Rialto, Cielo, and La Cantinetta. A complimentary 24-hour tea and coffee station will also keep hunger at bay any time of the day and a panini bar serves snacks in the afternoons.
Rialto is the largest and grandest dining location, a white-tablecloth restaurant with generous daytime buffets and artfully curated a la carte meals in the evenings. Count on exceptional regional and international wines at all times — welcoming news for oenophiles. During your stay, don’t miss the chance to watch the sunset over the lagoon during the once-a-trip dinner at Cielo, an intimate reservation-only wood-fired pizza experience held on the top deck. All meals are included in the cruise cost except special pairing dinners and cooking demonstrations which take place in La Cantinetta.
Hari’s Bar & Lounge is where you’ll want to linger longer and sip the free-flowing drinks cheerfully served by adroit bartenders who habitually anticipate your needs. Relax here with your libations while making use of the complimentary WiFi (also available throughout the ship) or peruse a coffee table book — Taschen and Rizzoli page-turners adorn each seating area. A wide selection of wines, beers, and liquors are included, but premium drinks cost extra.
Each day on S.S. La Venezia brings an adult-friendly event worth looking forward to. From Champagne sabering on the top deck to a roaring 20s soiree, opera, or live music from local artists. The glamorous welcome and farewell dinners are also worth getting suited and booted for.
Spa & Fitness
An enthusiastic English-speaking onboard wellbeing coach leads daily complimentary exercises and activities. This includes morning runs, Nordic walking, meditation, light body stretching, and bike tours. Working out independently at the well-equipped Fitness Center on the Mazzorbo Deck (complete with river view) is also complimentary. Note that there are no individual personal training sessions.
As all the fitness activities are included, guests are only able to splurge on treatments at the beautiful Serenity River Spa. Massages are offered for 30, 60, or 90 minutes using one of three available oils. For maximal relaxation, there are 15-minute add-ons for the scalp, face, hands, eyes, and feet.
Key cruising tips
Health & Safety
Mask wearing is mandatory on public transportation (including coaches and water taxis) in Venice but it is not required onboard S.S. La Venezia. Sanitizing stations are widely available and embarkation and disembarkation luggage is kept apart to prevent cross-contamination. Regular pre-dinner briefings address all and any safety measures for guests to be aware of.
Casual, comfortable resort-style clothing is recommended for day activities and lounging. Later, guests tend to switch to their glad rags for dinners and special events. At these times, gentlemen are advised against wearing shorts. For the private tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, ladies should wear long-sleeved tops or bring a scarf.
Junior cruisers are rather rare on S.S. La Venezia. Guests are typically 55-plus, friendly, well-traveled cruisers with a passion for the arts and a penchant for fine wine hail from the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Uniworld delivers the impeccable service that discerning guests are accustomed to — and then some. You’ll want for nothing and never hear the word “no” from warm hosts that remember your name and you’ll remember theirs.
Gratuities are included for all onboard personnel and entertainers while tips for shore activity guides are welcome but not mandatory.