WHY IT RATES: Sunday’s launch of Uniworld’s newest super ship, the S.S. Sao Gabriel, in Portugal occurred just days after the cruise lines celebrated its return to Europe’s rivers mere days ago with its first post-COVID sailing departing aboard S.S. La Venezia from Venice, Italy on June 20. Itineraries in France and Central Europe will be next to resume, starting in July. — Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer

Uniworld’s President and CEO Ellen Bettridge was onboard to christen the new ship with its Godmother Joke De Bruyn, Uniworld’s Director of Hotel Operations and a long-standing loyal employee since 2009. The christening events included speeches, a traditional performance by a Portuguese University, surprise gifts, dinner and a much-deserved toast.

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“It was a delight to toast with our beloved loyal guests and crew, and celebrate being back on the rivers aboard our beautiful brand-new super ship,” said Ellen Bettridge, CEO and President of Uniworld. “This is only the beginning for us. It’s been a journey, but after recently setting sail in Italy and now Portugal, we’re looking forward to continuing this momentum with the restart of our itineraries in France and Central Europe next month.”

Designed to embody the beautiful Douro River Valley region, the ship brings the destination to life through its décor and delectable food and wine. The entire top deck offers all lavishly appointed suites, enhanced with Butler service, giving guests the option to dine at any time they’d like while enjoying the ship.

Guests on S.S. São Gabriel experience the UNESCO-designated Douro River Valley and indulge in the best of Spanish and Portuguese culture, and cutting-edge, locally sourced cuisine. The first itinerary departure is Portugal, Spain & The Douro River Valley from Porto to Lisbon for 11 days.

For more information, visit uniworld.com.

SOURCE: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises press release.

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