Preview: Uniworld's S.S. Maria Theresa

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has announced design details of their newest Super Ship, S.S. Maria Theresa, which is set to launch March 26.

The design team from Uniworl'd sister company, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, is lead by president and founder Beatrice Tollman, her daughter, Toni Tollman, and projects director Brian Brennan. The team has taken their inspiration from the Baroque period in honor of the ship's namesake, Maria Theresa, the Archduchess of Austria and Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, who reigned as the only female ruler of the Habsburg dynasty from 1740 to 1780. The ship is designed to evoke an 18th-century Baroque castle, Toni Tollman said. 

The ship's three-tiered lobby will have a classical Baroque interior dominated by a sweeping marble staircase with wrought-iron, hand-gilded balustrade, and royal crown detailing, as well as walls paneled top to bottom with antique mirrors. If that isn't luxurious enough, a hand-painted Tromp L’Oeil-inspired mural and glittering Venetian Murano glass chandelier on the ceiling are meant to evoke the great hall of Maria Theresa’s 18th-century Schönbrunn palace. A 10-foot high original oil on canvas painting of Maria Theresa will provide a focal point for the space. 

The ship will have a color palette of royal blue, antique golds, shades of white and soft gray colors that were popular during the 18th century, not to mention it also goes well with the ocean outside. Design features include mirrored or silk-clad walls, antique white wood paneling, carved twisted columns, Habsburg coronets hand-painted with 22-karat gold leaf and custom furniture pieces. 

In the Habsburg Salon, where guests can relax with a book or enjoy afternoon tea, are five murals depicting the 18th-century Austrian countryside hand-painted by specialist painter Croxford and Saunders. There will also be a selection of antiques and inspirational paintings. 

Other public areas include the Viennese Café, where guests can enjoy Austrian sachertorte, Würstl, (Viennese sausage), and famous Viennese coffee, and Uniworld's signature Leopard Bar, designed with intricate mosaic tile murals created by the famous South African mosaic tile artist, Jane du Rand. The 10-seat Lipizzan Cinema will have deep blue velvet loveseats for movie viewing. The ship will also have a fitness center, swimming pool and Serenity River Spa. 

The S.S. Maria Theresa will have 64 staterooms, 10 suites and one Royal Suite, for a maximum capacity of 150 guests and 57 staff members. Each suite and stateroom will have fabric-wall coverings, antique furnishings, original art, canopy or four poster custom made-to-order English Savoir beds draped in monogrammed bed linens and open-air or French balconies. The rooms will also have marble-clad bathrooms and keypad-controlled lighting. Suites will have drop-down televisions, while staterooms will have hidden-mirrored televisions. 

The S.S. Maria Theresa will be christened in Amsterdam on March 26 by its godmother, Princess Anita von Hohenberg, a direct descendent of Maria Theresa and great-granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg. The ship will then set sail on her inaugural voyage on March 28 on Uniworld’s "European Jewels" voyage from Budapest to Amsterdam. She will also serve the line’s "Tulips & Windmills," "European Holiday Markets" and "Grand Christmas & New Year’s Cruise" itineraries.