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Traveltalk’s Jenny Rowland reports from her luxury river cruise aboard Uniworld’s SS La Venezia.

SOMETIMES, IF you’re a good girl, eat all your veggies and play nicely with others, good things happen all at once.

I’ve always had a lifelong desire to go to Venice. I’d also heard nothing but rave reviews about the multi-award-winning river cruise company Uniworld. Can you see where I’m going with this…?

So, I was beyond excited when invited to cruise with them on the beautiful SS La Venezia to experience their 10-day ‘Milan, Venice and the Jewels of Veneto’ itinerary.

The tour starts with two land-based days in Milan and our hotel The Rosa Grand is a luxurious gem in the heart of the fashion and design capital of Italy.

With its prime location just steps away from Milan’s iconic landmarks, including the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the property offers convenience and elegance. The rooms are well-appointed, providing a blend of modern comfort and classic Italian style.

It’s a great entrée and the perfect, stylish way to start the trip.


Upon boarding this floating luxury boutique hotel, we are immediately dazzled by the décor and how seamlessly it reflects the destination we are in.

The foyer is a mesmerising entry point, setting the stage for the Venetian adventure that awaits. Designed with meticulous attention to detail, it reflects the essence of Venice’s opulence and artistic heritage.

Everywhere you look are bespoke Venetian fabrics, original works of art, beautiful antiques and chandeliers, and mirrors made from genuine Murano glass. 

It exudes sophistication, elegance and a touch of romance, providing passengers with a taste of the Venetian charm that permeates the entire ship.

The staterooms are luxurious havens that encapsulate the elegance and comfort of a Venetian retreat. Impeccably designed, each room offers a harmonious blend of modern amenities and classic Venetian style.

Lavish furnishings, plush bedding and marble-appointed bathrooms create an atmosphere of opulence and relaxation.

Plenty of cupboard space, lots of power points and USB ports make it as functional as it is luxurious.

However, the star of the show hands down is the London Savoir bed. It’s a masterpiece of British craftsmanship and the epitome of comfort and luxury, with meticulously handcrafted details and sumptuous materials for a heavenly sleep. I want to take it home with me!

We are in a deluxe stateroom and while it has no balcony, there is a large picture window to watch the world go by and we also have a flat screen TV with the daily info (good to see that they have scrapped the paper version – you can even get a phone app for the daily program).

Asprey bath and body products, plush towels, cozy bathrobes and slippers complete the inventory.


Each evening there’s a lovely rundown from our tour manager Louisa on the upcoming tours and activities while quaffing something chilled and getting to know our fellow travellers.

One of the joys of these more intimate ships is the friendships that are forged on board. There are several couples here that are meeting up with old friends who they’ve met on previous cruises. On this cruise there are more than 50 per cent repeaters!

With a cross section of Aussies, Americans and Brits and an age range of 55 -75, they’re all up for a great party.

As for the evening entertainment, don’t expect any RSL schmaltz – we had fantastic opera singers one night and then an awesome three-piece band with a very talented covers singer who had everyone up singing and dancing. Very classy.


One thing is for sure – you won’t starve on this cruise!

All meals are served in the elegant Rialto restaurant, reminiscent of the Orient Express, with breakfast and lunch buffet style and dinner served a la carte, with a choice of fine wine offered by your onboard sommelier.

Dinner is an elegantly delicious affair with a choice from four starters, two soups, three mains, a pasta of the day and three desserts, as well as a fruit or cheese plate. Always-available options include sirloin steak, chicken breast or fillet of salmon.

Typical starters might be classic beef carpaccio or seafood platter followed by a delightful mushroom cappuccino soup or the classic Bea Tollman’s chicken soup. Mains included filetto di vitello and my personal favourite, spaghetti con gamberi,

Oh, and did I mention the gelato…??? Hmmm, this will ensure three spin classes a day when I get home!


Lose three kilos before you go on this cruise! There is also a lovely pizzeria on the top deck, perfect for sunset dining in the lagoon.


We were completely blown away by the sincerity and kindness of the crew. They pampered all the guests without being over the top – and they genuinely seem to love their job.

Chatting to Martina the “hotel manager” she tells me that the longevity of many of the crew is more than 20 years and they are a permanent team as opposed to contract catering crews that come and go as required. It’s a family affair!

Ivan our “butler” was tour guide/sommelier/food critic/weatherman and morning tea deliverer extraordinaire all rolled into one.


While it’s hard to tear yourself away from the hospitality on board, the incredible excursions make it very worthwhile. 

Uniworld cruises are packed with carefully curated included and optional excursions, which include after-hours tours of popular attractions (the perfect way to skip the queues).

On our first full day in Venice, excursion options included a morning walk in the city with a tour of the Doge’s Palace, as well as a private evening tour of St. Mark’s Basilica.

We were not prepared for the mind-blowing splendour of the 14th century Doge’s Palace. It was almost as spectacular as our private evening visit (we smugly bypassed all the millions of queuers outside) to St Mark’s Basilica.

This was a definite highlight, especially as we had the most incredible tour guide – a history professor no less who had us all riveted with her masterful storytelling prowess.

Other excursions included the fair city of Verona of Romeo and Juliet fame, the picture postcard island of Burano, magnificent Murano where all the beautiful glass is blown and my favourite, the coastal town of Chioggia (aka Little Venice) where we rode our bikes around the bustling market town to the ocean.

Morning walking tours, afternoon chateaux visits, prosecco tastings, masquerade balls, craft markets and a 70’s party….so many activities that each night we collapsed into the comfort of the Savoir bed for the sweetest of slumbers.



Overall, this was an amazing holiday.

All the old cliches applied; unpack once and go to a million places in comfort and style while being pampered and enjoying the very best hospitality, food and service.

Cruising is most definitely back with a vengeance, but let’s leave the last word to Louisa (cruise director).

“Uniworld is right at the very top.

“I think people like the independence it gives them with a mattress of knowing you have particular standards that provide a backbone to your vacation. 

“People can come and enjoy the ship, but you can step off and do whatever you want but when you come back to the ship you will find everything here and everything well-organised.

“It’s the certainty….and I think people just want to travel nicely!”

Hear, hear!