Uniworld Christens its Newest Jewel, Super Ship S.S. Catherine, Under a Sunny Sky in Lyon
(LYON, FRANCE)-On a beautiful sunny day in Lyon, France, Uniworld’s newest sparkling gem, Super Ship S.S. Catherine, was christened in an elegant ceremony in front of more than 150 guests. Attending the intimate ceremony were travel agency owners and executives; local dignitaries; journalists from around the world; Guy Young, President of Uniworld, and his wife, Melissa; and three generations of the Tollman family-who have owned and operated Uniworld for the past 10 years-and their friends.
Making her home on the Rhône and Saône rivers in Burgundy and Provence, the S.S. Catherine has been styled and fashioned to reflect these breathtaking regions of France. The ceremony opened with Brett Tollman, Global CEO and President of The Travel Corporation. “This is a wonderful day to christen the most gorgeous and glorious ship on the rivers,” said Tollman in his opening speech.
The celebration continued with the customary tradition of the S.S. Catherine’s ship builder, Eric Rietveld from De Gerlien-Van Tiem Shipyard from the Netherlands, giving a key to the S.S. Catherine’s Captain Pascal Rech. Denis Trouxe, President of the Grand Lyon Tourist Office, took to the podium and thanked the Tollman family and Uniworld by saying, “This is the type of magnificent ship we like to see on the rivers.” Trouxe then introduced Mrs. Beatrice Tollman, President and Founder of the award-winning Red Carnation Hotel Collection, Uniworld’s sister company.
Mrs. Tollman welcomed the honoree dignitaries and shared the heartfelt history of how she and her husband, Stanley Tollman, have spent the past 60 years in the hospitality industry owning and operating five-star luxury boutique hotels with the singular goal of pleasing guests and exceeding their expectations.
“Life keeps me very busy, very creative, and is very exciting; I get emotional as we put so much love and passion into our hotels and Uniworld ships,” said Mrs. Tollman. “It means so much to us to please our guests and make them feel extra special, and these principles have stayed the same for more than 60 years.”
Mrs. Tollman thanked her daughter Antoinette Tollman, and their Projects Director Brian Brennan for creating a new masterpiece in Uniworld’s collection of one-of-a-kind luxury boutique cruise ships. She then introduced Catherine Deneuve, legendary French actress and the Godmother of the S.S. Catherine.
“It is my pleasure to be here today celebrating the ship that bears my name,” said Deneuve. “My compliments to Mrs. Tollman for the beauty and elegance of this ship. May God bless her.”
Captain Pascal joined Deneuve for the cutting of the blue ribbon, triggering the smashing of a bottle of Dom Pérignon Champagne against the vessel's hull. Once the official ceremony was over, an orchestra played timeless classics such as “Moon River” and various movie themes, including the score from the “Godfather” and “Pink Panther” in honor of Deneuve. All guests joined in a Champagne toast before boarding the ship to enjoy the S.S. Catherine for a special three-day inaugural sailing.
About Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Los Angeles-based Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, the world's only authentic boutique cruise line™, is recognized among the "World's Best River Cruises" by Travel +
Leisure. Uniworld has also been recognized in their “Top 20 River Ships,” with seven ships ranking in the top 20, along with the River Countess earning the highest score of all cruise ships, both river and ocean. Uniworld has been named in Condé Nast Traveler's prestigious Gold List for seven consecutive years and in their Platinum Circle for three years. Uniworld was also ranked in their top three among the world’s “Top Ten” cruise lines, both ocean and river. Uniworld’s staterooms and dining are also ranked among the “Top Three in the World” by Zagat Survey®, with Uniworld being the only river cruise line named in the Zagat Survey® amongst the best of the best in the cruise industry. The editors of Cruise Critic handpicked Uniworld’s S.S. Antoinette as the “Best River Cruise Ship,” and Cruise International awarded Uniworld for the second year in a row, the “Best Luxury River Cruise Line." In addition, Uniworld has the highest rankings by travelers on Cruise Critic for both river and ocean cruise lines. Uniworld features luxurious boutique ships with an average capacity of 130 guests and the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry, as well as included shore excursions, world-class gourmet cuisine, and award-winning hospitality. Uniworld offers over 500 departures sailing on more than 15 rivers in over 20 countries throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
Uniworld is a member of CLIA, Cruise Lines International Association
About The TreadRight Foundation
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is part of a joint initiative with The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation established by The Travel Corporation to encourage sustainable tourism within our own family of brands and in the places we visit. To date, TreadRight has donated more than US $2 million to sustainable tourism projects around the world. To find out more about our work with TreadRight visit: www.TreadRight.org.