Uniworld River Cruises will be joining AMAWATERWAYS in Russia next year with a newly refurbished ship on the Volga River.
Uniworld will be chartering the River Victoria from a Russian company, starting in May. The design team from Red Carnation Hotels, Uniworld’s sister company, will be working together with its Russian partners on the refurbishment plans, according to Guy Young, president of Uniworld.
Young would not disclose how much is being invested in the refurbishment of the ship, which is being stripped down to its hull.
Series of three cabins are being combined into two, which will create cabins ranging in size between 135 square feet and 210 square feet. The majority of cabins, category 1-3, will be 210 square feet, with 70% of all cabins featuring balconies. Category 4-5 cabins will be 135 square feet and category 6 cabins will be 161 square feet.
There will also be 10 suites: two junior suites at 334 square feet each; six deluxe suites at 269 square feet each; and two presidential suites at 409 square feet each. As part of the refurbishment an elevator will be added and all public areas will be renovated.
The 423 foot-long, 55 foot-wide River Victoria will be a 206-passenger vessel. It has four decks and features a restaurant, bar, library and fitness room.
In 2011, the River Victoria will sail the 13-day Imperial Waterways of Russia itinerary along the Volga River between St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as the reverse itinerary. Uniworld will operate 12 departures between May 20 and September 29, 2011.
Cruise-only prices range from $3,299 to $3,699, based on double occupancy and not including port charges.
The news comes on the heels of AMAWATERAYS announcing that it is signing a five-year lease on the newly renovated river cruise ship, the 212-passenger Amakatarina, which will set sail on the Volga River on May 10, 2011.
The Amakatarina will replace the company’s existing leased vessel in Russia, the 160-passenger Tolstoy, which will sail through the remaining 2010 season. “We are overseeing every detail of the ship’s renovation,” said Rudi Schreiner, president of AMAWATERWAYS. “This will allow us to make sure the vessel is perfectly tailored to the high standards that Ama Waterways passengers expect.”
In addition to lending capital, Schreiner said that AMA would consult on the ship’s redesign and interior renovations. The ship is going to be stripped entirely and is being converted from a 400-passenger to a 212-passenger vessel, Schreiner said.
Of the 106 cabins, 76 will feature balconies. There will be 10 cabin categories, including four suite categories, with suites ranging from 280 to 432 square feet.
The ship will have a total of 24,025 square feet of interior space. The public areas will include a restaurant, panorama lounge, conference hall, sauna, bar and nightclub and solarium.
AMAWATERWAYS is offering 11-day itineraries on the Amakatarina along the Volga-Baltic Waterway, including three days in St. Petersburg and two days in Moscow. The cruise also includes visits to Uglich and Yaroslavl, then transit across the two lakes of Onega and Ladoga. The Amakatarina will sail 14 departures for the 2011 season.
Viking River Cruises also plans on completely refurbishing the Viking Pakhomov in Russia, which will undergo a bow-to-stern renovation like those of its sister ships, Viking Surkov and Viking Kirov, relaunched in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
The Pakhomov will feature hotel-style beds and flat-panel televisions. Public areas such as the restaurant, lounges, library and bar will be completely remodeled.