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in a wood-fi red oven) that is a speciality of the Alsace region. And of course this is wine country so the local Gewürztraminer or sparkling Crémant d’Alsace is the perfect accompaniment. Back at the ship there is a sense of anticipation as people dash to their staterooms to dress for the Captain’s Welcome Gala. A cocktail reception in the luxurious green and gold Salon du Grand Trianon gathers everyone together and our Dutch Captain, resplendent in his uniform complete with gold earring, greets us and introduces the crew. An endless train of chefs, waiters and other staff parade round the lounge – on this trip there are almost two guests to every crew member. Dinner is a sociable affair, and most people choose to sit with others and make new friends. There are a lot of Americans and also a group of ladies from Mexico, some Aussies and several couples from the UK. The food is impressively presented and wonderfully tasty, and although it’s extremely tempting to work your way through the full fi ve courses every evening, I tried to resist for fear of having to be rolled off the ship at the end. The Antoinette really does bring river cruising to a new level, with opulent luxury everywhere you look. From the imposing two-storey lobby with its blue Baccarat chandelier to the excellently over- the-top animal-print Bar du Leopard on the top deck, it’s a fl oating boutique hotel of the highest standards. Guests are provided with everything we could want, including bicycles for us to cycle off down the river whenever the ship docks. We took advantage of these at Kehl where the beautiful 


the steep banks of the gorge are covered in autumn foliage


››FACT FILE


What makes it diff erent? Uniworld is a boutique cruise line and off ers fi ve-star luxury


What to take Gym and swim gear for the on- board pool and fi tness room. You’ll also need comfortable walking shoes and something glam for the Gala


Clockwise from main The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is home to more than 40 castles; a picturesque street in Riquewihr; Die Gedächtniskirche (The Memorial Church) in Speyer; Antoinette at Domgarten park


CRUISE-INTERNATIONAL.COM


Book now Jessica sailed on Uniworld’s Castles along the Rhine itinerary, arranged by Titan Travel. You can take the same trip aboard SS Antoinette from March to September in 2012. Eight days organised by Titan Travel cost from £1,499 per person including flights and transfers


Contact titantravel.co.uk; uniworldrivercruises.co.uk


APRIL/MAY 2012 | 71


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