S.S. Maria Theresa
This Uniworld Super Ship was named after the Habsburg dynasty's only female ruler. Empress Maria Theresa would likely have appreciated the ship's lavish Baroque and Rococo decor — brocade fabric wall coverings, crown canopies on beds, hand-painted flourishes, marble bathrooms, Venetian mirrors. There are plenty of 21st-century bells and whistles (TVs concealed behind mirrors, for example).
What We Love
Butler Service for Suites: It's worth the upgrade for charming butlers trained by a Buckingham Palace consultant. They're well-versed in the art of pampering, delivering morning lattes, popping Champagne, or polishing shoes to mirror shine — but without a whiff of snootiness.
Luxe Bathrooms: Every cabin class has bathrooms clad in marble, with heated floors and towel racks. Even the mirrors are heated so they don't fog.
Best Known For
All-Inclusive Fares: Airport transfers, gratuities, all meals, outstanding regional wines (and nearly all other beverages), lectures, fitness classes, Wi-Fi, and most shore excursions are included.
Small-Group, Multi-Choice Shore Excursions: There are nearly always two or more tour choices (typically one for first-time visitors and another more in-depth option), and every tour is divided into several small groups, including one for "gentle walkers." There are also more active alternatives, like guided hikes and bike rides (the ship carries a fleet of 12 bikes).
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Who It's Best For
Couples: The elaborate decor puts duos in the mood for romance. Add in superb service and a high staff-to-passenger ratio, and you and your partner will likely feel completely spoiled by the time you disembark.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
The Decor May Be Too Much: Every inch of the ship has been designed and draped, and what some might call opulent, others may call froufrou.
Gayle Keck is a San Francisco-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.
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S.S. Maria Theresa at a Glance
- Line: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
- Number of Passengers: 150
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 2015