Uniworld’s S.S. Joie de Vivre A Symbol Of Resilience
By Nina Slawek
(l to r) Dame Joan Collins, Beatrice Tollman, Ellen Bettridge
Uniworld Joie de Vivre Bathroom: Nina Slawek calls it the largest bathroom she's ever seen on a river ship.
(l to r) Susan Bowman, Nina Slawek, Mike Dawson, Joanne Dawson.
Uniworld founder Stanley Tollman’s first instinct upon hearing of the terror attacks on Paris was to cancel the construction of S.S. Joie de Vivre.
Steel had already been cut for the ship, but Tollman worried that the impact of the attacks would make the vessel – designed specifically for cruises out of Paris – a less-than-viable enterprise.
A year later, Tollman told the audience at the ship’s christening, he realized he'd made a mistake. Paris is resilient, and so are many travellers. S.S. Joie de Vivre had to be built, as an homage to the city of lights. And it had to be Uniworld's best ship yet.
As Tollman spoke to an audience gathered for the ship’s ceremonial naming, he proclaimed “Today Paris is coming back! It's coming back strongly. We must support Paris!”
From a business standpoint, it seems Tollman made the right decision too: "S.S. Joie de Vivre is 90% booked already for 2017,” he told the audience.
Doing the honours of christening the ship was Dame Joan Collins DBE, the English actress and author who gained great fame for television and movie roles in the U.S. Tollman described the 83-year-old Collins as the perfect embodiment of the concept of ‘joie de vivre’ – joy of living.
And indeed, Collins exuded movie-star glamour despite being an octogenarian. Her delivery was flawless.
The ship is elegantly appointed with touches of French inspiration throughout. In the signature style of Beatrice Tollman, there are beautiful fabrics and wood panelling. The suite’s marble bathroom is the largest this writer has ever seen on a river cruise ship.
It was almost April in Paris as the ship was christened. And the ceremony sparkled all the more thanks to perfect springtime weather.