Named for the 18th Century ruler of the Habsburg Empire and mother of Marie Antoinette, the S.S. Maria Theresa is the luxury vessel to join Uniworld’s fleet of nineteen opulent river cruise ships. The third in Uniworld’s “Super Ship” class, the S.S. Maria Theresa was built to the maximum dimensions capable of traversing the locks and bridges of the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, measuring 443 feet long by 37.5 feet wide. Hull number 340, the S.S. Maria Theresa was built in Groninigen, Northern Holland and fitted out at the Druten Yard in Central Holland. Christened by Princess Anita von Hohenberg, a descendant of Empress Maria Theresa, the ship has four passenger decks and a capacity for 150 guests who are served by a staff of 57. At night, the Super Ship Maria Theresa’s exterior is illuminated in cobalt blue neon. Here is another view of the ship at night. Located at the forward end of what is known as the Hofburg Deck, the Habsburg Salon can seat up to 150 guests. While it is the ship’s largest space, the Habsburg Salon has many intimate nooks. Lined with full length windows on either side, the Habsburg Salon has a dancefloor in its center and a bar at its aft end. At the starboard entrance to the Habsburg Salon, homemade treats such as cookies and chocolate dipped marshmallows are available on a round-the-clock basis. The upper level of the Reception area on Hofburg Deck is directly aft of the Habsburg Salon and features marble decking and ornate brass and iron balustrades. From the upper level of Reception, there is a spectacular vantage of the ship’s crystal chandelier. At the aft end of Hofburg Deck, the indoor/outdoor Bar du Leopard can accommodate up to 48 guests. Shown here in a forward facing view, the Bar du Leopard is decorated in soothing, muted tones. On the port side of the Bar du Leopard, there is a heated swimming pool surrounded in glass panels that fog up when guests enter the pool. The forward bulkhead of the pool area features an elaborate mural depicting a leopard in the jungle. The Baroque Restaurant seats 152 guests and is located on forward Schonbrunn Deck. Picture windows at near river level line each side of the Baroque Restaurant. Table settings in the Baroque Restaurant feature fresh flowers as well as pressed linens, fine china, stemware and cutlery. The Baroque Restaurant is accessed from either side of the marble and mirror surfaced Reception desk. A double helix marble, iron and brass stairtower descends from the upper level of Reception. The main focal point of the Reception area is a life size oil painting of Empress Maria Theresa. This is another view of the ornate chandelier and frescoed ceiling that hovers over the double deck Reception area. Off the aft end of Reception on Schonbrunn Deck, there is a concierge desk. The S.S. Maria Theresa’s interiors feature the highest quality craftsmanship, including hand painted frescoes throughout the ship. On the lowest level, Bavarian Deck, there is a marble and mirror-lined lobby connecting several intimate venues. The Cafe Vienna is located at the forward end of Bavarian Deck. There is a well-equipped gym with a selection of cardio machines and free weights directly aft of the Cafe Vienna. Also located on Bavarian Deck, the 10 seat Lipizzan Cinema features vintage posters of legendary beauty and Austrian born screen siren Hedy Lamarr. At the aft end of the Bavarian Deck vestibule, there is a laundry and ironing facility. This is a forward-facing view of the Bavarian Deck vestibule showing its intricate fittings and craftsmanship. The ship’s interiors were designed by Uniworld’s sister corporation, the Red Carnation Hotel collection, led by president and founder Beatrice Tollmann. Even the public restrooms on the S.S. Maria Theresa are decked out in gold leaf, fine marble and gilded mirrors. An elevator provides access to Bavarian, Schonbrunn and Hoffburg Decks. Even the elevator is an elaborate creation with tufted velvet walls and a blue marble floor. Central passageways connect the accommodation on Hofburg, Schonbrunn and Bavarian Decks. There are seven categories of accommodation aboard the S.S. Maria Theresa. At the top of the tier is Royal Suite 401, which measures 410 square feet and features a separate bedroom, living room and porch with a French balcony that can become a glass-enclosed conservatory with the touch of a button. The Royal Suite bathroom is especially large and has a separate tub and shower. Ten Suites in varying color schemes are located on Hoffburg Deck. They measure 305 square feet and have separate bedroom and living areas with open air balconies. Suites also have butlers trained by Zita Lagenstein of England’s Ivor Spencer Butler School. Suites feature mirrors with flatscreen televisions, complimentary laundry and shoeshine service and in-room breakfast. Suite bathrooms feature double sink basins and marble top counters. Bathrooms in all categories have heated towel racks and heated floors as well as L’Occitaine en Provence bath and body products. Other suite perks include daily fresh fruit plates, home-made treats, a Nespresso coffee machine and mini-fridge with liquor and beverages. Fifty four Category 1, 2 and 3 Staterooms measure 194 square feet and feature French balconies that can be opened to the elements with the flick of a switch. All staterooms are fitted with plush Savoir of England beds, high quality linens and pillow menus. Ten 162-square-foot Category 4 and 5 Staterooms are located on Bavarian Deck and feature water level windows. The uppermost Sun Deck has a telescopic wheelhouse and collapsible railings to clear low-lying bridges. Sun Deck begins with an open observation area that can be shaded by a series of tall parasols. Aft of the bridge on Sun Deck, there is an oversized checkers court. The aft portion of Sun Deck is sheltered under a large canvas awning. Farther aft on Sun Deck, there is open sunning and observation space. The forward portion of the next level, Hofburg Deck, features the teak-lined Bohemian Terrace with wrought iron patio furniture that seats 24 guests. Teak lined terraces can be found at either side of Hofburg and Schonbrunn Deck, leading to the upper and lower levels of the Reception. At the aft end of Hofburg Deck, a teak lined terrace accommodating 12 guests adjoins the Bar du Leopard, offering views over the ship’s wake.