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An interview with Chris Townson of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Meet the Experts

As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations we've been catching up with some of the key players in the cruise industry, on both the oceans and the rivers.

Chris Townson is Managing Director UK and Ireland at Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, and joined the company in 2017 after spending nearly 13 years at Scenic, where he was instrumental in growing their river cruise business.

Q: Describe your company in no more than 50 words...

A: Uniworld's unique approach to river cruise relates to a very special sense of place. Each ship is designed specifically for the river it is on, and this lays the bedrock for the attention to detail for which Uniworld is known. Every ship has its own local authenticity, exuding style in its décor, quality in its locally sourced world class food, and passion in its dedicated and long-serving crew members.

Q: What is your proudest moment as it relates to your company?

A: Every single time I speak to someone who has travelled on a Uniworld vessel, every time they come home with an understanding of why we are so special, I am proud to be associated with this outstanding company.

Uniworld - SS Maria Theresa - Royal Suite

Q: Tell me something about yourself that most people don't know...

A: I started work as a YTS school leaver in a small travel agency in Manchester, and from there I forged a successful career which has brought me to this amazing job at the forefront of the luxury river cruise industry.

Q: Tell me what, in your opinion, is the one most significant thing that makes your cruise line different from its competitors?

A: We have a very special DNA which comes from being part of an extraordinary family owned business, the Travel Corporation, a family with hospitality in their blood. From the founders Stanley and Beatrice Tollman, to the CEO, their son, Brett, to the various family members who contribute to so many different parts of their expansive business, everyone has a hands-on, no compromise attitude. They are visible and focused on detail - it is not unusual to see Brett emerge from the kitchen in his whites, having spent the morning preparing lunch with the team, and begin to serve in the restaurant or bar, checking out the systems and ensuring every little detail meets the corporation's exacting standards.

Q: What is the next big thing to come from your company?

A: In 2021, four new superships will join the fleet: La Venezia in Northern Italy, São Gabriel on the Douro, Sphinx on the Nile and the Mekong Jewel on the Mekong.

Uniworld - Queen Isabel on the Douro river

Q: Why do you love Mundy Cruising and what do you think is the secret of their 50 years of success?

A: The team at Mundy are the ultimate professionals, easy to do business with if you are a cruise line, but also totally focused on the needs of their clients who they understand so well. We know we can trust them to tell the story about the Uniworld product, and bring us guests who will love the experience we offer.

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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