U by Uniworld makes its big debut

The highly anticipated new river cruise brand from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, U by Uniworld, has set sail on European waterways this month.

The new cruise line’s two ships are now offering cruises along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers on The A and roundtrip departures from Paris on The B.

“What we are offering on the rivers is so fundamentally different to everyone else today,” U by Uniworld managing director Fiona Dalton told travelBulletin.

The river cruise brand is pouncing on the “next generation of travellers”, offering “hassle-free” experiential travel aimed at “those with a passion for exploring and a taste for authentic adventures”.

On board passengers can choose from activities including yoga, painting and wine tasting classes, mixology and chef’s table cooking classes, or kick back and watch the sunset on the rooftop lounge then let loose at the onboard silent disco.

Itineraries focus on longer stays in destinations, including the chance to explore the nightlife scene, paired with active adventures such as kayaking on the Seine, rock climbing in Germany and white-water rafting in Slovakia.

The brand was originally promoted as “the world’s first millennial river cruise”, but the company dropped its 21-45 age restriction less than six weeks out from its first sailing.

 

At the time, U by Uniworld declared in its marketing that “U is now for all of you”, pushing the change as “the same great experience, more people to share it with”.

U by Uniworld managing director Fiona Dalton confirmed the company had faced pressure over its age restriction “for some time”.

The brand was initially launched as a cruise line for 18-40 year-old travellers, but it shifted its market to 21-45 last year, just days before launching its Australian website.

Dalton told travelBulletin the latest change was due to the company’s commitment to listen to its consumer and agent base and refuted speculation it was prompted by a lack of sales.

“Originally U by Uniworld was really specific about defining our target market but we learned along the way that it’s less about a number and more about attracting a whole new generation of adult travellers to river cruising,” she said.

 

Dalton assured nothing about the experience was changing as a result of the shift. She said the cruises would still revolve around getting up later and going to bed later, exploring the nightlife, challenging how travellers spend their time in each location, and be more about guests using the ship the way they want to, in order to experience the destination how they want to.

“We thought we understood that was 21-45 but there are lots of people who have that mindset,” Dalton explained.

“There are so many brands out there whose success has been completely reliant on their ability to evolve and innovate and that’s exactly what we’re doing at U by Uniworld.”

Although all adult travellers can travel with the brand, Dalton identified U by Uniworld’s “sweet spot” as those aged in their late 20s to 50. She said U by Uniworld guests included couples without children as well as those with a young family who were able to get away for a week or two with friends. It was also proving popular with honeymooners and women in their 20s and 30s who are working full time and travelling on “girl’s trips”.

The eight-day Rolling on the Rhine sails from Amsterdam to Frankfurt and is priced from $2,249 per person twin share.

U by Uniworld is planning on expanding beyond Europe and launching its experience on the Mekong River in Vietnam in 2020.

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