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With its family cruising program expanding and active travel programs drawing a somewhat younger demographic, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is now taking aim at what president and CEO Ellen Bettridge identifies as “the untapped gap in the marketplace”: the 18 to 40 age group.
Millennials (considered the generation between the ages of about 18 to 34) currently number 75.4 million, surpassing baby boomers, who have dominated river cruising for decades. U by Uniworld, a new product line set to launch sales in March, is geared especially for adventurous millennial travelers, as well as Generation X globetrotters.
Sailings will start in early 2018 onboard two ships: River Baroness and River Ambassador, which will undergo extensive renovations and design changes.
Emphasizing an immersive experience in cities such as Amsterdam; Paris; and Budapest, Hungary, itineraries will encompass fewer ports of call but provide travelers with more time to explore the local culture, discover restaurants and bars, and enjoy both independent discovery and adventurous excursions in each destination.
The ships will have a contemporary look and feel, in contrast to Uniworld’s current brand, which reflects the opulent, rich designs of the company’s Red Carnation boutique hotels.
Dining will be different as well, with larger tables for communal seating and a new culinary program. Onboard entertainment will include a slate of international DJs.
Bettridge says Uniworld is tapping into sister brands Contiki and Busabout to gather information on the wants and needs of this traveling demographic. She says U by Uniworld will offer a strong active component, which is still being created but will include bikes for onshore excursions as well as onboard fitness classes.
In addition, Uniworld is announcing a social media campaign, #AllAboutU, to gather input for all aspects of the U by Uniworld experience from users on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
With its offerings for families, established river cruisers, active travelers, millennials and Gen Xers, the company is launching a private trade portal early this year for travel agent education. The portal will enable agents to earn rewards, be privy to exclusive deals and have access to sales tools, webinars, videos and itineraries.