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U By Uniworld, geared to the millennial market, opened its books this spring for cruises beginning in April 2018. U By Uniworld cruisers can choose from nine European itineraries beginning in April 2018.
“The U by Uniworld brand is built on a foundation of Uniworld’s river cruising expertise and the leadership in youthful travel of its sister brands Contiki and Busabout,” said Brett Tollman, CEO of parent company The Travel Corporation.
The initial 120-passenger ships are simply called The A and The B. They will be all black outside and feature a sleek interior design, very different from the Red Carnation concept on Uniworld, with its open communal spaces and rooftop lounges. Uniworld has branded A and B as a fully equipped waterfront contemporary hotel, taxi, bar, restaurant, cafe, nightclub and yoga studio all in one.
The ships offer four eight-day itineraries — Rolling on the Rhine, Germany’s Finest, The Danube Flow and The Seine Experience — complete with overnight port calls and longer stays in major cities such as Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Budapest to allow guests to interact with the destination and its people. Three Super Cruise options combine two or more itineraries into 15- or 22-day itineraries.
There are also two five-day holiday itineraries available only on The A. The itineraries include a Bavarian Forest trek to Passau’s Christmas Market, a Viennese “Taste of Christmas” excursion and an exclusive Christmas concert in 12th-century Klosterneuburg Abbey just north of Vienna.
Onboard programming for U By Uniworld includes Wine & Paint Classes, where passengers can sip on a glass of local wine while painting the scenery before them; Mixology classes taught by the onboard bartenders; and Chef’s Table Cooking classes, focused on regional culinary traditions.
Shoreside experiences emphasize exploration and a taste for authenticity. Programs build in ample time for passengers to meet locals, discover restaurants and bars in each city and enjoy both independent discovery and guided excursions. Guests are given flexible options to explore in one of three ways in each port: included excursions and activities, optional “U Time” outings or self-guided tours. Programming is tailored to individual preferences from food, culture, adventure and exploration to choices especially for solo travelers, romantics and night owls.
Choices range from rock climbing at 6,500 feet and whitewater rafting to shopping at a local market with the ship’s chef and exploring the trendy clubs and bars of Budapest that have sprung up in abandoned buildings.
At night, U Hosts share their favorite experiences, bringing guests to a special nightclub in Amsterdam or wandering along the banks of the Seine on a midnight stroll in Paris. There will also be DJs onboard both ships as well as other nighttime entertainment.
The A and The B are designed with three room categories — studio, balcony and suites — all outside accommodations. Suites have French balconies and a living room area, recommended in this market for honeymooners and those celebrating a special occasion. They expect pairs to book the balcony staterooms, and groups of friends traveling together can book studio rooms that can accommodate up to three passengers. Solo cruisers can take advantage of special room share rates.
Eight-day itineraries on The A start at $1,699 per person and include sailings along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. Pricing for The B, which sails exclusively on the Seine River and throughout France, starts at $1,999 per person. Rates include gratuities, but not port charges
According to Kristian Anderson, senior vice president of global sales at Uniworld River Cruise Boutique Collection, interest is strong from consumers and agents.
“Consumers are eager to experience the product and agents are keen on selling it,” he said.