As far as Millennials are concerned, the image of river cruising hasn’t attracted many to the winding waterways of Europe … until now. A ‘tester’ cruise in October successfully brought a hand-selected crowd of youngsters together to dip-their-toes in this particular travel niche, usually more likely to be enjoyed by their grandparents. U by Uniworld’s disruptive take on this sector of the cruise market is bringing some welcome change. Thanks to their sleek black ships, A and B, (complete with silent disco, bean bags and cocktail classes) river cruises will no longer be the domain of Downton Abbey loving Baby Boomers.
Strictly for the the 21 – 45 year olds, who have cash in their pockets and a curiosity to see the world through fun-coloured spectacles, these boutique-style ships are set to sail down the Danube, Rhine and Seine to the sound of celebrity DJ beats.
Short eight-day itineraries, starting in April 2018, should align with the work commitments of young professionals yearning for late nights in Amsterdam or Budapest against a backdrop of yoga classes, hammock-snoozing, gym workouts, spa treatments and Rooftop Lounge parties.
Cabins, designed in contemporary black-and-white with pops of colour, are available as spacious suites with balconies or pod-like bunk rooms. All have Uniworld’s five-star hallmarks; Savoir beds, marble bathrooms, Bluetooth speakers and flat-screen televisions are standard.
Dine, the full-service restaurant, serves locally inspired food and ‘street-style’ dishes at communal tables to encourage social interaction. Room service is on hand for ‘post-clubbing’ breakfasts. Lunch is not provided, with the expectation that guests will be out during the day, soaking up the local culture.
As an alternative to the cruise line ‘Godmother’, U by Uniworld have opted for a ‘Guardian Angel’ instead. On this occasion, Victoria Secret model, Petra Nemcova, has been chosen to represent the brand. According to Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld, this selection cements the intention to change the industry. “We’re making history with this concept, so rather than follow the traditional ‘Godmother’ path for each individual ship, we’re paving our own way forward.”
Hopefully, U by Uniworld will know its limits; to produce a high-quality, game-changing experience for Millennials without patronising them or confusing this exciting innovation with stereotypes. Other river cruise lines will certainly be watching and should U by Uniworld prove to be a success we can expect many more brands to follow their lead. In the meantime, Bon Voyage to the lucky ones who set sail next year … please post plenty of Instagrams for us oldies.