River cruising for Millennials: U by Uniworld innovates with a fresh perspective

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.

U by Uniworld Silent Disco
Silent Disco

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.

Biking in the Park
Biking in the Park

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.

U by Uniworld Rooftop Lounge
Rooftop Lounge

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.

U by Uniworld Cabin
Room with a View

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.

U by Uniworld Dine

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.”

U by Uniworld
Petra Nemcova

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.

U by Uniworld Selfie


New river cruise ships for 2017 – Uniworld S.S. Joie de Vivre



An exciting new season beckons this year for the supremely successful river cruise market. Top operators bring original destinations, itineraries and a collection of stunning new ships. Amongst these, Uniworld, the boutique river cruise line, launches a spectacular addition to their fleet; The S.S. Joie de Vivre.


Destined for the beautiful Seine river, this ‘Super Ship’ reflects the French ‘Joy of Life’ with a firm focus on the cuisine, wines, art and culture of this beautiful region.


Newly built, the 125 metre vessel debuts in March 2017, with exciting advances in design and facilities. Handcrafted furniture, rich fabrics, gilded interiors, curated antiques and art sourced from the best auction houses decorate the Salon de Beaux-Arts lounge and other public areas. Modern technology is evident throughout, including a cinema and surrounding pool with hydraulic floor, which can turn into a dance floor at night.


Bedrooms are lavish with Savoir of England beds and marble bathrooms. Suites are individually designed with enhanced amenities and ‘Buckingham Palace’ standard butlers.


Le Restaurant Pigalle and La Cave de Vins offer excellent dining, with a strong emphasis on regional cuisine and local ingredients. The Vinoteque is a perfect venue for private dining and wine-pairing dinners.


As the largest river cruise ship on the Seine, guests can expect an experience worthy of such grandeur. Itineraries visit Monet’s divine house and garden in Giverny, the Normandy beaches and Conflans-Sainte-Honorine where Vincent Van Gogh spent his last few months.


Photos courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises


Uniworld River Cruise – The Facts


Founded in in 1976 by Yugoslavian entrepreneur Serba Illich, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is renowned for opulent style and personal service. The vast fleet of luxurious vessels follow interesting rivers of Europe, Egypt, Russia and China exploring fascinating towns and cities along the way. Ships are all distinctly different, although they share the same high-standards of European influenced decor, original artworks, wellness features, first-class cuisine and all-inclusive amenities. The company is partnered with hospitality experts, the Red Carnation Hotel group, which results in very high standards of service.



Despite some vessels having launch dates in the early 1990’s the refurbishment programme is comprehensive and fastidious. All ships are luxuriously furnished with antiques, original art, upscale cabins and numerous personal touches, each carrying an average of 130 guests. The flagship, S.S. Maria Theresa is the latest launch in 2015 with more planned in 2017.



Cruises take in global destinations including Europe, Russia, China, Egypt, Vietnam and India. Themed, Family and Holiday journeys are increasingly popular.



Accommodation is lavish on all boats; with Savoir beds, marble bathrooms, L’Occitane and Hermes products, high-quality furnishings and modern technology. Suites include butler service. The S.S.Maria Theresa is a palatial affair; complete with 22-carat gold leaf coronets, silk-clad walls, touch-control lighting, ‘infotainment’ centre and high-tech balconies.

Food and Drink


Open-seating restaurants add to the relaxed atmosphere on board and all dining and beverages are included in the fare – Champagne flows freely throughout the trip.


The Serenity River Spa, well-equipped fitness centre, complimentary bicycle hire, Nordic walking poles, personal trainer, watersport sessions, yoga classes, Travel Lite menu, expert lectures and enrichment classes ensure well-being of mind, body and spirit during the voyage. Some ships have outdoor swimming pools.


Personalised and exclusive excursions offer cultural immersion and exploration.


The River Heritage Club offers a range of member-only savings and onboard benefits on completion of an initial cruise.

Photos courtesy of Uniworld