Millennials are growing up—they’re buying houses and shopping for home decor, but not really taking vacations, according to a recent study. But a new cruise line called U by Uniworld wants to change that.
A brand new launch by Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, U by Uniworld is the first ever cruise line dedicated solely to millennials—that is, those between the ages of 21 and 45. It’ll be launching in 2018, and in order to prepare, the company will be refurbishing two of its ships, calling them Ship A and B respectively. Amenities will include morning yoga sessions, two bars, a rooftop lounge with local DJs, meals inspired by the cuisine of the cruise destination, comfort food crafted by celeb cookbook author Bea Tollman, and mixology classes led by local bartenders.
Keeping with the sensibilities of the younger generation, U by Uniworld will also make sure the daytime excursions start a little later—letting guests party into the late hours. There will be six cruise options to choose from—The Seine Experience, Rolling On the Rhine, Germany’s Finest, the Danube Flow, Dashing Through the Danube, and a Merry Little Christmas Cruise—and prices start at about $200 a day per person, based on double occupancy. However, if you book before September 30, you get a $100 credit (the perks of early bird pricing).
Domino had an exclusive interview with Uniworld CEO and President Ellen Bettridge to truly understand what the cruise will be about, and why it’s so important for millennials to have such a one of a kind experience.
How did you come up with the idea for the millennial cruise line?
Years ago, our sister brand Contiki ran a survey asking past travelers a simple question: “Would you go on a river cruise for Millennials?” With an overwhelming response of “yes,” the only questions that remained were “when” and “how”? With our latest launch of the S.S. Joie de Vivre, Uniworld’s primary ship sailing along France’s Seine river, we had the opportunity to completely refurbish and rebrand the River Baroness to make the idea of a river cruise for the next generation a reality.
Why is it so important to target a millennial audience?
One of things we love most about U by Uniworld is that we’ll be introducing a whole new generation to river cruising, and all there is to love about it.
What activities will you be offering that’s specific to millennial preferences?
While there will be experiences that are very similar to a Uniworld cruise – like the farm-to-table cuisine, local wines and beers onboard, and endless opportunities for immersive experiences on land, we’ll also be introducing activities and amenities that 21-45 year olds feel are more relevant and appealing to them.
In addition to the ships having a completely different look and feel, we’ve built U itineraries to be eight days or less, which is perfect for young professionals who don’t have a lot of vacation time. We’ll also offer more overnight stays in those cities with an active nightlife. We’ll dock the ships close to popular European festivals like Oktoberfest in Germany, offer kayaking to one of the world’s oldest breweries, and plan rock climbing in Swiss Franconia.
What is your favorite destination to travel to?
That’s a tough question since every place I visit becomes my new favorite destination. I love discovering unexpected things, trying out unfamiliar foods, getting out of my comfort zone and immersing myself in the local culture. I can say that my most memorable journey was a trip to Egypt with my then 15-year-old daughter, Grace. We were fortunate enough to cruise up the Nile on the maiden voyage of Uniworld’s River Tosca. Being together and experiencing all the incredible things that region has to offer was absolutely priceless.
How have you refurbished the ships to fit a millennial aesthetic?
Our U ships will be sleek, simple and stylish. They will still have the feel of a floating boutique hotel, much like their sister brand Uniworld—however, their style will stand on its own. This will start with their all black exteriors. Each ship will hold up to 120 passengers, spread across its four suites, 26 balcony bedrooms, 29 studio bedrooms and two triple bedrooms—which introduce the opportunity for triple shares.
If this experience sounds like fun for you, check out the website to research your options and book your ultimate millennial travel experience—avocado toast included.