U By Uniworld Changes Age Range to 21-45, Will Offer Drink Packages and No Lunch

Posted on 04/04/2017

Instead of ages 18 to 40, as originally announced, U By Uniworld will now be aimed at 21 to 45 year olds. The decision to tweak the target market was made the day before the line’s new website went live and two days before the first brochure goes to print.

Ellen Betteridge, CEO of parent company Uniworld, who is currently onboard the new Joie de Vivre in France, also revealed a few more details about the new brand to Cruise Critic.

The starting price for one week on U By Uniworld is US $1,699 per person, based on double occupancy -- significantly cheaper than Uniworld's all-ages luxury river cruises. Described by Betteridge as "semi-inclusive," U fares include free Wi-Fi, one shore excursion each day, breakfast and dinner but no lunch.

"If you include lunch, people will come back to the ship for it, so we want to encourage them to stay on shore to eat and explore," Betteridge said. "If we find out that people want lunch on the ship, that might change, but we’re starting with what makes sense for this demographic."

Another difference is that excursions will be active, with some taking place at night. Options include an evening bike ride along the Danube, a "Midnight in Paris" stroll, a canal cruise in Amsterdam, vineyard hikes and a street art walk. Many of the cruises are also timed to coincide with events such as Oktoberfest and the Sziget Festival.

Drinks packages will be sold, with pricing yet to be finalized.

U By Uniworld cruises will be operated on the renovated 116-passenger ships, River Baroness and River Ambassador. They will also feature onboard activities such as silent discos, yoga, and painting, cooking and mixology classes. The sun deck will receive a new "cafe-bar" venue, as well as an open-air movie screen.

Another new feature being planned is a smartboard where passengers can leave messages about meeting up for drinks or going ashore together. Betteridge said the company is also looking at ways to help passengers connect before their cruise, most likely on the website or social media.

The last-minute move to slightly older passengers was a response to listening to customers and travel agent partners, Betteridge explained.

"We kept hearing that they feel that demographic is better suited to it, and they see that age group as a hole when they're booking travel. Contiki really does cover that age group nicely so we're just expanding it. My prediction is the sweet spot will be 27 to 35," she said.

U By Uniworld is aimed at "young professionals who have a bit of money, who want to travel, and want to meet and hang out with people like them," Betteridge said. "We wanted to do something different, to make it stand out, and we wanted to engage new customers earlier, instead of waiting for them to come to us when they're 50."

U By Uniworld bookings open next week and we, at Flair Travel, we'll be pleased to check availability for you and get the best deal for your river cruise!

Source: Cruisecritic