Here’s a scenario we’ve probably all experienced: You’ve just flown halfway around the world having had little to no sleep. One of the wheels from your suitcase has fallen off because you’ve been dragging it across the cobblestones for the last hour trying to find the train station. You’ve now missed your train and the next service is still another hour away – and you have to fork out another 20 euros. Oh, and your phone battery has just died.
Successfully navigating logistical issues on your own is a gratifying accomplishment when travelling. But then again, so is not missing any connections and finding your hotel immediately.
There are many ways travel rewards the curious and the adventurous, but why make your holiday harder than it needs to be? Keep the travel wins to the shiny, tasty, exciting, fun things – like meeting your new best friend or finding that tiny hidden bar that awakens your wine palate – and let someone else worry about the logistics. Say hello to U by Uniworld.
What was once the domain of retired baby boomers is now an experience reimagined with the millennial traveller in mind. U by Uniworld, the younger, hip sister of boutique river cruise company Uniworld, is laying down the gangway to welcome a new generation of river cruisers in April, 2018.
What Is U by Uniworld?
Blending Uniworld’s extensive networks, cruising know-how and stellar service with experiential travel tailored to those who want to see and more, U by Uniworld is the travel disrupter we’ve all been waiting for.
Cruising has never looked so good or been so tailored for the 21- to 45-year-old Insta-adventurer, as the sleek black U river vessels cruise straight into the heart of Europe’s (and in the near future, Asia’s) most dynamic cities.
Check-in at your departure point, board your floating hotel, unpack once and let the current steer you to multiple cities, all without needing to touch your suitcase. Having to only ‘unpack once’ might be the biggest cliché in travel writing, but it’s for good reason. No missed connections. No cobblestones. No boring bus rides.
Part resort, part yacht, U by Uniworld’s ships, The A and The B, serve as waterfront hotel, transport, dining room, yoga studio and nightclub all rolled into one.
"Because the U team take care of all the logistics that usually weigh you down while travelling, it left me to fully savour the moments and landscapes we were in and properly relax,” says content creator Sam Evans.
Travel PR professional Vanessa Budah, who also cruised on U by Uniworld’s inaugural sailing through France echoed Sam’s sentiments.
“[River cruising] was a unique way to travel and see France differently. To wake up with swans outside your cabin window, as well as passing through pretty villages, was pretty breathtaking,” she says.
Where Do The Ships Go?
Put simply: four rivers, six countries and 27 ports of call.
The A calls the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers home. She’s sleek and sophisticated and offers the perfect set-up for exploring the Netherlands and Central Europe. Want nightlife, foodie fun, cultural action, adventure and history aplenty? Try The A itineraries that weave through The Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary.
The B on the other hand is stationed on the Seine. Chic French-style interiors will make you say, “oui, oui” faster than tasting your first chocolate croissant on a romantic cruise from Paris to Honfleur.
Wondering what happened to that missed train? Of course not, because there’s no need to worry about trivial matters on a river cruise. River cruising is hassle-free, with U ships docking right in the heart of town. Wake up and walk off right into the thick of morning markets and waterfront neighbourhoods abuzz with locals. Now you’ve arrived.
Life On Board
No matter which ship you choose, you can expect all the usual luxuries of a boutique hotel, like quality amenities, comfy beds and delicious dining. There’s plenty to love about the two U by Uniworld vessels.
“As soon as we saw the sleek, black ship [The B] docked in the heart of Paris, we were all blown away by its size and offerings: a rooftop and lounge bar, communal dining area with delicious farm-to-table food, gym, original artwork throughout and amazingly comfortable beds. Most importantly, freedom and flexibility to either chill out on the ship, or participate in various activities such as yoga on the water, paint and wine class and mixology classes,” says Vanessa.
And it’s true. The ships are an exercise in laidback sophistication and thoughtfully designed spaces. Chill out in the U Lounge; try signature U cocktails or join the silent disco at the Ice Bar; enjoy a different view every day from the rooftop deck; forget all your worries during a soothing massage at the spa; learn how to mix drinks and make local dishes at cocktail or cooking classes; and curl up in your cloud-like Savoir bed.
Food, glorious food
Forget everything U thought you knew about food on a cruise ship. With U by Uniworld, you’ll eat and drink well from sun up to sun down. On board cuisine includes regional fare made from ingredients sourced from just down the road alongside favourites from home and healthy choices for when you’ve overindulged on cheese and pastry (oh, and you most certainly will).
What Kind Of Activities Are Included?
Every interest is catered for in a haul of included and optional adventures. Complimentary experiences include everything from night bike rides along the Danube and Midnight in Paris-style evening walks to vineyard hikes (yes, there will be wine) to canal cruises, kayaking and more.
Or if you want to amp up the experience, itineraries are chock-full of U Time, aka planned excursions, events and activities created specifically for the U traveller. Say cheese with a Dutch cheese tasting in Amsterdam, join a winemaking family for dinner in their luxe estate in Durnstein, Austria, or get your kicks on a beautiful natural rock-climbing playground in Bamberg, Germany.
For those with an ugly Christmas sweater collecting dust, U by Uniworld is also infusing festive cheer into their winter itineraries with dedicated yuletide market cruises.
I'm Sold! When Can I Go?
The first departures of U by Uniworld itineraries in April 2018 will herald a new era of travel. U heard it here: river cruising is officially cool.