River cruises, which are generally associated with older cruisers or families looking for a relaxing river holiday, are about to become so hip that younger travellers will willingly book them.

Well, that’s Uniworld’s plan.

The boutique cruise line is chasing adventurous 18-40 years old (aka Gen X and millennials aka people who usually wouldn’t willingly board a river cruise if you paid them) with a new brand – U by Uniworld.

Unveiled today and set to launch in 2018 (fares on sale from March 2017), U by Uniworld promises “immersive, authentic and adventurous experiences” designed specifically for the next generation of river cruises.

Cute, but exactly how is the high end and incredibly classy Uniworld going to convince younger people that it’s hip?


First, the cruise line is going to completely refurbish two vessels to meet 18-40 year old expectations.

River Baroness and the River Ambassador will receive a contemporary new feel in all public areas and open spaces; communal tables for dining along with a new culinary program; and mixologists will be introduced onboard as will international DJs.



Then, there’s the U by Uniworld itineraries, which will offer millennials those immersive and adventurous experiences they crave, such as meeting locals and discovering local restaurants and bars.

Additionally, the cruise line is asking young travellers to help build the new brand through a social media campaign and the hashtag #AllAboutU, which can be used to give the cruise line personalised suggestions and requests for all aspects of U by Uniworld’s experience.

Essentially, it will be a river cruise line for millennials designed by millennials.


Uniworld Australia’s Managing Director, Fiona Dalton, described U by Uniworld as a “market first” catering “for the important and ever-growing millennial segment”.

“The European overseas odyssey has been an essential part of the young Australian traveller’s rite of passage for many years and U By Uniworld will be a market first catering for the important and ever-growing millennial segment.”

Fiona Dalton, Uniworld Australia Managing Director

“We are excited by the prospect of working closely with our sister brands in TTC, and our trade partners, to successfully launch this product in Australia in early 2017.”

One can already see how the 5-star river cruise line has already adapted to meet the younger market, with words such as “Instagram and Snapchat-worthy” being used to describe Europe’s rivers and cities.


Uniworld’s President and CEO, Ellen Bettridge, commented, saying that the new brand will deliver the same “superb quality of authenticity and personalisation” offered by Uniworld but with “new ways for exploratory, younger travellers to experience the pulse of Europe”.

Brett Tollman, The Travel Corporation’s Chief Executive, added that U by Uniworld will “define the river exploring experience for an entirely new demographic”.

The all-new U by Uniworld brochure, website and other information will be released and bookable early in 2017.

Do you think Uniworld has the right recipe to attract millennials?