“We’re excited about the evolution of this incredible brand”: U River Cruises

TORONTO — U by Uniworld is now U River Cruises and according to CEO Ellen Bettridge, the decision to take sister brand Uniworld out of the line’s name was a deliberate one.

The distinction between U and Uniworld, and the different onboard experiences each river cruise line offers, was behind the decision to drop Uniworld from the U name, says Bettridge.

“U is a very different experience from Uniworld, and we wanted the name to reflect that difference,” said Bettridge. “It’s about clarity of brand.”

She adds: “U is a distinct product designed for a new generation of river cruisers. It’s active, with a cool onboard vibe, fun nightlife and a casual crowd who enjoys farm-to-table dining as much as mountain biking. We’re excited about the evolution of this incredible brand.”

U River Cruises has had its share of u-turns since it debuted in October 2017 with The B, followed by The A in spring 2018.

Originally targeted at Millennials, with a 21 – 45 age restriction and everything from mixology classes to silent disco parties to sunrise yoga, in March 2018 the line announced it was dropping the age restriction and opening up U sailings to adults of all ages. The move was applauded by the trade, especially given the high demand for river cruise product.

Millennials may be the most coveted demographic for future growth but Baby Boomers are still the most-travelled, with the most disposable income. And it’s the Baby Boomers who propelled river cruising from a niche product to mainstream big business seemingly overnight.

Another change came in January 2019, when the line announced that The B was ceasing operations on the Seine, with an eye to resuming sailings in 2020 with new itineraries in Central Europe.

In 2020 The B will sail from Brussels to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Frankfurt, while The A will sail from Nuremberg to Vienna and Vienna to Belgrade.

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