Our New Game Changer Youthful Travel Brand: Introducing U by Uniworld – 2018 Fun, Authentic Adventures on the Rivers of Europe
Greetings from Los Angeles. I hope this month has been a productive, creative and inspiring time for all of you.
In early October, I had the pleasure and anticipated excitement of joining our U by Uniworld river cruise maiden voyage on our super cool, sleek new ship “The B”, sailing along the Seine river from one of my favorite cities in the world, Paris! The all-matte black ship is now the envy of everyone on the rivers and looks super sexy – people were gawking admirably, taking photos and stopping by to enquire as we sailed by or docked in different ports. (The idea came from the matte black paint used originally on exotic cars.)
The interior design is super chic, modern and cutting edge. The guests, whom we invited for this inaugural cruise, mirror the diversity of our fun-loving guests looking for an authentic, immersive vacation experience in the future – a combination of cool, trendy young people who are global citizens from all walks of life, as well as inquisitive, first time travelers, who are adventurous and youthful at heart.
I encourage you to check out the many Instagram posts from our invited guests using the hashtag #TRAVELFORU. These highlight some of the amazing experiences and excursions we will be offering on the itineraries, from seeing Paris from the rooftops with a local guide, participating in a fun scavenger hunt at The Louvre, and a behind the scenes walk through Versailles, to meeting a local craft beer maker, kayaking on the river, and taking some of our ultra-cool matte black mountain bikes on a ride through picturesque French countryside.
On board, there were equally fun experiences – from a silent disco with local celebrity DJ’s, to a pajama party, movies under the stars, paint & wine or mixology classes, delicious dining events, and much more. I was so proud of what our brilliant team created and delivered in a relatively short time – in less than one year we’ve created a new brand for young travelers, and brought to life everything we promised and more. Congratulations to our super talented design team, led by my sister Toni, with Brian Brennan and Rolf Reichlin. Our operations and culinary team under Ben Wirz and Berhnard Zorn delivered superb experiences and outstanding culinary delights on our first cruise and we thank the entire team for their hard work and brilliant service. Congrats also go to our illustrious brand leader, Ellen Bettridge and her great team for all they are doing to define, market and sell out our 2018 cruises.
There has been massive positive response already and bookings are coming in very quickly, which is edifying and reassuring especially when one invests a lot of money in new assets and in launching a new brand.
To get a sense of how cool and sleek our new matte black ships look, please check out these two videos:
- Our brand new U by Uniworld video created by our team:
2. A short drone video recently filmed on “The B”. Isn’t she beautiful and unique?
Our Game Changing Approach to Cruising Through Innovation & Anticipating Millennials’ Changing Travel Needs
The Travel Corporation and our family of brands continues to innovate with our game changing approach to cruising, specifically creating this U brand for 21 to 45 year olds. Our U by Uniworld cruises are curated for millennial travelers and young working professionals who have a passion for exploring and seeking authentic adventures on a fun, relaxing and hassle-free journey.
For the past 56 years, our sister brand, Contiki has been the leader in providing immersive travel experiences to young people and an invaluable resource in anticipating millennials’ changing travel trends by listening to our young guests’ needs. They did a survey of many of their past travelers about if they would be interested in taking a fun, authentic, immersive river cruise, and 94% said “YES!”.
Our travelers will cruise down France’s Seine River on our “B” ship and cruise along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers in Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Hungary, and Slovakia on our “A” ship while docking in the city centers of these amazing destinations. In addition, expansion plans are underway to sail the Mekong River in Asia with our third ship in the not too distant future.
These U ships also lead the way with their efforts to reduce their sustainable footprint, to be as sustainable a business model as possible. We are paperless onboard (menus on screens only), we use ‘What’s App’ for communications with the guests, and our own ‘My Travel Space’ (My U) mobile tool is being adapted for a January launch. We also are using BeeKind organic amenities in recycled materials onboard, the team uniforms are made of recycled materials, and we use local suppliers wherever we stop, plus much more.
Live The Local Life with U by Uniworld
Our guests will live the local life, with experiences tailored to their personal tastes. There will be various daily options of activities, both onboard and onshore, from our immersive excursions to culturally enticing events. Our “U Time” outings include kayaking in the UNESCO site of Bamberg, a Parisian street art walk or a classical music performance by a high-profile chamber orchestra and bell canto opera singers in Vienna. Other “U Time” optional excursions include a special vintner’s dinner in Austria, rock climbing in Swiss Franconia and Dutch cheese tasting in Amsterdam. Yummy – I love aged Dutch Gouda!
Our “U” Ships’ Uber Cool Designs – Part Boutique Hotel, Part Yacht & Part Social Club Resort
In the continued tradition of our sister brand, the luxurious award-winning Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, our U by Uniworld ships are designer-inspired floating boutique hotels. Once again, my very talented sister, Toni Tollman and her Red Carnation Hotels design team did an outstanding job in creating the overall aesthetic, design and ambience of our two U ships. These chic and comfortable vessels are sleekly designed with a contemporary flair. For “The B” ship, they designed all the onboard essentials geared for young travelers including an open-air rooftop lounge with a top-deck glass enclosed ICE BAR room, two bars, 24 hour coffee bar, main lounge and a fab gym (the largest on the rivers). This ship features four Suites, 26 Balcony Bedrooms, 29 Studio Bedrooms and two Studios Bedrooms with triple occupancy, all with waterfront views and stunning marble bathrooms. In each cabin, there are also two built-in Bluetooth speakers above every bed.
“U” Cruises for Foodies – Delicious Dining
Our U cruises will also appeal to foodies with our onboard delicious dining options, made from fresh and locally sourced ingredients, skillfully prepared by our master chefs, and created with input and involvement from myself and Ellen. We have created menus that cater to the international palate of today’s travelers – from sharing plates, to fresh, vegetable-focused dishes such as peach and ricotta toast, grilled butternut squash and arugula salad, to local dishes and scrumptious desserts, from traditional baba rum and crème caramel to Kronuts. My mother and celebrity chef of Uniworld, Bea Tollman’s recipes are featured as well. Many of our interactive excursions also have a culinary theme and will enable our guests to explore regional breweries, vineyards or join a late night pub crawl. They will also enjoy our new global partnership with VizEat, where they can dine at a local host’s home with other like-minded travelers.
Endless Fun – Daily “U” Onboard Life on our “A” and “B” Ships
During our inaugural cruise, our guests experienced the fun and lively life onboard. I personally experienced the “Silent Disco” at the Ice Bar where our resident DJ hosted the party and attendees wore headphones in sync with different music tracks. U will also offer various classes including a chef’s cooking demonstration and mixology classes as well as more serene pursuits such as yoga, therapeutic drumming sessions and impressionist painting sessions while sipping wine. Each cruise will have 2 dedicated U hosts who will engage with our young-at-heart guests daily and keep the upbeat and positive energy going throughout each journey. The entire team onboard looked amazing in their all black outfits (Black t-shirt, black jeans, and black Converse-style sneakers, which are all made using recycled materials) as did all the guests onboard on the last night, for the pajama party, a highlight of the cruise for many (everyone received a set of pajamas from us). Again, check out the social posts on Instagram, at #TRAVELFORU to get a good sense of what happened on board and onshore each day. What fun it was!
Our U “Guardian Angel” and Philanthropist, Petra Nemcova
I also had the pleasure of spending more quality time with good friend and our U “Guardian Angel”, Petra Nemcova, who was sincere, engaging, fun and gracious to all of our guests. We enjoyed writing good karma wishes on lanterns and sent them off floating across the night sky with our guests’ hopes, dreams and aspirations, and to complete the renaming ceremony of the B. U by Uniworld donated $50,000 to Petra’s charity, HappyHeartsFund, to help complete another rebuilt school in Nepal, her 160th school she has championed and rebuilt, since starting her charity about a decade ago. To learn more about her amazing story and many accomplishments, check out http://happyheartsfund.org/petras-story/
Petra also endeared herself to all of us in talking about her upbringing in communist Czechoslovakia and how she could not travel, within her country let alone internationally until it became a republic. She recognizes and embraces the beauty and power of travel as a force for good, by opening peoples’ hearts and minds to new cultures, communities and other nationalities histories and differences, which makes us more informed, accepting and engaging human beings. And in traveling and therefore opening our hearts and minds to others, we become accepting of and appreciative of others and in turn, this should create less conflict, fewer wars and much more.
I totally agree with her, and hence why I too am so passionate about the many benefits of all of us traveling more. We are all so fortunate, those of us who can afford to travel – and it is quite easy to travel to many corners of the world today. So I do encourage young travelers to seize the moment and get out, discover the world, and in doing so, travel will change your life, for the better.
Thank you to our Guests and Team Members who Joined us on our Inaugural Cruise
Again, big thanks to our amazing team who worked so hard to deliver a ground-breaking ship, and to those on board who provided superb, passionate, tireless, caring service to all on our first cruise, and every cruise next year and beyond. And thanks to those who joined our first cruise as travelers. We very much appreciate you joining us to make history, and to work out a few kinks together, to make our experiences brilliant next year. Everyone’s input and feedback was most welcome and valuable.
We hope you can join the fun on one of our U by Uniworld cruises beginning in April 2018. When you see our two ships on the water – don’t you all just want to get onboard too? Trust me, it’s fun, there’s delicious food, and we offer a cool and very different experience…definitely worth it!
Wishing you all the very best,