Are millennial travelers about to discover a way to explore Europe that their parents and grandparents already embrace?
Ellen Bettridge hopes so.
The president and CEO of the luxury Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is launching a new brand for younger passengers, U by Uniworld. While the original line draws customers who average about 50 to 65, its new offshoot is for travelers between 21 to 45 — and that age range is not a suggestion.
“They have to be so separate and so different to ensure that we cater to this audience,” Bettridge said. “We’re going to be super strict. You have to be between 21 and 45.”
She added: “That is what’s going to make this brand; I’m creating a place that’s just for them.”
U by Uniworld will start sailing in April of 2018 with two ships, the A and B — formerly the Ambassador and Baroness — taken from Uniworld’s fleet.
They will be redesigned, renovated, and reimagined for the younger audience at a cost the company is not disclosing. The ships will include silent discos, DJs, lounges, and restaurants onboard, but the destinations will be the focus. The B will cruise along the Seine River in France, while the A will sail on the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers.
U by Uniworld just started taking bookings in late April and sales and marketing efforts are still ramping up, Bettridge said. She expects to attract new college graduates, grad students, honeymooners, maybe some Silicon Valley types.
“My dream is that in a year from now we’re so successful that we need to have a C and a D,” Bettridge said. “And then from that, my boss says to me, ‘You got that, so now you’ve got to build some more.’”
Unlike ocean cruise ships that hold thousands of passengers, the A and B should be relatively easier to…