Press Releases River Cruising

Uniworld Leverages Key Trends in the River Cruise Industry to Drive Innovation


NEW YORK, NY – Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, the world’s most luxurious all-inclusive cruise line, is driving innovation in the river cruise industry in response to four key travel trends: multigenerational travel, solo travel, wellness travel and a younger, adventure-seeking generation of river cruisers. Addressing these four trends with its 2017 and 2018 programming, Uniworld provides more enriching and enticing experiences for all guests.

“The nature of the travel industry is one that is constantly evolving,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “In order to maintain our highly esteemed status, Uniworld continues to be diligent about adapting our guest programming to offer passengers the best possible experience on any Uniworld cruise.”


Multigenerational Travel 

Families are increasingly looking for immersive experiences that can be enjoyed at every age. In 2010, Uniworld began offering multigenerational departures after noticing an increase in multigenerational family groups interested in traveling together. From 2014 to 2015, Uniworld identified a 36 percent increase in travelers aged 17 and younger who traveled with Uniworld. In 2016, Uniworld increased the number of multigenerational family departures from five to 13, including itineraries for just about every family–from arts & crafts lovers, to active families, thrill seekers, aspiring foodies and history buffs.

The multigenerational departures include programming like hiking, cooking demonstrations and language lessons, as well as a visit to the BMW factory in Regensburg, white-water rafting, biking to Monet’s garden at Giverny, a culinary treasure hunt and learning how to locally harvest mussels on the Venice Lagoon. Departures are conveniently scheduled during summer and winter school breaks and there are services of two dedicated Family Hosts to oversee all activities for young travelers, in addition to local guides and young ambassadors to ensure a memorable and authentic travel experience for the entire family. All meals include child-friendly menus. Uniworld offers 50 percent savings off the cruise-only fare for young travelers aged 4 to 17 when traveling with an adult.


Solo Travel 

According to a study by Visa on the rise in solo travel, one in five individuals has traveled independently on their most recent trip. This trend has caught the eye of the travel industry and sparked a new wave of specialty packages and offerings that are designed to enhance the overall solo travel experience. To give travelers the most value and flexibility while traveling solo, Uniworld offers attractive promotions targeted specifically to solo guests. Uniworld encourages guests to embark on a voyage of self-discovery and in order to ensure this is possible, is waiving or reducing the single supplement fee in 2017 on 30 of its most popular itineraries. Uniworld provides solo travelers with a variety of all-inclusive itineraries that venture everywhere from Europe’s major cities, to the smaller, less traveled villages. With open seating at every meal and small group excursions, Uniworld provides solo travelers the opportunity to encounter fellow travelers and by doing so, delivers the perfect balance for those eager to see the world solo.


Wellness Travel 

Wellness travel has had a tremendous impact over the years, largely due to the increased emphasis on a healthy lifestyle within the aging boomer population and the desire to maintain it while traveling. To address this trend, Uniworld offers onboard yoga and other exercise classes and a Traveling Lite menu of healthy culinary options. On all Uniworld itineraries, there is an exclusive guided “Go Active” onshore program that combines the love for travel with a physically active lifestyle, with select local experts so guests can best experience destinations from a unique, intimate perspective. Uniworld was the first to offer exclusive guided “Go Active” bike tours and is the only river cruise company that has a dedicated bike guide team. Since 2014, Uniworld has doubled the number of bike tours offered on various itineraries and in just one year, the company has seen the number of travelers participating in bike tours more than double.


A Younger, Adventure-seeking Generation of River Cruisers 

According to a recent AAA Market Research study, travelers aged 18-35 are not only interested in river cruising, but respond more strongly than Generation X and Baby Boomers to most of the attributes of river cruising, including the convenience of docking in the heart of a city and ship amenities like onboard entertainment and dining. For example, 58 percent of travelers aged 18-35 found the opportunity for an authentic travel experience to be appealing, as compared to 42 percent of 36-51 year olds and 47 percent of 52-70 year-olds. Recognizing this trend, Uniworld recently announced U BY UNIWORLD—a new brand for adventure seekers 18-40 years old—which is set to launch sales in March 2017 and begin sailings in early 2018. Offering immersive and authentic experiences for the next generation of river cruisers, U BY UNIWORLD itineraries will focus on longer stays in major European cities, connecting explorers to local experiences and vibrant nightlife scenes, and offer a new culinary program, creative mixologists, communal dining tables and international DJ’s onboard.


“As a leader in the river cruise industry, Uniworld’s itineraries, products and experiences have always debuted on the cusp of the latest trends,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “In 2009,


Uniworld introduced the River Beatrice, marking the very first luxury river cruise ship to enter the marketplace. In 2017, we continue to innovate as we prepare to launch U By Uniworld, the first river cruise line targeted towards an untapped, younger demographic of river cruisers.”


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Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection—the world’s most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise line – features luxurious ships with an average capacity of 130 guests, exclusive excursions, gourmet cuisine, and one of the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry. Based in Los Angeles, California, Uniworld offers truly all-inclusive itineraries in Europe, as well as voyages in Russia, China, Vietnam and Cambodia, India, and Egypt—a total of 22 rivers in 26 countries worldwide. In 2018, Uniworld will launch U BY UNIWORLD, a new brand for youthful adventure seekers, featuring two renovated ships that will sail to cities such as Amsterdam, Budapest and Paris. Uniworld is a member of CLIA and is highly regarded by discerning travelers, media, and cruise industry experts, having most recently been named the #1 River Cruise Line in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016 readers’ survey.




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