The Ultimate Guide To Cruising With U by Uniworld
12 Oct 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed my 4 night cruise aboard U by Uniworld’s very first sailing along the Seine, on The B. I went in detail about what I got up to each day in my daily blogs (If you’ve not checked them out yet, click here), but now I want to talk about the overall experience, and what makes U unique. This is the ultimate guide to U by Uniworld…
What is U by Uniworld and who is it for?
U by Uniworld is a new river brand from river cruise experts, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. It’s the first river cruise line targeting younger people, within the ages of 21 and 45. Just because it is targeting younger travellers, doesn’t mean prices are incredibly cheap compared to existing operators. Cruises are still very reasonable at around £150 per night, when you consider all the included excursions and food you get. U by Uniworld is attracting affluent, mainly American travellers taking a trip of a lifetime, and those that are looking to explore Europe in comfort, and as part of a social group, rather than as an independent explorer. If you’ve never thought about trying a river cruise, this is the cruise line to try!
U by Uniworld two ships, The A and The B, sail along 4 of Europe’s most impressive rivers and visit 27 ports of call in 6 countries. The A sails along the Rhine, Main, and Danube, offering three itineraries in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Netherlands. The B focuses on giving travellers an authentic taste of France along the Seine.
The A, formerly River Ambassador, is a sister to The B. Both ships offer a high-level of customer service, and amazing experiences, while also having distinctly different decor.
Formerly the River Baroness for sister brand Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, The B carries 120 adventure-loving 21-45 year olds. It’s received a ship-wide transformation. What once was a refined, and chic looking vessel, with rose pastel colours and plenty of gold. Now it is an ultra-modern stylish and contemporary ship for partying and socialising. There is a range of accommodation. Comfortable studios, spacious suites, and even 3 berth bunk beds for groups, or those happy to pay a lower price and share with other travellers.
The U Dine restaurant is open for brunch and dinner. The food onboard is built around a farm-to-table concept, so everything is freshly made, with plenty of healthy options, and local cuisine. Dishes are designed for sharing, so you’ll find plenty of sharing platters and large communal tables. The ships have 2 bars. The U Lounge is the main social hangout space, with plenty of seating. The other bar, called the Ice Bar, disappointingly has no ice in sight. This is used for other social occasions, such as demonstrations, classes, and discos. The rooftop deck is a chilled area, for simply relaxing as the scenery goes by. There’s even a giant movie screen that is put up for the silent cinema sessions. For the size of the ship, the gym is very spacious. There’s a spa onboard, which was formerly a cabin, offering several treatments.
What I liked…
I really enjoyed exploring the destinations on a U excursion, and the best part is they’re free! Some ‘U Time’ excursions, which offer a more in-depth tour, may have an additional charge. Excursions are a great way to get a flavour of the place, while taking away all the hassle of independent exploration. Excursions are suited to the younger crowd, with more walking, photo stops, and adventurous activities, such as kayaking, bike tours, and even a 20k marathon (I gave that one a miss!). The decor is certainly very different. I heard mixed feedback during my time. Personally, I quite liked the gothic/punk theme throughout. I loved the technology used onboard. Instead of a daily paper schedule, everything is emailed to you, or sent to the ship-wide Whatsapp group.
What I didn’t like…
During my time onboard, drinks were free, but looking at normal bar prices, these seemed rather steep at €4 for a small glass of soft drink. Entertainment in the evening was minimal. If you didn’t drink, or if you don’t enjoy dancing to a disco, then there was very little else for you to spend your evening doing. This was a stark contrast to the day time when there always seemed to be an excursion or onboard even taking place. It would be nice to see some other form of entertainment, maybe a fun quiz or game show, especially when there are 2 disco lounges onboard. Although brunch was a great concept, it would have been nice to see some more substantial dishes on offer. One thing I thought The B lacked was a swimming pool, or hot tub to relax when not on an excursion or partying.
There’s plenty of charging spaces in cabins – 9 in total, plus a hidden charging socket in the wardrobe for the excursion headsets. Take this plug out and you’ve either got another European plug to use, or a handy portable USB plug. You probably won’t be stuck for sockets though. There’s loads of handy USB ports dotted throughout the ship, both inside and outside. Feeling peckish in the day after an excursion? Try one of the Burger Sliders in the U Lounge for that perfect snack to tide you over.
When can you go?
The first official cruise departs in April 2018, and sails from Amsterdam to Frankfurt on The A, and a roundtrip along the Seine from Paris on The B. Prices start from around £150 per night for 8 days.U