Uniworld has confirmed it has abandoned a dedicated 2019 French river cruise season on the Seine for U by Uniworld, with The B instead being repositioned to operate in Central Europe in 2020.
U by Uniworld was initially conceived as a river cruise line for a millennial-focused audience. Operating two ships, The A and The B (formerly Uniworld’s River Ambassador and River Baroness), the program was later opened up to a “new generation of adult travellers”.
Late last week, citing increasing demand for Central Europe where The A operates a series of sailings, Uniworld revealed that The B will cease operation on the Seine river and resume cruising in the 2020 season with brand-new itineraries in Central Europe.
During 2019, The B will be relocated to Europe, where she and her crew will be prepared for new itineraries.
“Being the first means that we’re not only inventing an entirely new sector of the industry, but we’re quite literally in ‘unchartered waters’. As a brand, U will always stay true to its ethos as a sexy, fun, never-before-seen cruise experience, but we also want to remain open to consumer trends and feedback. That is how brands move from concepts to success stories,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of U.
“As we look forward, the demand is, overwhelmingly, pointing towards Central Europe, where guests can experience a new city – and sometimes a different country – each day, which simply isn’t feasible on the Seine. And for a generation that may be new to the concept, that’s really the essence and beauty of river cruising. Our first year was met with unprecedented buzz, media accolades and consumer engagement and we’re looking forward to continuing the momentum as we welcome The B to Central Europe for her second season.”
The strategy will see The B rested for the entire 2019 season, as U by Uniworld was unable to secure docking space in the “best cities” this year, a spokesperson for the company explained to LATTE.
“In order to offer our U guests the best and most appealing itineraries, we need to wait until the right docking space is available to us, which isn’t until 2020,” the spokesperson said.
Guests who have booked on The B for the 2019 season are being contacted and will be moved onto The A or be offered a full refund. Those guests who choose to cancel will receive a Future Cruise Credit of $325 per person to use on another U by Uniworld departure this year or next.
Guests who change to one of the alternate programs will be given $100 per person shipboard credit, price protection on any 2019 U by Uniworld sailing on The A, and coverage for air-change fees of up to $400 per person for economy and $600 per person for business class (with proof of incurred costs).
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. Additional details for the new 2020 itineraries will be announced in the coming weeks.