'Cruise Planners travel agents were intrigued by U by Uniworld from the beginning, however many were bummed to realize they—and their clients—not only didn't fit into the target demographic, but were in fact “too old” to sail,' said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative.
U by Uniworld first broke out as a brand for ages 18 to 40 but by the time bookings opened last year, that was widened to 21 to 45. When the distinctively black-hulled, 120-passenger vessels The A and The B begin revenue sailings in mid-April, they'll be open to adult travelers of all ages.
'Some agents jumped at the chance to sign up for the unrestricted/ageless travel agent sailings, so they could get to know the product and feel confident selling it, so lifting the age restriction will broaden the audience,' Garcia told Seatrade Cruise News.
She added: 'With river cruising’s huge popularity, many cruisers are looking for different ways of seeing the Danube and Rhine and even the Seine, so U by Uniworld’s late nights, overnights and unique excursions are attractive to those who’ve been there, done that, but want to do it again, just a little differently.'
Removing the age restriction Garcia said, opens it up to families with 'kids' in their 20s who 'aren’t necessarily looking for the same programming you’d find on a family-friendly sailing from one of the other lines.'
Informing travel agents of the change earlier this month, U by Uniworld said the experience will 'stay the same, with sexy, stylish ships and itineraries that focus on longer stays in each destination, allowing guests to connect with local people, experiences and each city's vibrant nightlife.'
The fares aren't all-inclusive, but cover two meals a day, one daily excursion and Wi-Fi.
'Originally, U was very specific in defining its target market, but has learned that the experience is less about a number and more about attracting a new generation of adult travelers to river cruising,' a company spokeswoman elaborated.
She underscored there are no plans to change the product or the way it’s communicated in the marketplace.