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New U brand lures millennials to European river cruising with sleek black ships, DJs and overnight stops in big cities

U by Uniworld cruise ships aimed at young passengers will feature an upper-deck lounge with a bar. (U by Uniworld)

What will draw millennials and Gen Xers to river cruising? Uniworld has launched a new river cruise brand called U aimed at creating a cool on-board vibe and authentic local experiences in some of Europe’s biggest cities.

Cruises are set to begin in spring 2018.

The company is renovating two ships (formerly the River Ambassador and River Baroness) to appeal to a younger crowd. For starters, river boats will be painted black and renamed The A, which will travel exclusively on Germany’s Rhine, Main and Danube rivers; and The B, which will sail on France’s Seine.

Inside, highlights include communal dining tables for hanging out and an upper-deck lounge with a bar. Deck spaces will pump up the comfy factor with hammocks, bean bags and large sun beds.

On these cruises, ships will overnight in places such as Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Budapest where travelers can stay out late and go clubbing or explore cities on foot.

“U itineraries focus on longer stays in major European cities and later ports of call so guests can sleep in,” Uniworld said in a statement sent by email. “Onboard, guests will experience a new culinary program, creative mixologists and local DJs.”

Excursions can be rock climbing or white-water rafting, taking a bike tour of World War II sites in Nuremberg, Germany, or sampling trendy Budapest bars that have sprung up in abandoned buildings.

Eight-day itineraries geared toward passengers ages 21 to 45 years old include Rolling on the Rhine, which starts in Amsterdam and stops in five cities before ending in Frankfurt, Germany.

Highlights include a welcome party, a DJ party, 13 excursions (plus optional ones that cost extra) and on-board wine-tasting. Prices start at $1,699 per person, based on double occupancy, and excluding port fees. Passengers have their pick of three room categories: studio, balcony and suite, all with river views.

Prices for cruises in France start at $1,999 per person, based on double occupancy, and excluding port fees.

Booking are open for next year’s cruises. Contact U by Uniworld, (800) 883-8785, or a travel agent.

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