Uniworld targets families with two new itineraries


European river cruising has been one of the fastest-growing travel niches in recent years, and Uniworld was at the front of the pack in introducing the style of travel to the U.S. market. Today's Uniworld, now a part of the Travel Corp., is aiming some of its river cruise programs at another hot travel trend: family travel.

"Everything you read these days talks about family travel as a growth segment," said Guy Young, president of Uniworld. "The cruise lines have been targeting family travel for a long time. In the last few years, tour operators are jumping into the market. But nobody in river cruising is doing it. We're just addressing a segment of the industry we were not serving up to now."

Uniworld's new series is called the Grand River Family Program, and it is being launched with two itineraries designed to accommodate the needs of young travelers as well as to help adults travel more comfortably and enjoyably with children.

"We have had families traveling with us, but we didn't cater to them," said Young. "We want to make sure we're not alienating our core market, so we're offering the family itineraries only on select departures."

Family departures will have special game rooms, onboard activities and shore excursions. The excursions will be tailored to cater to the interests of the diverse age groups in families.

The family itineraries also introduce a special pricing program, with all meals and entertainment onboard and shore excursions included in the rate. The company is launching the program with two itineraries.

Castles Along the Rhine Grand River Cruise is a nine-day trip between Amsterdam and Basel, Switzerland. Besides enjoying the landscapes and cityscapes unfolding along the riverside, parents will have the opportunity to show their children castles like the ones that inspired the design of Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle.

The trip includes a mini-train ride to Siegfried's Mechanical Museum, which houses one of the largest collection of self-playing musical instruments.

There is also a trip to the Speyer Technical Museum, home to a walk-in Boeing 747, a U9 German submarine and plenty of fire engines, locomotives, airplanes and helicopters.

The second of the family itineraries is a nine-day Paris and Normandy Grand River Cruise. The cruise sails the Seine from Paris through the countryside of northern France to the beaches of Normandy and back to Paris.

The trip includes guided tours through Auvers Sur Oise, Honfleur, Rouen and Giverny during which historical references are made to Van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet and others.

The itinerary includes a tour of the beaches of Normandy, where the D-Day invasion took place during World War II. Other highlights include an onboard Van Gogh painting workshop and a hike to the stronghold of Richard the Lionheart, Chateau Gaillard.

Both family itineraries include a number of onboard activities designed for families, such as tours of the ships, meeting the captain, dessert cooking demonstrations and language classes.

The cruise price for either itinerary is $1,898 per person, double. Guests ages 8 to 18 pay half when accompanied by an adult.

For more on the cruise line, visit www.uniworld.com.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI