U by Uniworld rocking the boat with drag queen cruise

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Drag queen Darienne Lake will be on U by Uniworld's "U in Drag" cruise.
Drag queen Darienne Lake will be on U by Uniworld's "U in Drag" cruise. Photo Credit: Magnus Hastings

U by Uniworld, the first river cruise line for young travelers, is doing another river cruise first -- drag queen- and tattoo-themed itineraries.

Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge said the special cruises from Frankfurt to Regensburg are just "the beginning for our themed concepts onboard U."

"The themes coincide with everything our U brand stands for, which is encouraging our guests to completely let go, be confidently themselves and meet new like-minded travelers along the way," she said. "It's important for us to continue to innovate in ways that inspire our guests and provide them with experiences that they won't find anywhere else."

For its "U in Drag" cruise departing July 6, U said it has teamed up with celebrity drag queens Jiggly Caliente, Darienne Lake and Phi Phi O'har from the TV show "RuPaul's Drag Race." In addition to onboard performances throughout the sailing, the itinerary includes a karaoke night, drag makeup lessons and an exclusive bar crawl at one of the ship ports with the drag queens.

"Tattoo on U" sets sail Aug. 17 with celebrity tattoo artists Steven Tefft, winner of Season 2 of the show "Ink Master;" Reese Hilburn, seen on Spike TV's "Tattoo Nightmares Miami"; Bobby Moss and his wife, tattoo model Heather Moss; and tattoo expert Paul Gambino.

The "Tattoo on U" cruise sets sail Aug. 17 with celebrity tattoo artist Steven Tefft.
The "Tattoo on U" cruise sets sail Aug. 17 with celebrity tattoo artist Steven Tefft.

In addition to the opportunity to get inked by celebrity artists during the cruise, the itinerary includes an onboard welcome party with them, a tattoo parlor crawl in one of the ports, contests to win a free tattoo from one of the artists, $200 towards a favorite tattoo shop and brunch Q&As about tattooing.

While the themes are original in river cruising, drag queens and tattoos also will be prominent on Virgin Voyages' first ocean ship entering service next year. Virgin Voyages will have a drag queen in residence presiding over a "Drag Brunch" and feature the first tattoo parlor at sea.  

U by Uniworld launched its first cruises in 2018 with two ships, the A and B. Its original ship, the B, will be taken out of service for the 2019 season and redeployed from the Seine to more popular routes in Central Europe, raising questions anew about the viability of the line.

Originally planned as a millennials-only river cruise line, U eliminated age restrictions other than to make it adults only before it began sailing.

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