Last week, I heard a lot of people say, “Wow! I never thought cruises were for me…” I have to admit, I was one of them. I used to sail the oceans on my own, and the idea of going on a cruise where I wasn’t charting the course was always a bit off-putting. I’m a solo sorta traveler. I like walking up mountains solo and sailing across oceans with just a few friends. The idea of being crammed aboard a floating city with thousands of other people sounded hellish.
Then I was sent an invitation to go on the inaugural voyage of “The B.” We’d start off in Paris under the Eiffel Tower and sail up the Seine to Rouen and back again. There’d be silent discos, open bars, over a dozen excursions, and a boutique hotel experience. To be honest, they had me at “open bar.” I signed up, feeling that I needed to finally try one cruise in order to consider myself a well-rounded traveler.
U by Uniworld is a latest branch of the Uniworld cruise family. They’re a smart company. They know millennials are getting older and xillennials (those born between 1973 and 1983) still want to have adventures. So they’ve created a cruise that caters directly to 21 to 45 year-olds. There’s yoga on the top deck every morning, “come as you are” excursions that you can easily sleep through, mixology classes, hashtag-worthy dining, floating lantern ceremonies on the Seine, and DJ parties every night. It hits the mark on cool shit you kinda want to do (but didn’t quite realize), while drifting down a river in Europe.
For me, the best way to look at these sort of cruises is to not look at them as a cruise at all. It’s a lot more like a boutique hotel that happens to be docked on a river. The sailing mostly happens at night when you’re partying and then you spend all day in a new city. This means you’re never stuck out in the middle of the ocean for days on end. There’s always something to do on and off the boat. Whether you want to drink wine and use watercolors in the lounge or just walk around a new city at your own pace is entirely up to you. I chose to walk around the cities, typically on the hunt for a nice French bistro. But that’s just me.
Whether you dig being on a boat with 120 other people or not is almost secondary. Why? Because who doesn’t like being in a boutique hotel with great food, a great bar, and a great masseuse on board? It’s a week where you travel to several spots in Europe and only have to unpack your bag once. For me, that’s a million times better than packing up after every night in a hostel and running to catch a train to your next location while trying to buy a sandwich and bottle of water on the platform.