What do the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge, and The B all have in common? They each had a cameo on Monday night's episode of the ABC reality dating series “The Bachelor.” As the 10 remaining bachelorettes vied for roses from suitor Arie Luyendyk, Jr. in Paris, The B: a soon-to-debut river cruise ship by U by Uniworld. Originally designed for -- and restricted to -- 21-45 year olds, the ships now cater to all ages. The B served as the women’s Parisian base, a chic floating hotel that also allowed them to do a bit of sightseeing along the Seine. While dozens of hotels and resorts around the world have been featured on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” since the franchise’s inception in 2002, this was the first time that a ship replaced a hotel.
The B, featuring an onboard vibe targeted to Millennials and accommodating 120 passengers, will begin its 7-night “The Seine Experience” itineraries on April 21, cruising round-trip from Paris and visiting Vernon (for Giverny), Rouen, Honfleur, and Conflans-Saint-Honorine (for Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh painted and is buried). It’s the same itinerary that parent company Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers on its “Paris & Normandy” cruise geared to couples 50 and older. But that’s where the similarity ends.
The B’s onboard offerings will include a local celebrity DJ party, mixology classes, and two “U Hosts” rather than a traditional cruise director. In Rouen, the included excursion is a light and sound show in the city Gothic cathedral (an optional U Time excursion, at extra cost, is a bar crawl in old town). And in Vernon, where Uniworld typically transports most passengers to see Claude Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny, passengers on The B can opt to bike ride for free or kayak, paraglide, or stroll Monet’s gardens for an added fee. And the cruise concludes with two overnights in Paris.
The ship’s interiors — mostly done in black and white with touches of red and added striped and geometric accents — are also noticeably more contemporary than those in the Uniworld fleet, where colorful fabrics and historic décor are the norm. Each ship also features two triple cabins that can accommodate three single friends. And while most Uniworld cruises are all-inclusive, with fares that reflect that, U by Uniworld guests will pay extra for transfers, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages, and U Time shore excursions. Another point of differentiation: Only two meals per day--brunch and dinner--will be served in the restaurant, with an “always open” upper-deck lounge serving small plates and after-hours snacks. Prices start at $1,759 per person and eight of the 24 sailings are already sold out.
U by Uniworld will simultaneously launch sister ship, The A, on 7-night “Rolling on the Rhine,” “Germany’s Finest” and “The Danube Flow” itineraries, starting at $1,519 per person.