Branding a cruise line for the Uber generation

Uniworld rejuvenates cruising for millenials with U River Cruises.

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Reaching a young market requires a keen understanding of not only what they want, but what they have come to expect from a brand.


Uniworld, the world’s premier luxury river cruise line, created U River Cruises to engage younger, active travelers. The brand thus had to defy notions of shuffleboard and dinner at 4 p.m. and redefine cruising as an ultramodern way to travel.


We led U’s brand launch with a strategy and identity designed to resonate with Generation X and Millennials—leveraging active excursions, authentic experiences, and total freedom to explore like a local.


It’s all about U

Our research revealed a younger market expects the ability to customize every facet of their vacation. This informed our visual identity, a bold “U” that speaks to individuality, the way it might be expressed in a quick text between friends.

This notion carries through fun messaging depicted in bold type, inviting audiences to go beyond sightseeing and truly experience cities.

Ease and intimacy is a major thread as well—less time spent on logistics, and more freedom to choose your own adventure.


Setting sail with e-commerce

To introduce U River Cruises to the world, we wrote, designed and produced a full scope of marketing assets showcasing the spirit of U.

A sleek and immersive e-commerce website gives a first impression of the seamless journey that awaits travelers. The site makes selecting trips simple and showcases the elevated culture of destination cities and the shipboard experience.

Immersive exploration

Given the desire to self-select and customize, we built a robust online booking tool with interactive itineraries and route maps that allow users to experience all that awaits them.


Mobile-first for a younger market

U’s target demographic is not inclined to use a travel agent, so all information needed to be immediately accessible—from room options to city adventures and details about amenities. We customized all of this in a streamlined mobile-first experience.

Persistence of print

Still, U couldn’t alienate their longtime partners in travel agents, for whom the brochure is the rule. We created a print piece every bit as fresh as the website, leveraging the spirit of freedom and self-empowerment.

Fun meets folk

And across digital and print, custom illustrations modernize U’s itinerary maps—blending whimsical fun with folksy culture.


A new brand embarks

U River Cruises launched with a campaign that spanned print and digital advertising, audio commercials on Spotify, and a social push that brought influencers on board and put U ships on-air, with episodes of ABC’s The Bachelor taking place on deck.

Let’s move things forward.