Skift Take

Cruise lines’ usual stream of customer engagement involves surface level greetings, but laying the groundwork for quick responses is the first step in ensuring a performance more impressive than Carnival’s during a public crisis.

Carnival’s Triumph fiasco last week was a textbook case in how a cruise line can fail to harness social media to communicate with customers and the public.

While we argue that Carnival’s performance was less than impressive, it does spur the question of how ready other cruise lines would be to communicate to consumers via social media and whether there’d be anyone listening when they did.

See how Carnival dealt with the disaster on social media here.

Using SkiftSocial, we’ve compared cruise lines’ social media savvy to see how ready they would be to deal with the barrage of tweets and Facebook comments in a similar disaster.

Last month we launched our first data dashboard in beta, SkiftSocial read more about the launch here, and what it means for social media monitoring in the travel industry.

Top Ten

The ten most followed cruise lines on Facebook are as follows:

  1. Carnival Cruise Lines (2,189,062)
  2. Royal Caribbean (1,279,746)
  3. MSC Cruises (USA) (1,066,559)
  4. Princess Cruises (1,056,427)
  5. Disney Cruise Line (89,9090)
  6. Holland America Line (729,966)
  7. Norwegian Cruise Line (391,586)
  8. P&O Cruises (193,764)
  9. Oceania Cruises (50,883)
  10. Costa Cruises NA (24,121)

Carnival has the largest social media following on Facebook and the third-highest following on Twitter. With 2,189,062 “Likes” on Facebook, it is almost one million ahead of the next cruise line, Royal Caribbean.

Carnival Corporation dominates the list with three other brands — Costa, P&O, and Princess — included in the top ten.

Facebook engagement

Arguably more important than the number of “Likes” is engagement and whether cruise lines are actually reading and responding to the public’s posts. They are not the most followed on Facebook, but MSC and Princess are the most likely to engage with customers.

MSC has the highest level of engagement responding to 61.5 percent of posts, but that requires responding to just 8 out of 13 comments in a two-week period. In comparison, Carnival only responded to 9.1 percent of comments, which was 321 out of 3,543 comments.

On the other side of the spectrum, Disney and Costa NA disable comments on their Facebook page. This leaves customers little room, or encouragement, to engage with the cruise companies unless they comment on the company’s status updates.

A strong track record for responding to consumers would be critical to successfully managing a crisis similar to that of the Triumph. It’s evident that Carnival could have put more effort towards responding to questions and concerns over the past two weeks.

Facebook engagement

Facebook vs Twitter

When it did reach out to the public, Carnival turned to Facebook rather than Twitter during the Triumph crisis. This is likely due to its significantly larger following on Facebook; however, however most cruise lines share more often on Twitter than Facebook.

Only Carnival, Princess, and Norwegian are more active on Facebook sharing anywhere between 85 and 350 status updates and responses on Facebook in the last two weeks.

The seven other cruise lines were more active on Twitter than Facebook. In particular, Holland America is the most active cruise line on Twitter. It sent out 100 more tweets than Facebook messages over the past two weeks.

Cruise Lines: Twitter/Facebook


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Tags: facebook, skiftsocial, twitter

Photo credit: Three Carnival cruise ships and one Royal Caribbean ship in Nassau, Bahamas. Roger Wollstadt / Flickr

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