Multigenerational travel is crucial to cruise lines filling their ships and driving a profit. Partnering with visible entertainment brands helps them attract families with kids. Then parents can send their kids off to play with Shrek while they spend money onboard.
Cruise lines devote a significant amount of their resources to attracting families to sail on their ships.
Partnerships with entertainment brands are a huge part of each line’s individual value proposition, particularly when multigenerational groups are making decisions with their children in mind.
In CLIA’s 2014 North American Cruise Market Profile published earlier this year, it found that 27 percent of cruisers brought kids 18 or under on a cruise while another 10 percent brought adult children.
Mean cruise fare was $1,635, with another $565 of onboard and shore spending, so bringing kids on board seriously raises the amount of money cruise lines collect from passengers.
“We work closely with a number of family-focused brands that resonate with today’s consumers and align well with Carnival’s brand promise of providing fun, memorable vacations at a great value,” said Stephanie Evans-Greene, vice president of corporate communications at Carnival Cruise Lines. “For a cruise line to partner with a major brand or celebrity helps entice consumers, including families, to take a closer look at cruising as a vacation option.”
Carnival partners with Dr. Seuss to run Seuss at Sea activities for kids in addition to its own Camp Carnival childcare service.
According to Carnival’s research, 56 percent of parents make their final vacation decision with their kids’ input and 69 percent check with their kids when buying products and experiences for the entire family.
“Kids play an important role in family’s decision making, particularly as it relates to vacations,” said Evans-Greene.
Royal Caribbean International partners with DreamWorks to bring Shrek and Kung Fu Panda characters, among others, onboard. The DreamWorks Experience also brings branded characters into events, dining and and activities on most of Royal Caribbean’s newest ships.
Norwegian Cruise Line recently ended a multi-year partnership with Nickelodeon, and now opts to use its own Splash Academy branding.
Disney Cruise Line, of course, has its family entertainment options baked into its brand. It only operates four vessels but remains top-of-mind for families looking to cruise, however.
“All of this is about creating truly unique onboard experiences that young people can’t find anywhere else,” said Mo Landry, director of entertainment operations for Disney Cruise Line. “And, while the technology and activities evolve, the essence of what kids are looking for doesn’t really change.”
It often integrates the Disney Cruise Line experience into a family’s overall vacation to Disney World. If kids have a good time at sea, according to Landry, their parents are more likely to sail again on a Disney vessel.
“There’s no question that delivering quality experiences for young people affects perceptions of the cruise, overall satisfaction and – most likely – intent to return,” said Landry.
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Photo credit: Kung Fu Panda on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas. Royal Caribbean