Skift Take

We don't see a variation of Boaty McBoatface on the horizon for any Royal Caribbean ships, but the April 1 announcement did generate some attention — which was, of course, the whole point.

All of Royal Caribbean International’s 26 current and upcoming ships have the same style of name: “Blank of the Seas,” with aspirational words from “Allure” to “Voyager” filling in that blank.

There’s no indication the cruise line will veer away from that formula for any of its future vessels, but that doesn’t mean Royal Caribbean isn’t eager to link itself to a now-famous nautical naming story.

We’re talking, of course, about Boaty McBoatface, the leading public choice of moniker for a new polar research vessel in the U.K. which is currently riding a social media wave.

When Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council asked the public to come up with a name for the new $288 million boat, one man came up with the jaunty suggestion — and internet voters helped it sail to the front of the pack.

Now, Royal Caribbean is turning to that same man, James Hand, for possible help with names for its own ships (and a little bit of extra publicity). In a press release last week, the cruise line said that whether or not Boaty is actually chosen — the British contest ends April 16, and the council has the final say — “Hand has forever altered the business of naming ships, and perhaps could make a career out of it.”

While not offering him a job, the cruise operator has invited Hand to take his first ever cruise on the massive Harmony of the Seas after its May launch in Southampton and deploy his “clever copywriting skills.”

“Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship,” Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in a statement.

Hand, a former radio host and current communications manager, is expected to meet with naming experts from Royal Caribbean to talk about future ships.

A public relations representative for the cruise line sent the press release — dated April 1 — on March 31 with the subject line “NOT a joke.” She acknowledged that the story was meant to sound a little fake but reiterated on April 2 that the announcement was real.

For his part, Hand tweeted a story about the news and wrote:
“Bizarrely, this actually isn’t an April Fool.”


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Tags: cruise, marketing, royal caribbean

Photo credit: Royal Caribbean International is looking to the man behind Boaty McBoatface for some ship naming advice. Royal Caribbean International

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