Skift Take

Cruise operators say one of their biggest challenges is raising awareness of cruising as a vacation option. Getting their product in front of new audiences is a start.

During a slot of time usually set aside for discussions about advance bookings, onboard spending, and fuel prices, the CEO of Carnival Corp. recently took a few minutes to rattle off a highlights reel.

There was a behind-the-scenes documentary, Wheel of Fortune partnership, feature film, reality romance show and cooking competition. All were set on (or featuring) cruise ships, and all have made their debut since December.

The company’s cruise lines, it turns out, are eager for the limelight.

“Our ongoing marketing and promotional efforts are also part of demand creation,” Donald told analysts during the company’s earnings call for the first fiscal quarter at the end of March. He called the appearances “part of our effort to keep cruise in the forefront of vacationers’ minds.”

Those efforts include “The Cruise,” a six-part documentary series airing in the UK that follows crew and guests on the Regal Princess during cruises in Northern Europe.

Donald said the brand has already seen a 40 percent increase in web traffic since the show started running earlier this year.

Another line, P&O Cruises, is featured in the cooking show “Battlechefs.” On the show, celebrities compete in the kitchen of the new ship Britannia during Mediterranean cruises.

Costa Cruises was included in the Italian film “Vacanze ai Caraibi,” or “Holidays in the Caribbean,” which featured both the Costa Fortuna and cruise line crew. And an episode of the reality show “I colori dell’amore” (“The Colors of Love”) revolved around two Costa members who met on a ship.

Late last month, Carnival Cruise Line partnered with the game show “Wheel of Fortune” for a “Spin & Sail Week.” The show’s set got a tropical makeover featuring Carnival ships, and cruises were among the prizes.

“All of these efforts heighten global awareness and consideration for our world leading cruise lines as we continue to capture a greater share of the vacation suitcase,” Donald said.

Carnival Corp. is only the most recent cruise company to seek friendly fame outside traditional advertising methods. Several years ago, the former CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line appeared on “Undercover Boss,” while Royal Caribbean International gave away sailings on one of its megaships to Oprah Winfrey’s talk show audience.


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Tags: carnival, cruise, marketing

Photo credit: Actors appeared on the Costa Fortuna in an Italian film. Costa Cruises

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