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Cruise Advertising From Customers

In an era when every-day baseball statistics now are WHIP, WAR and OBP, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that measuring success for the cruise industry now includes statistics from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For example:

Norwegian is publicizing the fact that in one 20-day period on the Escape, its customers logged 576,896 Facebook posts, 14,150 tweets and 11,367 Instagram posts, which somehow added up to 159 million impressions. This broke Norwegian’s in-house record for social media usage at sea.

Welcome to “new age advertising.”

If a cruise line can reach 159 million people in 20 days thanks to passengers who are surely posting 95 per cent (or more) positive messages, think of how much said cruise line Escape-Arno Redeniuscan save on advertising costs. The trickle-down effect on society is that fewer dollars spent on TV advertising morphs into higher cable or satellite costs for users, or poorer-quality television shows…or both. The same would be true for newspapers if that hadn’t already happened.

The good news is that because this becomes such an important vehicle for cruise lines, they will spare no cost when it comes to upgrading Internet access so that the passengers can do their thing as advertisers.

What’s next?

How about points for being a frequent tweeter?

In the news…

• Royal Caribbean locks up 10-year port agreement with U.S. Virgin Islands

- Photo by Arno Redenius

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news


Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
7 nights
March 5, 2016
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $590
Cost per day: $84
www.royalcaribbean.com

Ships, Internet Connected For Cruisers

There are people who go on cruises because they want to escape from their daily routines, and these days daily routines almost always involve being online. When they’re cruising, they don’t want to touch a computer, read from an iPad or see a smartphone.

Well, as one of our friends once said: “Include us out.”

Even if we didn’t need to be online for writing about cruises, we would. The electronic era has captured us. We’re not in denial. We want to be on line when cruising.

If you’re like us, the good news is that being online when at sea is becoming easier, better and cheaper. The cost will still cause you to pause before making a decision, but here’s a few of the things that are happening…

• On half of Carnival’s ships, there’s a flat fee of $5 per day to access Facebook and Twitter.

Disney charges for data used instead of minutes used with its Connect@Sea plan.

• OnRoyal Caribbean’s oldest ship, Majesty of the Seas, the Internet’s free for all.

• More options are being offered at Internet cafes on ships at (we think) more affordable prices.

Silversea gives at least an hour of Internet per day, free, for all guests.

• In general, cruise lines are finding creative ways to satisfy (and yes, entice) customers with social media packages, discounts for loyalty members and options for just texting and tweeting.

Perhaps the biggest things the industry has to overcome is that Internet service on a ship is usually nowhere near as good as it is on land.

That, after all, may be in the hands of the satellite gods.

In the news…

• American Queen changes Mississippi schedule due to high water
• Princess all-inclusive beverage package Sip & Sail free on 350 cruises

Today at portsandbows.com: Norwegian raising gratuities…again

Ruby Princess
3 nights
September 14, 2015

VancouverLos Angeles
Inside: $149
Cost per day: $49
www.princess.com

Up In The Air With The Internet

Forget about Air France, Air Supply or even Air Jordan. Let’s talk about Air Office.

That’s what you get when you buy Internet time on an airplane, a practice which up until recently was greeted with serious disdain — not to mention wastage of dollars — in this household.

Air office-350Not now.

There are some parameters you have to meet in order to qualify for admission to the Common Sense Department. You have to:

• have $20, or about that
• need Internet access because it will save you time on the ground
• be on a flight of more than a couple of hours
• have an understanding wife, especially if she has $20
• be unlikely to sleep on a plane

This was an American Airlines flight from Barcelona to Miami, on the way back from cruising on the Costa Diadema. There was work to be done. Cruise writing called. So did posting blogs. We are — all of us — so dependent on the Internet to do our jobs that there’s a certain deprivation that accompanies not being connected.

The fee was $19 for the entire flight, which was 10 hours long. And the speed was faster than most cruise ships in our travels.

It was the first time I’d spent an entire shift (eight hours) actually working and communicating with an assortment of sources on the ground, from 39,000 feet…for 4,841 miles…at 536 miles an hour…with the temperature on the other side of the window at 85 degrees…that’s 85 degrees below (F). 

No sleep. No movies. No music videos. No idle chatter. There would be plenty of time for all of that after landing.

And there was, thanks to my $19 Air Office.

Today at portsandbows.com: The state of the cruise industry

Ruby Princess
3 nights
April 26, 2015
Los Angeles, Vancouver
Inside: $119
Cost per day: $40
www.princess.com

Protecting The Privacy Of Passengers

The much-publicized (can you say 24/7 on TV?) hacking at Sony this month once again raised the issue of cyber security in every business, which of course includes cruise lines.

While all of them have to pay close attention to the issue, it appears that Carnival was a little ahead of the curve, hiring a specialist with a long history in a similar position with Supervalu, a $37 billion grocery retail and supply chain.

With good reason.

Carnival the Cruise Line is the tip of the “Internet Iceberg.” Carnival the Corporation is the whole iceberg and it includes the following cruise lines (in case you never knew or have Gary Eppingerforgotten): Holland America, Cunard, Princess, P&O, Seabourn, Costa, AIDA, P&O Australia and Iberocruceros (Spain).

Pretty much a world-wide iceberg, right?

Several months ago, Carnival (the Corporation) hired a security expert, Gary Eppinger. After you strip away his lengthy vice-president’s title and list of responsibilities, his primary duty is to make sure the privacy of passengers on ships from all 10 brands is protected…as much as personal information can be protected.

“Millions of customers go onto our ships every year,” he told Travel Pulse. “We look at our ships as floating cities with gambling, hospitals, multiple retail stores, and everything’s connected to your room key. Security is critical for us, because of this huge installed base of customer information. There are things we can do and have done and are doing to put us in a better position to reduce our exposure and risk.”

Reduce? That’s right…there are no absolute guarantees in cyberspace.

“Our navigation systems are in a segregated offline network, so we built controls in place to prohibit things like that happening,” Eppinger explained in the Travel Pulse story. “But with every wall you put up, somebody’s always trying to break in, through or around that wall. We do look at it continuously, and whatever the odds are, they’re still too high.”

Carnival, and every business, knows they are at risk of…becoming another Sony.

Today at portsandbows.com: The most popular 'long' cruises

Carnival Ecstasy
4 nights
February 2, 2015
Miami (return): Key WestCozumel
Inside: $169
Cost per day: $42
www.carnival.com

Up In The Air Over Free WiFi!!!

You travel. You cruise. You hear the word "Norwegian" and you don't think about a tall Scandinavian or an Olympic athlete from Norway, competing in Sochi this week. You think about the cruise line.

We did.

Yesterday, another "Norwegian" popped up on our computer and it wasn't an Olympic athlete or a cruise ship.

It was an airline. It's not Norwegian Air, Airlines or Airways. Just Norwegian and you might like to take note of it for two reasons.

One, its fares from North America to Europe are competitive, to say the least. New York to Oslo for $242. New York to Stockholm for $257. New York to London for Norwegian-Anzassin$192. Including taxes, and these are starting prices. Norwegian also flies out of Fort Lauderdale.

Two, Norwegian offers free WiFi (most flights). That's right…fly for six hours and be online the entire time without paying a dime. That's what caught our attention because maybe there will be more free WiFi on airlines…and maybe in time it will spread to cruise ships.

There are reportedly 650,000 locations in 144 countries where you can locate free WiFi by using an app called WiFi Finder. It's also free.

Who doesn't like free stuff…especially when it's WiFi?

Remember. Norwegian is more than a cruise line.

-photo by Anzassin

Norwegian Jade
10 nights
April 2, 2014
Rome (return): OlympiaAthensEphesusIstanbulNaples
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $44
www.ncl.com

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