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Princess Return To TV Advertising Quite A Fit

You may not have noticed but Princess Cruises went 10 years without advertising on network television.

That has changed, effective 2014.

There we were, sitting in front of the TV on Friday night watching our "must-not-miss" show (Blue Bloods), when on came a Princess commercial about how its CBS-Blue Bloodscruise vacations can "transform and enrich" lives…how passengers can go on a cruise and "come back new." That's the motto of the campaign that you will see online and on four major networks: CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX.

By picking Blue Bloods (CBS) for placement, Princess has struck a chord. With more than 14 million viewers, the show is enjoying its best of four seasons in the sometimes fickle world of prime-time police dramas. With its clever writing (our opinion) and ideal cast (our opinion), it has made a TV star, again, of Tom Selleck.

In fact, last year the subject came up with Gavin MacLeod, the former captain of The Love Boat and ever since a public relations guru for Princess Cruises. Here's what Gavin had to say about Tom Selleck:

"He could be President."

Hmm, did The Love Boat captain have any say in the decision to put Princess ads on Blue Bloods?

Norwegian Jade
10 nights
March 12, 2014
Rome (return): OlympiaAthensEphesusIstanbulNaples
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $54
www.ncl.com

Chance to Watch Travel Detective at Work Starts Monday on Public Television

On Monday, there's a new series starting on public television that will be of interest to anybody who travels…and anybody who does may have already heard of the Travel Detective because Peter Greenberg has been doing this for a while. But this is intriguing because he's never empowered his audience with a weekly TV show before, and because it left us with a curious question.

Greenberg is the travel editor at CBS. He has worked for all three major networks, won an Emmy, produced a radio show on travel and published PeterGreenbergbooks as The Travel Detective. As an aside, he is also travel ambassador for AARP and a volunteer firefighter.

Credibility is his middle name.

The weekly series — The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg — has 42 half-hour episodes. Naturally, it's not clear how many of them will specifically deal with cruising, but going on a cruise is not just about the ship. It's also about planes and trains and automobiles, not to mention ports and countries and things to see. In short, anything that can help travelers can likely help cruisers.

Among the things he proposes to tell viewers are how to find that frequent flyer seat when airlines say there are none, how to navigate security lines more successfully, where to go and where not to go and a look behind the scenes of cruise lines, rental car companies and trains to reveal the "good, bad and sometimes ugly" sides of travel.

And that raises our curious question:

Since one of the show's three sponsors is Norwegian Cruise Line, will the investigations of the "travel detective" include Norwegian ships?

Photo by Ed Schipul 

Norwegian Jewel
7 nights
December 8, 2013
New Orleans (return): CozumelBelizeRoatanCosta Maya
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71
www.ncl.com

Cruising Notes on the Boats

The right price…………………………………………………………………….……$1,545
May 23, August 29, September 5 or 12, 2011:
8 days
Ship: A Scenic Tours river ship
Departure:
Budapest to Nuremberg (or the reverse)
Bonus: Price is per person but is a 2-for-1; all shore excursions and all gratuities included
Contact:
WOW Travel Deals

* * *

Just in case you didn’t think there was a theme cruise for everyone, how’s this for a tripleheader?

If you love good (bias showing here) music from the past, there’s a Beatles Tribute cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas (March 5).

If you’re into right-wing politics, there’s a Mike Huckabee cruise on the Sapphire Princess (June 5).

And if you’re a Brady Bunch buff, Florence Henderson herself will take two of her TV kids on a Ballroom Dance Celebration at Sea, aboard the Celebrity Eclipse (January 2012).

Since there are more Beatlemanias than Huckabeers or Hendersonites, the Liberty of the Seas cruise warrants more enlightenment. Among the invited guests who will entertain the fans are a member of Paul McCartney’s band Wings (Laurence Juber), a tribute band called Yesterday, a true Beatles artist named Shannon (she also paints them) and a man of whom McCartney once said: “If you want to know anything about the Beatles, ask Tony Bramwell [right]. He remembers more than I do.”

You can say these are all people making a living off the Beatles, or you can say they’re sharing their particular insight of the world’s greatest band, for a price. We prefer the latter.
* * *

There was to be a fourth theme cruise in this blog today, because there was a Wizards At Sea cruise featuring everything Harry Potter, on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas in August. If you click on the promoter’s website, you’ll notice the cruise was canceled for “reasons beyond our control” and that this is an unofficial gathering of Harry Potter fans, also that no copyright nor trademark infringement is intended.

Should that be “was” intended?
* * *

Guess we’ll have to wait until one Monday night in February to find out which cruise ship is going to show up in Hawaii Five-O, the hugely popular new/old show on CBS, because nobody’s saying…yet.

Actor Nick Lachey and his fiancee, Vanessa Minnillo, have been cast to play an engaged couple on the show. Apparently she — yes, SHE — is working as a deckhand on a cruise ship that’s taken hostage by pirates.

Out of real life come new ideas for TV scripts. You don’t think they filmed it off Somalia, do you?
* * *

This one is probably a sign of things to come. Royal Caribbean’s frequent cruiser program — Crown & Anchor Society — has been changed, from cruise credits to cruise points. Passengers now get one point for every night spent on a Royal Caribbean ship and instead of four status levels, there are now six: Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club. The two new ones are Emerald and the highest level, Pinnacle Club.

The current status of all C&A members will be grandfathered — no change despite the new qualifying levels.

Will it be long before all cruise lines create a more sophisticated loyalty program like this one, which gives the line more flexibility with rewards and which means somebody taking a 14-day cruise receives more credit than somebody on a 5-day cruise, as it should be.
* * *

That’s it, we’re done.

Cruising Notes from the Boats

The right price………………..$349
January 14, 2011:
7 nights    
Ship:
Costa Atlantica
Departure:
Miami return
Bonus:
Balconies just $549, Suite for $999
Contact:
iCruise.com or 1-800-427-8473
* * *
In the latest issue of her monthly magazine, O, TV super star Oprah Winfrey named her favorite things, and one of them — first identified on her show — is Allure of the Seas. Tomorrow, it’s expected a full load of 6,000 or so passengers will feel the same way on the Royal Caribbean mega ship’s inaugural voyage.

Seven members from Oprah’s TV audience were given a 7-day cruise for two on the Allure. Tomorrow’s trip leaves Fort Lauderdale at 5 p.m. (EDT) and makes three stops — Labadee (Royal’s private island in Haiti), Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico. When it goes west, Oasis of the Seas goes east. The ships alternate this itineraries every week, always from Fort Lauderdale on Saturday (Oasis) and Sunday (Allure).

That means today is the last time the two will be in port together. Their combined presence is already having an impact on what other lines do, initially at least in the summer, a slower time for Caribbean cruises. Norwegian sends its Epic to Europe for the summer, and joins Princess, Celebrity and Holland America as lines with no ships anywhere in Florida next summer.
* * *

It was probably just a matter of time until cruising became a subject for Undercover Boss, the popular CBS reality show that sends an executive to work undercover in his or her company to find out what life at the bottom is really like. The cruise executive was Kevin Sheehan, the No. 1 guy at Norwegian Cruise Lines, and the show is due “in the next few weeks.”

Sheehan went undercover on two NCL ships, the Epic and the Pride of America, which sails around the Hawaiian Islands. Without giving anything away prior to the show’s airing, Sheehan simply says: “It was an eye-opening experience.”

Undercover Boss airs at 9 p.m. on Sundays.
* * *
Strangest thing we saw during our 4-hour visit on the Allure in Fort Lauderdale, between its two-day promotional cruises: a woman walking into a bar in her bathrobe.
* * *
Some of the nicest people you meet work on cruise ships, and it’s not always because they’re taught to smile and say hello to the customers. When you hear what a group of Carnival employees did, you’ll know what we mean…

After Hurricane Tomas ripped through St. Lucia last month, there was a need for emergency supplies. A group of employees from the Carnival Miracle — which stops in St. Lucia — delivered clothing, mattresses and other much-needed items on behalf of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 15 member cruise lines.
* * *
That’s it, we’re done.

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