Mark Tamis, Cat in the Hat and Carolyn Lombardi
The world's largest cruise line teams up with the most popular children's characters.
Having special characters kids love on board cruise ships started with Premier Cruises sailing out of Port Canaveral back in the early 1990s. The line was the first to feature special events for kids when it forged an agreement with Disney to feature Disney characters in costume aboard its ships.
The idea was so successful that Disney started its own cruise line in 1999, and now there are four Disney ships that sell for premium prices and sail full year round. In fact, Disney characters are so popular it's considered impolite to even refer to them as characters in costume.
It didn't take long for other cruise lines to catch on. Norwegian Cruise Line soon partnered with Nickelodeon television to feature “character experiences” from the channel’s cartoon stars like SpongeBob Squarepants and Dora. Several years ago Royal Caribbean brought aboard characters from DreamWorks Animation such as Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and Fiona. All of these cruise lines incorporated these popular characters into special events for families and kids onboard.
But for years the only character Carnival had onboard was FunShip Freddy, a Carnival-exclusive mascot who unfortunately never had an individual story or history. But FunShip Freddy is about to acquire a number of new friends. Carnival cruise line has just entered into an agreement with the Dr. Seuss family of characters in a new exclusive partnership called "Seuss at Sea" in affiliation with Seuss Enterprises, the company that manages all of the books, movies and merchandising affiliated with the stories and characters created by the infamous Dr. Seuss. These books include Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Horton Hears a Who and many more.
What makes this one of the more important character affiliations in the cruise business is that adults are as equally familiar with Dr. Seuss characters as their children. This is also true of Disney characters, but not so much with Nickelodeon and DreamWorks characters. Most of the adults sailing on Carnival ships today grew up reading their own Dr. Seuss books and then read them to their children. In fact, Dr. Seuss could be the most popular children's book author ever. There are 44 Dr. Seuss titles and half a billion books that have been translated and sold in 19 countries.
The Dr. Seuss on Carnival Program
according to the announcement last week, the first Carnival "Seuss at Sea" experience will take place aboard the New York-based Carnival Splendor beginning in February 2014. The cruise line plans to have Dr. Seuss characters on at least 10 ships by the end of 2014 and the program will be running throughout the entire Carnival fleet in 2015. In addition, when Carnival Freedom undertakes a major refurbishment this coming May it will receive a dedicated "Dr. Seuss Bookville" space with thematic Dr. Seuss décor, furniture and interactive playthings. The brand-new Carnival Vista, scheduled for completion in 2016 as the largest Carnival ship ever will also have the same dedicated space.
Special activities will include a "Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with Cat in the Hat and Friends" where waiters will wear wigs like "Thing" and the food will, of course, include green eggs with him and pancakes stacked in a wacky manner. This breakfast will be offered on the first day at sea of every cruise for a modest $5 per person.
The next Dr. Seuss event will be the "Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade" along the ship’s promenade deck featuring characters from The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Green Eggs and Ham. Children's facilities will have Dr. Seuss story time with character experiences and the poolside big screen "Dive in Movies" at night will feature Dr. Seuss films.
Even Better for Families
Carnival has long been known as one of the better values for family cruises. On my last Carnival cruise on the newest ship in the fleet, Carnival Breeze, I witnessed many kids obviously having a very fun time. I spoke to a number of parents who told me the children's programs on Carnival have gotten better and better over the last few years. Another new feature Carnival added recently is special family game time sponsored by the Hasbro company.
With Dr. Seuss, Carnival has now teamed up yet another one of the most popular and memorable children's companies ever. I think the idea will especially appeal to parents who have their own fondness for Dr. Seuss characters. These parents already know their children love Dr. Seuss.
The two people at Carnival cruise line behind this initiative are Mark Tamis, SVP guest operations, and Carolyn Lombardi director of youth experience for the cruise line. We say "congratulations" to both of them and to Carnival Cruise Lines.