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A World Class Resort That Likes To Travel

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This is one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s new advertising tag lines meant to promote the soon to debut new Norwegian Epic. Rather than increase my eager anticipation of this new ship (which by the way, I’m very excited to see), this advertising tag stirs some concerns within me.

Just a few weeks ago on my Blog I wrote questioning whether the Oasis of the Seas was going to change the industry
In that blog entry one of the points I discussed was how the cruise lines have viewed land based resorts as their major competition, and this new line of advertising by Norwegian certainly proves the validity of that theory quite emphatically.

There’s no doubt NCL is hoping this advertising strategy will draw a much more positive response from people than it has from me. I honestly don’t see cruises as resorts that happen to float, and I actually become concerned when cruise lines tell me that is their objective.

Some of my thoughts on this may seem incongruous, as I certainly do enjoy itineraries featuring many days at sea, and I definitely like to have all of the creature comforts available. Yet I really don’t want my cruise vacations to be a combination of a trip to Mall of America and Disneyland, or an all inclusive resort in Cancun. In fact I bristle at a hint of that suggestion.

I do enjoy land vacations as well. I’ve gone to Las Vegas for a few days of non-stop action, and enjoyed week long vacations to golf resorts. But I’m not looking for the same thing when I go on a cruise.

In my view cruise lines are taking their “eyes off the ball” when their advertising focuses on the similarities to land based resorts, rather than the differences. For instance – cruise vacations easily facilitate some of the most romantic moments one can experience. It seems to me the industry could creatively, and effectively, find a way to appeal to the millions of people seeking a bit of romance in their lives.

Within the cruise industry, over the past decade, there’s been enormous effort put into establishing a specifically family friendly environment. And many of the cruise lines have done an amazing job of making it so! In fact, comparatively, I think now cruises likely rank as the #1 type of vacation a family could take… and by a considerable degree. Surely the cruise line’s advertising geniuses can find a way to get that message across rather than the generic… we’re a floating resort.

If the cruise industry is setting their goal as being resorts that happen to float, which this type of advertising certainly seems to suggest, I’m afraid they may direct all their energies and policies toward succeeding and reaching that goal.

But frankly I see cruising as offering more than that. Cruising has some magic ingredients involved, but with the success of the industry’s current direction I can see the magic of cruising perhaps getting lost in the industry’s desire to be another resort.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Ryan
Time November 5, 2009 at 4:40 am

Kuki I agree. Well said.

Comment from monkeythyme
Time November 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm

They may as well just say, “It’s not the Oasis, but it’s a darn good mirage!”
I wouldn’t want to publicly link myself to a race in which I am running a distant second.

Comment from kuki
Time November 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Well, I’m personally more interested in the Epic, than Oasis.

However, all the mass market lines lately are “guilty” of pretending to be “resorts”. Not quite sure why they’re not happy being cruise ships.

Comment from ron
Time November 6, 2009 at 9:06 am

You pretty much nailed it Kuki. What’s wrong with being just a cruise ship? There’s something to be said of doing one thing and doing it well, but, unfortunately that’s the trend–be all things to all people. My car insurance company is no longer an insurance company, but a “financial services” company. You can guess how much emphasis they are putting on car insurance.

With their emphasis on families and first time cruisers they are driving away the repeat, adult cruisers who are not motivated by discount fares and loyalty programs, but by a specific product which emphasises great food and quality service above all else. Arison’s genious in the early years was that he knew how to combine elements of a land resorts with ocean voyages into a seamless, near all inclusive package which appealed to adults (mostly) who wanted a worry-free vaction in style and affordability. That business model has been hollowed out to such an extent that it no longer really exists, at least from what I can gather from posts on this forum as well as others. This demographic is drifting to the high end lines (if they can afford it) or to all inclusives. You would think that they would retain the traditional, adult business models in their premium brands, such as Celebrity and Holland America, but they too have gone the way of the mass lines, only with a little more gloss. Personally, I feel the cruise lines need to think long and hard about the effects of cheapening their product and of alienating this demographic, because it’s going to be very hard to get them back once they’re turned off.

Comment from monkeythyme
Time November 7, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I did not intend to imply that I consider Oasis superior as a cruise ship, but as a floating resort, I would not try to take it on with a “resort” 3/4 its size. I do find Epic’s studio staterooms with their shared areas more interesting than the inward-facing balconies of Oasis, probably because I have already tried the promenade cabin on Navigator.

Comment from jaxon
Time November 10, 2009 at 3:10 pm

The problem I see is that they are setting up expectations which will not be met. If the competition are the all-inclusives, then you can’t charge for a variety of dining experiences when the all-inclusives do not. You can’t charge for the booze, when the all-inclusives do not. Ditto ocean toys, snorkeling excursions, etc. which are sometimes included in an all-inclusive.
While I don’t think it is a bad slogan, I would agree that perhaps the focus should be on the romance of cruising, and the elegance (much of which is fading with the push towards family friendly). I think the best commercials for cruising I ever saw were the Celebrity ads where the lady descends the stairs like she just won the Oscar, and the guy in the casino was playing Bogart. Those brought the romance in, but the appeal was to we older folks, and I don’t think they care about that demographic much any more.

Comment from ron
Time November 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Exactly. I agree with everything you mention. I do feel that the mainstream lines, whether intending to or not, are abandoning, this demographic. I disagree with Paul that there are 100,000 berths on any given week available to this demographic and I do agree with Kuki that all of the mainstream lines — to one degree or another– are attempting to attract the family crowd, at least on the 7-9 day or shorter cruises. The cruise lines would probably argue that what’s left — the longer cruises on the premium lines, or European cruises, or off-season cruises are geared to the older traditional crowd, and I would tend to agree with that somewhat. But what happens if you don’t want (or can’t afford) a 17 day Baltic cruise? I also agree with your Celebrity ad comments — there is (or can be) a mystique and romance to cruising which is all it’s own. Maybe problems with keeping those 100,000 berths filled each week dictates the “all things to all people” approach, I don’t know. When times are tough it’s hard to lay off some ships.

Comment from Ricky
Time November 20, 2009 at 3:40 am

Look, i have never go there and neither use their services but heard from my visited friends that it is really awesome!

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