Posts Tagged ‘cruise’

When to book your Caribbean Cruise for the best price

The infographic below guides you on how far in advance you should book, and the season to set sail for the best deal on a Caribbean cruise.  This provides a framework for planning, from which you can then narrow down your specific destinations, cruise duration, cabin type and ship segment.   Based on actual pricing* from 26 cruise lines and 144 cruise ships representing over 7,500  sailings in the Caribbean and Bahamas between September 1, 2010 to November 30, 2013, it just goes to show a little advance planning  can save a lot of money per person per day on your cruise itinerary.

Interestingly, unlike its European infograph counterpart, Caribbean cruises get more expensive each month closer to the sail on date - so no penalty for booking well in advance!

* Cruise Market Watch total weighted average price (per per person per day) across all cabin categories.

Best time to purchase a European cruise

Cruise prices vary not only based on destination, number of nights booked, cabin type and ship segment but are also dependent on the season you set sail and how far in advance you buy. The same cruise itinerary can cost you a lot less per person per day if you book your ticket for the right season and the right number of months in advance. This infographic* can help you figure out the best time of year to go on a European cruise by highlighting prices by season and how far in advance you should book to get the best deal. The "rule of thumb for a European cruise" graphic requires little additional editorial comment. The only question that remains is what you will do with the money you save?

* Cruise Market Watch total weighted average price (per day per person) across all cabin categories from 30 cruise lines and 163 ships representing over 8,500 sailings in northern and southern Europe between September 1, 2010 to November 30, 2013.

Paint with numbers

People might be tempted to stereotype statisticians and other data crunchers as being heavily math leaning, if not somewhat lacking of the artistic gene.  Not always so.  The telling of an easy-to-comprehend story from a complex data set is really a skillful art.  It is the same thing with finding creative ways to use the sometimes massive quantities of information in a database.  Out of the box thinking can provide new value to users in ways they never imagined.

Take the folks over at  They dared to color outside the lines and developed a neat little port crowd calculator widget.

That could be a point of differentiation in the commoditized world of online cruise booking.  As one of history’s greatest artists/designers Coco Channel said “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

Cruise Ship Segmentation

Segmentation is happening all around us every day; SUV or economy? Soda or energy drink? VP or Junior Analyst?  Cruise ships are no different – they each have distinct characteristics which we mentally place into groups (large and small, luxury and well, yes cheap).  But what happens if we let the numbers speak for themselves?   Cruise Market Watch developed a statistical model based on similarities within three dimensions:

  • ~ average duration of cruise
  • ~ average price per person per day (weighted across all cabin categories)
  • ~ ship passenger capacity

From 221 different cruise ships accounting for over 9,000 sailings in the next 12 months, our model produced 10 distinctive cruise ship segments.

Each segment describes, based on the data provided, the “class” to which its members belong (naming the segments is, however, more art than science). Segment members are mathematically most similar to each other along the three dimensions, and most dissimilar to members of the other groups.

Interact with the graph below by clicking segment selector and discover each segment’s averages and ship members.  And yes, Oasis and Allure really are in a class all by themselves.  The math is un-biased, so don’t hate.


Six degrees of rock cruise separation or the top five rock cruises

Johnny Bolin Facebook friended me the other day!  Johnny played drums for Mid-western hair metal band Dare Force when I saw them back in 1985 at The Patio in Sioux City Iowa. These days he is drumming for Black Oak Arkansas, which played in this year’s Tommy Bolin Tribute Music Festival alongside Ghost Ship, whose guitarist Rick Moore is the same long time friend from high school with whom I saw Dare Force.

Tommy Bolin

Cover of Tommy Bolin

When telling my sister Chris about this post, she told me she once happened to sit next to Johnny on a flight to L.A. Oddly enough, Chris was on a mission to deliver a guitar to her friend, wife of T.S.O.L. guitarist Ron Emory.  I digress, bear with me.

Separately, a recent Google search for guitarist Pat Travers revealed he is appearing on the Rock Legends II cruise.  Looking further into the details, the artist line up includes none-other than... yep, Black Oak Arkansas.

Now that got me wondering.  What other rock cruises are out there?  Below is my list of the top five rock cruises, followed with more six degrees of rock cruise separation.

Rank Photo Cruise Comments Featuring
Black Oak Arkansas
Cover of Black Oak Arkansas
Rock Legends II
  • Packed full of acts
  • On 10-Jan-13
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Liberty of the Seas from Royal Caribbean
Foreigner, Paul Rodgers, Creedence Clearwater, Kansas, 38 Special, Marshal Tucker, Blue Oyster Cult and Black Oak Arkansas among others

311 Eighteen

311 Eighteen (Photo credit: EWatson92)

311 Caribbean Cruise 311
Kid Rock
Chillin' The Most
  • Yes, departs directly after the 311 Cruise!
  • On 6-Mar-13
  • Miami, FL
  • Norwegian Pearl from Norwegian Cruise Line
Kid Rock
Take Your Time (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Take Your Time (Lynyrd Skynyrd) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Simple Man Cruise
  • Possibly the original rock cruise now at ten years and counting.  Rumored to have ran out of beer and broken the Carnival Inspiration’s alcohol sales record in 2008.
  • On 27-Oct-12
  • Miami, FL
  • Norwegian Pearl (again!) from Norwegian Cruise Line
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Doobie Brothers

Shiprocked 2010

Shiprocked 2010 (Photo credit: Niki Barr Band Photos)

  • Ranks first for best rock cruise name and hardest rocking acts!
  • On 27-Nov-12
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Poesia of MSC Cruises
Godsmack, Sevendust, Filter, Fuel, P.O.D, KORN

Ok, so here it goes - our “six” (or more) degrees of rock cruise separation.

First we start with Kid Rock (Chilln’ The Most Cruise)

  • - Kid Rock performed the track “The School of Old” by Run-D.M.C.
  • - they created the track “Here We Go 2001” that was performed by Sugar Ray
  • - they created the track “Stay On” that was performed by Nick Hexum of 311 (311 Caribbean Cruise)
  • - that group’s fusion of reggae and rap-metal was created in Omaha, Nebraska
  • - that is just 90 miles south of drummer Johnny Bolin’s home town
  • - he is playing with Black Oak Arkansas
  • - they are playing on Rock Legends II Cruise with .38 Special
  • - who has member Larry Junstrom
  • - he was a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd (Simple Man Cruise)
  • - who has member Michael Cartellone
  • - he was a member of Damn Yankees
  • - who has member Ted Nugent
  • - he created the track “Cat Scratch Fever” which was performed by Godsmack (ShipRocked Cruise)

And so there you have it - the top five rock cruises and the six-or-so degrees of separation between them.  Assistance provided by 6 Degrees of Black Sabbath and All Music Guide.

Related articles 


Norwegian Cruise Line ad account under review

Ad Age is reporting Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is putting its current creative advertising account up for review.  The account, valued at $50 million, has been handled by the Austin based Idea City for the last five years.

Headquarters of Norwegian Cruise Line
Image via Wikipedia

The Idea City ad campaigns have focused on driving home the message NCL is different in a “freestyling” way.  The TV spots showed, tongue in cheek, what it might feel like to dine on a competitor’s cruise ship – one featuring traditional fixed dining times and formal attire.

Speculation is NCL is making the change as part of its planned stock IPO (initial public offering).  Increased visibility could help the pricing of an initial offering of its stock. NCL has not shied away from publicity, being featured on CNBC's Cruise, Inc. "Big Money on the High Seas" and more recently in "Undercover Boss," a reality show where CEO, Kevin Sheehan worked alongside NCL onboard staff.

NCL, with it's 50% owner Star Cruises, together control a 7.7% share of the 2011 worldwide cruise market.

According to Ad Age, a pitch has already been delivered by Pile & Co. of Boston.  Idea City is expected to defend the account and NCL is shopping other agencies.  Regardless of what agency takes over, look for a new ad campaign to be hitting print and broadcast media in approximately six months.

Carnival Splendor no lasting impact to cruise demand

There are obvious costs to Carnival related to the recent fire aboard the Splendor; needed repairs as well as lost revenue from 4,500 passengers on each potential sailing (scheduled to resume sailings on February 20).  Carnival has reported the loss to earnings at 7 cents a share in the fourth quarter.  There will likely be several more cents impact in the first quarter.

Pop-Tarts Frosted Strawberry

Image via Wikipedia

But are there any other “hidden” costs to Carnival?  Might there be any damage to the image of cruising or negative buzz generated from the major media exposure that could keep potential cruisers who are “on the fence” from booking a cruise?

Not really – at least according travel agents in the most recent Cruise Pulse survey.  The incident clearly had little if any impact to cruise demand.

Just 10.1% of agents indicated demand and inquires decreased and then only briefly and just for Carnival Cruises specifically.

  • Comments from travel agents included:
  • ~"Cruises stayed the same but no one wanted Carnival at all."
  • ~"Just a lot of jokes about the Spam and Pop Tarts and wonder why there was no better backup generator."
  • ~"Our agency does a large volume of group bookings… have had inquiries about Splendor but no cancellations."
  • ~"My store is in San Diego where the Splendor was towed. We had a Cruise Show that week and had our biggest turnout."
  • ~"Ever so slightly the first week, but generally we could talk people through the issue."

Web search research firm Compete made some interesting observations.  “The newsworthy events off the coast of Mexico back in early November definitely generated buzz for Carnival Cruises, but the buzz resulted in increased demand across a broad suite of sites not named”  In other words, people searching for Carnival or Splendor specifically were less likely to be directed to the brand itself ( or a cruise booking site) and web searchers were more likely to wind up at a news story.

The increased exposure, however, seems to not have turned into be a bad thing.  Consumers understand travel carries certain risks - snow storms result in overnight waits for planes at airports for example.

Cruiseology 101

The Cruise Ship In Miami

The Cruise Ship In Miami (Photo credit: Stuart Herbert)

Seatrade's Cruise Shipping Miami conference is awesome!  Got some great feedback from the State of the Industry and Luxury Cruise conferences which certainly will find its way (cruise value) into this blog (cruise value).

I was introducing myself today as a "cruiseologist."  Why?  What is more memorable, "Hi I'm Dave" or "Hi, I'm Dave, Cruiseologist"?  Silly? Not really.  The marketing point is, when you have less than 1 minute to meet someone and make an impression, make it memorable.

Royal Caribbean’s ad campaign “Get Out There” is going, going, gone…

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Royal Caribbean and new agency partner JWT are launching a new ad campaign Monday, November 10.

The launch follows by only a few days Carnival’s new campaign – interestingly with former Royal Caribbean agency Arnold.

Royal Caribbean is sailing away from the successful 9-year-old "Get Out There."  The new campaign is dubbed "The Nation of Why Not."  The Nation of Why Not kicks off with two television commercials (30-second and 60- second versions) inviting vacationers to secede from land and become citizens of “the nation.” The tongue-in-cheek spots - a combination of live action and animation - begin November 10, during morning show programming on ABC and NBC television networks, and during primetime programming on ABC and CBS. The commercials highlight Royal Caribbean’s global destinations.


The reason given by the Wall Street Journal is RCL is going after more revenues from European and Asian consumers. WSJ cites Royal Caribbean’s third-quarter earnings call last week when it was stated that more than 40% of revenues will come from outside of North America in 2009 , up from 30% last year.

While that may be true, I think the strategy is larger than that.  After all, 60% of revenues will still be from North America.  “The Nation of Why Not” may also be a smart, timely play off the recent historic election and current forward-looking mentality towards economic recovery.  In addition, research shows destinations play an important role in consumer cruise choices, so RCL may be promoting its depth of destination alternatives to U.S. consumers.

The ads creatively challenge viewers to do things at sea that they could not do on land, such as “Why not ice skate on the equator and climb mountains at sea?” Additionally, print ads will launch in forty newspapers nationwide on Sunday, November 16, 2008.

Travel and cruise industry professionals will be introduced to The Nation of Why Not on Monday, November 17, with the first edition of “The Why Not Herald,” an insert in key travel trade publications across the United States and Canada. Subsequent editions will feature the new brand campaign’s print advertisements.

See the Nation of Why Not 

Updated 10/10/08


Defeated candidate to “go on a cruise.”

Perhaps the “mortgage meltdownbooking trends can be defeated post election.  That is, if all candidates follow Democrat Ian McGaughey’s lead.

After losing the 112th Assembly District election in upstate New York to Republican Anthony Jordan, McGaughey “plans to get married Nov. 12 and go on a cruise.”






McGaughey, a businessman from Wilton told supporters he knew he had to run an uphill campaign in the predominantly Republican Assembly district and was proud of his effort in the race. The job came with a two-year term and a $79,500 salary.

The 112th Assembly District includes all of Washington County New York, five Saratoga County towns (Wilton, Malta, Saratoga, Northumberland and Stillwater) and the city of Mechanicville.

No word yet on which cruise line was chosen.

Reminds me of the genius and long running "I'm going to Disney World" spots that have been shown after each Superbowl since 1987 and now include American Idol winners.


Source: Schenectady Gazette