Posts Tagged ‘Cruises’

Cruises Becoming Increasingly Popular Among Younger Holidaymakers

Zenith

Zenith (Photo credit: lotsemann)

A new study aiming to discover the holiday preferences among young Britons has revealed an increase in the popularity of cruises among young adult holidaymakers.

The research was carried out and released by www.bonvoyage.co.uk; the site polled a total of 1,647 UK adults aged 18-30 on their recent holiday choices. Of those questioned, 17% stated that they had been on a cruise holiday within the past five years. 61% of these people went on the cruise with their parents and other family members, whilst 22% cruised with a partner, and 11% went as a group of friends. 5% stated that they went on the cruise alone as a part of a solo travelling gap year or work experience.

When asked if they would go on a cruise holiday again, 88% said that they would do so, with 9% stating they had already begun the booking and planning process of their next cruise. When asked to choose the main reasons as to why booking another cruise holiday appeals to them, the top answers emerged as follows:

1.       The varied activities offered on board (62%)

2.       The money-saving aspects of an all-inclusive cruise (food/drink/entertainment etc.) (54%)

3.       Less stressful to organize and book excursions (44%)

4.       The opportunity to visit multiple destinations in one holiday (37%)

5.       More appealing than alternative holiday options (23%)

bonvoyage.co.uk also noticed a 38% increase in the number of 18-30 year olds booking cruises over the past year.

Steph Curtin, Cruise Development Manager at bonvoyage.co.uk, made the following comments regarding the findings of the study:

“I cannot say that I am at all surprised that the popularity of cruises seems to be rising among the 18-30s, who are clearly bored with the traditional types of beach holidays that seem to be associated with their age groups. The fact is, that for the same price as a 2 week self-catering beach holiday, someone could get a really great all inclusive cruise.”

She continued, “There may be some sort of stereotype that cruises are only for middle-aged and elderly holiday makers, but cruise companies are continually introducing new activities and forms of entertainment on board. There are also more excursions targeted at younger people being offered to customers on board many ships.”

Anecdotally, Cruise Market Watch expects the importance of reason #2 to grow as price of air travel and hotel have increased recently relative to the price of a cruise.

A picture is worth nine-thousand cruises

Use of the phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words" is thought to have originated from a 1921 article by Fred R. Barnard in the trade journal Printers' Ink, where he advocated the use of images in advertisements on streetcars.

Our friends at Mavens of London continue the tradition of making communications smart and effective.  They created this really cool info graph with Cruise Market Watch data (from financial breakdown of typical cruiser and 2012 passenger sourcing by region) to represent, quite literally, over nine thousand cruises from around the world.  Click on image to enlarge.




 

 

Premium Cruise Line Celebrity Generating Buzz with Solstice

Solstices occur twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is oriented directly towards or away from the Sun.

An inaugural launch like Celebrity’s Solstice, however, occurs just once. Celebrity is reaching new cruise line marketing heights in getting its pod chirping.

The blogosphere abounds with buzz.

That fits in with green strategy.  So does naming Professor Sharon L. Smith, an ocean scientist, as the ship Godmother.

It all adds up to good marketing by Celebrity - it’s one Solstice I wont soon forget.

 

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

 

View from under a cruise ship

Starting with the most recognizable object, the anchor.  It weighs more than 10,500 kilograms, or 23,00 lbs and is attached to 13 lengths of anchor chain. Each length is 15 fathoms or 90 feet.

The large "odd shaped" object protruding from the front of the ship is the "bulbous bow." Used in most large modern ships with long, narrow hulls such as navy vessels, freighters and passenger ships the bulb modifies water flow around the hull reducing drag and increasing stability and speed. It also improves the "islands per gallon" 🙂 extending range up to 15 percent.

The "fan things" on the side are the bow thrusters. They allow the ship to turn in port. Only used at slow speeds or when stopped, they have reversible propellers to push the ship’s bow to port (left) or to starboard (right). When the bow thrusters are operated together with the pods (located at the stern of the ship) the ship is able to move sideways or turn on a dime.

The last photo is taken from directly under the ship at the bottom of the hull. The 101,353 ton Destiny (the first passenger ship to have exceed 83,676 tons since the Queen Elizabeth launched in 1938) is carefully positioned and lowered on the resting blocks shown in the photo.  Then the formerly submerged portions of the ship are cleaned and coated with anti-corrosive and anti-marine growth paint. They've also been using a new hull paint that reduces the ship's drag in the water.

 

Cruise value will be enough to manage economic slowdown.

One can make an argument that the slowdown, over the long term, may actually help the cruise industry. Hear me out.

Yes, in recent weeks there has been a decline in bookings and some price drops as a response. Declines have also been noted here in our CruiseSearch and Cruise Price indexes.

Once the initial panic to the stock market fall stabilizes, vacationers will begin to feel less stressed, adjusted to their current economic circumstances and more comfortable to begin booking again. This will happen soon.

Over the longer period of a recession, I believe vacations (perhaps considered a luxury to previous generations) are now considered a necessity.  Even in this economic slowdown, people will still be looking for something to do – just searching for a better vacation value.

This will mean:

  • Families who were thinking 7 day cruises will now be booking 4 or 5 day cruises (shorter cruises in-fact, might prompt higher per-day per passenger on-board spending).
  • But most importantly, non-cruisers who were considering a different type (more expensive/less value) of vacation may now consider a cruise.

Where else can you find for as little as $100 per person per night?

  • Breakfast, lunch and a lobster tail sit down dinner – every day
  • Water-park
  • Nightly Vegas style entertainment
  • Hotel room accommodations
  • Travel to exotic destinations
  • Casino, shopping etc. etc.,

No doubt, the oncoming recession is serious. Cruise lines earnings per share will be impacted. To keep prices low and cabins filled cruise lines will make:

  • additional expansions to local ports of call (further reducing consumer's travel costs)
  • more pricing segregation on ships – meaning less access to fewer included amenities for lower priced berths.
  • fewer all-inclusive amenities overall and more charges for on-board services.

My point is the recession may actually stimulate some non-cruisers to try one for the first time due to the value.  Over the long term, this would further expand the market and positioning cruise lines for even more success in the future. To make this happen during these rough economic times, cruise lines must not back-off promotions, advertising the worry free escapism and value cruises offer.

 

The Mortgage Meltdown: The Consumer Behavior Impact

 

The current crisis will be reminiscent of the post 911 "cocooning" phenomena that lead, to among other things, a revolution in kitchen home remodeling towards creating larger and more accommodating spaces to share and enjoy with friends and family.

A new post "Mortgage Meltdown" economy will manifest itself in everything from food (smaller portions) to shopping (socially and environmentally conscious) and excursions (healthy, smaller social footprint).  For the next several years, keywords will be caring, self-consciousness, reflection on "what's really important" and restraint - the opposite of anything appearing as gluttony or greed.

According to a new Ad Age article, Celebrity "is said to be pondering whether its messaging, which uses the 'Starring you' tagline to focus on the pampering, indulgent treatment it offers guests, is right for the economically challenged times."

 

Turmultous Ride for Carnival Stock Price

Carnival shares have certainly experienced considerable volatility the past few weeks, rebounding from 3-year lows in early July only to be knocked down a second time. Given an unusually aggressive analyst downgrade, possibility of high long-term oil prices and a stunningly scary national economy the pps is actually holding up pretty well.

The short-term technicals indicated a buy signal when the stock bounced after the downgrade news, moving back above the $34 mark.

PPS rode below the lower bollinger band, RSI turned up, MACD line turned up and Slow Stochastics headed above the 20 mark (note arrows in chart, click for details).

Today, CCL has resistance in the lower $37's and I would sell a move into that area.

In the mid-term range the stock is likely to test the $30 area again. A move below support at $34 indicates a short sell opportunity with a cover at $30.

Deutsche Securities massive one time -39% drop in price target for Carnival to $32 from $52.50 was intriguing.  He cited Carnival’s “need [for] a ‘strategic shift’ to cope with high fuel prices and shipbuilding costs.” Suggesting “with rising shipbuilding costs exacerbating this issue, we believe that Carnival needs to shift to a returns-driven philosophy, where the group raises cruise prices and reduces commissions.”

Interestingly with all the recent shipbuilding activity, there comes a danger of overbuilding - if one company adds a ship, then the other company needs to add one too just to maintain its market share. The challenge will be to know when to stop short of "mutually assured over capacity."

Long-term it is widely agreed there is much positive growth remaining for cruise lines. But with a tougher economy as a possibility over the next couple of years, and higher fuel costs cutting into margins, the danger remains that the more expensive cabins will not be filled or require discounting. Cruise lines need to increase the number of high ticket paying passengers through marketing. But higher end travelers tend to be more fickle, since they have many more options available to them.

In a related note, Susquehanna Financials monthly survey of cruise travel agents found that advance cruise bookings in August fell 6.1% year-over- year, the worst decline recorded since the survey began three years ago. Prices ticked up 2.9%.

This exactly mirrors and supports the findings from both the August 2008 CruiseSearch Index and Cruise Price Index.

 

Mobile applications for increasing on-board revenues

Here is an idea.  Symbolically shed the vestiges of corporate life and ritually transition into the freestyle cruising culture.

Encourage owners to bring their Blackberry’s and iphones and upload a NCL widget.  In a fun and lighthearted way users would transform their “electronic lease” into a “personal freestyle cruising digital assistant.”

Talk about fish swimming against the school!

The widget would become passenger’s freestyle 2.0 on their phone - leading them through the leisure metamorphosis  - displaying shipboard services, event calendar, download pictures from phone to personal web page, delivering messages and even facilitating epayments.

Benefits:

  • The ritual transition communicates and strengthens the brand positioning
  • The widget tool increases and facilitates on-board spending
  • Acts as a retention device as the widget facilitates sending future “reminders” of the “freestyling” times once the passenger has returned back into the corporate office - along with offers to book next years vacation
  • First to market enhances image versus competition – particularly among a key market segment of business class professionals
  • Function off shipboard wifi or cell service

For example, a mobile campaign for Smirnoff vodka loads an application onto a user’s phone that guides them through how to include Smirnoff into a fun evening.  Users can enter the social situation they find themselves in – a business dinner, night out with the guys, or first date –and receive suggestions as to what cocktail order would be most appropriate for the situation.

The application even takes advantage of cross-promotional opportunities, suggesting bars and restaurants that are strategic partners, located in cities around the world, so that a business traveler can find an appropriate place to go while in a strange city.  And at the end of the night, the application will even call you a cab and give you directions back to your hotel.

Holland America has taken the first step in this direction with its custom e-brochures.

 

Cruise Ship 2.0

Web 2.0 is linking people.

Cruise 2.0 is linking cruisers to booking agents, travel discounters, reviews (by actual cruisers not professional critics) and self-created travel blogs.  Where is it going?

The article "Understanding the Psyche of Tomorrow's Travellers" states future cruisers “have grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, where landline telephones are considered a waste of space as they live on their cell phones and communicate via texting…prospective college roommates have already checked each other out on social networking sites, where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.”

The trend is already picking up considerable momentum.  A recent article from Theodore Koumelis "Web 2.0 playing big role in decision process" states "research conducted in August 2008 by Prophis Research with online US adults has shown that, when compared with a range of offline and online sources for travel decision-making, Internet sources are largely seen to be near the top of the list."

I envision a cruise ship version of classmates.com.  Select the line, ship and date.  Proudly receive a “badge” (an electronic version of state stickers RV vacationers place on their vehicles).  This automatically invites you to link to all others who were passengers on the same ship – opening communication channels to facilitate discussions, share photos, blogs, videos etc.,  Additionally, this would be a multilingual site (as another Koumelis article importantly points out) to facilitate the expansive international cruise and online growth.

The website would facilitate communication about:

  • who else was on your cruise ship at the same time as you?
  • what they thought of the experience, or what other cruises they would recommend?
  • where they booked their travel or what they paid for the same trip?
  • What they recommend for on-board and offshore activities?
  • Ever meet someone on-board you want to get into contact with but don’t know how to find them?
  • Ever want to contact someone who cruised a specific ship to ask a question (how about what it was like on the Carnival Miracle that left New York City on Aug. 29 (click here for story)?

Yes, there are cruise groups on other sites, facebook, flickr, etc., and yes there are cruise review sites, CruiseCritic, Cruisemates.com etc., However, in the ever evolving world of the web there are always opportunities to bring the next viral application to the market.

I would like to hear you thoughts.  Please post your opinion.