The first in a series of posts about cruise line blogs, we begin with Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Lines as we explore what today’s cruise lines are doing to engage the public, utilizing social media outlets available today in their own unique ways.
In the past, consumers turned to friends, family, sales people, newspaper, television and radio advertising and other generally accepted and understood ways of getting a feel for a business, before doing business with them. Today, consumers have a largely untapped resource at their disposal in social media efforts put forth by business. In an effort to connect with us directly, enlightened business goes beyond the passive presentation of their message, image or product for our consideration to connect with us in an engaging way. In the world of cruise travel, potential buyers can gain great insight into what makes a cruise line tick by reading and reading between the lines of their blogs. Let’s take a look at the blogs of major cruise lines.
“The Holland America Blog Web site serves as the primary portal for all news and information, images and video, gossip and discussion about the 15 ships in the Holland America Line fleet,” says Holland America and that seems to be true.
Updated frequently, the Holland America Blog covered a Celebrity Chef Cook-Off on its Zuiderdam this week, giving insight to consumers as to what happens in their Culinary Arts Center, a key feature aboard the line’s ships.
“Visitors to Holland America Blog get the latest news from the ships, meet the people who work on board, travel around the world through video and photos from various ports, and hear from guests and fans of Holland America Line,” continues the line’s mission statement-like description of the Holland America Blog.
Part of a cruise diary, written by guest George Labecki and his family as they sailed aboard Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam’s Mediterranean Tapestry cruise throughout Europe gives a look at what it is like to sail with the line.
“With more than 130 years of experience, Holland America Line is recognized as the undisputed leader in the cruise industry’s premium segment. With the introduction of the 2,104-passenger ms Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010, Holland America Line’s fleet grew to 15 ships, offering nearly 500 cruises from more than 25 home ports.
In Celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day in Liverpool, the Holland America Blog has a photo gallery highlighting when the Prinsendam was docked in Liverpool, England, for Indonesia’s Independence Day. The gallery depicts a flag raising ceremony that took place pier-side, with the Indonesian community on hand to commemorate the day, along with officers and staff. After the ceremony, the traditional tug of war and sack races were held as well.
Most importantly, Holland America asks “If you have a question about Holland America or if there is a topic that you would like to see us cover, sign in and send us an e-mail or leave us a comment,” opening the door to interaction with readers on a variety of topics.
“I started this blog when a lady called Stephanie said “Oh John, please write a blog, it will only be for a week and won’t take up much of your time.” That was back in 1492 and here I am still writing in the same pair of underpants,” begins John Heald’s Blog, one of the most successful blogs around. In regular posts, John Heald answers questions and often gives out first-hand information about company happenings before they make the news.
Better yet, with a brand that appeals to many first-time cruise travelers, John Heald makes sense of the unknown in a witty, understandable way that every travel agent in the business knows is important as the better prepared to sail that travelers are, the better the overall experience will be.
“I am also dedicating as much time to helping you, our Carnival guests, to understand more about what we do… and when I can, helping your cruise be even more brilliant,” continues Heald, adding “It’s a way for you, the guest, to go through the “crew-only” door to discover what’s on the other side.”
Here is a quick (or not-so-quick) example of the brilliance of the John Heald Blog. First, he sets the stage:
“There are some who would say that they resent being told what to do in the world we live in today. Don’t smoke, don’t eat too much salt, no right turn, keep your dog on a leash, correct change only, hold the handrail, watch your step, mind your head, don’t throw bulky objects into the toilet…… it is absolutely true that you can spend an entire day feeling scolded. Get off a plane and the flight attendant’s voice is nagging over the loudspeakers: “Remember to take all personal belongings with you.” My car bollocks me with a nagging, irritating alarm that dings loudly if I don’t fasten my seatbelt the second that I have switched on the engine. I have mentioned before about things that beep and how that beep is yet another way to tell me what to do……..and the worst of all is that bloody dishwasher. When it’s finished washing the mugs and plates, it makes a beeping noise. And if I don’t empty it immediately, it beeps again. And then again. How stupid is that?”
Then comes the question
Clara Hemmings asked:
Just off the Carnival Triumph where my relaxing days on deck in the sun were constantly interrupted by announcements from the cruise director and the captain. If were not told about shopping specials or stupid art sales, the captain told us to dry off properly from the pools and Jacuzzis and each day would treat us like we were kids. This is not good enough and need to be addressed.
And then John Heald makes sense of it
Hello Clara Hemmings,
Unlike the silliness of my dishwasher comment the announcements we make on board are part of Carnival’s ongoing initiative to provide the safest environment possible for our guests and crew. Safety isn’t just about what to do in an emergency but involves life on board and that includes things like avoiding decks getting slippery as this could cause guests to slip, fall and injure themselves. I know that these safety messages are made by the captains and are part of their noon announcements but please understand that they are vital to our safety efforts. I do hope you had fun despite this and that we will see you again soon.
With over 14 million views, John Heald’s Blog is the undisputed leader in popularity, largely because of his frank, to the point, answers to questions from readers. Heald introduced his blog during the first sailing of the Carnival Freedom in March 2007 and plans to blog “as long as it stays fresh and people keep tuning in”
Coming up next, Princess Cruises carves a unique niche in the world of blogging and Azamara Club Cruises spells out destination immersion at every turn.
Flickr photo by Kristina B