Cruise lines continue to hack away at what we think of them. Pretty much burried are images of shuffleboard, bingo, and “just old folks” on the ships. Now, they are moving forward with intense new branding efforts that are making for clear choices between lines.
It wasn’t all that long ago that if your answer to “Where did you go on vacation?” was “on a cruise” that similar images, impressions and perceptions would come up. Cruise vacations really were quite similar between lines and “on a cruise” was a good, accurate answer.
Now, cruise lines are clearly focused on defining their brands and making sure you know it.
Celebrity Cruises, traditionally seen as a more upscale line with a more fancy onboard experience, is taking it’s signature “X” icon to a different level with a new theme “X the rules”. This is different than Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Freestyle Cruising” that promotes how guests are “free to do whatever…” It’s different than sister-line Royal Caribbean’s “Land of why not?” campaign.
Celebrity Cruises is promoting change through a “trendsetting onboard experience”, different than other lines. Still upscale, Celebrity “iLounges” offer the latest Apple technologies and invite guests to become immersed in new applications through “iLearn” courses. Celebrity also offers vacationers the chance to learn a new language through Rosetta Stone, become immersed in the culture of the destinations with experts from Smithsonian Journeys, or taste the difference a glass makes in comparative wine tastings with Riedel Crystal.
Yes, there’s still bingo and you can find shuffleboard if you look for it. But Celebrity ships, new and old, are going after a unique onboard experience that won’t be for everyone. That’s a new direction for cruise lines in general who wanted to be everything to everybody for so long as the industry was developing.
While only an estimated 20% of the U.S. population has taken a cruise, the Cruise Lines International Association predicts strong growth in the future. If the individual lines have anything to say about it, they will find you, sail with you, and be everything you ever wanted in a vacation.
As Celebrity might have said in the not-nearly-as-well-defined past “It’s all about you”.
Flickr photo by sailorbabe80