Cruise line shopping experience to feature more, better information

On any given cruise line, onboard programming includes a variety of activities, dining, shopping and entertainment options. While at sea, that programming is often themed to a particular port of call that will be coming up soon, providing information on the port, shore excursions and shopping options. Now, in a way similar to how they are handling onboard entertainment and dining options, Royal Caribbean International is taking on shopping.

Starting in October, Royal Caribbean will be working with a new partner to handle their port shopping program. Royal Media Group will greatly expand what the line is currently doing, adding to the standard shopping talks and fliers left in guests staterooms.

“We are very excited to once again be working with the team at Royal Caribbean International and to not only increase revenue for the port shopping program, but to be a partner in driving all onboard revenue,” said Philip Levine, president and CEO of Royal Media Partners.The plan is to embed the shopping program much deeper into the cruise experience.

Before the cruise, web and smart phone-based port shopping and concierge information will be available. Much like pre-reserving shore excursion, dining, beverage packages, Bon Voyage gifts and entertainment options is possible right now, guests will have much broader access to port and shopping information.

Television options on board will feature new destination programming in addition to port talks which have traditionally been thinly veiled sales pitches on many cruise lines.

The big question is

“Will this be more annoying shopping information or will it add value to our port experience with more in-depth information on ports of call?”

More, better information that will enable passengers to have a more meaningful experience ashore would surely be welcomed. Yet another way to advertise shopping options? Not so much.

The new program will be on Royal Caribbean ships sailing the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, New England, Mexico and Alaska starting in October. Oh, catering to the American market just as the holiday shopping season begins.

Score so far on this particular topic: Sell us more stuff 1, Enrich experience 0.

It should be fun to watch how it all plays out.

Flickr photo by waldsee2008 who captioned “this lady talked about shopping in Mexico, but she spend 75% of the time talking about a good price for Diamonds…. like I wanted to buy them.?