Book Review : Selling the Sea

Since our last book review ‘Wind Star : The Building of a Sailship’ went down so well, and was included on the Windstar Blog, I thought I would do another one, This time I am reviewing the First Addition of ‘Selling the Sea’ By Bob Dickinson and Andy Vladimir.
My copy of the book has no front cover (it was very cheap) but this is what it looks like:

Now, as I went for the cheap and cheerful copy mine is the first edition, and there has been subsequent revisions. This is of importance as I find, while this book was published in 1997 as a contemporary book, highlighting the current state of the cruise industry. It is now a nostalgic look back at cruising in the 90’s.

This nostalgic look back is of particular interest as Renaissance Cruise Line is still operating, and Celebrity Cruises is not yet merged with Royal Caribbean and Seabourn and sea-goddess are unrivalled. Also during this time NCL was heading for bankruptcy. Remember in 1997 there was no Voyager of the Seas, No Queen Mary 2.

As Bob Dickinson was the (at the time) President of Carnival Cruise Lines, the book has a focus on that company, interestingly however many other industry executives are quoted from a variety of lines.

The book focuses mainly on the relationship of the cruise line and travel agents, and very little is mentioned about the changes the internet has made to the industry, probably as the internet had not yet reached that scope of use.

The book has some excellent quotes from people across the ages, one of my favourite being ‘The people who use these ships are not pirates, the do not dance hornpipes; they are mostly sea sick American ladies, and the one thing the want to forget when they are on the vessel is that they are on a ship at all… If we could get ships to look inside like ships, and get people to enjoy the sea it would be a very good thing; but all we can do is to give them gigantic floating hotels’ – Interestingly this was written by Arthur Davis, who was the Cunard designer in 1907, not much having changed since!

I do recommend this book, But from a Business perspective, as it is not a Maritime History book, It discusses topics like Yield Management, Tariffs, Charters, etc. One thing of interest is that the book continuously worries about over capacity in 1997, and that there is too many ships, I find this interesting as it is a worry being sounded now, 14 years later.

We have launched a new online store, imaginatively named ‘ : Our Store’, And we have copies of this book and newer versions from £9.92. Find them Here.

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