Voyager joins Voyages of Discovery

All Leisure Group PLC, the largest British cruise operator, which own Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery and Hebridean Island Cruises has announced a change in its line up.

Voyages of Discovery, which operates the former Love Boat ‘Discovery’ is to be joined by former Alexander von Humboldt of Phoenix Reisen. The ship was acquired by auction follow the collapse of former owners ClubCruise. She is to be renamed Voyager and will target a younger client than is usually expected of Voyages of Discovery.

In 2013 Discovery will also move to this new less formal type cruising offering more dining options. The onboard product will not be changed to much, just refined to welcome new customers, and give regulars a slightly different experience. Voyager will be joining the Voyages of Discovery fleet in November 2012, so there is plenty of time to save up for your cruise!

Minerva, the sole ship of Swan Hellenic will also undergo a substantial refurbishment, adding more balcony cabins, meaning 23% of cabins will have balconies. the Cabins will be refreshed and a new observation lounge will be added, it will be interesting to see what effect these refurbishment will have on the exterior of Minerva.

The charter of the Minerva has been extended for another 8 years til 2021.
The Ship will go into try dock in November 2011 and be back in service in March 2012.

In addition Hebridean Island Cruises will be joining the river cruise market, with four sailings on the Royal Crown, a 42-cabin luxury river cruise ship. The Royal Crown will be sailing down the Rhine and Danube in the Spring and Autumn of 2012. Under its previous ownership Hebridean grew its business worldwide with the Hebridean Spirit, A Project that didn’t work and led to the bankruptcy of its previous owner. It will be interesting to see how this ‘brand extension’ works out.

It is our belief that the charter would have been better operated under Swan Hellenic, which has a history of running river cruises. However we wish All Leisure Group the best in their new adventure & voyager!

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Swan Hellenic

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Hebridean Island Cruises

All Leisure Group

Cruise Line Brand Positioning

Our last blog, On Where does Princess fit? made me us think about how cruise lines have moved an developed their brand positioning. In Bob Dickinsons ‘Selling The Sea’ [We’ve got a blog for that] it covers how Norwegian Cruise Line has changed it’s brand positioning.

From Memory we would say that Norwegian has had the most logos of any cruise line, but with some more research the ‘Freestyle’ cruise line hasn’t always been so laid back.
This advert from 1991 markets the ships in a slightly comic way, we think the joke at the end is just awful. But non the less.

However by 1995 Norwegian Cruise Line had grown up and sexed up. According to Bob Dickinsons ‘Selling the Sea’ this was because of Norwegians lack of new build orders, due to ongoing financial problems. The line had not launched a ship since 1993, while competitors where adding many new ships.

A change in management with a new President Adam Aron meant that NCL tried to differentiate itself from the competitors, so the slogan ‘Its Different Out Here’ was launched. The aim of the marketing campaign was to take the emphasis off the ship and put it on the benefits of taking a cruise.

The campaign was well received by the advertising industry, but less so by the cruise industry, who believed that NCL were overselling themselves. From the adverts it appeared that NCL was equivalent to Seabourn or any other premium line. Other said the campaign scared people away from cruising as to ‘snobby’.

Now in the 21st Century NCL promotes itself as a freestyle cruise line, decidedly different, we believe, from its previous advertising. However we believe that this position in the market suits it well. [We Have A History of NCL Blog]

Cunard Line has transformed itself from a transatlantic carrier into a premium cruise line, In the 1950’s passengers sailed on the Queen Mary & Queen Elizabeth, but they were not the luxury ocean liners that they are now portrayed as, these ships had three classes. We don’t believe that 3rd Class was as luxurious as Cunard’s current product. The modern-day equivalent being airplane economy class.

Recently Royal Caribbean has transformed its self from an Upper-Mass Market cruise line into a Mass Market cruise line. This change started with the Voyager of the Seas, and has continued on both the Freedom and Oasis class.

Previously Royal Caribbean prided itself on all the free items you receive in your cabin, now they pride themselves in being innovative and modern. Royal Caribbean has they way it is perceived. If you compare the Vision class ships with the Oasis class you can see how much Royal Caribbean’s product has changed, it is so significant that Royal Caribbean has launched the Royal Advantage refurbishment program to bring the fleet into line. [We have a blog for that too]

Changing a market position for a cruise line is difficult, In our ‘The Rise and Fall of’ Series  we pointed out how Premier changed their market positioning more times than the weather, which probably assisted its demise [Check that blog here]

It was the Top Ten Cruise Adverts blog that inspired us to do this blog! –

Do you have any examples of cruise lines which have changed how they market themselves? Let us know! Facebook, Twitter, Comment and Email!

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