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! – http://networkedblogs.com/mlBUf

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

Thanks,
Liam
Liam@crociere.co.uk
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Out with the old and….In with the refurbished?

As the Global Economy has stalled, cruise line have worked hard to keep vessels full, and weather the storm. Carnival axed its dividend…Royal Caribbean …er… got the Worlds two largest cruise ships drastically increasing capacity… okay, bad example. (We have a blog for that)

But as the growth of the industry has created a market of ‘large players’ namely Carnival, NCL/Apollo/Star, Royal Caribbean and MSC. The number of smaller-medium sized players have disappeared. This has been great as it has stabilised prices (as these smaller lines where heavy discounters). However the large players used the smaller players to dispose of excess capacity, such as the Song of Norway-era vessels.

However in the late 90’s and early 2000’s Festival, Royal Olympic, Regency, Premier and American Classic Voyages all collapsed into bankruptcy. These are the companies who would have purchased the excess capacity from the growing lines.

This has meant that lines have had to place tonnage elsewhere, the easy card has always been Australia, Asia and Europe. Pullmantur has seen a series of transfers from Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Ibero Cruceros, Carnival’s Spanish brand, has seen a few vessels transferred from Carnival Cruise Lines, as they are no longer competitive in the Caribbean.
Once the worlds largest cruise ship, Voyager of the Seas has been sent to Asia in search of higher yields. (We have a blog for that too!)

The Norwegian Dawn has become the unwanted cruise ship, at an inappropriate age that no cruise market wants her, she has been idle for a few years now and is in ownership of Star Cruises.

Recently this has meant that cruise ships are having expensive ‘refreshment’ programs, keeping them up to date with the other vessels in the fleet. Royal Caribbean has launched a $300 Million refreshment of its fleet bringing aspects from the Oasis class across the fleet, this is widely covered on other websites and blogs, Royal Caribbean is calling it the Royal Advantage program. Interestingly Monarch & Majesty of the Seas are not on the refurbishment list, We expect them to join one of RCI’s other brands.

Carnival has been refurbishing the Carnival Fantasy ships, adding amazing water parks to the ships. Other lines have also been engaged in this such as Celebrity following the arrival of Solstice, and Holland America performed a ‘Signature of Excellence’ refurbishment across the fleet to standardise the product.

So cruise lines are having to keep hold of ships longer, and refurbish them to maintain standards and expectations across the brand, this is due to variety of reasons namely:
– Few middle tier players to sell to (Louis being the main)
Over capacity in the Med, leading to falling yield

But we are hearing great reviews following the refreshment of these ships such as Radiance of the Seas and Grand Princess. So long may it continue.

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Thanks,
Liam

Liam@crociere.co.uk
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