Tuesday Cruiseday – snippets from the Cruise Industry

The battle by P&O Australia to overcome the bad publicity that’s marred the introduction of the Pacific Aria and the Pacific Eden continues – but as it does, there are continuing complaints by some unhappy passengers.

The level of complaints appears to be dying off – although there are still a number of reports on social media that are hurting the company’s rep in the rapidly expanding cruise sector.

But the company’s not relying on that to boost its stocks – it’s held ‘meet and greet’ sessions with leading travel writers and bloggers, and is continuing its push to get travel agents to promote its cruises more aggressively.

In the meantime, its pushing ahead with its ‘Cruiselings’ ad campaign – despite some raised eyebrows at the unusual nature of that marketing strategy.

One of the cruise industry’s little-discussed ‘dirty little secrets’ is that its entire business model is dependent on a pool of relatively poorly paid crew to function.

The wages paid to staff and crew from countries like Indonesia and the Philippines is appallingly low by the earning standards of most passengers – although it is substantially better than many of those staff could be expected to earn in their home countries.

But in an effort to at least pay a little back, the AIDA cruise line (the German arm of cruise juggernaut Carvival) is donating 100,000 Euros to a children’s charity based in The Philippines and in Germany.

The money’s come from the New Years Raffle held on board the line’s ships – with prizes including 30 cruises donated by AIDA.

As well as the village in the Philippines, the charity also helps refugee children in Germany.

In something of a poisoned chalice, tourism guru Ralph Remkes has joined Costa Group as General Manager Northern Europe in Amsterdam. He’s been set the goal of providing support services – as part of the merging of Costa and Aida’s Sales & Marketing for the region.

It’s not all Costa’s fault, of course – but the Italian subsidiary of Carnival still carries the stigma of the sinking of the Costa Concordia – not only a a maritime disaster which cost 32 lives, but also one of the worst PR disasters in recent years.

And now, just as non-cruisers started to forget about the 2012 disaster, images of the Concordia have again been circulating widely on social media over the past week or two .. reminding people again of the night in 2012 when she ran aground and capsized – and the captain abandoned ship before even trying to ensure passenger safety.

Mr Remkes is certainly going to have his job cut out for him!

 

Speaking of Italian cruise lines, MSC – the largest privately-owned cruise line in the world – is rolling out a 65 million euro ad campaign aiming to reposition itself at the upper end of the market.

The “Not Just Any Cruise” campaign coincides with the line’s purchase of seven more ships – and the refurbishment and ‘stretching’ of other vessels.

The company claims its research shows passengers see it as “more elegant, more professional, more reliable” than other lines.

But its worth noting that the campaign is only running in Europe – NOT in the US or Australia, where the line’s image is somewhat different.

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