Here’s a question: What, in Marketing terms, is a promise worth?
The reason I ask is because Princess has just released what it’s calling its “Come Back New” promise.
Many fellow cruise-bloggers have waxed lyrical about that promise – of new excursions, and new Curtis Stone restaurants, and new GastroPubs, and TV show tie-ins, and better beds … but I find that I can’t be quite so “gushing” about it.
The company says it is a $450 million multi-year “product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign” that will “continue to enhance the line’s onboard guest experience (with) more transformative moments, lifetime memories and meaningful stories for guests to share, (offering) guests enriching vacation experiences by connecting them with each other, nature and different cultures in a new way”
Now, when you strip away the marketing-speak, that says “we want to make cruises more fun and educational” .. and there are some great ideas to do that.
Some of those include:
* A partnership with award-winning chef Curtis Stone .. All Princess ships will feature “Crafted by Curtis” menu items in the main dining room, while some ships will also see “SHARE” a brand new specialty restaurant.
* A new specially designed bed to deliver better sleep at sea (more than 44,000 new beds, to every stateroom, across the fleet through 2018).
* The Salty Dog Gastropub – pub favorites, adapted for an upscale culinary experience, plus a variety of beer, whiskey and cocktail selections.
* Style at Sea with TLC – What to pack, what to wear and how to look stylish on board withtips from TLC fashion expert Stacy London.
* A partnership with Discovery Communications, leading to new activities and excursions tied to shows like Deadliest Catch and Shark Week.
* New Original Musical Productions from the composer and songwriter of Wicked, Godspell and Pippin
* Onboard ‘festival’ celebrations to mirror those being staged around the world
* The Craft Beer Series featuring specialty brews
* Princess@Sea Messenger – an instant message feature offered free to all passengers as part of the Princess@Sea mobile app
All quite worthy – and all good components of the ‘Come Back New Promise’.
But while I concede that I am a cynic, I have to wonder how that promise is going to be judged?
I have every reason to suspect that the enhancements WILL make for a better cruise experience for passengers … but I’m blowed if I can see any comeback if they don’t.
By the way, did you notice that three of those (TV Chef Curtis Stone, TLC’s Stacy London, and the Discovery Channel) were direct TV Tie-ins?
Meantime, Carnival’s flogging cruises with The Biggest Loser’s Shannon Ponting as a major drawcard, and Holland America Line has special Masterchef-themed cruises.
Perhaps I’m unusual – in that I abhor ‘unscripted’ TV shows like Masterchef, The Apprentice, The Biggest Loser, etc – but I find those TV tie-ins have no resonance with me.
They won’t STOP me from cruising – but I don’t see them attracting me to a specific cruise (or cruise-line) either.
Still, I’m certain it must work – ’cause otherwise the cruise lines wouldn’t all be doing it.