10 days sailing on the open ocean, margarita in hand, and bikini clad—could you think of a better way to escape a cold North East winter?
Unfortunately for nearly 300 Royal Caribbean customers, things didn’t go quite as planned. Just a few days into the Explorer of the Seas voyage from New Jersey to St. Maarten, norovirus spread quickly and is said to have affected nearly 10% of the passengers on board. Nausea and vomiting are just a few of the symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal illness that are wreaking havoc on vacation goers.
The cruise industry has been through a lot over the past few years: sinking ships, plumbing issues, power outages, illness outbreaks. These incidents keep occurring and are going to have a serious impact on the future of this industry if something isn’t done about it. Beside from dramatic price cuts, I am not aware of any other ways that cruise lines are trying to attract new customers and retain old ones. $400 for 7 nights in the Caribbean may seem like a great deal, but you couldn’t pay me $400 to risk a week vomiting in a cramped cabin. I would rather stay home and be healthy for free.
I think Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines could seriously benefit from some great use of social media. Right now the average age of a cruise customer is over 50. With the record low prices currently being offered cruises are within reach of many people in their 20’s. Target these customers where they live, the internet. With all the bad press that these cruise lines are getting it is up to them to create their own good press. Use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to feature pictures and testimonials of cruise passengers in real time. These companies need to show potential customers that these incidents are rare and isolated, that cruises are actually fun and a safe environment.
Check out these sites for more info on the most recent cruise disaster: