Are virtual tours of cruise ships and excursions enough to woo a new generation?
The cruise sector has a problem – one that its operators and biggest fans will kind of acknowledge, but always claim is evaporating.
It’s an image issue, where the very concept of a cruise trip is aligned frequently to those retiring and taking their dream trip, or generally those at the older end of the age spectrum… and wealthy.
Inevitably, most cruise lines are working hard to banish this preconception, but the stats speak for themselves:
According to cruise industry association, CLIA, the average age of the cruise passenger is 49 years old, married and has a full time job (banishing the retired image).
But the money and background angle is certainly there, with most college educated and with an average income of $114,000 a year.
Still, the marketing machines of most cruise lines continually attempt to paint a different picture, with smiling families and young happy couples mingling with those from older generations.
As Faraz Qureshi, general manager at Cruiseline, wrote earlier in April, “broadband is vital to growth of the cruise industry“.
But is technology the ultimate way to lure in the naysayers to a cruise trip?
Image is everything
Certainly the cruise lines are increasingly pushing their tech prowess in campaigns, and also how they position themselves on the web.
The latest idea is to provide virtual tours of ships and the excursions available on a trip.
Royal Caribbean tried as much earlier this year with its Google StreetView-led tour around the giant Quantum of the Seas ship.
Another is Azamara Club Cruises, which this week claimed to be the “first virtual reality cruise experience” (ahem).
Forget the silly battle for industry “firsts” for a moment, Azamara’s web-based virtual tour platform is a neat way of showcasing both the ship and the trips available to potential passengers.