Royal Caribbean executives got a shock when they asked Australian cruisers about their brand. Many new-to-cruise respondents said they couldn’t tell one big white ship from another.
“It was”, admitted Asia Pacific commercial director Sean Treacy “a wake up call”.
“They’re merely comparing one big, white ship to another and, in fact they’re finding it difficult to tell the difference between us, Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises and even more surprisingly, P&O.”
Now, the line is a on a mission to educate Australians on the “Royal Caribbean difference” through a new TV campaign and a makeover of its largest vessel Down Under.
Voyager of the Seas is currently in Singapore undergoing a multimillion-dollar makeover, which will see it fitted with Australia’s first FlowRider surf simulator at sea; three new specialty restaurants; and interior rooms will receive virtual balconies.
Mr Treacy said although the ship is receiving a number of changes, she will continue to be recognisably Voyager and not an ‘Aussified’ version.
The remark was a jab at Carnival Cruise Lines, which ‘Aussified’ Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend before basing them out of Australia.
The ships received Australian brewed beer, kitchen staff was taught to make coffee the Australian way and they’ve hired Australian staff.
“Our research found that adding VB and Vegemite isn’t what Royal Caribbean passengers want,” Mr Treacy explained.
“They love international travel and they love trying new things and new experiences. They love the international feeling they get from cruising with us.”
Royal Caribbean and Carnival aren’t the only cruise line trying to set themselves apart, earlier this year, P&O announced its forthcoming ships, Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria, will be almost completely different from the line’s current fleet.
For the first time, the line will target 30-55-year-old cruisers with new livery, onboard amenities, destinations and dining.
One of the biggest changes is the end of the buffet. The line said it will introduce a more contemporary face to dining by introducing a foodcourt-type of space where different foods will have individual spaces.
P&O said the change was made after research found today’s generation of cruisers is more interested in quality food and healthy eating.