Cruise Lines’ Problem: You Already Hate Cruises

There are two kinds of people in the world: people who take cruises, and people who have already made up their minds that they hate cruises. The CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines says that it’s his company’s job to find the people in that second category and convert them.

Currently, about 51% of cruisers come from the United States. What’s interesting is that we’re a nation firmly divided into categories of cruisers and non-cruisers. Non-cruisers’ aren’t quite clear who is on cruises: it could be old people, teens, young children, or morbidly obese people enjoying some sunshine between buffets. What they do know is that cruises might be for someone, but that someone is definitely not them.

“It’s clear to me that as an industry we have not done a good enough job effectively communicating to the public … to those who don’t know what cruising is,” Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Arnold Donald told reporters earlier this week. When all American non-cruisers have to go on are stereotypes and news coverage of industry catastrophes like the Poop Cruise and persistent norovirus outbreaks.

In countries where people don’t already have a set of stereotypes about what kind of person takes cruises, Donald notes that the industry is finding enthusiastic new cruisers in all demographics.

Carnival’s CEO Explains the Cruise Industry’s Biggest Problem [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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  1. Naskarrkid says:

    Only way I’ll ever consider going on a cruise is if it’s free or really really really discounted. I’m sure most cruises are fine, but I don’t want to end up on a poop or puke cruise.

    • ShadyTrust says:

      It reminds me of the people who say they’re afraid to fly because of the plane crashes in the news. Out of the millions of flights, the problematic ones are insanely few. While not to the same degree, the same applies to cruises. It’s good you pointed out most are fine because it’s true. I definitely don’t believe cruising is for everyone and those who don’t want to go on one shouldn’t, but the poop cruise incidents shouldn’t be the sole reason why. Just as the Malaysia disappearance shouldn’t be someone’s sole reason to avoid flying.

  2. Snarkapus says:

    “There are two kinds of people in the world: people who take cruises, and people who have already made up their minds that they hate cruises. The CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines says that it’s his company’s job to find the people in that second category and convert them.”

    Yeah, good marketing there with the poop cruise, along with the various norovirus cruises du jour.

  3. PsiCopB5 says:

    I was one of the people who hated cruises … until I actually went on one. Then I loved them and have been on several more.

    Yes, they can be pricey compared with other travel options. (It depends on where & when you cruise.) I also get that it’s not for everyone. But I’ve found out first-hand that a lot of things people believe about cruises, e.g. that motion-sickness is common, just aren’t true.

    The possibility of ending up on a poop-cruise does bother me, but only a little. There’s always a chance of problems whenever you travel, regardless of the mode of travel. As for norovirus on cruise ships, once in a port I ran into passengers from another ship (a Royal Caribbean one, IIRC) who told us their buffet had been shut down and reset because of reports of norovirus aboard. But it was apparently handled well and none of them had it nor knew anyone else aboard who did.

    FWIW the only cruises I’ve ever been on have been on Carnival. They’ve always been good to me and everything has always worked out. Take that as the purely-anecdotal evidence it is (which is to say, it proves nothing).

  4. FusioptimaSX says:

    I love cruising. A few bad trips in the news won’t turn me away. Living in south Florida, it’s hard to take a trip anywhere else as I don’t have to fly in and can also can also catch last minute deal. Ice sailed Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

  5. SingleMaltGeek says:

    I’ve loved cruising among island chains, I think it’s perfect for your first trip to a particular location. It let us see a lot of smaller islands without having to pack and unpack every night or two, we could see the island shores from the water (including a lava flow into the ocean), and let us get a feel for the different islands. Now I know which smaller islands I might want to spend more time on if we ever get to go back on a non-cruise trip to those areas.