Congratulations—It’s a Girl! May I present you Britannia, born on 14th Feb 2015, weighing in at 141,000 tons – God Mother Queen Elizabeth II and Ship both doing well.
For some, this really is as long and anticipated as the joyous news of a new arrival, and with MV Britannia’s christening taking place today (10th March 2015), P&O Cruises are very happy and proud parents.
The cruise industry is the fastest growing sector with new ships being introduced every year, but still, more than seven in ten UK holiday makers have never been on a cruise and impressions of being for the older generation lingers.
With this ‘new to cruise’ market seen as untapped growth, there are many initiatives to entice people such as shorter itinerates and promises to get you home if you don’t like it, but for those unsure of cruises in the first place, it’s a minefield in choosing what would suit you best – big ships, small ships, family-orientated, formal, informal – each really does have its own ‘personality’.
Add in themed cruises (Disney’s ‘Frozen’, food and wine), activities (indoor skydiving, Broadway shows), dining experiences (celebrity chefs, self-serve buffets), and modern advancements in trying to out-do each other, such as Royal Caribbean’s technologically advanced ‘Smartship’ including a Bionic Bar (order your drink via an app and a robot makes it), is it any wonder anyone, let alone cruise-virgins are overwhelmed and stick to the old faithful Costa Del Sol?
There’s just so many ships and styles on offer, and without clear differentiation it’s proving hard for customers to know what each stands for and which will suit them best.
I’m testament to the unfortunate truth that many people don’t even remember the name of the ships they’ve been travelling on and that destination is key. But with many cruise lines covering the same destinations, cruise companies need to take the advantage to clearly differentiate themselves from the competition and target customers in order to help them choose the cruise style they feel most comfortable with.
Within this backdrop, a clearly presented branding message is needed, and the little Harris Interactive hint follows…research, research, research!
What we do know is that Britannia is targeted at the British market with the focus being on an overall contemporary British ambience, and I’m pleased to see that P&O are trying to set their mark in differentiating this ship.
There has certainly been great excitement in the Travel world around her presence in Southampton – testament to her name, Britannia seems to have created a very British buzz and I hope this tempts people to try out their sea-legs.
My iPad app is at the ready, the Bionic Bar has my order…a toast to Britannia – May God bless her and all who sail in her.
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