Two Le Boreal cruises canceled to repair ship

Ponant has canceled the Nov. 30 and Dec. 10 departures of Le Boreal, a yacht that was damaged by a fire on its previous cruise.

Ponant evacuated all of the passengers from Le Boreal after a fire “of a technical nature” broke out as the ship was cruising near the Falkland Islands. The passengers were repatriated last weekend, Ponant said.

The ship is now at the quay in the East Cove Military Port in the Falkland Islands, and will be towed in the next few days to Punta Arenas’ shipyard in Chile for repairs.

The 264-passenger ship had just started a 15-night round trip Antarctica sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina, on Nov. 15. The itinerary included a visit to South Georgia before landing in Antarctica and touring Deception Island.

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Royal Caribbean’s ‘Come Seek Live’ an innovative draw for millennials


Come Seek Billboard.

The range of activities passengers can do on a cruise was demonstrated for countless New Yorkers during their daily commute last week, as Royal Caribbean International streamed live images directly to outdoor ad screens on 230 subway kiosks and display spaces on digital newsstands.

Commuters learned they could dance in Martinique, feed a monkey in St. Kitts, go on a sailboat regatta in St. Maarten or go cliff jumping in Barbados.

All were excursions offered on Royal Caribbean’s 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas, which recently arrived at its Bayonne, N.J., homeport, as it toured the southern Caribbean.

The images were streamed via Twitter’s new video application called Periscope, a fast-growing social media platform. Royal said New York Transit officials believe it was the first time that its network of digital billboards has been used to show live video via Periscope.

Royal Caribbean’s “Come Seek Live” display at the Union Square subway station in New York. It featured streaming Periscopes and video images from the campaign’s TV ads. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill

Royal Caribbean’s “Come Seek Live” display at the Union Square subway station in New York. It featured streaming Periscopes and video images from the campaign’s TV ads. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill

Jim Berra, chief marketing officer at Royal Caribbean, said the outdoor effort was part of a larger bid to bust through advertising clutter with Royal’s “Come Seek” marketing message.

“In a world where consumers tune out a message if it is overly produced or directed, we want to show the experience as it is happening in real time,” Berra said before the campaign’s launch.

By streaming video to new-age billboards, Royal sought to target new-to-cruise millennial generation consumers with a type of technology that resonates with them. In addition to the videos, the displays featured running comments sent via Twitter, and a stream of colored hearts, the Periscope equivalent of Facebook “likes.”

New York was picked to pilot the marketing because it has the most advanced outdoor ad market in the country, Berra said.

Berra also said the New York project launches a new, more aggressive regional approach to marketing at Royal that, “given Anthem’s arrival and the fact that New York is a huge fly market into central and south Florida,” will continue throughout the year.

“Come Seek Live” ran from Nov. 13 to 20. During the run, Periscopes streamed three or four times a day on the displays, generally for an hour. They could also be seen via Twitter on mobile or desktop devices.

The rest of the time, the displays showed video images from “Come Seek” television ads.

The larger idea of “Come Seek” is to challenge stereotypes of cruising, tourism and the Caribbean.

To aid that process, Royal Caribbean enlisted several “influencers,” footloose social media nomads with high Twitter numbers. They included a group of 20-something Canadian lads who brand themselves as “High On Life” on YouTube travel videos, and Dan Moore, an Australian travel blogger. Each functioned as makeshift tour guides in the Periscope videos.

Sam McCully, vice president of marketing at Avoya Travel in San Diego, said the approach will engage the younger customers Royal Caribbean has focused on with “Come Seek.”

“Social media allows you to add another dimension in starting a conversation with people,” McCully said. “It’s no longer a one-way (communication); it’s very conversational, very two way.

“Especially the younger type of customer they’re targeting, those people are used to having direct engagement with brand, having a conversation with a brand.”

However, it is the outdoor dimension that really makes it different, McCully said.

“They’re not just shooting the content and putting it out there on their site and via Twitter, but there’s a live component in a key market. So they’re not just pushing the boundaries of social media, social marketing, but it’s also pushing the boundaries of your traditional outdoor advertising,” he said.

In terms of reaching new customers, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a major success,” McCully said.

New Princess ship to debut in Europe before China deployment

Majestic Princess.

Princess Cruises’ new ship Majestic Princess is to make its debut in Europe before being deployed to its year-round base in China.

The 3,560-passenger vessel enters service in April 2017 with a short maiden season of five to 28-day Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, Athens and Rome before moving to China in July.

Sister ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess will be among a further six ships to be based in Europe in 2017.

Royal Princess will run new 11-day Grand Mediterranean and 10-day Western Mediterranean itineraries which can be combined into a 21-day sailing. Seven, 14, 21 and 28-day sailings throughout the Mediterranean will also be available.

Regal Princess, launched last year, returns to northern Europe for cruises to Scandinavia and Russia including an overnight stay in St Petersburg.

The 3,080-passenger Crown Princess will be based in Southampton from April to September to run seven and 14-night cruises to the Mediterranean and Scandinavia.

The 3,140-passenger Caribbean Princess will operate the line’s largest British Isles season with 12 departures from Southampton including  a new late evening stay in Belfast and overnights in Dublin on selected cruises.

Smaller Pacific Princess, carrying 680 passengers, will sail from Dover from June to September on northern Europe itineraries.

Both Crown Princess and Pacific Princess will offer North Cape voyages to the Arctic Circle during the peak midnight sun period around the summer solstice.

The 2017 sailings, covering 153 departures to 119 destinations across 27 countries, are open for booking on December 3 from 4pm.

Princess Cruises’ president, Jan Swartz, said: “Our 2017 Europe season is sure to inspire our guests with our newest and largest ships in the Mediterranean and northern Europe.

“We’re especially excited to debut Majestic Princess in the Mediterranean before she officially sails to Asia for her maiden China cruise season.”