Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Coming soon to a port near you

Coming soon to a port near you

By Tom Stieghorst
*InsightNext year’s cruise ships have yet to arrive but, borrowing a page from the movie industry, cruise lines are starting to provide online trailers of their coming attractions.

Several of the industry’s most anticipated ships are being previewed in videos that can show agents and customers what they might be buying if they reserve a spot on the next newbuild.

Cruise lines have been producing these videos for a while, but they’re growing increasingly elaborate. They’re a great tool to build excitement for what is likely a premium sale.

According to a recent survey of Cruise Holidays agents, no ship is more anticipated than Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, due to enter service next November from New York/New Jersey.

The ship will have lots of firsts, including the first  the first bumper cars and a giant mechanical arm that will take occupants of a glass capsule up and over the side of the ship.

All are prominently displayed on Royal Caribbean’s website in an eight-minute video that includes a lot of sophisticated 3-D imagery of a ship that physically has yet to be created.

On hand to narrate is actress Kristin Chenoweth, the ship’s godmother, along with RCCL chairman Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean International President Adam Goldstein and actress Estelle Harris of “Seinfeld” fame, who is allowed to take a few playful digs at Fain in the skydiving segment.

At eight minutes, the video done by visual effects house Brewster Parsons, is distinctive, if a bit long for the attention span of the average cruise shopper. But it is entertaining, full of cameos from the likes of magicians Penn & Teller, and there’s a lot of new ground to cover to explain all of Quantum’s special features.

At 2 minutes, 18 seconds, the video for the Norwegian Getaway, due in February, is much easier to digest. It is fast-paced, with no voiceover, and starts with an amazing tracking shot of the Waterfront entertainment area on the ship. The video soundtrack is full of marimbas and timbales, as befits a Miami-based ship, and there are several shots that capture the NCL logo on the ship’s stack so there’s no doubt whose ship it is.

Regal Princess, the sister ship to 2013’s Royal Princess, is such a close sibling that the Princess Cruises video promotes both at once. The length comes in at a manageable five minutes, the pacing is measured, and the ship’s features are explained by a soothing and neutral feminine voice.

Even ships that won’t debut until 2015 have videos, including a newly minted one for P&O Cruises’ Britannia, featuring executives on its newbuild team, and another for Viking Cruises’ Viking Star, a true departure for the river cruise company, that is briskly described by a British-sounding male narrator.

So if you have a spare moment, check out next year’s ships today. It has never been easier.