by Kevin Griffin of our London office writing in cybercruises.com
In the words of a press release from Royal Caribbean International last week, “Royal Caribbean International to-day launched a new brand campaign that embodies the most inspirational element at the very core of the global cruise line’s offering … the sea!”
And what is this wonderful tag line? Why, it’s “The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally.”
Royal Caribbean says the new slogan is aimed at “reawakening consumers to the sights and sounds of the sea.”
This is very interesting when in recent years the line has been emphasising its rock climbing walls, ice-skating rinks and various and sundry other onboard attractions, more recently even including Shrek on some of its ships! Now, someone has woken up and noticed that cruise ships sail on the sea. Not only that, but it took not just one, but two advertising agencies to recognise this! But such is progress.
So this week we have a look at some of the slogans that have been used over the years since cruising started its four-decades-long boom. Perhaps the best ever was Cunard Line’s in the 1950s and 1960s –“Getting There is Half the Fun” really said it all. Later this line metamorphosised into “Ships Have Been Boring Long Enough” but with the former accentuating the positive and the latter the negative we know which wins!
Here are a few more that come to mind:
“The Fun Ships” – in the Miami-based context, this little slogan was first used by Yarmouth Cruise Lines, operating a decrepit pair of 38-year old ex-coastal liners between Miami and the Bahamas – one of which, Yarmouth Castle, was lost to fire in November 1965 with the loss of 87 lives.
Nonetheless, it was enough years later that Bob Dickinson of Carnival Cruise Lines revived “The Fun Ships” in 1973 to replace “The Golden Fleet” that no one remembered the tragedy and the tag line is Carnival’s to this day.
Anyway, the “Golden Fleet” in 1973 had only one ship, Mardi Gras.
Over the years, Carnival has also played with other tag lines, one being “The Most Popular Cruise Line in the World.” Carnival have also used music in its television commercials, as it did in 2005 with Bobby Darrin’s “Somewhere Beyond the Sea,” but why beyond the sea and not on it?
The lyrics begin well however:
Somewhere beyond the sea,
Somewhere, waiting for me,
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing
Speaking of love, “The Love Boat” was the name of a well-known American television programme that ran from 1977 to 1986, but it was also used for many years by Princess Cruises as its own tag line. After all, its Los Angeles-based Pacific Princess was used as the backdrop for this series.
It’s now a quarter century since the show was last made, but one thing it stood out for was false hilarity – it was one of the first hour-long American comedy series to use a laugh track. Somewhere along the way it seems that cruises might have started to get boring, however, because Princess for a while ran with the tag line “It’s more than a cruise, it’s the Love Boat.”
To-day, Princess uses the tag line “Escape Completely,” but I must say, like “Get Out There,” this one sounds rather American footballish and reminds me more of trying to escape Alcatraz rather than anything in the least bit romantic.
“Get Out There” – now who did we say wanted to connect with the sea?
This preposterous line – get out where? – was used by Royal Caribbean in North America only and it meant absolutely nothing if not read in context. It might have been the Romans telling the Christians to go and meet the lions. Far too macho, so perhaps “The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally” will work.
It should catch the female ear better than “Get Out There.”
Royal Caribbean’s new advertising company maintains that the new tag line will cross cultures and be useable internationally – at least it sounds more like an instruction than an admonishment like “Get Out There.”
One tag line that Royal Caribbean used in the 1990s, however, was“The Grand Resorts of the Seven Seas” and one wonders why it dropped it, replacing it for a while with “You’ve Got Some Royal Caribbean Coming.”
“Let Us Exceed Your Expectations” was an early tag line for Celebrity Cruises and one that was befitting of its target, which was an upper premium audience. It reflected the whole reason for having formed Celebrity Cruises in the first place, getting away from the old name of Chandris, one that dated back to Australian emigration days from Europe.
Unfortunately, it’s gone. For a while it was replaced by “A True Departure” (a bit insipid don’t you think?) and now it’s “Designed For You” (sounds a bit like an Audi, but why not?) What was the matter with exceeding expectations? Could it no longer be done? It was a good tag line.
“Cruise Like a Norwegian” – Norwegian Caribbean Lines started as “The White Fleet” but over the years has also tried other slogans, most notably from 1990 with “Freestyle Cruising.”
Okay we all know that Norwegian’s new advertising company would like us to call it Norwegian instead of NCL, but just how does one cruise like a Norwegian? It sounds like a lazy adman’s copy of dance like an Egyptian, and no one really knew what that meant either..
“Signature of Excellence” is the tag line that Holland America uses to-day. Since both words can be translated as “mark” one wonders what the point is when in the early 1990s the same line used “A Tradition of Excellence.” The latter actually sounded more profound and it certainly beat their 1960s slogan “It’s Good to be on a Well-Run Ship.”
One of my favourites, however (tongue in cheek here), is the line Windstar Cruises used for many years, “A Holland America Line company.” Well, at least it wasn’t too vague.
Do you get my drift? Does it really matter?
Why do the cruise lines pay millions for these not so impressive sayings that are only replaced after a few years by paying someone else to come up with another one. They are just clutter and end up like bell-bottomed trousers, paisley ties, mini skirts and lacy blouses – very dated after a while.
But naughtiest of all is Quark Expeditions, who have just scooped up“Up Close and Personal” word for word from the now defunct Cruise West. I suppose they can’t be sued for infringement by a bankrupt company but it sounds awfully risky to me, sort of like tempting the fates.
What is most interesting however is that the more upmarket lines do better – Oceania’s “Your World, Your Way” puts the control with you and Azamara Club Cruises “You’ll Love Where We Take You” not only sounds like good English, but also revives the word love in a different way. Even SeaDream’s “It’s Yachting, not Cruising,” while unfortunately using a negative, has a ring to it that is true.