Today’s announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge is to be godmother of the cruise ship Royal Princess could give the industry a much-needed boost after a catalogue of bad stories.
Since the capsize of Costa Concordia last January, there have been power failures on Carnival Triumph, crew deaths on Thomson Majesty and several outbreaks of norovirus.
Cruising has fallen into one of those media pits previously occupied by coach crashes or dangerous dogs where any bad incident that would have previously been ignored makes the headlines and adds to a general feeling of gloom and despondency.
Flashy TV adverts and nifty slogans seem facile when the reading and viewing public seem to see only incompetence and failure.
That’s why the announcement about Kate Middleton is such a coup for Princess Cruises and the industry as a whole. What better PR than to have a wholesome, beautiful and pregnant royal preside at the naming of a gleaming ship in Southampton?
Cunard is used to rolling out senior royals for its launches but here is a photogenic young duchess on a colourful family ship with, hopefully, a bit of June sunshine – a feelgood image to market around the world.
Fingers crossed, it might kick-start the image of cruising as affordable, fun and glamorous.
But PR can only go so far. The onus is on the cruise lines to ensure the industry is also safe, reliable and responsible if it’s to avoid bad headlines in the future.
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