Capitol Acquisition Corp. II has taken over Lindblad Expeditions. Capitol is classified as a public investment vehicle with publically traded shares. What that means in practical terms is that the company functions as a tool to generate capital for business operations naturally produce a return for investors. In this case the company choose a noted operator of “expedition” cruises, a growing and high-priced area of the cruise industry. Lindblad’s destination for example include Antarctica and the Galapagos islands and command daily per diems of over $1,000. Lindblad operates six vessels, all with a “National Geographic” prefix and charters an additional four. CEO Sven-Olof Lindblad said that “The additional resources and strong balance sheet will allow us to meet increasing guest demand by expanding our fleet with new vessels and opportunistically seeking accretive strategic acquisitions.”
Several months after parting ways with J. Walter Thompson, Royal Caribbean selected Mullen Lowe to assume the mantle of lead agency. This leaves the media component of the cruise lines marketing yet to be decided but Mullen Lowe has its in-house group in the mix. Mullen Lowe is a freshly minted combination of two agencies which exist under the larger Interpublic Group of companies.
Mullen Lowe will guide a marketing strategy which has not created as infectious or effective a theme of the 90s and early 2000s. The traditional tagline of “Like No Vacation on Earth” remains, but little tried in the last ten years has matched the popularity and cachet of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” and “Just Get Out There” tagline. Bringing back the Iggy Pop tune likely isn’t in the works given royalties and the iffy nature of the songs lyrics and subject. Most agencies coming onboard with a company will have an idea they have presented to the client so what the new marketing theme is may be known soon.
Ships are again porting out of Norfolk, with Royal Caribbean and Carnival lines originating Bahamas and Burmuda itineraries out of the city. The Silver Shadow, AIDA Luna and Carnival Splendor will run regularly from the port. Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas sailed from Norkolk on May 7th but the line does not expect regular service to return until November. Other ships such as “The World,” a ship whose passengers are actually full-time residents and the Insignia from Oceania Cruises.
Norfolk is an obvious choice for cruise lines but the complications of air travel and lack of easy drive-and-cruise support has hindered the ports development. That aside, the actual cruise terminal is among the most beautiful and boasts the rare sight of cruise ships docked next a massive battleship. The U.S.S. Wisconsin was permanently docked next to the terminal as the anchor of a museum, shopping and eating complex. One of the four Iowa class battleships the “Whisky” served in World War II, Korea and the Gulf War. Until 2009 she was kept in reserve in the event her dozen massive sixteen inch guns were needed again. Cruise aficionados will find it interesting to note that the historic ocean liner, SS United States shares the same basic hull design and propulsion plant as the Iowa class battleships. This was long a closely held secret when the long inactive ocean liner was technically a possible troop ship.
The historically peaceful Puerto Vallarta has been under the shadow of drug cartel driven violence for some time. Now major cruise lines have curtailed their visits as they watch heavily armed groups of cartel rebels fight local and federal Mexican troops draw closer to the city itself. No cruise passengers have been impacted by the violence but lines have increasingly been pro-active in avoiding areas where risk is elevated. The moves to avoid the immediate area mirror calls for caution from most western governments including the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. State Department has placed Puerto Vallarta on its warning list advising travelers to avoid it.
Due for introduction aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, Dynamic Dining is now going to be introduced on the colossal Oasis of the Seas. Dynamic Dining is the Royal Caribbean approach toward “freestyle dining” which Norwegian Cruise Line brought to the industry some years ago.
Dynamic Dining essentially has passengers rotating through a series of different restaurants. Akin to the NCL approach you have means to choose where you go within reason. This is also not unlike Disney Cruise Line cycling passengers through a few different locations. Likewise, this move comes after years of decentralizing the dining experience aboard ships of the Voyager class or larger as premium and “my time” options were introduced.