Princess Leverages Love Boat & Discovery Relationships
With the key changes impacting the leadership structure at Princess Cruises completed late last year, the line has steady, experienced hands heading up customer service, land operations, fleet management and other areas of operation.
Although most of these are part of shared services with Holland America Line and Seabourn, there are brand distinctions as well, and now that the personnel changes are complete we can expect Princess to focus even more on making public changes to the product line and the way it is marketed to consumers.
Princess made sure to bring an authentic feel to its "Love Boat" campaign. Gavin MacLeod, Capt. Stubing in the show, is still very much front and centre of the promotion. But he celebrates his 84th birthday this week, and while he still looks good, Princess is also bringing some younger Love Boat players into the forefront.
The most visible example is Ted Lange, 67, who played Isaac the bartender on the long-running show. The line just created a cocktail called “The Isaac,” which Lange, a licensed bartender in real life, personally created. Saying that this cocktail celebrates love and romance at sea, Princess Executive V.P. Rai Caluori explains, “So, who better to create a special cocktail celebrating love and romance at sea than Ted, who turned his character into the world's most famous bartender?"
Who indeed. Says Lange: “Like the song says, 'Come aboard, the Isaac's waiting for you!'" Expect to see more of these kinds of promotions in the coming year.
On the product side, Princess’ affiliation with Discovery is gaining traction. There’s more programming onboard the ships, lots of tie-ins for shore excursions and so forth. This is all part of a push to look for new customers, which is a mantra at the newly structured Carnival Corp.
Princess is hoping that Discovery and its many affiliates, such as Animal Planet, provide a source of new cruisers as they are familiar to people who haven’t cruised before. As an example, Princess’ new "Stargazing at Sea" program which debuts on sailings leaving Ft. Lauderdale this spring is made eminently more approachable as illustrated on Princess’ website: “Discovery’s Science Channel and Princess Cruises will take you on a cosmic voyage as you look at the skies from our top deck. On this interactive guided tour, our stargazing specialist will teach you how to find your bearings and identify the major constellations…”
Even more directly linked to the existing property are the "Animal Planet Shore Excursions" set to launch on 2015 Alaska and Europe sailings. Again, from the website: “Reserve an exclusive Discovery or Animal Planet recommended shore excursion... Animal Planet Recommended tours give you a unique and enriching animal or nature experience; tours wherein you get to interact with animals like swimming with stingrays, playing with sea lions, dog mushing and more!”
In short, tours that Princess has offered for years are now being repackaged in a way that better resonates with consumers. It’s the same with sharks. Now there’s “Shark Week at Sea” with both onboard and shore excursions repackaged: “This experience, based on Discovery’s popular Shark Week, will challenge adults and kids alike on their knowledge of the oceans.”