Monday, May 2, 2016

Cruising into History: Marketing Cruises to Cuba

Fathom's Adonia, a Carnival cruise ship, has put into port at Havana. Adonia is the first ship to sail from a US port to a Cuban port for more than 50 years, making it a historic marketing occasion. News organizations worldwide covered the docking...a lot of free PR for Fathom, which is a fairly new brand for Carnival.

Fathom sails to other destinations, and its unique selling proposition (remember that  buzzword of the last century?) is that passengers can choose to participate in volunteer projects. In the Dominican Republic, for example, passengers can help school children practice their English or work for a few hours on water filters, among other possibilities.

A report last month said Royal Caribbean will base one of its ships (Empress of the Seas) in Havana. Royal Caribbean can promote its Cuban trips and also carry passengers to Caribbean destinations from there.

Permission from the Cuban is needed before cruise ships can dock in Havana or other Cuban ports, but the process is far from routine or speedy, as Pearl Seas Cruises learned. Pearl had to cancel its first 10-day cruise to Cuba after failing to receive permission on time.

Expect more cruises to and from Cuba as the government acts on applications and demand increases.

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