Thursday, November 5, 2015

No one really cares what a ship looks like

Skift took news about NCL's massive dry-dock plans for its fleet to insult the cruise company's look and appeal: "Norwegian Cruise Line’s Ambitions Collide With Its Ugly Ships." Calling ships ugly is certainly an attention getter, but misses the larger point. No one really cares about how a ship looks.

While some of the newer mega-ships have great aesthetic appeal and classic naval sight lines, most are bulky floating resorts. Ever since Royal Caribbean's first Sovereign ship the industry has trended toward biggness and bulk and didn't care how the ships compared to the old classics. And how have passengers reacted? By booking the bigger and newer ships with the rock walls, huge dining spaces and tons of cabins with balconies. If someone wanted classic elegance, there were choices, but the majority spoke with their dollars.

Now a big part of NCL's improvements is not about the look of the ship, but more about the cleanliness and inside. That will always remain important. Even customers seeking value want to feel their ship is in good shape.

NCL's ambitions are correct. Invest in new and big and don't worry about what the ship experts think. They have other brands to cater to those ship enthusiasts. Their goal should be to get as many people on board as possible and make sure they have a good time.

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