As you’ve no doubt heard and can read about in this issue’s cover
story, “The Pride Is Back” (page 16) the big industry news last
month was the inaugural sailing of NCL’s Pride of America. Perhaps,
like millions of Americans, you also saw the weeklong broadcast of
“Live With Regis and Kelly” from the ship. Hats off to NCL for this
creative marketing effort. I know it must have been difficult to
coordinate a live TV show from the deck of a cruise ship a first
for the industry, I believe. (Of course, feel free to write in and
correct me on that if I’m wrong.)
In watching the show, however, I have to admit I was a little
disappointed that in the five hours of programming there was hardly
any mention of travel agents, who together are certainly one of the
largest outlets for booking an NCL cruise.
ASTA was not invited to participate in the show, and I haven’t
heard from any agents or trade representatives that were invited
onboard either. At least NCL’s commercials during the show said
“contact your travel agent.” Of course both NCL and ASTA have no
control over the actions of the show’s producers, but it would have
been nice to see even five minutes of air time spent talking about
summer travel with someone like ASTA president Kathy Sudeikis.
To me at least, when a person sees a cruise ship, they should
associate it with travel agents. The two should be linked in the
mind of the public, just as they are linked in business.
Clearly, to the show’s producers at least, we have a long way to
go before we reach that point.