Ready for Our Close-Up

Kenneth Shapiro 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 Kell

By: Kenneth Shapiro

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.

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