CruiseLineFans on The Cruise Industry, Customer Service and the New Age of Social Media

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CruiseLineFans note that cruise companies, travel agents, online retailers, online communities and cruise customers are now using the web and social media in new and unexpected ways.

Now, more than ever before, CruiseLineFans note that travel and hospitality companies of all types must maintain exceptional levels of customer service in order to compete for and satisfy an increasingly savvy and budget conscious consumer. Cruise companies in particular have to pay special attention to customer service since they deal with many customers from the initial reservation right up to, and including, the actual vacation, touching on almost all aspects of the trip.

With the advent of social media, and the resulting close connection between customer and company, opinions matter. Cruise review communities such as CruiseLineFans play host to many thousands of positive and negative comments about cruisers' experiences and play a crucial role in reinforcing brand image online. Sites like CruiseLineFans and many others have taken their brand into the universes of Twitter and Facebook, and now they are being joined in large numbers by the Cruise Companies and Cruise Specialists themselves. As a result the relationship between the customer and the company has become an open 1:1 dialogue. Direct complaint resolution, information exchange and introductions can now all be made with a few keystrokes.

Some of the cruise companies leading the charge are:

Carnival Cruise Lines

The big boy on the cruise block actually seems to nail down online customer service very well. Maintaining very active accounts on Twitter and Facebook, Carnival Cruise Lines offers quick customer complaint resolution, updates on pricing and special promotions, as well as promotes their own, internal Fun Ship cruise community. They do all of this while constantly staying true to their brand's core messages (FUN!) and do so with great wit and personality.

Norwegian Cruise Lines

NCL have not always been revered for their customer service in the past, but in recent years, they have taken full advantage of the new communication landscape offered by social networks and are actively engaging their customers. Not only does NCL offer separate feeds for customers and Travel Agents, but EVP of Global Sales and Passenger Services, Andy Stuart, is extremely active online and is always participating in events, presentations and online conversations designed to bring NCL's message to a much broader audience.

Travel Agents and Cruise Specialists

Cruise specialists and travel agents are also using online social networks to bridge the gap between customer and agency. Carrie Finley-Bajak, better known online as CruiseBuzz, uses Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook in a variety of increasingly personal, but distinct ways in order to interact with her past customers and future clients. With more and more frequency cruisers are finding vacation packages online, but via travel agents who can provide a 1-to-1, customized cruise vacation for a particular person, family or group.

Cruise News and Communities

Information resource sites abound in the cruise niche within the online travel world. Community based sites such as CruiseLineFans allow cruise lovers and potential cruise customers to read and write reviews, share pictures and videos, connect with one another before and after cruises, as well as exchange tips and advice, specials and deals, and a wealth of information about air travel, hotels and lodging, transportation from and to ports, shore excursions and destination review and information.

TV and News journalists of the highest order have even jumped into the mix, including the well-respected, and prolific cruise Editor at USAToday, Craig Sloan, also known as CruiseLog and the oft-quoted, frequent TV news guest, Stewart "The Cruise Guy" Chiron (CruiseGuy). CruiseLog inspires quite a bit of discussion and exchange on their popular message boards, while CruiseGuy tweets some of the best, first-run, previously unknown cruise based news bytes on the Web.

The customer is still "king" and "queen" in the age of social media and now they can connect with cruise companies, travel agents and journalists in real-time and exchange information, suggestions, complaints or rave reviews. The Staff at CruiseLineFans continues to urge its readers to get out there on the social media web, connect with their favourite cruise line or travel agent on Facebook and come and share their cruise vacation memories with new and old friends at communities like CruiseLineFans.

Alex Saint, CruiseLineFans CEO commented: "Now more than ever before the opinion of the consumer really matters. Any delighted or disgruntled traveller can get online and grab an audience in seconds so cruise companies have to adapt to ensure that they capitalise on the positive and honestly and openly deal with the negative. What's beyond doubt is that social media is here to stay and that it's a huge opportunity for cruise companies"

CruiseLineFans is the fastest growing, most friendly and informative cruise travel forum on the Web. CruiseLineFans plays host to forums dedicated to this discussion of popular cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and many others. Images galleries, polls, roll calls, special cruise deals, cruise and ship reviews, as well as off topic discussion is also available. The forum boasts in excess of 22,000 members, over 37,000 threads, and 1.5 million posts.

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