Today's reality show phenomena launched in 1992 with MTV’s “The Real World” and intensified in 1997 with CBS’s Survivor. It has since spun off some of the most iconic moments in modern U.S. pop culture covering everything from hair styling (Blow Out), motorcycle building (American Chopper), cheerleading (Making the Team), modeling (America’s Next Top Model), tanning (Sunset Tan) and a bar-tending (Coyote Ugly).
How much longer until there is a realty show that explores the interesting job of living and working aboard a cruise ship? Or, for that matter, becoming an employee with a cruise vendor such as spa services provider Steiner? Certainly there is interest among prospective viewers to support ratings and generate advertising revenues. A number of web-logs are written by on-board employees, at least two penned books (1) (2) and the Love Boat TV show was so popular it is often credited as helping launch the modern day growth of cruising.
A cruise line could even syndicate the program themselves, controlling content to maintain positive marketing images that would further promote cruise travel and employment recruitment.
We are now an amazing step closer to this “reality” with the debut an industry first, The Ultimate Ship Tour, "an exclusive opportunity to experience an array of 'back of house' areas that are key to a ship’s daily operations" aboard the Ruby Princess of Princess Cruises.
There are two other recent examples of very smart marketing partnerships related to the concept of cruise ship reality TV. Instead of bringing the realty of the ship to viewers, they bring the non-reality of the TV to the cruisers:
- Disney Cruise Line and Disney Channel's partnership to develop “Suite Life on Deck” a scripted live-action comedy series spin-off of the Emmy-nominated “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” It is filmed on the Disney Wonder. Maximizing marketing potential and buzz they are holding a special premiere at sea, where guests sailing will experience a Hollywood-style, red-carpet arrival of Disney Channel stars, an exclusive sneak-peek of the first episode and an opportunity to participate in a Q&A with stars of the show.
- Similarly, Royal Caribbean wisely partnered with Nickelodeon creating a themed cruise with the family friendly, highly rated cable channel. "On-board, Nickelodeon will provide families with such experiences as interactive game shows; meet-and-greets and performances by their favorite Nickelodeon stars; never-before-seen screenings and premieres of new, original Nick TV shows and movies.”
One can imagine the excellent marketing exposure within targeted audiences these types of partnerships provide. Very smart.
- Sail Away to a Magical Winter Holiday with Disney Cruise Line (cruisetalk.org)
You may be right, in the U.S. anyway. Interestingly, I just found out that a little line called easyCruise already did so back in 2005, see the mention on Frommers.com
It will never happen. The cruise ship companies won’t air their dirty laundry. No dirty laundry, no ratings.
I got your great comment on my blog. Of course it would be great for reality TV. I think there was a doc miniseries or a tv series about a Royal Caribbean cruise director.
I’m actually starting work on a Cruise Ship Crew documentary that will span all of the departments. I think there’s far more interesting stories than just the cruise director’s and cruise staff’s lives. There might be even more drama or comedy than entertaining and interacting with guests.
Keep reading my blog because I’m back on the ship and going to be blogging at least weekly if not daily. It gets boring as I get into details but hopefully it sheds some light on what people actually do on cruise ships. I’ve only seen blogs by cruise directors.
I’m going to be interviewing people so it’s going to get interesting.