Seafarer Takes Land Route in Virtual Tour

McKinney at Helm of Royal Caribbean’s Nationwide Promotion
NEW YORK-Royal Caribbean International will take its Voyager of the Seas megaship to land-locked destinations and beyond via a virtual reality tour. Loaded on a semi-trailer truck, the marketing promotion will make the rounds of heavily trafficked events in major markets starting this summer and running through 2000.
The $2 million “Virtual Voyager of the Seas Touring Attraction,” developed by McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., and GMR Marketing, Milwaukee, will offer consumers a 3D film of onboard amenities and destinations and tropical breezes laced with sea salt and eucalyptus. The truck will appear at festivals and state fairs, including Universal Studios in Los Angeles. The national tour, starting at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Regatta in August, will likely hit 20 cities this year.
Radio ads in host markets, continuing the “Like no vacation on Earth” tagline, will build awareness of the tour, which is intended to give people a more hands-on idea of the variety of activities aboard the luxury liner.
Voyager, which is about three football fields long with a rock climbing wall, ice skating rink and promenade that winds through a myriad of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, sails on its inaugural Caribbean cruise from Miami in November. The ship will be the flag bearer in Royal Caribbean’s efforts to brand itself as a multi-faceted vacation experience.
“We felt the only way to make that clear is to disrupt the convention about what cruising was by bringing the ship to Des Moines,” said McKinney & Silver senior vice president Chris Lloyd.
The cruise industry is in a build-it-and-they-will-come mode, with new ships capturing the public’s fancy and generating bookings. Capacity increased 16 percent last year and the number of passengers rose 8 percent to 5.4 million, per the Cruise Lines International Association. The industry is hoping for 6 million passengers this year. Renaissance Cruises earlier scrapped plans for a virtual reality tour of shopping malls [Brandweek, Nov. 30, 1998].

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