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Following the crash of the ‘fly on the wall’ documentary Airline, which included showing the general public EasyJet ‘behind-the-scenes’, and ended up meaning the airline itself was portrayed as badly managed, inept and uncaring of it’s passengers concerns, despite persevering in showing the television audience the more ‘human’ side to the company and its operations.
The ITV documentary ‘The Cruise Ship’ allowed camera crews behind-the-scenes access to Princess Cruises ship Royal Princess, with the cruise line getting little editorial control over the series when it aired.
Earlier this year, Paul Ludlow, the Princess Cruises managing director for the UK and Europe said, “This is the single biggest thing happening for cruise this year, as far as I’m concerned. The idea has been in the pipeline for a while now and it quickly became something very exciting. It will show the cruise industry in a really positive light and demonstrate the incredible experiences our guests have on-board. Our crew are the stars of the show and it reflects how hard they work.”
The programme was meant to allow Princess Cruises to once again capitalise on the same sort of excitement which is generated when a new ship is christened, Ludlow added. “There was a great feeling in the industry when the Duchess of Cambridge launched Royal Princess and this will bring back a lot of that feeling. This will only have a positive effect for us as a brand and for bookings.”
However, after the documentary aired, millions of people have taken to the waves of the internet to express their disgust at the cruising industry and at Princess Cruises in general, creating the opposite effect to what Ludlow was clearly expecting.
Whilst sales for cruise tickets have indeed rocketed, travel industry insiders have been saying that passengers have been asking to cancel multiple bookings or stating they will never travel on a Princess Cruise.
Travel agents have been trying to reassure potential clients that the programme is just a result of media and entertainment bosses trying to play up to the viewer and create a controversial ‘water-cooler- topic of discussion in a bid to boost ratings, and that the programme itself is not a real representation of the cruising industry. Many travel industry experts have stated their shock at Princess Cruises’ decision to being exposed to the camera or agree to a series which portrays cruising as one big party at sea.
Whilst the cruising industry has undoubtedly taken a blow as a consequence of the documentary series, Princess say they are considering signing up to a second series.