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Commentary: Royal Champions walk the plank

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On August - 4 - 2009

In March, I broke the story regarding Royal Caribbean International’s “Royal Champion” viral marketing program where fans of the cruise line only posted positive reviews on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor. The fallout was huge.

Last week, Royal Caribbean informed its “Royal Champions” that it was canceling the program. I am glad Royal Caribbean decided to end the program since it was duplicitous at best. I never understood why Royal Caribbean opted to go this route. Was it fear of its competitors? Insecurity of its product? Or just shear arrogance? I am inclined to believe the latter. Simply put, Royal Caribbean had no need to employ this program. The line has a very loyal following of cruisers that post positive commentary sans the carrot and stick tactics of free cruises and special invites.

I had been aware of the “Royal Champion” program since May 2008 when I wrote the story of Brenda Moran, a woman banned by Royal Caribbean for complaining too much. In subsequent e-mails and phone calls to the company to inquire about the “Royal Champions” I was not provided with the true facts regarding the program – it was described to me by a former executive of Royal Caribbean as “a fan club” and that’s all it was. My gut told me it was more than that and I monitored the posts on the aforementioned boards for clues. Sure enough it happened ten months later when readers of my column informed me of an amazing blog post. The truth about the “Royal Champions” program came out in the form of a blog post by Royal Caribbean’s own marketing company.

I want to thank my readers. You are the lifeline for the majority of my cruise columns. I want you to know that I read each and every e-mail. Without your feedback and ombudsman issues this column would not exist. Have a cruise problem or issue? You have a voice with me. You won’t find a voice on other cruise sites because they are too scared to write an ombudsman column. As one cruise editor told me “it’s too much work and could affect ad revenues from the cruise lines.” Hmm… As in the case of the “Royal Champion” program justice has been served. Well done readers!

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7 Responses to “Commentary: Royal Champions walk the plank”

  1. Hayward Yolb says:

    Anita I am glad your columns are keeping the cruise lines on their toes. Keep up the great work!

  2. Steven says:

    Oh yes, Anita is the voice of the cruise industry. LMAO at that one. This so called journalist and I am trying to keep a straight face as I type that has done nothing more than post one side of a story. Never was able to get her facts straight about the Morans. Now that this latest crusade is over I guess she will start a war with Royal Caribbean about removing mints from the pillows each evening. Lady, you’re a joke for a journalist. I hope that you enjoy those free cruises that Carnival is giving you for bashing their competition. Maybe John Heald will pose in his speedo for you.

  3. jump man says:

    Great post. I think it works both ways though. While some complaints are legit you have others who will complain that the ship left because they didn’t make it there on time.

  4. It is very glad news that royal caribbeans stopped the viral marketing program.may be because of insecurity or fear of its competitors.

  5. Matt Fraser says:

    Woo, thank you.

  6. Anita Dunham-Potter says:

    Oh Steven,
    You know you love my columns. Thanks for caring to post.



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