I’d like to take this time to introduce myself. My name is Allan, and I’m a new guest blogger at Mikey’s Cruise Blog. I’ve been cruising since the early 1990′s on Royal Caribbean’s Viking Seranade (now called the Island Escape under Island Cruises), and I’m glad I have a home here to share my thoughts about the industry.
Currently, I’m the Chief Cruiser at Embark – a marketplace that connects cruisers with travel agents. Mikey recently did a post about Embark, and you can check out his great article here. The Embark team and I blog regularly at http://blog.embark.at so we encourage you to check us out there.
We’re big into technology since we’re based in the San Francisco, Bay Area. With my inaugural post, I’d like to share with you my top 3 cruise apps that I’ve been fortunate to play with on my iPhone. (Full disclosure: I am not affiliated, being paid or have company ownership of any the following apps. I only have an iPhone, so my review knowledge is limited to apps on iOS. The apps are not in any particular order – they just happened to be my ever-changing top 3).
meetOnCruise (free): (Side note: I’ve conversed over email with Faraz, co-founder of meetOnCruise. I hope to meet with him at cruise3sixty in April just to put a face to the emails.) I one time had an inkling to create some kind of cruise roll call application that made it easy to meet folks prior to the cruise. Fortunately for me, meetOnCruise has already done that. The app has a very simple-to-use interface and good design. The problem with many of these roll calls is the typical chicken and egg issue that many companies face. There are several thousand cruisers, and I’m really interested in the 20 to 30 year old group that likes to have fun late at night. If there were a bunch of my targeted cruisers using the app that happened to be going on the same cruise that I’m going on, then I’m all over the app. Unfortunately, that’s usually not the case (at least for now). The app is free and the community is growing, so I recommend that you check it out.
iCruise (free): If you like window shopping, then the iCruise app is for you. It’s a good shopping tool to discover new itineraries and cruise ships while on-the-go. Based on my research, 87% of all people use travel agents to book a cruise, so I’m curious to know of the remaining 13%, how many actually use a mobile app to purchase a cruise versus a web purchase. If you’re one of the 13% and you’re comfortable making a large purchase on a mobile device, then I recommend that you do it on iCruise’s app. You have the ability to book directly on the app, get a quote or directly call an iCruise rep.
Ship Mate – Carnival Cruises ($1.99): This app is consistently in the Top 10 of travel apps – so kudos to their team. It’s a mashup of a lot of different features, and I’m not quite too sure what the main purpose of it is. Is it a social network? Is it a picture book? Is it a postcard maker (powered by Sincerely’s Postagram which is really cool)? Is it a where in the world is my cruise ship app? is it a Wikipedia for cruises? It seems like it’s doing a lot of things, so if you like the Swiss Army Knife of cruise apps with room for design improvements, then this is the one to get. Based on a quick look, they have versions for all the major cruise lines – all affordably priced at $1.99.
This list will continue to change as new apps come out and new innovations take hold. Creating an app whether it’s on the web, iPhone or Android platform is not easy. Not only do you need to know how to program, you also have to have an eye on design and a fit in a changing and competitive market. If you do use these apps, I encourage you to leave a review on their respective app store and drop the developer a friendly note regarding what you like and don’t like about their app. You’d be surprised that little things like this make a big difference. Until next time!