If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Carnival has left Cruise Critic blushing.
The cruise line has followed in Cruise Critic's footsteps by implementing CarnivalConnections.com, the cruise line's new online community -- a social networking and group planning tool for those looking to share their onboard experiences. Although there are several online communities for cruisers -- like Cruise Critic -- Carnival is the first cruise line to create one specifically for their customers.
CarnivalConnections.com helps family and friends join together to plan and manage their "Fun Ship" cruise with technological tools such as electronic invitations (e-vites), and guest-written message boards for organizing family reunions, girlfriend getaways and other group events.
The message boards also allow registered users to ask questions, post responses and provide general feedback about past and future "Fun Ship" sailings. There's also a section where users can post detailed reviews of their Carnival cruise.
Enhancements have also been made to its company Web site, www.carnival.com, including an interactive destination map, destination "virtual tours," guest video testimonials and a "close-to-home" cruise locator, along with a new design mirroring the line's current advertising campaign.