P&O Launches New Ventura Blog

September 24, 2007

Continuing the cruise industry's slow embrace of the latest Web trends -- building individualized Web sites to coincide with ship launches, "friending" cruisers on MySpace, creating user-generated photo galleries -- P&O Cruises has introduced its own blog. In August, "The Making of Metropolis" became part of virtualventura.co.uk. That site showcases P&O's Ventura, due out in 2008 and one of the U.K.'s most highly anticipated new-builds in years.

The blog will document a film crew as they gather international video content to be featured on a 20-ft.-long video wall in Metropolis, a top-deck, back-of-the-ship nightspot. The wall-screen will display a series of fluidly shifting, high-definition cityscapes from Paris, London, New York, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Sydney.

The project is huge, requiring extensive global travel to capture 10 hours of potentially usable footage from each city on each camera (three are needed; the footage will be fused together in order to span the 20-ft. wall). Therefore, P&O has decided to record the project for posterity with a bi-weekly blog written by Duncan Swinhoe, the owner and director of the production company responsible for capturing the footage.

It is estimated that the seven-city tour will result in the gathering of 10 million megabytes of footage. To put that in perspective, that's enough memory to store 160 million of Cruise Critic's large home page photos.

The verdict? With only two entries (there are two from August; the first September offering will be posted soon), we wonder at the blog's ability to maintain strong interest. Waiting two weeks between new blog postings is simply unheard of in the blogosphere. So far, visitors can read about the on-site progress in London and Paris, the rains that have plagued the visits, and brief notes about video subjects (the cities) -- all accompanied by a few location photos. Currently, there just isn't much content or, it follows, much substance. The blog also lacks the option of creating reader-generated feedback, one of the most ubiquitous features in blogging.

At this point, it seems more about marketing -- using "blog" as a catch term to draw interest -- and less about utilizing the advantages of the format: most commonly short, snappy, regularly occurring entries with the ability for users to respond at will.

"The Making of Metropolis" may be better served in its final form, with completed entries from all seven locations. Requiring visitors to wait for weeks between entries just isn't very blog-like, and certainly doesn't mesh well with the Web user's desire for immediacy.

--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor