Consumer demand for cruise travel is increasing, as the industry returns to its pre-pandemic heights. According to a Morning Consult January 2023 survey, nearly half (47%) of Americans said they trust cruise companies, reflected in an increased amount of cruise bookings. In a fourth-quarter earnings report last month, The Royal Caribbean Group announced the seven largest bookings weeks in the company’s history have occurred since the previous earnings call in November 2022.

But is this surge in bookings activating a new set of challenges? And what is the impact of these on customer engagement at a time when the robocall menace has eroded trust in voice calls?

Here are five significant issues that could cause cruise lines to miss the boat on customer engagement and additional revenue opportunities.

  1. Customers are not answering the phone – Customer engagement is being challenged as never before by robocalls with the latest data showing Americans received 70 billion unwanted robocalls in 2022. Therefore, it is no surprise that cruise companies may be having a hard time getting in touch with customers. For cruise brands, revenue opportunities do not stop once the booking is made. There are suite upgrades, onboard entertainment, excursions, follow on cruise deals that can find a willing audience…if customers answer your call. When sales teams are unable to get in touch with customers, there is no opportunity to engage on any of these revenue opportunities. The inability to get customers to answer the phone can have a negative effect on businesses’ bottom lines.
  2. Customers are not answering the phone – Unable to reach customers immediately, sales teams must then compensate for the unanswered calls by trying to reach prospects multiple times. This can not only frustrate potential customers but also requires a significant amount of time and sales teams are operating less efficiently.
  3. Sales teams have to make more calls – The cruise industry is highly competitive; many brands offer similar experiences, routes and travel option dates. In market categories such as this, gaining trust can come down to the quality of the customer experience. How difficult is it to get questions answered? What can cruise brands do to exceed expectations?
  4. Sales teams can’t alert customers to rescheduled departures – When it comes to relaying critical information, customers hesitant to pick up a call from an unidentified number have a high likelihood of missing important travel updates. Cruise lines rely on voice communications to keep travelers abreast of any changes to the itinerary, such as a boat leaving port earlier or later than expected. While there are other channels to reach the customer, any change in schedule is likely going to be met with confusion or frustration, and lead to questions they will want a live agent to answer.
  5. Sales teams can’t follow up on warm leads – The inability to reach customers via voice communication greatly disrupts the lead-generation process. Customers often provide contact information in hopes of receiving additional information related to a specific cruise line or potential trip. But when cruise companies attempt to reach out with additional information via voice, calls are often ignored.

How Can Cruise Lines Address these Issues Effectively?

Enter branded calling. With TNS Enterprise Branded Calling, legitimate businesses can provide brand information on the incoming call screen to help increase answer rates. When customers recognize who is calling, the chances of them answering the call significantly increase: according to a TNS survey, 73% would be more willing to answer a call if the caller ID displayed the logo and name of a brand they recognize.

Improving customer engagement rates is critical for most businesses, but especially important for cruise companies as they rely heavily on the voice channel to reach customers with both timely, important information regarding upcoming travel plans and throughout the lead generation process.

Displaying brand information on incoming calls helps convert warm leads into bookings by increasing trust between caller and recipient. That trust not only comes from seeing the brand but also understanding that TNS Enterprise Branded Calling has authenticated and vetted the call using the company’s data analytics technology.

To learn more about how TNS can help improve your cruise businesses customer engagement through branded calling, visit

Jim Tyrrell is Vice President of Enterprise Product Management at TNS with specific responsibility for TNS’ Communications Market solutions.

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