A GREAT ADVERT FOR CRUISING
Some slogans pass the test of time. “Don’t say brown, say Hovis,” still springs to mind as the perfect metaphor for a great loaf of bread. Equally, “Guinness is good for you,” struck the right nerve in the advertising world way back in 1929, and Ireland’s most famous export has been on a memorable soundbite track ever since.
Mention the name Homepride, and virtually everyone (of a certain age, i.e. ours) will be able to reel off the catchphrase “Graded grains make finer flour.” Then there was the ‘Brylcreem bounce,’ the late-night adventures of a ‘Secret lemonade drinker’ and Henry Cooper urging us to “Splash it on all over” (as if the diesel-like scent of Brut 33 could ever be described as nostril pleasing, but dash it if people didn’t buy it by the gallon).
Alternatively, several companies discovered the other side of the slogan equation, like Maxwell House changing their refrain from “Good to the last drop” to the cringe-inducing “Better beans make better coffee” (had they only been foisting the inferior stuff on us before?). The Halifax Bank also scored a huge own goal in 2010 with their pathetic ‘ISA, ISA, Baby’ campaign that was about as appealing to HM Revenue & Customs as a dodgy tax return.
Another variation on the theme is the advert that just didn’t translate into another language, or, rather, that it DID translate, but just not in the way the makers intended. To wit, the soft-drink tag-line that insisted “Come alive with Pepsi” was not a hit in China, where it allegedly converted into “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.” Great for séances, but not so good at Christmas dinner.
That’s not to be confused with just having a terminally atrocious product, of course, such as the late, unlamented Shake n’ Vac commercial (and it’s massively irritating housewife doing a painful pas de deux with her vacuum cleaner). And, by the same token, having a mantra that is so inanely ludicrous that it makes you want to yell at the TV, like our current bête noir for a certain car-maker. “Love, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru,” we hear way too often, with the immediate T&T response that “No, it’s the design, engineering and rivets that make it, you cloth-eared morons!”
Political slogans have also run the gamut, from brilliant – including JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” Winston Churchill’s message to Harrow School in 1941 that they should “never, ever, ever give up” (with a few more stately ‘evers’ thrown in for good measure) – to Donald Trump’s baffling “Make America Great Again” (more like ‘make America grate again’).
Recent Luxury Cruise News
Which brings us neatly to Harold Macmillan and his most famous Prime Ministerial utterance, which is the reason we started writing (or, at least, typing) this particular missive. As we never tire of mentioning, this is most assuredly something of a golden age for luxury cruising, a truly gilded era of new ships, new activities, new ports of call and, especially, new manifestations of genuine sea-going grandeur.
Only last week, there was the much-lauded news of a significant increase in luxury cruise travel per se, which was immediately followed by the launch of Crystal Cruises’ special private tour jet – a lavishly modified Boeing 777, with the moddest of cons – to add to their worldwide portfolio, as well as the christening of a new (or heavily rebuilt) riverboat for the Mississippi, the American Duchess of the American Queen Steamboat Co, boasting four sumptuous two-storey suites, a first for any river-going vessel.
On Monday, the luxury cruise world was treated to another special inauguration, that of Crystal’s first purpose-built river-cruiser, the Crystal Bach, at Rudesheim in Germany. This sleek scion promises to raise the level of Rhine voyaging to new levels of sophistication, with an all-inclusive style that redefines the genre. As we are firm devotees of this particular journey, you can bet your bottom pfennig that Treadwell and Tenny will have this on their ‘To do’ list for 2018.
Meanwhile, Seabourn announced that their long-serving Captain Stig Betten will be at the helm of the new Seabourn Ovation when it graces us with its presence in May next year, the fifth in what has become a production line of maritime magnificence. The popular Captain Stig (not to be confused with that curious character from Top Gear, who would drive far too fast for any cruise line) has already overseen the production of two of the line’s Odyssey-class vessels in recent years, and the fact he will be in charge of their latest newcomer highlights the inherent quality it represents.
Finally, in our current parade of peripatetic splendour, we have Silversea, with news of a special Grand Voyage for their newest vessel, Silver Muse, in the form of a 69-day circumnavigation of South America, visiting 34 ports in 14 countries and including a stop in Rio de Janeiro for the annual Carnival. It’s a splendid itinerary at the best of times but, in the company of the Muse, it is enough to spark any number of classic slogans. “A bit of what you fancy does you good, but a lot of it is sheer holiday heaven,” perhaps?
That’s five major announcement in seven days, a week of luxury cruise revelling in a nutshell. Go back just 20 years in cruising terms, and you could have waited seven months for that kind of output. Sure, new ships were being built at an impressive rate, but they were largely the mega type with identikit builds, fine in their way but hardly the stuff of decadent dreams.
Nowadays, these kinds of occurrences are almost 10 a penny, proof positive that there are now plenty of travellers who know the difference between the over-used verbiage of the mass market and the genuine distinction of the discerning. It is a call to sea (or river-)going charms the likes of which we have not seen before.
Or, to paraphrase Harold Mac, we definitely have never had it so good for a really good cruise!