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November 11, 2009

A Cruise Line President Who's Also a Roving Reporter

ts_Queen_Mary_2_Liverpool_091111.jpg
Peter Shanks of Cunard reported from the Queen Mary 2.

I love a CEO who blogs. And yesterday I met a new one: Peter Shanks, Cunard Line's new president.  He doesn't just blog from his desk either; he blogs from the ship. Last month, for instance, he reported from Cobh, Ireland, where the Queen Mary 2 stopped to honor the 1198 lives that were lost there when the Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat in World War I. 

Peter (who's such a proper British gentleman that I'd call him Mr. Shanks if I didn't think I'd be laughed out of the blogosphere for being so formal) not only guest-blogs for WeAreCunard.com but is also the British correspondent for the wildly popular John Heald's Blog over at Carnival (Cunard is part of Carnival Corp.).

Peter stopped by my Times Square office yesterday and surprised me with some fun facts. Did you know

* that Cunard is 169 years old yet has the youngest fleet at sea?

* that the inaugural voyage of the new Queen Elizabeth, which will launch in October 2010, sold out in 29 minutes and 14 seconds?

* that there are about a gazillion Cunard videos on YouTube because so many people record its ships doing momentous things like sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge or meeting up at the Statue of Liberty?

Peter also surprised me by asking for constructive criticism about Cunard's blog, which is only 14 months old and still has some growing to do. Seeking feedback from fellow travel bloggers shows a lot of cyber-smarts, in my humble opinion, and there are some super-savvy travel bloggers who read The Perrin Post, so consider sharing your input: Take a look at the WeAreCunard blog and, if you've got suggestions for enhancing it, share them here (since, selfishly, I too really want to hear your bloggy wisdom!). Don't forget to give your website URL.

Comments

Thanks for your post. I was on the QM2's "Lap of Honour" voyage and it was a great time. Mr. Shanks gave a great speech on the new Cunarder: Queen Elizabeth. I read John Heald's blog and enjoy it, but wonder how he does it so often. My only recommendation for "wearecunard.com" is that they post more often.

My one and only blog for for the last voyage of QE2 a year ago today. You can see it, with all its warts
at:http://lastqe2trip.blogspot.com/

All the best:

Jeff

Suggestions for the Cunard Blog:

1) Move the content up. The header is huge, there is an introductory paragraph, and the tags are listed above the post not below it. All of these things make it so that I can't even see the start of the post on my laptop. I'd shrink the header, move the into text to a sidebar and put the tags below the post.

2) The images are all 300px wide, but there is 435px of space for text. I'd make the images at least 400px wide. Bigger is better for photos.

3) There is no option to subscribe via RSS. That should be prominently displayed above the fold. Ideally, if Cunard has an email list, there should be an option to subscribe there too.


Gary Arndt
Everything-Everywhere.com

Suggestions for the Cunard Blog:

1) The content is pushed down too far. Too much space is taken up at the top for the header, and intro paragraph, and tags. On my laptop I can't see the start of the post on my screen. I'd shrink the header, move the text to a sidebar, and put the tags below the post.

2) There is no prominently displayed option for subscribing to RSS or an email list.

3) The images in the blog posts are 300px wide, but the main text body is 435px wide. I'd use all the space you can. Bigger is better for photos. Increasing a square image from 300 to 400px wide increases the area by over 70% (90,000 to 160,000px)

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