How the Cruise Lines Stack Up on Social Media and Why It Matters

While two of the big three cruise line companies have strong social media presences, another one lags its peers. Find out who leads the pack and why it's so important.

Feb 5, 2014 at 5:30PM

If you follow this column, then you already know that Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) scores higher than Carnival (NYSE:CCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NASDAQ:NCLH) for traveler ratings and company culture. Up to this point, it appears clear that Royal Caribbean is the best cruise line of the three. However, we're going to investigate further. This time, we're going to delve into social media exposure pertaining to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

If a company has a stronger social media presence than its peers, then it's easier for that company to deliver important information about promotions and company news. A strong social media presence also allows a company to increase interaction with its customers. Responding to an individual personally tends to resonate well with consumers, simply because it makes them feel important. 

With the above information established, it's time to see which of the three companies above has the strongest (and weakest) social media exposure and efficiency. First stats, then analysis.


Facebook Likes

Instagram Followers

Instagram Posts

Twitter Followers


Royal Caribbean












Norwegian Cruise Line






Locking in young consumers
Royal Caribbean has the strongest Instagram presence by a wide margin, which is very important. Instagram has 150 million active users per day, and 67% of the world's top brands use the popular social media site. Most importantly, Instagram attracts a lot of young consumers. For instance, 28% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 29, and 17% of teens think it's the most important social media site. This is up from 12% in 2012. If Royal Caribbean can establish its brands with young consumers, then it's going to have a head start for the future.

Royal Caribbean has a strong Twitter following, but not as strong as Carnival.

Highly effective on social media 
Carnival can't compete with Royal Caribbean on Instagram, but it has the strongest Facebook and Twitter followings. It also has established a larger Twitter following than Royal Caribbean with fewer tweets (though it's not a significant difference.) This indicates that Carnival's tweets are more effective, and is a positive going forward. It should also be noted that Royal Caribbean established a stronger Instagram following with much fewer posts.

Carnival recently used Facebook to announce that Carnival Live performances will be available at guests' favorite destinations, and that some of these performances will feature the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Styx, Chicago, or Jewel. That's an impressive list. Carnival's ability to relay this information to over 100,000 people in seconds is a great asset.

Lagging its peers
Establishing a clear leader on social media between Royal Caribbean and Carnival would be a difficult task. However, it's relatively easy to establish that Norwegian Cruise Line lags its peers yet again. You can make the argument that Norwegian Cruise Line has fewer ships than its peers, which is a fair and justifiable argument. On the other hand, Norwegian Cruise Line still lags in social media effectiveness.

If you look at the numbers above, you will see that it took Norwegian Cruise Line 525 Instagram posts to generate 9,531 followers. Royal Caribbean required less than half the amount of posts to generate more than twice as many followers. On Twitter, Norwegian Cruise Line has tweeted more times than Royal Caribbean and Carnival, yet it has much fewer followers. Once again, a lack of effectiveness. 

The Foolish takeaway
Royal Caribbean and Carnival are stronger and more effective on social media than Norwegian Cruise Line. This gives Royal Caribbean and Carnival more marketing and promotional opportunities than Norwegian Cruise Line. This is in addition to Royal Caribbean and Carnival scoring higher than Norwegian Cruise Line for traveler ratings and company culture (rated by employees), with Royal Caribbean being the most impressive overall. 

This is yet more proof that Royal Caribbean is best of breed, and that Norwegian Cruise Line's current success might not be sustainable over the long haul. Please do your own research prior to making any investment decisions. 

Another way to invest way ahead of a strong future trend.... 
The plastic in your wallet is about to go the way of the typewriter, the VCR, and the 8-track tape player. When it does, a handful of investors could stand to get very rich. You can join them -- but you must act now. An eye-opening new presentation reveals the full story on why your credit card is about to be worthless -- and highlights one little-known company sitting at the epicenter of an earth-shaking movement that could hand early investors the kind of profits we haven't seen since the dot-com days. Click here to watch this stunning video.

Dan Moskowitz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers