Hi Kerrie, thank you so much for talking to me today. I’ve been following your progress in the blogging world since you launched your cruise information empire www.thisiscruising.com in February 2018. What inspired you to become a cruise blogger and what sets you apart from every other blogger out there?
Hi Jamie, thank you so much for asking me to guest post for you, I am so honoured to be featured on your blog and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
As you know, I was born and raised in Liverpool, a city rich in maritime heritage. I was lucky enough to be raised right next to Crosby Beach and spent most of my childhood on the beach, so the sea has always been a part of me.
The inspiration behind my cruise blog comes from a multitude of places. Obviously my love of the sea and cruising is the main thing, but I am an avid blog reader and have always wanted to create my own blog. Whilst there are many fantastic blogs out there, I’ve never found one that ticks all of the boxes for me. So that is what I am trying to create now, something that I would like to see myself.
With regard to what sets me apart, this is a very tricky question Jamie and might be better answered by somebody else. All I know is that a blogger can’t be all things to all people, so the more bloggers we have the better. We need a broader range of perspectives and more collaborative working amongst bloggers in order to inspire the largest possible audience.
One thing that really strikes me about your work is the fact you are rooted in integrity, honesty and quality content. You have built a large and loyal following in a short space of time, particularly on Instagram. What’s your secret to success?
Jamie, the first thing I would like to say here, is that I am not seduced by popularity and I’m completely committed to growing my audience organically.
Instagram is my preferred social media platform because it suits me so well on a personal level.
The most pivotal things for me in terms of gaining more followers have been my Insta Lives and Insta Stories, whilst I was on board P&O Britannia in April 2018. I really “shared” myself on that cruise, I let people see so many things, from my sweaty face running around sports deck to chowing down on Pringles on my cruise balcony! After the cruise, so many people messaged me to say they felt as though they had been on the cruise with me. Those people are now my most loyal followers and I truly appreciate the interaction and support I receive from each and every one of them.
There is no real secret to success on Instagram but what I do know, is that people love people. I am a people person and love connecting with new people, Instagram is a great facilitator for this.
I post purely for myself and my audience, which means I am free to post whatever I think or feel. I only post about ships I have actually been on and brands I actually use. I am not looking for any freebies and will never promote a brand or product that I don’t already use or aspire to use. The sole purpose of my blog is to inspire people through my cruising experiences.
For all new bloggers, what are your top tips?
My top tips for new bloggers are as follows.
Accept early on that there is a lot of hard work involved in developing a website, creating quality content and building an audience on social media. There is at least another 6 to 12 months required developing my website in the way that I want to, but I fully accept the challenge and I’m in this for the long haul.
When you first start out, choose one social media platform and focus on that for the short term. If you try posting to multiple platforms too soon, you run the risk of churning out repetitive, poor quality content.
When posting to Instagram, post for the people. If you are posting purely to drop hints to businesses or brands, your readers will soon realise what you’re up to and they won’t like it.
Always reply to comments, if somebody has been kind enough to take the time to comment, you should be kind enough to reply.
My top tip specifically for cruise bloggers on Instagram is, don’t be afraid to post pictures of yourself. It can’t all be pictures of ships. I will say it again, people love people. Your audience wants to see you more than any photograph of a ship.
Make the most of hashtags, if you’re not using your full allowance of hashtags, you are seriously missing a trick. Hashtags are a great way of bringing like minded people to your account.
Finally, don’t get caught up in what other bloggers are doing or posting, focus on yourself and your own audience.
In the cruise world, what have been your most memorable experiences?
Jamie, I have had so many memorable experiences but if I had to narrow it down, it would be a Caribbean fly cruise on board P&O Oceana in 2011. This cruise embarked in Acapulco and included a transit of the Panama Canal. I had one of Oceana’s aft balcony suites, Orsova – D750, which provided an amazing vantage point for taking in the canal’s landscape. Panama City was an impressive sight but most fascinating of all was being able to observe the operation of the canal locks.
However, my most memorable cruise experience of all, has to be my first cruise, which was a Caribbean fly cruise onboard P&O Ventura in 2007. This holiday was nonstop fun from start to finish and it completely changed my perspective on cruise travel. It was on this holiday that I discovered the infamous Caribbean rum punch….enough said!
Do you have a favourite cruise line or ship?
Shock horror, no! I don’t have a favourite cruise line or ship.
P&O Azura is a beautiful ship and I have cruised on her a few times but Jamie….. my best ship is yet to come!
There is an unprecedented number of new ships being launched in the next few years. Which are you looking most forward to and why?
Well, it is such an exciting time for the cruise industry right now, so many ships under construction, so many ships on order and to top it all off, my home city Liverpool, is about to commence construction of a new £50M cruise terminal.
As far as cruise lines go, I am extremely excited by Virgin Voyages entering the cruise market in 2020. I am a big fan of Sir Richard Branson and particularly his theory of positive disruption. The cruise industry has played it safe for far too long and it’s high time somebody came along and added a little drama to it. Only Sir Richard would be daring enough to paint a topless mermaid on the side of a cruise ship.
That said, the cruise line that I am MOST excited about is MSC Cruises. I love the design and style of their newest ships, I love their itineraries, I love how they market themselves and I love how committed they are to giving their guests the best possible cruise experience. It is for all of these reasons that I have booked to cruise on board MSC Seaside in 2019.
Why should everyone cruise?!
Everyone should cruise because no other type of holiday will ever make you feel the way that cruising does.
There is a stunning world out there and cruising is the perfect way to discover it.
Waking up to a new destination each day is amazing and I would never have visited beautiful destinations such as Huatulco, Virgin Gorda, the Panama Canal, St Vincent and many more, had it not been for cruising. I would not know what it feels like to have my breath taken away by standing in a Caribbean waterfall, would never have seen dolphins play in the Pacific and would never have made the special friends that I have, if it wasn’t for cruising.
What can we expect next from you as you build your membership and popularity across the globe?
Well Jamie, following on from my first ship visit in May, on board Royal Princess, I am looking to arrange some more ship visits for the remainder of 2018, along with various social media collaborations.
Secondly, in February 2019 I will be taking my most exciting cruise to date, on board MSC Seaside. MSC Seaside excites me like no other ship before. I will be doing a 14 night Caribbean cruise embarking in Miami, which is a new destination for me. The ship looks absolutely incredible and apparently there’s a zip wire with my name on it!
Thirdly and most important to me personally, in 2019/2020 my love of the ocean will really come to the fore. I am currently taking steps to realise my dream of diving with whale sharks and I am also becoming involved with various marine conservation organisations, to help raise awareness of ocean plastic. These things mean a lot to me and I know my followers will enjoy being a part of my journey. What a journey it is going to be!
Thanks again to Kerrie for a wonderfully in depth and genuinely interesting interview. Kerrie is without doubt one of the most genuine bloggers I have come across out there. Catch up with all the news at www.thisiscruising.com and follow her on Instagram at “thisiscruising”.
Don’t forget to also check out Travel Blogger Jamie on Instagram (Travel Blogger Jamie), on twitter (@travelblogjamie) and on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/jamiesholidaychannel