Carnival Takes a Radically Customer-Centric Approach

Carnival Cruise Line

Transforming the Customer Experience and the Industry

Over the years, Carnival has engaged with SapientRazorfish to achieve digital supremacy in its category by reimagining how its cruises are booked, planned and enjoyed. The work also remains true to the brand by ensuring onboard functions are fun and easy to use. 


  • Reimagine how vacationers book cruises through a transformative, data-driven approach to make the entire experience fast, easy and effective
  • Transform the onboard photo service to be ubiquitous, fun, and easy to use
  • Reconceptualize annual holiday season promos on to increase bookings
  • Set a higher bar for engagement with the brand on social media through new campaigns
  • Use insight and marketing innovation to strengthen relationships with travel professionals


  • A data-driven search experience uses up-to-the-minute, relevant content to help users discover, explore and book cruises easily and efficiently
  • A reimagined digital photo experience lets guests enjoy their memories from wherever they are, at any time they want
  • A promotional campaign that generated results by disrupting the conventions of cruise industry advertising
  • Social campaigns that achieved all-time, company-best levels of engagement
  • A B2B real-world activation campaign that celebrated the cruise industry’s travel agent partners


  • Positive impact on business results, with increased website conversions and bookings on
  • Dramatic increase in photo service revenue while reducing operating costs
  • Higher guest satisfaction scores
  • Company-record levels of social engagement
  • WebAward in the Travel category for Travel Standard of Excellence
  • UX/UI award from OMMA Online Advertising Creativity
  • Digiday Signal Award for the Best Sales Automation Tools & Platform Category

Transforming how travelers discover, book and enjoy vacation cruises.

Making cruises easy to discover, explore and book

When Carnival executives set out to innovate their customer experience, they brought SapientRazorfish on board. Through deep analytical insights, the team executed an innovative approach to streamline a complex cruise shopping experience  putting the fun back into functional. Constant collaboration with our client helped us iterate and enhance the experience with techniques for deep personalization and retargeting. Since deployment, the experience has resulted in increased bookings for Carnival. And because more cruises are purchased online, Carnival has even trimmed their operational costs.

An unexpected approach to the cruise company’s first major cyber sale

Carnival wanted to break into the holiday season “e-tailing” space with a Cyber Weekend promotion in November of 2015. They tasked SapientRazorfish with making sure that it was a success. The promotion launched with images featuring an unexpected class of cruiser: Cyber Weekend Robots. The humorous campaign was featured in hero spaces throughout, and it generated record-breaking, all-time highs in net bookings during Cyber Weekend.

Setting new records for social engagement

Carnival and SapientRazorfish teamed up to create an event that would bring some sunshine and fun to people stuck inside at work on the Summer Solstice (June 21st), which fell on a Wednesday in 2017.

We cast the sunniest, laziest, and cutest star we could find and made him our summer spirit animal: Bill the Mystical Sloth. Like the groundhog who predicts winter, Bill would predict the length of summer — and also forecast other future events for thousands of followers on Facebook Live.

We put Bill and his interpreter on a beach in the Keys and streamed them live for four entertaining hours. People were invited to ask Bill the Mystical Sloth any question they had. Then Bill made his final prediction: 17 extra days of summer!

The social activation had a reach of 6.4 million people, 1.3 million views, 25K comments and 99.8% positive reactions. This was Carnival’s best Facebook Live activation ever by all of those criteria, and it also outperformed all cruise line competitors.

Just a week later, Carnival, Operation Homefront and SapientRazorfish broke more records for social engagement when we teamed up to throw the World’s First Social-Powered Barbecue for the troops for July 4th.

Americans tweeted and posted their gratitude to America’s military personnel. Using the hashtag #ThankYouBurger, their messages were collected and lasered onto hamburger buns served to the soldiers.

#ThankYouBurger reached over 8 million people, and garnered more than 16,000 user-generated content submissions.

Giving our cruise-booking partners the star treatment, in person and online

Carnival came to us looking for a new, interesting way to engage travel agents, a vital part of cruise industry bookings. We came up with Agentpalooza, a six-city bus tour celebrating rock star travel agents.

We created the name, designed the logo, flyers, posters and other promotional materials. We also came up with three real-world activations that would make the agents feel like rock stars in real life. These activations included a red-carpet arrival, a star-worthy photo session and a chance to watch our client, the VP of Sales and Trade Marketing at Carnival, get a real tattoo that reads “Travel Agents Rock.”

After the event, we produced videos that were shared on social media, along with a contest for agents. All of our efforts lead to an increase in positive sentiment from travel agents on Carnival-owned Facebook properties, and received recognition from Travel Weekly, the cruise industry’s preeminent trade publication. 

Carnival Website

On board, cruisers capture vacations in photos

Professionally taken photographs have been a hallmark of the cruise industry for decades. But in an economy that is becoming increasingly connected, Carnival recognized the need to transform its existing analog photo process into one that would leverage the latest technology for capturing and distributing digital photos.

Together, the combined Carnival-SapientRazorfish team reimagined a digital photo gallery to help guests find and purchase professionally shot photographs from their cruise experiences. Using advanced facial recognition technology, guests can easily locate their photos on digital touchscreens and iPads, and save them for viewing, purchasing or for on-site printing.

The digital photo gallery extends beyond its physical footprint by making photos available anytime and anywhere via the on-ship mobile app. For even more engagement, interactive TVs in every guest room provide access to photos, giving guests new and convenient ways to find and purchase their cruise memories. 

In creating the first end-to-end digital photo experience at sea, the new digital photo gallery has boosted revenue while breathing new life into an outdated experience. The transformed photo experience continues to rank as one of the highest on-ship experiences in guest satisfaction scores.

Pixels Gallery

Recognition from the awards community

The awards community has recognized our engagement with Carnival through WebAwards in the Travel category for Travel Standard of Excellence, the OMMA Online Advertising Creativity — UX/UI award and the Digiday Signal Award for the Best Sales Automation Tools & Platform Category. 

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