Why Cruise Lines Might Do Away With Daily Newsletters


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If you’re one of the many cruisers who love ending their evening by looking over the newsletter outlining the next day’s activities, you may soon have to settle for doing so on your phone. Thanks to advances in technology and an increased emphasis being put on environmental issues by the cruise lines, physical copies of the daily newsletters could soon become as hard to find as a midnight chocolate buffet.

Why Newsletters May Soon Go Away

From drink specials to trivia times, it’s all in the Carnival Fun Times.

Whether it’s Carnival’s Fun Times, Norwegian’s Freestyle Daily or the Cruise Compass distributed on Royal Caribbean ships, passengers have long loved the newsletters which keep them apprised of everything going on around the ship. From the hours restaurants will be open, to which musical acts are performing where, they keep us ‘in the know’.

But over the past few years, cruise lines have invested millions to update their technology, including adding increased functions to their mobile apps. Once you board most ships, the apps available allow passengers to do everything from book dinner reservations to communicate with one another (usually for a fee). They also provide a digital version of the line’s daily newspaper or the same information repackaged in one way or another.

READ MORE: Understanding The Carnival Fun Times Newsletter 

This, of course, begs the question: How long until cruise lines do away with the printed copies entirely?  The digital format, is favored because it both saves money and helps toward preserving the environment. It takes a whole lot of trees to produce the paper for the millions(literally millions) of newsletters distributed each year!

Cruisers Love Their Daily Newsletters!

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For many Norwegian cruisers, the FreeStyle Daily stays with them long after the vacation is over.

This very topic was raised last year on the Facebook page of Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador, John Heald. A cruiser named Alaya wrote saying, “Now [that] you have a digital version, there is no reason at all to keep printing paper copies… the world’s resources must not be wasted.”

In response, Heald posted a poll asking if cruisers were ready to go digital. Over 16,000 people voted, with a resounding 81 percent saying they wanted to continue receiving the paper copy.

The question was raised again on Heald’s page in March of this year, with over 80% of the poll’s respondents in favor of keeping the paper copy of the daily newsletter.

Why The Move Would Make Sense

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On Royal Caribbean, the Cruise Compass lists everything from showtimes to how much has been won in the casino over the course of the cruise!

While so far there has been no plans made by any of the cruise lines to scrap the newsletters, it’s not hard to imagine that day coming in the not-too-distant future. Earlier this year there were unconfirmed rumors that one line(on at least a few of its ships) had tested the idea of having passengers go to guest services to request a printed copy of the daily newsletter. This might ultimately prove a workable solution.

There are certainly sound arguments to be made in favor of scrapping the printed newsletters. There is, of course, the fact that every major cruise line is working hard to become more environmentally friendly. That’s one of the reasons cited for decisions such as plastic straws being eliminated from every major line’s ships, Carnival’s using table cloths in the main dining room only on formal night, and Norwegian cutting back on the towel animals made by room stewards each evening.

And certainly, an awful lot of paper is required to produce the newsletters distributed (not to mention all the ads stuffed inside)!

Perhaps printed copies of the daily newsletter are simply something whose time has come. Practically every cruiser now carries a smartphone onto which apps featuring the same information found in the newsletter can be downloaded.

The same information can also be obtained in a myriad of ways, including announcements made by the cruise director’s staff, digital signage around the ship and via channels on the television in every stateroom. With cruise lines competing to be the most technologically advanced, things like the Freestyle Daily and the Fun Times seem almost anachronistic.

The Argument For Keeping Newsletters

fun times

However, there’s a pretty solid argument to be made for continuing to print and distribute the daily bulletins… not the least of which is the simple but undeniable pleasure they bring to many cruisers. There’s something oddly exhilarating about entering your stateroom at the end of the night and seeing the Fun Times or Cruise Compass on the bed, waiting to entice readers with the plethora of options available to them the next day.

For many, they also make a fantastic souvenir, especially as they become something of a time capsule, allowing you to pick one up years later and see where the ship was on any given day.

While it feels like a foregone conclusion that printed versions of the newspaper will become a mere memory, we can’t help but hope that they’ll stick around for a long time to come.

Do you use the printed daily newsletter, the phone app… or both? Would you be sorry to see the printed bulletins become a thing of the past?

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