Monday, March 4, 2013

Carnival Cruise Lines Debuts “The Fun Shops” Online

Internet shopping has certainly made my life easier. No more dealing with finding a parking spot in the mall parking lot where my car could get door dings, no waiting in line to check out, and a nearly unlimited selection of merchandise are at my fingertips. I can even shop for and book travel online.

However, the one type of merchandise that's been limited is cruise related gifts. Yes, it’s always been possible to pre-order certain things to be delivered to us on board, but the selection hasn’t been great. That’s changed with the launch of Carnival Cruise Lines’ revamped online retail section “The Fun Shops”—now available on the line’s website.

The redesign includes a totally new “look and feel,” as well as simpler navigation choices like shopping by product, by occasion or one of Carnival’s four exclusive branded options: Cruise Cash, Cherry on Top, Funnel Gear and Portside Liquor. The site also marks the initial phase of a product expansion with new gifting options ranging from Carnival branded gear to chocolate-covered strawberries rolled in red velvet crumbs.

The Fun Shops can be used to buy a gift for anyone booked to sail on a Carnival cruise—even yourself. If users are looking to surprise a guest with “fun-tastic” treats while on board, they can click on the site’s new virtual “Booking Buddy,” which makes it easy to connect their order directly to a guest’s reservation without having to spoil the surprise by finding out information like their booking number. The “Gift Finder” feature is also new to the site and helps users select the perfect present for a booked guest, ranging from special-occasion treats, flowers, stateroom celebratory decorations, and themed gift packages. Some of the most popular gifts include cakes, festive cabin décor, cooler packages, and high seas gift sets, which are delivered to guests once they board the ship.

Along with the launch of the site, the company introduced Carnival “Cruise Cash,” which provides an immediate credit to a guest’s Sail & Sign account (commonly known as onboard credit); they can use this to pay for bar tabs, photos, shore excursions, spa treatments, or any other expenses accrued during their voyage.

Most items can be purchased for delivery up to two days before disembarkation, for those last-minute mid-cruise surprise gifts. Take a look at “The Fun Shops” for yourself at Hint: liquor prices are far above “duty-free” rates per bottle, but pricing for wines is reasonable.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

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