Carnival Cruise Line: Fun Ashore

Rap legend LL Cool J headlines the 2017-18 Caribbean edition of Fun Ashore, Onboard Media’s annual magazine for guests of Carnival Cruise Line.

Click here for a digital version of the magazine.


2017-18 Fun Ashore (Caribbean), for Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival and Onboard chose to feature LL Cool J for several reasons. He’s a major star who’s popular with the young, hip guests who sail on Carnival, and he’s having a great year, including being the first hip-hop artist named to the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.  His Spike TV show, Lip Sync Battle, is a hit — and Carnival just happens to have a live version, Lip Sync Battle Carnival, produced in partnership with Spike TV.

The feature article was produced in cooperation with LL Cool J’s PR team, who also provided the images. They made only minimal changes to the story we wrote.

The magazine was published in five versions, aligned to the cruise line’s itineraries. Working with Onboard’s art directors and our partners at Carnival, I planned the contents; assigned features to freelance writers; wrote some copy myself; and managed all editorial through final production, including getting approval from both Carnival and LL Cool J.

Other content  includes:

  • “Behind the Curtain” (freelance written), about Carnival’s onboard entertainment
  • “Carnival Adventures” (written by me), on the cruise line’s new approach to shore excursions
  • “The Fun Shops” (written by me), focusing on what’s new in the onboard retail program
  • “Fun Takes” (staff and freelance written), miscellaneous news from the fleet
  • Destinations guide (staff and freelance written)



Princess Cruises: Style at Sea

Famed supermodel Christie Brinkley graces the 2018 cover of Style at Sea, Onboard Media’s annual feature magazine for guests of Princess Cruises in the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera. We cover fashion and lifestyle topics for upscale, style-conscious readers who appreciate high-quality brands and keep up with cultural trends.

Click here for a digital version of Style at Sea.


2018 Style at Sea, for Princess Cruises.

The magazine is an important selling tool for the jewelry and watch brands that Onboard Media promotes with its retail partners in the ports of call. But it’s much more than that. We also offer features on beauty, fashion and popular culture, in order to attract readers interested in style on many levels. Our goal is to emulate the consumer magazines that our guests read and enjoy. That includes putting a recognized star on our cover each year.

Brinkley was an obvious choice for the sophisticated Princess guest who reads our magazine. After getting Princess’ (enthusiastic) approval to feature Brinkley,  I hired a freelance writer to interview her, and the story was approved by her team with no changes. The magazine’s art director designed the piece with images provided by Brinkley’s team, who also approved her designs with no changes.















Inspiring the Shopper


2017-18 retail catalog for The Fun Shops, Carnival Cruise Line. Click image to see custom versions for Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises (multilingual), Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International.

Starboard Cruise Services is the premier provider of onboard retail programs for leading cruise lines, serving a global market from Asia to the Caribbean.  As editor of the marketing department, I manage the creation of editorial content for catalogs, brochures, video programming and other promotional material.

In recent  years, Starboard has been evolving cruise retail to make onboard shopping broader and deeper than the traditional transaction. We present brands and products as mementos of the cruise, with “retail-tainment” events that become memories themselves. We use storytelling techniques to engage the guest and present shopping as an act of discovery, exploration and indulgence. (“Treat yourself!”)


Sunglasses opener in 2015-16 retail catalog, Royal Caribbean International. Click image to enlarge and read copy.

Catalogs for the onboard stores emulate those of land-based retailers, with magazine-style features that inspire the shopper rather than take a hard-sell approach.

Marketing material is carefully crafted to speak with the unique brand voice of each cruise line. Thus, where copy is fun and breezy for Carnival Cruise Line, it’s a bit more sophisticated for Celebrity Cruises (but can still be playful). Royal Caribbean International‘s copy takes an adventurous tone in keeping with the cruise line’s campaign, while Holland America Line‘s content is all about discovery and exploration for the “globetrotting learner” that Holland America pictures when


Scotch feature in 2015-16 catalog for Royal Caribbean International. Click image to enlarge and read copy.

addressing its audience. The message for Norwegian Cruise Line echoes Norwegian’s “freestyle” attitude. For Costa Cruises, we create multilingual copy (English, Italian, French and German) to reach this diverse market.

The result is that  guests receive a unique message tailored for their interests — and we hope they’ll spend more time with our catalogs.


Crystal Cruises: The Crystal Magazine


The Crystal Magazine (2015), for Crystal Cruises.

As editor of Starboard Cruise Services,  I worked with Crystal Cruises’ public relations manager to create a custom in-room magazine for Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony in 2015.

Click here for a digital version.

For the cover feature on Brooke Shields, we applied our strategy of emulating consumer newsstand publications for maximum impact. Will guests pick us up first because they see yet another image of a tropical beach or native village? We don’t think so. But if they see a celebrity like Brooke Shields, chances are good they’ll want to at least check us out.

Features inside the magazine promote cruise destinations and highlight Crystal’s culinary programs. To entice guests to shop at Starboard’s onboard retail stores, we use sophisticated fashion layouts. The goal is to engage guests and inspire them to  experience everything highlighted in the magazine.

I interviewed Ms. Shields and wrote the cover story, and oversaw other content. I worked closely with Starboard’s design, production and retail teams and communicated frequently with our contacts at Crystal to be sure they were happy with the magazine every step of the way.

Key West, Florida

Key West

Click on image to enlarge and read article.

Click image to enlarge and read story

Click image to enlarge and read story

As a longtime South Florida resident (and a fan of chilling out and relaxing), I have often visited Key West. I was able to draw on my knowledge for some short features for Onboard Media’s in-cabin cruise book for Carnival Cruise Line.

Click image to enlarge and read article.

Click image to enlarge and read article.

Click on image to enlarge and read article.

Click on image to enlarge and read article.

Quick! Stop That Sentence!

The run-on sentence is often the subject of some confusion. Though a writer can seem to run on and on and on, each thought flowing mercilessly into the next, it’s not a run-on unless it lacks an internal separation of each thought. Thus, as authorities such as Grammar Girl might suggest, “I had lunch you did not” is a run-on despite its brevity because it’s two thoughts that run together. “I had lunch but you did not” or “I had lunch; you did not” is correct.

Which is not say that you can simply throw in some punctuation and all is well. Thanks to the semi-colon, we can string together all kinds of thoughts and be good little writers. But should we?

Take this sentence that came to me for editing:

The resort offers several convenient amenities: complimentary international calls; complimentary Wi-Fi all over its properties; smart technology in all of its meeting spaces and an easy-to-navigate mobile application that provides access to food and beverage menus from bars and restaurants at each property and resort navigation showcasing precise locations and points of interest, on-property events, spa menus and property information.

I don’t know but you, but I need to lie down for a moment and catch my breath.

Strictly speaking, the sentence is correctly punctuated. Independent ideas are properly separated by semi-colons. But it takes a bit of work to be sure that everything really is in its place. And it’s just plain too long. Couldn’t the writer have cut this into a couple of sentences?

Better (with some wordiness fixed as well):

The resort provides complimentary international calls and free Wi-Fi all over its properties. It offers smart technology in all meeting spaces and an easy-to-navigate mobile application giving access to food and beverage menus from bars and restaurants at each property. The app also has resort navigation showcasing precise locations and points of interest, on-property events, spa menus and property information.

People don’t have the time to carefully read your words and be sure they’re absorbing them correctly. Give your reader a break and keep your writing simple and direct.

Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Anniversary Book

Click image for a digital flipbook

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) chose Onboard Media to create a commemorative book for the 20th anniversary of its annual Caribbean conference and trade show. I led our editorial team in planning and producing the book with the FCCA’s publication specialists. We gathered and edited copy and images from the FCCA member ports, worked with our sales staff to be sure advertising copy adhered to exacting quality standards, and communicated regularly with the FCCA to deliver the book they had envisioned.

Click here for a digital version.