John Whitfield’s Updates

How to Write a Cruise Travel Article

Writing for a niche market such as cruise travel comes with the same expectations that most editors require. What is printed must be factual, well-researched, error free, and interesting to read. Writers must, at the very least, understand the publication's submission guidelines. After that, choosing content that is unique, compelling and specific is necessary to engage the reader but also to prompt an editor to feature an article.

How to Choose Captivating Content

The first step in writing a cruise travel article is to choose content that is original and substantial. Don't write in bland generalities or give information that would be considered common sense for the industry. Writers should ask or themselves, will the reader find the article worthwhile or will the reader be disappointed?

Descriptive details add interest to an article. Provide readers specific facts that they have been looking for such as transportation options and shore excursions in a cruise port. Give specific dates of cruises that travel to a particular destination. Write a round up article about various cruise lines' shipboard amenities such as children centers or specialty dining. Choose topics that can educate and entertain at the same time.

How to Research for Articles on Cruise Travel

Whatever the chosen content, research needs to be done to give substance to the article. Although personal experience is invaluable for a travel article, opinion that is not backed up with concrete information lacks depth. Reputable sources such as cruise line websites, tourism websites, and guidebooks help to enhance the piece and give it credibility. Using quotes from cruise industry professionals is another way to back up information.

By using these resources, writers can also avoid making errors when writing the proper names of cruise lines and their ships. For instance, use the correct name and spelling of the cruise line such as writing Celebrity Cruises and not Celebrity Cruise Line or saying Disney Cruise Line and not Disney Cruises. This is as easy as verifying such information with each cruise line's website.

Submission Guidelines for Cruise Travel Articles

As with any article, a writer needs to take publication's submission guidelines into consideration. For example, the Suite101 website states, "each article must have a clear purpose and must contain enough depth for a potential reader to find rewarding". For examples of featured cruise articles on Suite101, check the Cruise/Island Vacations section of the website.

In short, don't write about information or generalities that have been written a number of times already. The writers' guidelines set out by PPI Group, a publisher of cruise travel content explains, "Almost every story/destination that you pitch has been pitched before." They advise writers to look for an unusual angle, stay focused and avoid trite phrases.

Additionally, neglecting to use correct cruise terminology is a red flag to a cruise travel editor, highlighting that you are not an experienced cruise travel writer. For example, be sure to write 'ship' rather than 'boat' and 'onboard' rather than on board. Use the terms 'dockside', 'pier', and ashore, but not 'wharf' or 'on shore'.

Furthermore, some publications point out their style requirements within their guidelines while others expect the writer to know what they expect. If the latter is the case, writers should study the style of previously featured articles or sections of a publication that uses the work of freelancers. By researching and studying the publication's past articles, a writer may also determine what future content is needed.