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Royal Caribbean offers trip of a lifetime to social media explorer

Royal Caribbean has launched a search for an ‘extraordinary explorer’ to fulfil the company’s first Instagram ‘Intern-ship of the Seas’, as new research confirms that social media is a key source of inspiration in consumer holiday booking habits.

The research, polling 2,000 UK and Ireland consumers, was commissioned by Royal Caribbean to determine the role that social media plays in inspiring holiday makers.

The results show nearly half (48 per cent) of holidaymakers rely on platforms like Instagram for inspiration.

More than a third (34 per cent) claim they wouldn’t consider visiting a destination without first consulting social media.

Meanwhile, a third (37 per cent) say that seeing their friends’ bragging posts from abroad has encouraged them to plan their own holiday and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) after seeing snaps has even triggered a fifth of travellers to go as far as to book the same holiday as friends.

To capitalise on this shift in the way holidaymakers think, Royal Caribbean has innovatively launched an Instagram ‘Intern-ship of the Seas’.

A first for the cruise industry, applications are being taken strictly via Instagram to find an ‘extraordinary explorer’ who will sail the seas and capture the unique stories, destinations and experiences of a cruise holiday.

As part of the role, the candidate will travel three oceans, on three ships, for three weeks, during the summer of 2017 with food, drink, accommodation, flights and expenses covered by Royal Caribbean and will also be rewarded with £3,000.

Applicants who think they have what it takes to capture pictures that stand out and inspire holidaymakers can apply for the role by sharing their most extraordinary travel photo on Instagram, tagging @RoyalCaribbeanUK and #ExtraordinaryExplorer.

Agents can apply too.

Travel blogger Johnny Ward, who next month is set to become the youngest person to visit every country in the world, will select the winning candidate alongside a panel of judges including Travel Weekly editor-in-chief, Lucy Huxley and Royal Caribbean’s managing director UK & Ireland, Ben Bouldin.

The judges will mark applications against strict criteria to select the successful candidate.

Submissions will be judged on a number of elements including visual appeal, storytelling ability, originality and inspirational qualities.

Bouldin said: “Royal Caribbean has a fleet of 25 ships visiting over 250 destinations around the world, meaning our holidays are positively teeming with extraordinary moments.

“In a first for the cruise industry, we’re looking for a talented storyteller to capture those moments and bring them to the world via Instagram.

“When it comes to choosing a holiday, we know social media plays a crucial role in the decision making process for consumers.

“Knowledge and personalisation are then key to convert that idea into an actual cruise holiday, which is the crucial role our agents play.”