Danielle Fear, aka CruiseMiss, is a force to be reckoned with in the cruise world. After taking her first cruise in 2007, she soon discovered her passion for travelling the high seas in style.
“My first cruise was the complete opposite to everything I had imagined a cruise to be,” she says. “It was fun, full of energy, and I didn’t have to wear a dress every evening as I had expected!
“Those twelve days on-board really were amazing,” she continues. “I definitely caught the cruising bug.”
Danielle was so taken with the cruising lifestyle that she decided to set up CruiseMiss, which has been a smash hit with first-time cruisers and accomplished searfarers. So, what’s the secret to her success?
If you’d like to set up your own cruise blog, here’s how to get it off the ground – and reel in your audience.
Hi Danielle! Please can you tell us a bit about yourself, and what you do when you’re not cruising?
“I’m 31, although I don’t feel it! I live in Newcastle and I like to travel as much as possible. My daily job involves blogging, travel writing, creating online content geared towards cruise and travel, and social media on a freelance basis. I’m self-employed and I love it.
“I started CruiseMiss.com four years ago - and I’ve never looked back.”
What made you decide to start your own travel blog?
“I started my own blog because the job I was in at the time wasn’t taking me in the direction that I’d hoped it would. I knew the end was near, and I didn’t want to sit bone idle until I found something else, so day by day I started pulling together CruiseMiss.com.”
“I desperately wanted a job that kept me tied in with cruises, but I don’t exactly live in the cruise capital of the world, so I needed to build something that would pave the way and open other doors.”
How long did it take you to set the blog up? Did you do it yourself, or did someone help you?
“I set it up myself, and a friend helped out with some of the artwork. I had social media experience, so I knew where I needed to place it and seed it, and I had marketing experience from my previous job and my days doing music PR.
“I wasn’t sure it would work, but my hard work paid off. In the beginning, I spent 17 hours a day building the blog and making myself known, networking, sending emails and asking questions.
CruiseMiss is a hugely popular cruise blog. How have you made it such a great read?
“I share the kinds of things that I wanted to see and hear about when I was looking for online reviews, or ideas relating to future cruises. I write how I speak, and I think people like that.”
How often do you post, and do you use a lot of images and video? Would you say they make a difference?
“I post as often as I can. I posted every day when the blog was in its early stages, as I had the time to do that, now it’s a little more difficult as I’m doing so many different things. However, I post as often as I can and I always post live during my voyages (unless it’s just for a day or two!).
“Images are incredibly important - sometimes words just don’t convey enough and you need to show people what you’re talking about. I’d never post a blog without at least one photo to go with it.”
How often do you cruise, and where’s the best place you’ve been?
“I cruise as often as I can - I’d stay at sea all of the time if I could! I’ve been so lucky to have visited many wonderful places. I don’t think I have an absolute favourite, but I can say that I always enjoy a visit to Germany and I love the Caribbean!”
You must have to travel a lot in order to write new content. Does your blog have an impact on your personal and professional life? Are you away a lot?
“I do travel a lot, not just on cruises, but I enjoy it. I don’t like being in the same place for too long, so going here and there suits me. My professional life is my personal life - that’s what happens when you are passionate about something. The two just merged together and I’m quite happy with that.”
What advice would you give to people setting up a cruise blog?
“I’d advise keen bloggers to work hard at it, and don’t run before you can walk. I asked many questions along the way - I took advice and I networked. I still do all of those things now, because you can never be in a position where you know everything. I invested time and money into it. It’s my own creation and I’m so incredibly proud of it.
What are the perks of running an awesome blog?
“The biggest perk for me is doing something with my life that I love. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
What are the pitfalls?
“There’s not a single one!”
Do you think your blog makes a difference to the industry?
“Yes, I think it does. I’ve commented on many things over the years, and I know my thoughts have been picked up and improved on. Once, I was sent pictures of improvements I’d suggested!”
Finally, do you ever get recognised on cruises – and is it great when you meet people who have read your work?
“I do sometimes, although I’m not sure how as I don’t post many images of myself online. I’ve met quite a few people who read my blog, and to be told how much they enjoy it is very humbling indeed. I especially like it when someone sends me a message to say they booked a cruise because of my blog - that’s exactly what I eventually hoped the blog would do when I first started it.”
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