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Purpose - To examine the leisure cruise service environment—the shipscape—and its effects on cruisers’ emotions, meaning-making, and onboard behavior.

Design/methodology/approach - This paper uses qualitative data from 260 cruise customers that was mined from archived online discussion boards. Data were analyzed based on grounded theory and interpretive methods to derive an understanding of shipscape meanings and influences from the cruiser’s perspective.

Research limitations/implications - Given the exploratory research objective and interpretive methodology, generalizability beyond the cruise context is limited. However, research findings suggest not only that ambient shipscape conditions influence cruisers’ pleasure, but also that ship layout, décor, size, facilities, and social factors influence the meanings cruisers attach to cruise brands and to the overall cruise experience.

Originality/value - This paper explores atmospheric effects on consumer behavior in a context as yet examined by tourism and hospitality scholars. The findings extend Bitner’s (1992) servicescape framework and reveal novel atmospheric and social effects that influence cruise travelers’ experience.


Required Publisher Statement
© Emerald. Final version published as: Kwortnik, R. J. (2008). Shipscape influence on the leisure cruise experience. International Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research, 2(4), 289-311.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.