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ULTIMATE WORLD CRUISE TAKES TIKTOK BY STORM: A REAL-TIME "REALITY SHOW" ON THE HIGH SEAS

Navigating the High Seas of Social Media Fame: TikTok Drama Unfolds on the Ultimate World Cruise

26.01.2024
BY SALMA S.A.
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In an extraordinary maritime journey, the Serenade of the Seas set sail from the Miami harbor on December 10, embarking on what has quickly become the talk of the internet - "The Ultimate World Cruise." This nine-month expedition promises to visit 150 ports of call, 60 countries, and all seven continents. As Royal Caribbean proudly boasts, it's a journey to all four corners, marking a unique experience for the hundreds of passengers on board who are living their lives at sea. With prices ranging from $54,000 to $117,000 per person, it's a cruise unlike any other.

What sets this world cruise apart is its unexpected transformation into a real-time "reality show" on social media, particularly TikTok. Over a dozen passengers and crew members have taken to the platform to document their adventures, creating a virtual voyage that captivates millions online. From the challenges of life on the ship to unexpected twists in the itinerary, every moment becomes a plot point for these social media-savvy sailors.

The rise of TikTok stars on the #UltimateWorldCruise has been nothing short of meteoric. Many passengers, previously unknown on the platform, have seen their follower counts skyrocket from zero to over 100,000 in just a few weeks. Videos under the hashtag #ultimateworldcruise have amassed an impressive 340 million views as of January 22, turning this extraordinary journey into an internet sensation.

The cruise's unexpected fame began with viral videos in December, including one titled "things that stress me out the 9mo cruise," which humorously listed potential challenges, from "alcoholism" to "serial killers." Another video introduced a bingo card predicting various events on the cruise, such as a first and second Covid outbreak, a pirate takeover, a wedding, mass STDs, a mental breakdown, and even a podcast upon return.

Passengers like Joe Martucci, a 67-year-old retired CFO celebrating his retirement with the cruise, inadvertently became TikTok stars. Under the account @spendingourkidsmoney, Martucci's videos garnered millions of views, turning him into a beloved "dad" figure for his followers. He has even scheduled a meetup with fans when the ship arrives in Southampton, England, later in the journey.

While the cruise itself has faced typical challenges, such as a temporary flood, a guest's unauthorized trip to Brazil, and some dissatisfaction over treatment differences for loyalty program members, the real drama unfolds on TikTok. Passengers have formed a unique online community, with "cast members" hosting meetups and referring to themselves as characters in this ongoing social media saga.

The online drama has not been without its share of controversies. TikToker Marc Sebastian, who secured a sponsored content deal with Atria Books, found himself at odds with fellow passengers after making a video pledging to "wreak havoc" on the cruise. His presence has stirred animosity on and off the ship, with tensions escalating in private Facebook groups as non-TikTokers express frustration over constant filming.

The unexpected clash between the TikTok creators and their fellow passengers has added a new layer to the unfolding story of the Ultimate World Cruise. As more people from the ship join TikTok in hopes of becoming "main characters," it remains to be seen how this unique social media experiment will continue to evolve over the remaining months at sea. For now, the passengers-turned-TikTokers embrace their newfound fame, hoping that the positivity outweighs any negativity as they navigate the uncharted waters of internet stardom.

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