Photographs of the #SeaTweetup from 11/18/11 thru 11/21/11

SeaTweetup on the Norwegian Sky from Friday, November 18, 2011 to Monday, November 21, 2011.

Brought to you by Soul Of Miami @soulofmiami, Norwegian Cruise Line @CruiseNorwegian, SocialBuzzTV @socialbuzztv, Kaufman Rossin & Co @aubrey_swanson, Social Esquire @socialesquire, Jeff Cohen @iamJeffCohen and CruiseDeals @richtucker!

Thanks to our sponsors: Norwegian Cruises, MTN Communications, MillerCoors, Kaufman Rossin & Co., Senor Frogs Bahamas, Cruise Deals

(Long writeup coming, feel free to skip straight to the photos.)

So, it all started by mistake, like many good things do. Norwegian smartly decided to host some Tweetups on their ships while in dock, to give local social media enthusiasts a chance to tour the ship and talk about it on Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, etc, in order to generate some buzz. Awesome idea.

For the very first one, they invited a few high-powered social media personalities. But, not us. I was perusing Tweetvite one day (an activity I highly recommend) and I happened to notice this Tweetup on a cruise ship! Two spots left! Well, I certainly was not going to miss out on that, so I hit up @thepumagirl and told her to RSVP right away! Total luck that we were on it.

It was great. Fifteen or so social media hacks clamored aboard the ship way earlier than most of us get up (9am) and immediately started creating havoc. We did not stay with the group, we did not follow instructions, we ran all over the ship taking pictures and video, trying to find coverage to Tweet and generally misbehaving.

As the party came to a close, Sebastian Rusk had the brilliant idea of not leaving the ship. Unfortunately, they found us hiding in the life raft and we had to leave that day, but we determined to return.

We gathered a few social media people together (basically, the ones who could make time in their busy schedule to meet) and brainstormed this plan to host a big “Tweetup” on a real cruise! (Of course, it wasn’t an actual “tweetup” because internet access was limited and it was promoted across other mediums than just twitter, but the idea did germinate from Twitter originally.)

I have to admit that, even as one of the organizers, I was a little skeptical that it would work out. Why ruin a perfectly good cruise by making it into a business trip? Would anybody show up? Would it be hard to organize the events while at sea without any real communications or access to Office Depot and Kinkos?

Well, it turned out my fears were totally unfounded. It was so much better than I expected! We had over three dozen people, from all over the country, show up, participate, interact, share knowledge, have fun, party, hang out, get drunk, and generally have a wonderful time. It really did feel like a 3-day long tweetup (minus everyone with their nose in their phone all the time).

One of the biggest reasons it went so smooth was because Norwegian sent along Kristine McGlinchey as their liaison. She was spectacular and helped keep everything rolling along without any glitches.

DAY 1 – Friday
Boarding, MillerCoors Tasting, Scavenger Hunt, Sail Away Tweetup, Sleeping

The reception by our host, Kristine, was spectacular. She has been so helpful and instrumental in making this all happen. Thanks to Norwegian for working with us, too! The weather was terrible, windy and rainy, and the seas were really rough, but despite all that, we were having a fabulous time.

After boarding the ship, we headed up to the pool deck for the tasting with MillerCoors. They hooked us all up with plenty of Fosters, Blue Moon and Miller Light and food pairings to go with them. The speakers were very interesting, and I actually learned a better appreciation of beer and how it enhances food (Disclaimer: normally I’m not a beer guy, preferring the hard stuff).

After a short break, we gathered for a sponsored cocktail party, hosted by Cruise Deals. Open open open bar for an hour! Not something you usually get on a cruise ship because they make a lot of their revenue off drinks.

I tried to make it to dinner, but after a week of almost no sleep preparing for the  #SeaTweetup and Art Basel, and then drinking all day, I was wiped out and uncharacteristically crashed out really early.

DAY 2 – Saturday
Chillaxin’ on the ship, Tweetup Presentations, Drinking, Dancing, and more Drinking.

Saturday started very chill. The seas were rough, so the Captain rightly decided not to send the Tenders out. (I’ve been on a Tender in high seas and, believe me, NObody wants to do that.) We caught the art auction, of course, and enjoyed a glass of free champaign.

Then, the afternoon really picked up with the social media presentations. It was seriously one of the best programs I have ever been to. Each presenter had about five minutes. That is enough time to get across your point, but not so long that you blather on about nonsense. I learned a lot of valuable information in a short amount of time. Each presenter was very informative and succinct.

We adjourned immediately to a cocktail hour sponsored by MillerCoors. Even the Captain joined us. Nearly the whole #SeaTweetup group was there and it was great to be able to chat with everyone for a bit. Such a good bunch of people we had with us. Everyone was already talking about next time.

After dinner, we hit the dance floor. And I mean we crushed it. #SeaTweetup owned the White Hot Party (somewhat different than the White Party we know in Miami). So much fun hanging out and meeting with people from all over the world.

Walking Nassau, hanging at Senor Frogs, sleeping and drinking.

As we often do in port, we eschewed the regular cruise excursions (though I highly recommend those for newbies) and just wandered into the city looking for local food and color. Little did we know that on Sunday nearly everybody goes to church and nothing is open except the touristy area by the port.

We did run into some very helpful locals who directed us to the nearby Fort and the beautiful Queen’s Staircase. We even got lucky and happened upon a tour guide just as he was explaining the history of the staircase.

Hours later, still foodless, we wandered back to the touristy area. Luckily, bumped into some other tourists who told us that good local fare could be had at the beach some blocks away. We found a couple of shacks and picked up some of the best jerk chicken and FRESH made conch fritters ever.

We made it back just in time for the meetup at Senor Frogs, who had graciously offered us free use of their WiFi. They even comped us a bottle of Patron Coffee Tequila! SO much fun there. The MC gave us some shoutouts, we drank yards of frozen drinks, got guacamole made table-side and generally just had a good time with people from all over the country.

After that, we were pretty much toast. Crashed in the room for a while. Ordered pizza. Managed to get up for another cocktail party with more great networking and knowledge sharing.

All in all, it really could not have gone much better for a first time out. We had people from all over the country. I wish more south Floridians had represented, but it was cool to connect to new friends from other places. This is one thing I love about Social Media, how easily it is to meet people from all over the world. 

I hope that Norwegian decides to do it again and I hope that more of you out there will join us!
– James Echos

Pre-cruise Publicity
Miami Herald -Business: Sailing planned for social media fans
Elite Choice: Norwegian Cruise Line Offers The World’s First SeaTweetup
Sex and the beach blog: Silicone Bitch: Interview with Rohit Bhargava (Last paragraph.)
Cruise Mates: Norwegian Cruise Line Twitter Cruise
The Independent – UK: Cruise line to host at-sea “tweetup”
Travelblogger: Twitter-Kreuzfahrt auf die Bahamas
Herald Sun – Australia: Man the torpedoes, there’s a ship full of twits ahead!
Scribbal: Twitter Sets Sail, Norwegian Cruise Line Holds First #SeaTweetup
Fox Morning News Indianapolis: News report
Miami New Times: First Twitter-Themed Cruise to Set Sail from Miami in November
Where2Butlers: “#SeaTweetup,” A Social Media Network Cruise excursion leaves Miami..All Aboard!
 USA Today Norwegian Cruise Line to host Twitter-themed cruise
SocialBuzzTV #SeaTweetup Promo Video – South Florida Social Media Cruise

Other #SeaTweetup After-Event Photos, Videos and Write-ups:
#SeaTweetup – Networking on the High Seas By Aubrey Swanson – #SeaTweetup on Norwegian Cruise Line [VIDEO] recap
#SeaTweetup Photos from KC Gal Stacey Gregory on Facebook
Kaufman, Rossin & Co #SeaTweetup Aboard Norwegian Cruise Line Photos on Facebook
SocialBuzzTV [PICS] from the #SeaTweetup! – 11/18-11/21/2011 on Facebook

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