TikTok invaded this content cruise. Maybe one day he will come for you.


The public on the ground clearly has a fantasy of what the cameras can capture. Something juicy, like a disgruntled crew member struggling to serve an incredibly demanding guest. If you look hard enough and connect the right dots, you might glimpse a tense dynamic, the kind of thing Bravo could send an entire production team toward. All ingredients because the drama is there, which seems enough to keep the viewers' attention; Supporting the suffering of wealthy tourists is a favorite American pastime.

“I will record everything.”

But it seems as if there is something more behind the virality of this ship and the strange intrusion of the online world into its material space. You might imagine a cruise ship as a place to relax and escape the real world, but it is also a carefully controlled luxury environment, designed to constantly offer you small memorable experiences of delight; In other words, exactly the kind of relaxing “aesthetic” joys that influencers post on TikTok. The obsessive interest of the digital world simply places the ship in a more aggressive version of the same surreal situation it was in at the beginning, the situation that much of the world seems to be heading towards: Everything here is just content.. Everything that happens must be designed for consumption, must stand out and surprise, from contemplating the sea in a solarium high above the ocean to dancing in a silent disco. As for the humans within those scenes, they too must always be on. Some of the people caught in Sebastian's crosshairs must be looking for an annoying deal: either you find a way to be telegenic content at all times, or you spend the next eight months dodging other people's cameras, so as not to accidentally become the main character of the ship. for the day.

Still, for the life of me, I still can't find anything really happening in the Serenade of the Seas. One passenger, a conventionally attractive young blonde with more than 224,000 TikTok followers, posts everyday videos; They are as banal and familiar as you might expect from a cruise ship. She plays pickleball. Pour Smucker's Sugar Free Breakfast Syrup over oatmeal. Her pink sweater matches her pink water bottle, which she matches with her pink smoothie. A large online audience is eager to turn these passengers into characters in an improvised reality show, but the havoc Sebastian hoped to capture for them (or, who knows, cause) is nowhere to be seen. So far, her biggest complaints concern noise and lighting.

How surprised can anyone be? Nothing exciting is supposed happen on a cruise. Presumably this is why older people, especially Americans, are so biased towards them. And yet, #CruiseTok has almost three billion views. Cruise ships may be deliberately undramatic, but there are things about them that we can't seem to look away from: the jaw-dropping engineering, the ships so enormous, they boggle the mind, they even float. All those hideous pearl white surfaces. Or the strange sociability: the rise of themed cruises, dedicated to topics like “Game of Thrones” or Taylor Swift or knitting, turns ships into gigantic convention centers submerged in the ocean, where thousands of like-minded people meet. They lurch from one activity to another. the next.

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