If you've always wondered what a cruise holiday entails, then check out Netflix's original movie Like Father.
If you ever needed another reason to book a cruise, a recent study published in the International Journal of Tourism Research has revealed that cruising is good for your health, long-term happiness and can even help you to build better relationships. And, Netflix's feel-good "chick flick" Like Father delivers on this premise.
Royal Caribbean International fans can set sail with cast members Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer, and Seth Rogen in Like Father. The Netflix original movie takes place on board Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas and will have cruise lovers geeking out over every scene, which take place everywhere from guest services to the ship's upper decks. The actors are seen enjoying many of the fun activities aboard including The Perfect Storm water slides, FlowRider, Latin club Boleros, the deck's impressive Royal Promenade, the Rising Tide Bar, and on the Royal Caribbean's private island destination of Labadee in Haiti, where they brave the longest overwater zip line. Then there are the cabins where you can have everything from beautiful ocean views to interior views of the ship's impressive Boardwalk or Central Park gardens.
Harmony of the Seas is one of the world’s largest cruise ships with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences found nowhere else on land or at sea. Harmony combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities, including imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, such as VOOM, the fastest internet at sea.
More Than Just A Royal Caribbean Ad
Rachel (Kristen Bell) is a New York advertising executive and workaholic who gets left at the altar after her smartphone falls out of her bouquet and clatters onto the floor while reciting her vows, tipping her husband-to-be off to the fact that he’ll always come second to her career. To make matters more complicated, her father Harry (Kelsey Grammer), who abandoned Rachel when she was five, shows up at the wedding uninvited. Depressed and despondent, Rachel reluctantly decides to go out drinking with Harry. When they wake up, they’re on the cruise ship honeymoon that Rachel’s fiancé had booked them on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas. Hilarity ensues. Or not.
In truth, Like Father is neither a particularly funny nor overly dramatic flick. But the concept of the movie – an estranged father and work-obsessed daughter, who has trouble striking a work-life balance, trying to reconcile – is a good one.
Both of these characters conceal their aching loneliness from the world around them and themselves. Jeff (Seth Rogen) factors into the story as a newly divorced rebound guy for Rachel.
After some predictable father-daughter bickering (she’s addicted to her phone, he’s worried about her but has no moral authority over her), Rachel and Harry decide to see if they can work on mending the seismic rift in their relationship, but they have to start revealing their prejudices and resentments to move forward. Over the course of a few shore adventures along the cruise's ports of call, a couple of umbrella-clad cocktails, some karaoke, and a whole lot of soul-searching, Rachel and Harry begrudgingly work at coping with grief, finding forgiveness and repairing their relationship. The two return home with a renewed appreciation for love, life, family and each other.
Like Father is a pleasant, cute, if unspectacular exploration of the fraught father-daughter dynamic. I highly recommend it if you're looking to turn off your brain for a while and feel nostalgic for your last cruise or get excited about your next one. Watch it now on NetFlix!
A Cruise Improves Your Subjective Well-Being
A positive relationship between travel (experience) and life satisfaction has long been established (Dolnicar et al., 2012; Gilbert & Abdullah, 2004; Sirgy et al., 2011). Literature suggests that a pleasant tourist experience brings about a number of benefits such as improvements in:
This may ultimately lead to improvements in one's subjective well‐being (Gilbert & Abdullah, 2004; Nawijn, Mitas, Lin, & Kerstetter, 2013). In linking tourism and subjective well-being, McCabe and Johnson (2013) also reported significant improvements in family life and relationships, which were attributed to the holiday.
Travel activities will not only stimulate endorphins and produce innate positive physiological responses, but also gratify individuals' social needs such as affiliation, belongingness, cooperation, and recognition (Sirgy, 2012). When tourists' needs are fulfilled by anticipating or taking a vacation, their life satisfaction will increase. Cruise travel is no different. Cruise vacation provides a total escape experience, which includes safe transportation to exotic destinations, Vegas‐style onboard entertainment, luxurious pampering treatments, quality food and beverages, and awe‐inspiring esthetics. Therefore, it offers opportunities for passengers to engage in a socially unique and memorable experience to enhance their well-being.
While all vacations leave travelers feeling good, researchers decided to look at the specific benefits of a cruise. Tourism researchers from the University of China conducted a psychological questionnaire on 317 tourists as they returned from a cruise vacation and another group of 295 people who had taken a cruise six months earlier. The cruisers represented a wide range of ages, backgrounds and had traveled with different cruise lines on a variety of routes from Korea to the Caribbean. The questions were specifically designed to test the participant's own perceptions of well-being, such as life satisfaction and emotional state of mind.
The researchers identified three dimensions of cruise experience: the emotional experience of a getaway, the relationship experience of meeting new people, and the thinking experience of seeing new places and broadening the mind. The findings of the study published in the International Journal of Tourism Research showed that six months later after the cruise, participants were still experiencing positive effects, particularly from the thinking experience side of their life satisfaction.
The ‘emotional’ part of the brain targets our emotions such as joy and happiness. The emotional benefits of traveling on people's well‐being are focused on adding positive energy, rather than the suppression of or coping with negative feelings (Bloom et al., 2012). Cruising can have a positive effect on the brain by inspiring happiness and excitement, whilst minimizing negative feelings such as worry and stress in the short-term.
The relational experience dimension refers to the social interactions on a cruise. Passengers spend a significant amount of time on the cruise ship, which is an enclosed facility. You are constantly interacting with family, friends, staff, as well as meeting and making friends with new people.
The ‘thinking’ part of your brain is also expanded by constantly seeing new places. The research suggests that going on a cruise is better for your well-being than a one-destination holiday, as most cruises make multiple stops giving you ample time to experience different cultures. Thinking experience consists of the opportunities that people can experience different places and cultures and broaden horizons, as well as contemplative activities that involve introspection and meditation.
In the short term, happiness from cruise travel is created mainly through emotional and relational experiences. However, the long-term happiness from cruising was largely derived from thinking experience that came from traveling to new destinations.
Researchers suggest that the multifaceted features of a cruise trip make it more stimulating and beneficial than a one-destination holiday, and the effects linger up to six months after returning home. Even if going back to a daily routine had dulled the emotional experience, they were still getting the mental health benefit of having traveled to new places which previous studies have found can expand minds.
Experiential Features To Look For
The finding of this study elucidates what features of experiential wellness travel the cruise industry should focus on and what the discerning traveler should come to expect of it:
I think it's safe to say that Royal Caribbean International has done an exemplary good job of implementing the above features into their cruisetour vacations. Kudos to both Royal Caribbean and Netflix for conveying that message with the feel-good flick Like Father.
Experiential and Wellness Travel are where it's at. Experiential Wellness Travel is a hybrid of both. But Transformative Travel is the next evolution in travel. Like many land-based resorts, the global cruise industry has kept apace of this current trend with vacations that are fun, authentic, and meaningful by offering travelers on board and on shore fitness and wellness activities, healthy meal options, local cooking classes, culturally immersive shore excursions, participation in the local communities they visit, and a variety of tailor-made experiences that are transformative in a deep and personal way.