Firstly, let me give you all my sincerest apologies for the lack of response on my part. Especially to jack2007, I'm sorry to have given the impression that I was wasted people's time. The reason for my lack of response is that I people suggested to me that conducting a research project in the cruise industry would be quite difficult, so I was trying to research other avenues. However, I'm still passionate about researching this area (and after meeting my project supervisor) he has really encouraged me to go ahead with it. So again, I'm very sorry and thank you for all your replies.
To reply to some questions:
1) I am studying Marketing at Royal Holloway, University of London. So I'm quite legit!
2) my email address is email@example.com
but I will be using firstname.lastname@example.org
3) my title for the project is not defined yet, as I need to find out the key issues first. But ultimately it will be to study 'brand experience' in the cruise industry. Our experience with brands is often psychological (attitudes, opinions etc), however the cruise ships are one of the few types of brand where you can physically live in and experience the brand. Eg... Carnival 'fun', Royal Caribbean 'adventure', Princess probably more sophisticated, etc. Additionally, in the UK for example, cruising is a relatively new holiday, therefore I'd like to look at what accounted for this rise.
One of the reasons that I was told not to do this project was the lack of access to people who go on cruises! But now I have quite a few people, I'm excited about going-ahead with it.
So thank you for all the responses! I'd definitely be willing to send a small gift to people who take part... maybe a few British chocolates and things for those over in America!
The next step for me is to try and compile a list of names/emails of people who would be willing to take part in some form of online questionnaire that I would provide or a MSN/chat/forum style focus group.
I myself will be taking a cruise to Asia in Jan 2008 with Royal Caribbean, so I hope to speak to some passengers and crew to further my research.
Any feedback/advice on my project would be most welcome. And thank you all for your time. I look forward to being in touch again soon.