Merchandising and Cruise Ship Vacations

On Board and In Port Options for Customizing your Customer's Experience

Customizing and creating a memorable experience for your guests is at the top of the list when it comes to what makes your cruise the best of the best.

If you’re like us, lots of attention goes into all the little details.   If you are looking to go the extra mile, then Customized Merchandise should be on your radar.  Many ships already have a room dedicated to custom printer machines as well as trained staff to use them. Chances are you already print menus, place cards, temporary signage, and more.

That space could also be used to create additional revenue!

Learn how adding one or more of the DigitalHeat FX 8432 machines to your operations will enhance your guests’ experience and improve your operational bottom line.


It’s common to see families, groups of friends, or even couples sporting custom, matching shirts for their vacation. Often these people are getting their shirts done before the cruise without everyone having a chance to pick the design.

“But what if they knew they could pick out their shirts ONBOARD?”

Having the option to order onboard gives you the opportunity to create a customized experience and lots of extra profits.

The DigitalHeat FX 8432 machines are fast and can provide a turnaround time of 24 hours or less. Their apparel can be picked up or delivered right to their room.

Guests can get a customized shirt for a particular excursion or activity they’re going to do on the cruise.

They can also capture memories. If something funny happens, whether it’s a saying or a photo that can be printed onto a shirt and they can have before they leave the cruise. Instead of saying “Oh we should get that on a shirt” and waiting until they’re off the ship. Your ship collects the extra profits while providing extra fun for your guests.

When a guest makes their booking, you could offer them the choice to create their custom t-shirts on-board, or at any time before boarding.

Imagine how nice for your customers it will be to eliminate the hassle of them having to find a reliable print shop and get the shirts.  They can handle it up-front or onboard without worry.

Your guests’ t-shirts could be waiting for them in their room when they board the ship.

For guests who didn’t think to preorder, will see the custom shirts others are wearing and become interested in getting some for themselves.  For their Family and Friends. 

Booking Ideas

When guests make their cruise booking, there are many ways to present the idea of custom apparel.

As part of the booking flow, you could include an option to create a custom shirt. Even if the guest doesn’t order their shirt right there, you can save their design in their account.  Later on, you send out a follow-up email that will keep their customer shirt on top of their mind.

You can also provide a complimentary custom shirt for corporate groups. Having a physical shirt in their hands is different than just seeing a concept on the screen.

One of your upgrade packages could be a custom apparel package. It could include custom shirts as well as caps or tote bags.  Suddenly, an area of the ship that was losing money is now making profits and increasing satisfaction at the same time.


Pre-Boarding is another opportunity for guests to make that last-minute custom apparel order, and still have their shirts ready by the time they board the ship. Guests can make their order right at the cruise ship terminal even.  Software can make the ordering process smooth and fast requiring little to no effort upfront on your part.

Other guests will see the shirts and remember that they can buy them too.

Did you know that US Navy ships already have embroidery machines on their ships?  They use them to service their crew members needs. So If ship space is a concern, Pre-Boarding can also be an opportunity to offer the option for embroidery. Labelling embroidery as a pre-boarding exclusive item can entice customers to buy early giving lots of time to produce the design.

Additional Revenue

The profit margin on custom apparel can be between 50 and 100%. Providing custom apparel brings in another option for guests already willing to spend those extra dollars while on vacation.

Now the room on the cruise ship with dedicated printers becomes a space generating revenue. Because the DigitalHeat FX 8432 can print on regular paper and HeatFX paper it’s possible to replace some of your existing printers with one printer that can do everything.


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In addition to printing the custom design for guests, you can include the cruise line logo. Now when your guests wear their custom shirts while docked at the ports or after the cruise is over they’ll be creating free advertising for your cruise.

Employee Uniforms

Instead of outsourcing employee uniforms, you can cut costs by creating the shirts in-house. With over 2,000 crew members on board, those costs add up. Even with industry discounts, shirts can range from $8 to $16. While the actual cost of those shirts is likely between $2 and $10 depending on the use. And while you might not print or embroider all of shirts internally, when you do you can save as much as 50%.

It also ensures your crew members have clean, crisp uniform shirts all times. Instead of having to wait until you’re docked or worry about shipments arriving on time, shirts can be made on-demand.

Custom merchandising also allows for flexibility if a particular event happens that might benefit from the crew or a portion of the team sporting custom items.

Final Thoughts

Adding a custom apparel service to your cruise ship can not only help cut costs and increase revenue but provides an opportunity for guests to build on an already memorable holiday.

Get Started Today

Learn more about the DigitalHeat FX 8432 and talk to the experts at ColDesi to find out how we can help.