Complexity, Gone Away

Some users are looking for a review of cabin 8512 on the Carnival Vista. Others have no idea what they want. We built a site to serve them both.

Should I take in European culture or soak in Caribbean rays? Should I go when the kids are on vacation, or when the weather is best? Should I get a nice room on a budget ship, or budget room on a nice ship?

And, uh, is it cool to do it on the balcony? (hint: nope)

There are a lot of decisions to make to plan a cruise vacation, and Cruise Critic has more content than anyone to help—articles, expert and user reviews, photos, videos, deck plans, booking, community and more.

Our task was to help put all the pieces together for both an experienced cruiser and a newbie.

What We Did

  1. Discovery Immersion
    A deep dive into the industry and Cruise Critic business through stakeholder interviews, a SWOT analysis, cruiser research, an analytics review and visioning workshops
  2. Strategic Road Mapping
    An experience strategy and design sprint approach (for MVP and beyond)
  3. Taxonomy Definition
    Quantitative research with key segments to establish the site information architecture, validated and optimized with a simulated A/B test
  4. Design Sprints
    Mobile first design brought to life through high fidelity Axure prototypes
  5. User Testing
    Usability testing, on both the early stage concept and the finished visual design prototype
  6. Brand Exploration and Application
    A visual system and style guide creation based on new brand standards

What We Didn’t Do

Settle on our first ideas.

This project demanded a continued exploration and refinement to put all the pieces together in the right balance. Some well-founded concepts were found to be dead ends for users. It was crucial to have multiple ideas and be ready to pivot quickly to get to something that worked.


An experience that accommodates a multitude of entry points, scenarios and personas.

For users, they now move seamlessly through the conversion funnel. For the business, things are up—like revenue per visit, conversion rate and Net Promoter Scores.

Please check out the site at Better yet, start with a Google search like our users do (it does well there, too).

“We entrusted ZeroDegrees on one of the most important and visible initiatives for the business—the redesign of our flagship site. They expertly guided a project full of high impact decisions, exceeding expectations along the way. The final product is a powerful change for our customer and our company.” Mike Ewing Vice President, Cruise & GM Cruise Critic at TripAdvisor

Case Studies