1,000 YouTube Subscriber Milestone

Today, we share our journey to 1,000 subscribers on YouTube – from where it began to how we achieved our goal. We hope it provides you motivation, inspiration, and maybe even a desire to go hit that Subscribe button yourself! 😉

Where It All Began

Remember when cruising shut down due to COVID? Yeah, so do we, unfortunately. To keep the spirit and joy of cruising alive, Mark created a website and twitter account to share cruise photos, news, and updates related to the shut down. This Cruise Life was born on May 31, 2020. During the shutdown, we added an Instagram and YouTube account, but primarily focused on sharing blog posts and Twitter.

That is, until August of 2022 when Mark posted a short to YouTube that ended up gaining 15,000+ views. You could say, that’s when the YouTube bug really hit!

Life Goals: 1,000 YouTube Subscribers

While we had created the YouTube account a year prior, we had only posted a couple videos: our first steps on Mardi Gras, our review of Guy’s Burger Joint for Breakfast, several Time-Lapse Sail-Aways, and some videos from our Alaska Cruise. Between our website and that Short, we gained a quiet following of 30 subscribers (mostly friends and family). In August, we decided to set out on an ambitious goal: Get to 100 subscribers so we could create a custom channel name: This Cruise Life.

We posted on Facebook, we shared on Twitter, we celebrated our new YouTube presence on our website. And we gained another 15 or so subscribers. haha – not quite the 100 we needed for our customer channel.

So, we said to each other, “Let’s get serious!” and set several new goals with tactics:

  • Create a consistent Posting Schedule: Try to publish at least one new video each week that focuses on cruising (ship reviews, ship news, port excursions, etc.)
  • Set interim subscriber goals – 100, 150, 500, 1,000 – and celebrate each milestone along the way
  • Build a community: Never miss an opportunity to engage with our viewers, take the time to celebrate other content creators, give viewers a chance to tell us what they want to see
  • Celebrate what we love and be true to ourselves – even if that means views don’t come along with it (Curacao Port Excursion Part 1 and Curacao Port Excursion Part 2, we’re looking at you… lol)

First Milestone: 100 Subscribers

After seeing the number of views our Short in August pulled in, we posted several more. And while they all brought in a nice amount of views, subscribers didn’t follow.

On August 28, 2022, we posted our first stateroom review from Carnival Mardi Gras. Now, I admit, the title was a bit click-baity on why you should avoid the room (I still stand by that review, though!), but it brought in thousands of views. That was the moment we realized that our opinions, suggestions, and ideas were appreciated.

On September 1, 2022, we shared our thoughts on Virgin Voyage’s new Loyalty Program. While it didn’t get nearly as many views with it’s honest and clear title, it added nearly double the subscribers that our stateroom review did.

On September 3, 2022, we posted our review of Piazza Panini on Mardi Gras.

While this rapid-fire posting of content helped us achieve our first goal of 100 subscribers on September 5, 2022, we knew that after just a few weeks, it wasn’t a sustainable posting cadence! We spent every single afternoon, evening, and weekend recording and editing content.

Even though we hit 100 subscribers, it took YouTube a couple days before we could request our custom name. On September 9, 2022, we officially became @thiscruiselife on YouTube!

Second Milestone: 150 Subscribers

We continued to post on a rapid-fire basis over the next couple of weeks. And while each video added a subscriber or two, it was our Carnival Celebration Begins Sea Trials video that brought in 30 new subscribers in just her first two weeks!

On September 17, 2022, we did it: We welcomed our first 150 subscribers! To commemorate the occasion, we recorded a quick short:

Third Milestone: 500 Subscribers

We continued to post, at a more reasonable pace: 1-2 videos a week (inclusive of Shorts). This span of time includes some of my favorite videos (Chibang Full Review, Carnival Celebration Specialty Restaurant Announcement, Costa Luminosa Deck Plan Overview), but it was our Celebrity Apex Day 1 and Celebrity Apex Full Review that helped us achieve our next milestone. Both videos welcomed a bunch of new subscribers to the channel. Sometime overnight between December 13 and December 14, 2022, we reached the 500 subscriber mark!

The Journey to 1,000

Based on our subscriber growth up to this point, Mark mapped out how long it would likely take to achieve the next milestone of 1,000 subscribers. Based on Microsoft Excel formulas, if we kept up the pace of posts and subscriber additions, we’d cross the threshold just before Mark stepped foot on the inaugural sailing of Carnival Venezia at the end of May.

But that required consistent posting – and that’s hard when life gets busy. Both Rocky and I got really busy at work in the spring time and we saw subscriber counts start to level out as video posts became less frequent. We still had great content (in my opinion! haha), it was just spaced out a bit more than previously.

What really got us excited was the response to our Carnival Celebration Social Media Takeover. In the span of two weeks, we grew to over 1,000 followers on TikTok, doubled our Instagram base, increased our Twitter followers, and yes, saw our YouTube subscriber count increase as well.

As we did the math, we were still on track for our end-of-May milestone, though it was going to be close.

It was a this point J&S Adventures invited us to be part of their YouTube Live Event celebrating the Carnival Jubilee as we’ll be sailing together for her inaugural in December. Not only did we have an absolute blast (and are looking forward to sailing with them even more!), we jumped up 15 subscribers and closed the session around 980. The next couple days had a halo effect where we continued to add subscribers.

On May 2, 2023, I tweeted that we were just 10 subscribers away… And the cruise community did not let me down!

Fourth Milestone: Celebrating 1,000 Subscribers

On May 2, 2023, in the kitchen at home, Mark refreshed YouTube studio and it became official: We crossed 1,000 subscribers. We knew we wanted to get something out right away and so we set out to record a quick video celebrating the milestone. We identified followers and subscribers who have been with us since the beginning, or who made an impact some way on the channel or us personally and we hit record.

Editing was quick. As Rocky worked on the video, Mark worked on the thumbnail, description, title and before we crossed into the next day, we hit publish on Major Milestone Celebration with Subscriber Shout Outs video:

What’s Next?

For now, we’re going to just enjoy the 1,000 subscriber milestone for a bit. While we have several goals as it relates to Twitter, Instagram, and total views, we haven’t identified our next YouTube milestone. Instead, we’ve been focusing on what content we want to bring to life over the next few weeks. With Carnival Venezia’s inaugural right around the corner, that’s been a priority. Plus, we’re so excited to share more details on the Carnival Firenze as we learn more about that ship joining the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet in 2024.

One of the things that we’re most excited about is continuing to build this community that has welcomed us with open arms. We started This Cruise Life as a way to celebrate and keep the cruise industry alive during one of the darkest times in history. Now, we hope to keep the celebration going and inspire other people to fall in love with cruising just like we have.

And we can’t wait to see where this journey takes us. Just as we always have, we’ll continue responding to every post, email, tweet, and comment – and, truly, if you see us on a ship, please say hello in person. It literally makes our day every time.

Thank you for joining us for the journey! -Mark

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