I first became aware of Sheri Griffiths in the spring of 2018 when she was named one of the “10 Travel Influencers Changing How We Vacation” by Porthole Cruise Magazine for her popular YouTube series CruiseTipsTV. Porthole Cruise Magazine stated, “When it comes to planning the best cruise vacation, there’s no better follow than Sheri Griffiths.” CruiseTipsTV was created in pursuit of Sheri’s passion for family cruise travel, and to share videos with other cruisers looking to make their cruise experience the best it can be. The CruiseTipsTV channel now has close to 500 videos, 60,000 subscribers, garners over 600,000 monthly views and has grown to 11 million total views. While Sheri is the host and on-camera presence, CruiseTipsTV is a family production along with her husband and ten-year old son, referred to affectionately by her audience as, respectively, Mr. CruiseTipsTV, and Junior Editor. The family production originated out of another family event—conversation over family dinner when Junior Editor was only five years old. Their conversation went something like: “We’re going on a lot of cruises. What if we made a little cruise packing video helping people to learn about packing for a cruise…it will be terrible and no one will watch it…. I’ll hate it…let’s just do it, why not?….
CruiseTipsTV started off with modest intentions and modest production values. Sheri nor her
husband had any formal training in broadcasting, although they did have videography training
from their years as wedding videographers, and had video editing experience from editing their
family vacation videos. Furthermore, Sheri, the sole on-camera presence, was terrified of public
speaking, although it did help that Sheri danced until 17 or so, so she wasn’t totally new to the
“performance” aspect of being in front of the camera. It also was beneficial that Sheri had
studied media and communications in college where she earned a degree in communication
studies at University of California-Santa Barbara. It was with that media and technology background that CruiseTipsTV premiered with “What to Pack for a Cruise” in October 2013. “When I tell you it was terrible…it was so bad. I can’t even watch it now.” Despite Sheri’s declaration to the contrary, ratings from the 84,000 viewers of the video over the years are overwhelmingly positive and Sheri and her family were definitely on to something as people started commenting and awaiting more videos.
Increasingly, CruiseTipsTV received a lot of demand from its viewers first to vlog, that is, to video and write about their cruising exploits beyond just offering tips; then the CruiseTipsTV viewers implored Sheri to turn the camera around. “In our early days, all of our episodes were filmed in the studio—my house—and were pre-recorded. When we reference that our subscribers wanted us to turn the camera around, they were referring to showing our surroundings, and also turning to selfie mode and showing ourselves in the cruise environment. Things really started to change for us when our community said, ‘Hey, we want you to take us on vacation.’ So, we started filming vlogs. That was the big turning point for CruiseTipsTV—when we started letting people into our lives.”
....Sheri’s cruise on Seaside also produced one of her family’s most memorable experiences on a cruise—an excursion to the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The Blue Hole is a breathtaking series of waterfalls with scenic views and photo-friendly vantage points for the less active traveler, and for the adventurous—from swimming, climbing the falls, swinging from ropes into the water, to cliff-diving. Yes, Sheri and family chose jumping off cliffs!....
Sheri cited several other memorable cruise experiences that were as unforgettable as those in Ocho Rios: The simple pleasure of enjoying the hot tub with 5-year old Junior Editor in 40-degree weather on the side of the Diamond Princess in Alaska while approaching a glacier. Or, on a stop in Loreto, Baja California while on a Star Princess cruise, Sheri and her family took a private tour on a panga (small fishing type boat) to Loreto Bay, near Isla Coronado. “Out of nowhere, hundreds of dolphins surrounded our boat and surfed the wake for what felt like hours. We plunged our GoPro into the sea and captured video of the dolphins following the boat. The camera also captured their vocalizations, which was a beautiful surprise when we arrived home and pulled our footage in to the editing bay.”
....While Sheri is an influencer that many thousands of cruisers, fans, and followers on her multitude of social media platforms look to for cruising advice and to experience cruising vicariously through Sheri and CruiseTipsTV, she maintains what seems an ideal work-life balance and is able to compartmentalize the various aspects of her personal and professional life. “The core of my life is that I am a wife and a mom.” Despite being a busy professional with a couple of disparate careers, Sheri thrives spending time gardening vegetables, or in the kitchen cooking with her son, with loud music playing. In her non-CruiseTipsTV professional life Sheri is a busy managerial employee for a Southern California firm that she has worked for 21 years. Despite being somewhat of a “mini-celebrity”—after all she has many thousands of fans and followers, and is a recognized influencer—Sheri told me that at work her cruising versus professional life is separate and largely unnoticed. There are a handful of fans, but for the most part her co-workers may know about Sheri’s cruising life but are not really cruisers themselves. Although, for colleagues who are about to go on a cruise, she is recognized as “that lady, Sheri, she knows things!”
Read the complete story of Sheri Griffiths: CruiseTipsTV in Chapter 6, The Joy of Cruising. Order soon....
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