Irish Travel Lover Beats 75,000 to win Experience of a Lifetime with Royal Caribbean

A tour guide from Dublin, has won the experience of a lifetime, after being selected from over 75,000 UK and Irish applications to travel the world over a three week period as Royal Caribbean International’sofficial Instagrammer.

Lucky Ciara Flynn, who earns a living working as a tour guide to fund her travels around the world, will spend three weeks travelling three oceans, on three ships this summer; with all of her food, drink, accommodation, entertainment, flights and expenses covered by Royal Caribbean. In addition, the budding snapper will also receive £3,000.

The search to find someone to fulfil the Instagram ‘Intern-Ship’ was launched by Royal Caribbean in January. The campaign was the brainchild of Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director UK & Ireland, and came in response to data showing that more and more people were using social media channels as inspiration when booking their holidays.

Bouldin said: “Our research revealed that social media has redefined the holiday market. Over half (51 per cent) of 18-24 year olds rely completely on channels such as Instagram when researching holidays and more than a third (40 per cent) of people said that seeing their friends’ bragging posts from abroad had encouraged them to book a trip.”

The application mechanic was simple; post your favourite, most-inspiring image on Instagram, anchored to the hashtag #ExtraordinaryExplorer. Although Royal Caribbean limited their search to British and Irish candidates, it clearly struck a chord with travellers all over the world, with over 330,000 people globally, posting to the hashtag, hoping that their image might be considered.

A judging panel comprising travel blogger Johnny Ward; Travel Weekly Editor-in-Chief Lucy Huxley and Royal Caribbean’s Ben Bouldin sifted through the entries, and were huge fans of Ciara’s snap of two young Buddhist monks taking some time out at Kathmandu. The shot was taken shortly before Ciara’s trek to Mount Everest and provides a rare snapshot into the lives of two children half the world away.

Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director, UK and Ireland said: “Ciara’s entry was everything we were looking for when we launched our Instagram ‘Intern-ship’. Her image has strong visual appeal, originality and inspires viewers to jump out of the ordinary and explore the world.

“Most importantly, it also captures a subtle but amazing moment that draws the viewer into her story. We’re confident that throughout the ‘Intern-ship’, Ciara will be able to skillfully shoot similarly amazing moments onboard our fleet, capturing the imaginations of the younger generation and inspiring them to consider cruising as their next big adventure.”

Ciara Flynn said: “Becoming Royal Caribbean’s Extraordinary Explorer is the experience of a lifetime. I’ve always loved photography and have been doing it for as long as I can remember. Capturing the magic in the ordinary moments in life tells a much richer story than words ever could, so I’m thrilled to be able to get the chance to do this with Royal Caribbean.”

She continued: “I spent hours sat in the monastery at Kathmandu just watching these young monks before I shot this picture. Seeing them subtly switch between being children and monks gave me a glimpse into a different and fascinating culture. As a unique moment in time, I wanted to use Instagram to share it with the world.”

Ciara’s image stood out above the rest, but there were huge numbers of extraordinary shots that told incredible stories. Those that made the shortlist were:

For further information on the Extraordinary Intern-ship, please contact the Royal Caribbean press office on or visit