In a clever marketing scheme that earned a lot of media attention, Princess Cruises came up with the Life Balance Barometer survey, which ranks the most and least stressed-out U.S. cities.
The line plans to make the survey annual. This year, it found that Chicago had the most stressed-out residents, while Miami had the least.
While you might be wondering why Princess would be ranking cities on their stress levels, not surprisingly, the survey also found that a vacation was a good antidote to that stress.
"We thought we should take the temperature on how Americans are feeling, and they do feel a lot of stress, given the economic environment," said Jan Swartz, the line's executive vice president of sales and marketing. "Those that felt more balanced, the vast majority had taken a vacation in the last year. Vacations play a role in relieving tension and helping people rejuvenate."
Swartz was quick to add that a cruise, particularly on Princess, would be the best vacation to do that.
"I think it's pretty well known that cruise is the most relaxing of all vacations," she said, "Everything is made so easy. ... The ship really hosts them in a way you don't find on other vacations. You unpack once and wake up in a beautiful place every day.
"And Princess' positioning is, escape completely. We know people take cruises as a form of escape from their daily routine and responsibilities."
Swartz said that the Barometer is a good marketing tool for travel sellers.
"I think travel agents can find it a useful reminder of how important vacations are in helping their clients relax and refuel," she said in an interview from Los Angeles, the survey's fourth most stressed-out city. "And if you are a travel agent that lives in one of the most stressed-out cities, you can remind your clients that cruising provides a fantastic vacation option.
"It's all just in the spirit of fun."