Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Misconceptions and Myths About Cruising (Part 1)

Current statistics shows that only 15% of the population has taken a cruise before.
Of those that have cruised, 90% cruise again. I suspect that some of the myths and misconceptions may be influencing people that have never tried cruising before. In this post I’ll take a look at some of the more popular myths and misconceptions.

Myth #1: A cruise is for old people and newly weds

The destination and cruise line, among other things, contribute to the demographics of your fellow cruisers. Several factors influence the passenger mix on a given voyage. Most passengers on a world cruise will be senior citizens, since there aren’t many younger people that are able to get away from work for three months or more.

Certain destinations, such as Polynesia and the Bahamas, may have a number of newly wed couples onboard. The Caribbean will most likely have the largest demographic mixture, although the time of year may also influence the mix of passengers. When school is in session, there will be far less children onboard than during summer vacation for example.
Historically, certain cruise lines have catered to a particular age segment. For the most part, that is changing since the industry is seeing an increase in families (consisting of multiple generations) traveling together. The major cruise lines have added children’s programs, spa and fitness programs, internet cafes, sports and recreational facilities, and other amenities which appeal to all age groups.

This doesn’t cover all the possibilities, but I hope you get the idea that regardless of your age requirements, there is a cruise out there that will satisfy your needs. I strongly encourage you to work with a Cruise Specialist who can help you select the cruise that is right for you and your companions.

Myth #2: I will be bored on a cruise

When you arrive at your cabin after embarking the vessel, you’ll find the daily program of ship’s activities. Every day, your cabin steward will provide you with the program for the next day in addition to any other important information (such as reminders about time changes, invites to special events, etc). While many people, that haven’t cruised before, feel they will be bored, a quick examination of the daily program will reveal that there are many activity choices that you can make each day. The great news is you can be as active or inactive as you want both onboard the ship and in ports that are visited during the cruise. The ship has an entire staff devoted to activities and entertainment. There should be no reason to be bored during your cruise.

I would highly encourage you to discuss your interests with your Cruise Specialist while planning your cruise vacation. While you’ll find many of the same amenities and activities on most ships, there are certain ships that have added some unique features that might be of interest to you.

Here's just a sampling of what you can expect during your cruise:

Spa / Fitness Center (workout, have a massage, relax, take a course), swim or relax in one of the pools / hot tubs, jog or walk around the jogging track, play your favorite sport (basketball, table tennis, golf, miniature golf, etc). Some ships even have rock climbing, ice skating, bowling, and even billiards on self-leveling tables. Relax - curl up with a good book (in your cabin, in the library, poolside, or any quiet spot) or simply find an empty lounge chair on one of the decks.

Take in a show in one of the lounges or main theater (range from individual performers to high-energy Vegas-style shows), watch a movie (in your cabin, at a movie theater, or on some ships - under the stars), try your luck in the casino or at bingo (extra cost of course), attend karaoke or various events planned by the activities staff

Attend a talk or learn a new skill (destination talks, computer skills, learn to dance, scrapbooking or other arts & crafts). Attend an art auction, wine-tasting or other scheduled events. The shore excursion desk can help you plan enrichment and other activities for your ports of call. Spend some time surfing the net in the internet cafe (or on many ships from your own PC).

Shops onboard are duty free just like they are in ports of call. Typically there will be daily specials throughout the cruise, so you'll want to check your daily program to avoid missing your favorite items. These items, if taken home, will count towards your customs allowances, so be sure to keep that in mind while shopping. There usually are shopping talks and/or shopping guides so you can plan your port shopping trips.

THEME CRUISES -- another possibility, if the only thing that keeps your interest is some specialty or theme. Theme cruises are very popular these days. I have helped clients find a theme cruise that interested them. It's also possible to start your own group with others that share your interests. Besides, there are benefits for traveling in your own affinity group.

STILL THINK YOU'LL BE BORED .... what would interest you - let me hear from you
NEXT TIME: we'll look at a few more myths. Also, email me if there's a topic that you'd like me to discuss. I'd like to make this blog a vehicle for sharing ideas and helping you enjoy cruising more.

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