The number of people using CruiseMates forums to find cruise companions has grown immensely the last two years.
Los Angeles - July 28, 2011. -- The editors at CruiseMates have seen a large increase in the number of people using its forums to find cruise companions. While the Cruisemates forums have lively discussions about all cruise topics, the specific forum entitled "Seeking Cruise Companion" has become one of the site's most popular forums in the last year and is growing all the time.
The Seeking Cruise Companion forum is purely voluntary and free to use. Most users start by describing their age, gender, smoking and drinking habits and what kind of cruise they are interested in taking.
While CruiseMates is not a "matching service" and takes no responsibility for the outcome of the encounters in its message boards - the site is careful to clarify that it does not allow sexually explicit or even suggestive messages. The board is intended solely for the use of people hoping to save money on cruise ships that price their staterooms on a double occupancy basis. Because CruiseMates cannot see or manage anything outside of its own site, anything that happens after the forum users meet online is solely the responsibility of the individuals.
Why Singles Need Cruise Mates
Single people face a particular challenge when it comes to cruise vacations, the dreaded "singles supplement." Unlike hotel rooms, where the price is the same regardless of the number of occupants, almost all cruise ship staterooms are sold on a "double occupancy" basis, meaning the quoted price is per person, but it is mandatory for two people to each pay that price and occupy the room together. The end result is that singles are required to pay the price of two cruisers if the wish to occupy that stateroom alone.
How Singles Supplements Work
When a cruise line quotes the price of a singles supplement, they generally describe it as "200% of the per person price." While the average single sailing solo will usually pay 200% of the basic cruise fare there are exceptions. Some cruise line will lower the singles supplement to 175% or even as low as 125% - depending on how many staterooms are still available on a given sail date.
Other options for singles include joining organized singles group cruises where the group organizers chooses people to be cruise roommates during the cruise. These "singles cruises" tend to appeal to people looking to find new relationships during a cruise, but not every single cruiser is looking for a "special someone." Many people simply want to find a fellow cruise enthusiast, usually of the same gender, who enjoys cruising and wants to save money. If you happen to become good friends during the cruise that is "icing on the cake" but many people are merely happy to find someone who is good natured and respectful.
Only one major cruise ship has a regular option where solo cruisers can avoid the single's supplement; NCL's Norwegian Epic is the first, and so far the only, cruise ship to have a large section of staterooms specifically designed for single occupancy. Although the prices tend to be about 80% of what a single would pay to have an entire standard cabin alone, Norwegian Epic's Studio Staterooms are particularly appealing to solo cruisers with mood lighting and a shared corridor to take them to a "private" living room where cruise staff members coordinate special singles activities. As the only ongoing and organized singles cruise ship, Cruisemates highly recommends Norwegian Epic for single cruisers.
But until the day when more ships create similar programs, we expect CruiseMates to remain a popular platform for people looking for cruise companions.
CruiseMates' Responsibility in this Forum
CruiseMates is not a roommate matching service and the users of CruiseMates' forums agree that CruiseMates is in no way responsible or accountable for what happens outside of its message boards. It is up to each individual to decide whom to contact as a potential roommate and how to proceed in qualifying that person. We urge everyone to proceed slowly when it comes to finding a cruise mate, to always err on the side of caution and to follow these basic steps:
- Meeting online is only the first step.
- The next step is to exchange email or private messages.
- Always follow up with a telephone call.
- If possible, meet in person before the cruise.
- Never agree to pre-pay or lend money to the other person.
- Use a travel agent who can work with each person individually to make sure both fares are fully paid on time.
The number of people using CruiseMates to find cruise companions has grown exceptionally in the last few years. Five years ago there were only about 30 posts per month made by people seeking cruise companions. That number has now grown to several new posts every day. This can easily be attributed to the growth of cruising over that last five years, and but it also shows that the appeal of cruise vacations to a younger demographic has materialized.