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What Do Cruisers Want?

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I just got back from hosting my first CruiseMates cruise. After nine years of running Cruisemates and three at the helm (so to speak) I finally got around to being a host on a cruise where our readers join us and sail on a cruise together.

Normally, our respected cruise director “Kuki” is in charge of leading the throng of cruise admirers who fill our boards, but in this case, I decided I needed to get my feet wet and meet and mingle with our dedicated cruisers one on one.

What a lot of fun I had traveling with the most ardent cruise enthusiasts ever created! Our regular readers and cruisers are not only nice, they are equally knowlegable about cruise ships – but in ways that I often do not focus on. We couldn’t help having a great time. We got to talk about our favorite pasttime together while we were doing it.

But I also learned a few things about our readers. I learned that people who love cruising as much as I do can still perceive it differently and enjoy different things about it. And so I was left to ask myself – what do real cruisers, the ones who would rather be on a ship than anywhere, really want from a cruise?

What makes or breaks a cruise for you?

The most exciting thing that can happen to me on a cruise is to reach a destination I never thought I would see. St. Petersburg, Russia, for example, or even Moscow (which I saw on a riverboat cruise). To see the majesty of a calving glacier in Alaska or whales bubble-feeding. In other words, for me I believe much of cruising will always be about the destinations I am visiting on my cruise.

Cruising is a vastly economical and expeditious way to travel. You unpack once and let the destinations essentially come to you. No, not really, but it feels like it when I go to bed in Gdansk and wake up in Copenhagen. I made no effort to get there, yet I am magically transported. But that is me.

I realized that other cruisers who know as much as myself see it in a completely different way. For them, the magic is in the ship. They love the comraderie of the crew, the interaction with other passengers, and just being in an environment where relaxation is the name of the game. For many of these people the ship is more important than the itinerary. They want to be at sea, they LOVE sea days, and can bask in their balcony view of an uninterrupted ocean horizon for hours.

Some cruisers want to know everything about a ship, from how many thrusters it has to its maximum speed in knots. Others want to know the names of every officer onboard. Still others want to memorize the menues and have dreams at night of the rosemary encrusted lamb chops followed by chocolate fondue. Still others wait the entire week for the massage they booked, and when the day arrives they are in their bathrobe two hours early.

So – what kind of cruiser are you? What defines your perfect day on a cruise? is it a day at sea where you win every trivia challenge, or is it an opportunity in port to get the best snapshot of Mother Nature you have ever seen?

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Comment from Kuki
Time December 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm

An excellent blog today Paul. The Solstice sounded purely fabulous.. btw.

As far as the “what cruisers want” question, I’m a both kind of guy.

If I’m cruising in the Caribbean, after quite a number of visits already, I’m a ship, sea day, relax kind of guy.

If I’m in Europe, or the Middle East, or the Baltics etc. I’m a port guy… getting out to see as much as I can.

I even adjust my dining times based on those types of itineraries, if the ship has fixed seating. Early dining in the Caribb. to enjoy the ship’s nightlife. Late seating on more interesting port intensive itineraries.

Comment from beentravelin
Time December 17, 2008 at 11:40 am

Like you I’m all about the ports. I’m a bit of a photography buff and can’t wait to get some shots of places I’ve never seen. I’d love to see every square inch of the earth. I realize this is unrealistic, but if I set my sights high I will take in as much as I can in a lifetime.

The ships are not as much of a priority for me. I can’t keep up with all that info that others do. I focus my interests on port research. I will always get off the ship at every port even if I’ve been there a dozen times. There is always something new to see and new people to meet.

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