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  #1 (permalink)  
Old February 6th, 2009, 02:11 AM
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Default Advice for people seeking companions

What's the best way to check each other out in "cabinmate wanted" situations? Do you have lunch together and decide you're a good fit?

I'm frankly a litle nervous about sharing a cabin with a stranger, but most of my friends are unavailable or aren't interested. And I don't think I want to pay a single supplement.

Thanks for your help.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 06:24 PM
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I would guess by talking on the phone, exchanging pictures and e-mails. Bob
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Old February 8th, 2009, 08:42 PM
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I just eat the single supplement - makes me much more comfortable.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 01:25 PM
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Here's what I've done in the past, and it's been reasonably successful for me.

I join "roll call" message boards for my cruises both on this site and others. I try to meet people far in advance of the cruise with an eye not necessarily toward finding a roommate, but towards meeting people I can share a meal with, or a fun excursion or some shipboard activities. This way, when I get onboard, I've already got some people I know and that makes the cruise more enjoyable.

In those cases where I wanted to share cabins, I've learned that it is best to "check out" the potential cabinmate in advance, and allow her to do the same with me. Usually it starts in email and then proceeds to telephone conversations. It is very important to be very upfront during this process. If there is something you cannot abide by, clearly let the other person know, and above all listen to what they are saying about their preferences. A lot of times when a cabin share doesn't work out, it's over the dumbest things that could have been avoided if only the people had talked ahead of time. For example, if one person likes to retire early, they should make note of that. This way the other will know that if they like to stay out, they really need to be quiet when coming in later at night ... try not to turn on lights or make excessive noise. The same goes for the earlybird in the morning. They have to try to be quiet so that the cabinmate can sleep in later.

Other things ... smoking preferences. For God's sake tell the cabinmate if you smoke so that you can work something out. This almost led to a murder on my first cruise. I shared with another participant in a writer's conference I was attending onboard. The girl lost her cabinmate a couple of months before the cruise and was going to have to cancel. I offered her the option of sharing my cabin, just as long as she realized I was a smoker. She had no problem with that. The problem occurred when we got onboard and I went to light up in the cabin. That's when she told me she had no problem with my smoking in the cabin, but only when she was NOT there. I wanted to kill her. But it was a simple misunderstanding that could have been avoided if we had talked in advance.

Personal habits. Discuss them and be open. If you are a social butterfly and will occasionally bring newfound friends back to the cabin for various things ... such as to wait while you get changed for dinner or whatnot ... make sure your cabinmate is okay with this. That's a sticking point with me. I don't like strangers in the cabin. I would be sure to mention this to any potential cabinmate. No visitors in the cabin ... for either of us.

Maybe the cabinmate is a neat freak and you are a bit disorganized and messy. Talk about this in advance. Believe it or not, this could be a deal breaker for some people.

Finally, make sure you each are clear on what you are looking for with this cabin share arrangement. Some people are merely looking to cut expenses by sharing. They are not looking for a "buddy." They have others they are traveling with that they would prefer to spend their time with. The cabinmate, however, might be thinking she's got a companion onboard to do things with all week. That's gonna cause problems. I actually knew a girl who came home from a cruise very disappointed because the woman she shared the cabin with spent almost no time with her while onboard. It wasn't that the woman didn't like her or was trying to be mean, but it was simply that the woman liked to do her own thing. At the crack of dawn practically, she was out by the pool in her lounger, and she spent most of the day out there reading and whatnot. She did not even like to get off the ship in port ... with the occasional exception of visting the vendors' stalls right at the pier. This woman was also a lot older than the cabinmate and if she was gonna socialize, she wanted to be with people more her own age. Because they had not cleared up their expectations with each other, this woman was very, very disappointed in her cruise experience.

Then, finally, consider the fact that maybe paying the single supplement might be your best bet. On some cruise lines, it's really not all that much -- maybe 25% to 50% additional. On certain sailings it can be as low as 0%. In some cases, you might be better off having your own cabin. It avoids a lot of problems and does give you a lot more freedom. You can socialize as much as you want onboard ... with people you've met on internet message boards or with people you've met around the ship ... yet there is always something nice about knowing you have your cabin to retreat to at night ... and it's a place where you can do as you please without having to make any "compromises" for another person.

The only strong piece of advice I would give in regard to cabin shares, however, is to NEVER, NEVER, EVER let the cruise line arrange your share for you. Some cruise lines such as Holland America offer a "guaranteed share program." In this program you just pay one-half of the double occupancy rate and if the cruise line can't match you, you still get the cabin to yourself. Well, understand that's rarely gonna happen. Believe me, in most cases you will be paired, and when you let the cruise line pair you, you won't always be happy with the results. The cruise line doesn't care a whit about compatibility. They are just looking for two warm bodies, of the same gender, and then bam! They put them together. One can be 30 while the other is 80. One can be outgoing, while the other is quiet and introverted, and not at all interested in a social experience. There can be all kinds of imcompatibilities, and it is up to the two of you to work them out. Many times the ship will be fully booked, and if the relationship is not working out, now you're stuck. You can't get out of the cabin with that person, even if you were willing to pay the necessary additional charge to get your own digs. So, if you are going to go the share route ... set it up on your own with someone who you at least believe will work out.

Blue skies and good luck!

--rita
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Old March 12th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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Default Thanks rita your posting helped me out a little.

I'm not looking for a cabin-mate due to my company arranging those details ahead of time, but someone to have dinner with and activities would be nice. Good advice. Thanks.

C
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: Advice for people seeking companions

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFla Kate
What's the best way to check each other out in "cabinmate wanted" situations? Do you have lunch together and decide you're a good fit?
Let me try to help if I can.

Assuming you want to meet potential cabinmates on this or any other message board, this is how I've handled it in the past.

If someone contacts me wanting to share a cabin on a particular sailing, I spend some time getting to know them first via email. Swap some notes and try to get a feel for what they are like and what type of cruising companion they would be. Talk about potential "issues" as well. Are you an early riser and they a late night partier? Such a difference could possibly become a problem if they are going to be stumbling into the cabin at 4:00 a.m., probably a bit "tipsy," knocking things over or having to turn on lights.

The converse could also be a problem. Are you an early riser and they like to sleep in? If they sleep in, are they light sleepers? In other words, is your getting ready for the day, taking your shower, getting dressed, etc., gonna bother them? If so, again, you've got a possible conflict.

Once you've swapped some emails, and assuming this person doesn't live close enough to you that you could meet up and share lunch or something, spend some time together on the telephone. This is the point where you need to be very frank with each other. Set some ground rules for the share arrangement and see if the both of you can live with them. For example, my "sticking point," my "non-negotiable" is that I don't want strangers in the cabin for ANY reason ... even those that may be just stopping by to "pick up" my cabin mate for dinner. I value my privacy and just don't like the idea of strangers being in the cabin, perhaps when I'm not there. Maybe it's a stupid hang up, but it's me. I also would have a real problem if the cabinmate met a guy in one of the bars or lounges around the ship and then brought him back to our cabin for a little 'lovemaking" action. Can you imagine walking in to that?!?!?!

So, talk these things out and don't be afraid to say "I don't think this is gonna work" if you find too many differences.

Only by carefully screening your potential cabinmates, and being open enough to let them do the same with you, will you have a chance of making a cabin share work. If you don't do this little bit of legwork up front, there is too great a chance that you could wind up having a miserable cruise, and that would be a sin, especially when you consider that often the ship could be fully booked and even if you saw after the first day that the arrangement wasn't gonna work, you'd likely be stuck in it if there wasn't another cabin you could be moved to.

Now, that said, I have another possible suggestion for you. I too feel "nervous" about sharing cabins with anyone, no matter how nice and easy to get along with. I do a lot of writing when I am on cruises and in order to do that, I kind of need my privacy and quiet time to concentrate. So, instead of looking for people to share a cabin with, I just look for people who happen to be sailing on my cruise. I visit roll calls and I become active on them. This way I may be getting on the boat alone, but I am not alone at all. I have a group of people who may be interested in some of the same activities onboard that I am, and who may be interested in taking some of the same shore excursions as me. I have company, yet when I go back to my cabin at night, I have my valued private time too.

There are a lot of cruise lines that offer some very reasonable single supplements. For example, Holland America generally offers a 30-50% single supplement on all standard inside and outside staterooms. On certain sailings, it will be even less. When you consider that HAL's guaranteed single share program requires the booking of one of the highest categories of staterooms in the inside or outside class, plus requires anyone booking into guaranteed share to have HAL's trip insurance, the amount you are paying for the single share is not that much less than what you would pay to have a cabin on your own.

Keep your eyes open and often you can find a good deal on a single supplement that will make it far more worth your while to just enjoy the cabin on your own.

If you're worried about having people onboard whose company you can enjoy while on the cruise, consider too a "theme" cruise. That's how I took my first cruise. I too had no one in my circle of friends and family who had any desire to take a cruise, so I knew that if I wanted to try it, I would have to go it alone. I too didn't like the thought of being alone on the boat with no one to talk to. So, when the Maui Writers Conference organization decided to host a writer's retreat at sea, I jumped at the opportunity. On that cruise I made the mistake of taking a cabinmate that I didn't properly screen, and while the share didn't turn out to be a nightmare, it wasn't the most pleasant situation. That's when I learned about doing my homework. But other than the cabinmate who I had nothing whatsoever in common with, I had a wonderful time. I was part of a group who shared my interests and we had lots of group activities all day long.

This is another possibility you might want to consider.

If I can be of any further assistance, just let me know. My email address is kry.os@verizon.net and I am also on staff with CruiseMates.com

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 04:30 AM
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Default Re: Thanks rita your posting helped me out a little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrchuckles
I'm not looking for a cabin-mate due to my company arranging those details ahead of time, but someone to have dinner with and activities would be nice. Good advice. Thanks.

C
Find a roll call for your cruise. There may be one on this board, or you can check "the other board" for one. Get to know the other folks on your roll call and chances are there will be someone who will be more than happy to have you join their dinner table. Then it's just a matter of getting one of your travel agents to "link" your booking numbers, and you'll be all set!

Also, when you get onboard, if not ahead of time on the roll call, talk about excursions that you may be interested in taking. Chances are there will be others on your roll call who would like to do those same excursions and you can link up for some fun days.

Blue skies ... and enjoy!

--rita
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