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 firstname.lastname@example.org
and I am also on staff with CruiseMates.com
Blue skies ...