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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 27th, 2002, 12:19 PM
Paul Beighley
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Default Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

I think that cruise lines should inform prospective passengers when large numbers of some particular group are booked. I certainly would not feel comfortable being on a cruise where most of the passengers were Brazilian (or any other nation) students, Jehovia's Witnesses (or any other religious group), gay, members of a Children's Crusade, from a Nursing Home Convention or members of some political group. I am not anti any of these, but I prefer a normal mix of society with all ages, ethnic, social and sexual groups being represented.
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Old October 27th, 2002, 10:40 PM
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

I agree. The worst thing I have ever read about a persons nightmare cruise was a young lady who was stuck on a cruise that was 80% Jehovah's Witnesses who harassed her and every other non-witness throughout the entire cruise. When the young lady tried to kindly decline, they were unbelievably rude and accused her of not having an open mind. She also said they were obnoxious wherever she went including yelling out "hallelujahs" instead of bingo and other ridiculous things throughout the cruise. I too do not have anything against "groups" but to impose on others or be obnoxious is just as bad as the partying drunks that people always complain about. The same goes for groups who are primarily "salesmen" and have the nerve to try to sell you stuff while you are on vacation.
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Old October 28th, 2002, 06:36 AM
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

I agree too, Paul. Your long awaited vacation finally comes and you get on the ship only to find out you'll be spending the next 7 days with a ship full of Barber Shop Quartets. Ugh!

Would it be asking too much for the cruise line to provide a list of the groups booked on the cruise? I think not. What would be the harm in that?

Regards,
Thomas
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Old October 28th, 2002, 11:06 AM
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

While not all inclusive this site lists group outings and might prove helpfull

http://www.groupsahoy.com/group_listings.htm

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Old October 29th, 2002, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

Just a few comments here... first, you probably have never sailed on a ship that did not have dozens and dozens of groups on board... in fact, you may have been a member of one of these groups without even knowing it. Occasionally, there are larger groups, many of which tend to be unrecognizable to other passengers... sometimes, and these occasions are quite rare, there may be a group that makes there presence known and can even be offensive to some.

It is important to remember that cruise lines rely HEAVILY on groups as a major and cost effective source of revenue. Group bookings are responsible in no small measure for the continued value that cruising offers for the travel dollar.

I think the problem of a group dominating a ship and being offensive to other guests on board is really a rarity. Even the boards, which are seldom a true statistical reflection of what's happening in the Cruise Industry, seldom have posts protesting the presence of one group or another.

Post Edited (10-29-02 07:46)
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Old October 29th, 2002, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

I agree with you Ernie that groups dominating a ship and being offensive is a rarity. BUT, when you've waited 12 months and removed thousands of dollars from your account for your vacation and you find your ship is 75% booked by ...(fill in the blank)... don't you think a disclosure of group bookings would've been a prudent thing for the cruiselines to do to facilitate a good cruise for everyone?

Regards,
Thomas
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Old October 29th, 2002, 08:57 AM
David Starkey
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Default Re: Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

I agree I don't like groups but, lets remember when you book a hotel or resort stay you are up against the same group situation and somehow you survive.(sometimes better than others).
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Old October 29th, 2002, 11:04 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Gro

Good point, David... land based hotels and resorts are equally dependent on the group and convention business. Also... it is quite impossible to list the groups booked at sea... who knows when a group is a group? Sometimes we will expect a group to have 100 cabins and it winds up at 20 or less cabins... and, sometimes exactly the reverse happens. And at what level should the cruise line let people know? 20 cabins, 50 cabins, 100 cabins? 100 cabins on the Tahiti Princess is quite a different story from 100 cabins on a Grand Class vessel or a Voyager Class. And, who is to make the determination of which group will "blend in" and which might not? None of this is as simple as it sounds.
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Old October 29th, 2002, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular

No determination of who will blend in is necessary, in my opinion. Just a list of those groups that total,say, 25% of the ship.

In a land based vacation one is able to leave the hotel and move to another without having to pay for the nights unused. That is different than on a cruise ship. I don't think that is a good analogy.

An attempt to list the groups is better than the current practice of not listing any, don't you think?

Regards,
Thomas
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Old October 29th, 2002, 06:46 PM
Gary Karschnick
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

Sometimes it can work to your advantage. We had half the Radisson Diamond booked by MOPAR distributers who had won the trip through the Greek Isles. We never saw them. They had their own tours and mealtimes freeing up the ship for the rest of us.
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Old October 29th, 2002, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Partic

Actually, Thomas, I "don't think". Group traffic on cruise lines results in affordable pricing for FIT passengers. It is crucial to the survival of cruising as we know it. And, I repeat again, I do not believe it is a significant problem to begin with. A few anecdotal complaints, well founded, perhaps, but clearly not the norm or anything close to it.
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Old October 30th, 2002, 06:19 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Pa

Do you think then, Ernie, that listing groups on a cruise ship would discourage groups from booking? If not, then what's the harm? If so, then I might agree.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old October 30th, 2002, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers O

Thomas... in the real world of cruise marketing, listing groups on board is a much more complicated and potentially misleading task than you may think. As an example, large group space is generally booked well over a year out... but we may have no idea of the viability (read # of bookings) of the group until 6 months or so before the sailing date. If say 100 cabins are blocked, should the line report it publicly... even though six months later it becomes obvious that only 16 cabins will be sailing (for whatever reason)? It happens all the time. The cruise line under that scenario may have put off loads of people who might not have wanted to sail with such a group... for no reason at all. Alternatively, suppose we block 24 cabins a year out and, as frequently happens, we suddenly see a spurt in sales and we add 50 or 75 or 100 more cabins to the group. Would you then fault the cruise line for not telling you until months after you booked? Thomas, it goes on and on and just would not work. There are all kinds of variations on a theme here. Would the cruise line also have to explain the nature of each group so you could make some judgment on groups whose affinity you do not recognize? By the way, as an aside, some cruiselines report that less than 5% of group space booked actually embarks and sails.

Again, you've never done a cruise that didn't have dozens and dozens of groups on board... frequently large "promotional" groups which have no affinity. A travel agent get a particularly good deal on a sailing, blocks 150 cabins and sells them to totally unrelated people, over the internet, for example... as a Fall Foliage deal... or Tahiti Express, or whatever. Should those promotional groups be listed too?

I cannot see it working nor can I see a reason for it. I think the benefits to the individual cruiser from the presence of large groups far outweighs the occasional discommoding of some who may be unhappy with a particular group.

Post Edited (10-30-02 07:59)
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Old October 30th, 2002, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

Erinie I disagree. I will give you another example besides the one I referred to above. I have only been on one cruise (my next is in Jan. 2003). We went to Bermuda from NYC 5 years ago and chose Royal Caribbean because it was our understanding that they had a good mix of age groups. We decided to take the last cruise of the year from NYC mainly because the time fit our schedule and because we kept reading warnings of hurricane season and thought the later in the season we went, the better chance of the hurricane season being over. My husband and I were in our early to mid forties and we talked our VERY reluctant 24 year old single daughter into going with us. She did not want to go because she did not want to be a third wheel. We assured her there would be lots of people her age as RC had a reputation for a good mix and after all there would be 1500+ people, so how could things go wrong? Well believe it or not, there must have been loads of "blocked" rooms sold and all to people 65 and over. And I SWEAR I am telling the truth. Other then us, there may have been 5 other people in their 40s (single women) and there was one couple that were in their early thirties (I know because they did the scavenger hunt with us because we were the only ones who looked near their age). There was one boy who looked 13 and another who looked 15. There also were two young ladies and a young man who looked about 18-19 (and had obviously come together) but there were absolutely NO twenty year olds. We felt HORRIBLE for our daughter and know that there were times she left the dance hall (disco) because she felt very uncomfortable (especially when a single 70 year old asked her to dance). I believe that if the TA had statistics on the age group or other groups that were dominate on the ship then she could have told us and we would have chosen another line or date. And if there was some way that she knew, then that was rotten of her to not tell us. Even my husband said he would have preferred more people his age. All in all we did have a good time and believe me I have nothing against older people because most were pretty funny to watch especially during the scavenger hunt but older groups can be as clicky as any other (and though the people at our table were nice, all were single 65-75 year old women which made it awkward for my husband). I also felt bad for the two teenage boys, you could tell they felt a bit lost. Again, I realize that ours may have been a weird exception and truthfully I have no problem hanging out with people older then myself (in fact I prefer older to much younger) but I still feel some guilt because of the situation with my daughter. This time I have chosen Carnival but this time my daughter is engaged and bringing her fiance. Also, we have 15 people in our family going and several are couples in my daughters age group. My only worry is that I am bringing my 73 year old mom, but I figure she WILL have her family. Other then that, I am just hoping for the best (but does anyone know the general statistics for a three day cruise out of Port Canaveral to the Bahamas?).
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Old October 30th, 2002, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

We've been on that cruise several times and you will find older folks for your Mother to mingle with. We've been seated with 70+ year olds for dinner and 30- year olds and less.

Local retirees in the area find these cruises to be well affordable for them.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old October 30th, 2002, 11:56 AM
Marnie
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

These stories are horrible. If a group stands out that much, it's a problem. And there should be absolutely no soliciting of any kind. I don't care if you're catholic or jehovah witness or what group you're with, if you're pushing your views on anyone it's no different than a cult.

A large part of the cruiselines marketing is spent targeing certain groups. For example, Carnival is known for a younger crowd. If they were to reserve 80% of the cabins on one cruise for fokes over 65, they're going to have to alter their activites (and music choices) or they would be totally disappointed. They can't control the demographic group of 3000 separate passengers, but they should disclose a large group like that
As mentioned before, I'm sure the examples listed above are very rare (I hope).

My next cruise is 11nights in February sailing out of Charlestown SC. I expect most passengers to be from the east coast, there will be more retirees and few families because of the month and length of the cruise. If it turns out to be 2000 girl scouts trying to sell me cookies, I'm not going to be happy.
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Old October 30th, 2002, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

Well... to some extent I blame your t/a for your experience. Cruise line passenger demographics are NOT the same across the board. They vary dramatically by sailing date, itinerary, ship and length of cruise, to name a few. You will not have the same crowd on a Royal Caribbean from Mombasa to Mumbi for 17 or so days as you will for 7 nights over the Easter Holidays to the Western Caribbean, and so on. Actually, Bermuda does not rise to the top of my list of recommendations for a 7 day cruise for young people, regardless of the line. Bermuda, for many, is a crushing bore... it is appealing to golfers, and others and generally tends to draw an older crowd. And then there is the interminable 3 nights in Hamilton, with the casino closed and little to do. I think your t/a should have cautioned you that an older, more sedentary crowd could be expected. I think it has little to do with the topic here, groups.

Post Edited (10-30-02 12:47)
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Old October 30th, 2002, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

Ernie, you are the first (that I have read anyway) to dislike Bermuda. We chose Bermuda because several people (including most on the travel pages) said it was one of the cleanest, nicest, and most beautiful of all the islands you could visit. And the island we loved (the beaches, St. Gibbs Lighthouse, the Fort, sailboat excusions, etc.). Also, my sister in law (who is younger then we are) recommended it and loved it so much that she has traveled there three times including taking a Celebrity cruise with the same itinerary as ours and all had a great time (including her 14 and 17 year olds who met lots of others their age). And a group is a group whether it is senior citizens or the spring break group (since you stated my comments had little to do with the topic) and it was obvious that most of the ship was sold in blocks to senior citizen groups. But for the record, this time I did not use that TA.
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Old October 30th, 2002, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

Jem... I'm not exactly attacking Bermuda. You may be interested to note that the vast majority of Bermuda traffic is generated out of the Northeast and Midatlantic states. West of the Allegheny Mountains, Bermuda is an unknown entity... many think it is an island in the Bahamas or something. The cruises from New York to Bermuda are the same, again and again... 2 nights down and 2 nights back... 3 nights in one or two ports in Bermuda... where the ship sits for three days. Her casino is closed, there is no gambling on the Island and very little else to do at night. The weather is not tropical, but rather akin to something you'd find in the Carolina's, except for the Gulf Stream keeping it more or less warm. Bermuda's big attraction? It is a convenient 7 night cruise from New York... no flying for the guests in that huge market... and... a great boon to the cruise lines who have just to steam there and back... and stay idling for 3 days... as compared to sailing from island to island in the Caribbean and burning lots and lots of fuel, etc. None of this is to say you should not like Bermuda or that you are alone in liking it. Far from it. What I am saying is that is has a very limited appeal.
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Old November 1st, 2002, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

"where the ship sits for three days. Her casino is closed, there is no gambling on the Island and very little else to do at night."

Obviously you haven't been on a Bermuda cruise recently,or chose the wrong ship/line. I did Pacific Princess to Bermuda twice this summer. There is lot's to do in Hamilton at night and other than the casino being closed (no big deal really) the Cruise Director put together a nice lineup of entertainment throughout the ship.

The beaches are fantastic. There are the museums, aquarium, caves, gardens, shops, golfing, snorkeling, kayaking, diving, parasailing, trail biking, and on and on. And the nice thing is you don't have to rush to do any of it because the ship will be somewhere on the island for 3.5 days.

Getting back to Jenn's post, the problem was the time of year she chose. Her TA should have indeed advised her that the cruise lines struggle to fill the ships to Bermuda so late in the season and therefore tend to offer steep discounts - attractive to seniors.

Warren
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Old November 1st, 2002, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

I think there is an important point being missed here ...

There are groups then there are groups.

As Ernie pointed out, booking group space allows a TA to offer passage at a good discount. The people don't even have to know each other or have anything in common except getting a good deal.

What I don't like are the "affinity" groups like barbershop quartets, Amway distributors, the Richard Simmons fat (sic) club, the American Association of Nursing Mothers and so on.

The CM group on the Let's Get Leid cruise did cause a few minor stirs. There were about 130 of us. We planned a lot of "Oddvents." Some passengers complained because the sailaway PJ party on the fantail was not advertised in the ship's paper. Others were a bit sour when we did our kite-flying exercise. ("Where do I get a kite?)
And, then, there were the antlers.

Some people in the CM "group" booked for the great rate, not necessarily to be participants in the Oddvents .

As Ernie says, group sales are a major part of the business. If a cruise line were to disclose that 50% of the space was taken up by, say, the Harley Davidson Devotees or Friends of the Symphony some people might choose NOT to take that cruise.

All that said, the WORST cruise we were on was a Horizon to Bermuda right after Chandris got rid of their cheap line. It was also right after the Legionnaire's Disease problem. Because so many people cancelled (why, I don't know, it had to be the cleanest ship on the ocean at that point) Celebrity put the "bargain basement" people on the same ship with those who had paid "full boat."

At least the restaurant staff had it together and put "them" on one side and the others on the other of the dining room. I think I lost five pounds on that cruise because I could not choke down food on deck in the presence of so many tattoos and missing teeth. And that was just the women. Yeech.

Call me snobbish and elitist ("You're snobbish and elitist!") but I think every cruiser should have a reasonable expectation as to the comportment of other passengers.

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Old November 1st, 2002, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

Warren... I began my post by saying I wasn't attacking "Bermuda" as a destination. It has a loyal following. I meant that it was not a perfect choice for everyone. I've been there lots of times on various cruise lines, most recently about 4 years ago or so.

Ernie
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Old November 2nd, 2002, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Cruises With Large Numbers Of Particular Groups

On a recent Carnival 4-day Bahamas cruise there was a large group for a 40th high school reunion easily recognizable because 1) most were so large that the capacity of the elevators were limited to one person to prevent exceeding the weight capacity (Where was Richard Simmons when we needed him?), and 2) most wore the same commemorative reunion T-shirt all four days.
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