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View Poll Results: Should cruise lines notify pax of large groups onboard?
Don't know/don't care 10 19.23%
No 8 15.38%
Yes 34 65.38%
Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old November 18th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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Default Should cruise lines notify pax of large groups onboard?

I can't decide if this is a "Gripe" or not, because I'm not completely sure of my own opinion !

Should the cruise lines notify other passengers when there will be a large group on board and tell us who they are? (I admit I stole this idea from Paul M.'s post on the Princess board: http://cruisemates.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=544948 )

I have no idea how the cruise lines could do this, what number of people constitute a group and it seems it might be discriminatory.

But I think I'd like to know!

What do you think?
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Old November 18th, 2005, 06:37 PM
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Looks like I am first.

I find no reason they should tell you. Hotels don't. Resorts don't.

Now if your questions is if you ask should they tell. I think it might be good from a PR point of view do so.

I guess I would hate to get aboard a ship and find out the pool deck is being overrun by a bunch of retired nuns.
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Old November 18th, 2005, 08:41 PM
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I have had time to think over this as Fern and I have talked about it. Unless the ship has a huge charter such as over 1/3 of the ship I cannot see them having any requirement to tell you at all. Now if you ask then yes maybe they probably should let you know that they have say 500 Jimmy Buffet fans or Elvis impersonators. <G> I think it would be very hard for them to keep track of this in the first place unless it is a very large group as well as it would not be in their interest lest it tend to push people away and they not sell the cabins! A very hard call and I can easily see both sides and also know how impractical it might be.
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Old November 19th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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I heard that the red hat ladies are sailing on the Princess in the spring. I wonder how many will be in the group. Any red hat ladies out there.
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Old November 19th, 2005, 10:27 AM
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A few years ago Mrs. Thomas, her sister, and their female friend booked a cruise which was booked by a large group of single men. They stayed holed up in their cabin the entire trip because they couldn't go anywhere on the ship without being constantly annoyed by men wanting a fling.

Should they have been told in advance.........YES, I think so.

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Old November 19th, 2005, 02:59 PM
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Emmmm, do I agree or not, actually I go for no. No way this could be managed by the line.

The problem being on a ship that could potentially hold 3,500 people are 35 people as a bulk booking or 1% of the people onboard passengers,,,is that a problem?

No they may attract your attention through daft dress or whatever, but they are only 1% of that ships occupancy. So unless on todays ships, they sell 2000 beds to single horny men, no reason to announce a small party to the potential other cruisers, but hey I just described the navy
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Old November 20th, 2005, 08:26 PM
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funny you should mention this..I was just on the Conquest which was about 50/50 split...After that experience I would have to think the cruise lines (when possible), should notify folks in advance

In our situation, to make the logistics work..all of the group cruisers were moved to early sitting and all of the non group passengers were forced into late seating and instead of having 2 shows per night, there was 8-10 pm show for the group cruisers and an 11 pm show for the non group, which I think caused a different cruise experience

the group cruisers could go to any ship activity, the non group could not

I have to compliment the Conquest staff for trying to do a great experience with one hand tied behind their back
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Old November 20th, 2005, 08:54 PM
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On the same stream, in regards to What Doc John said, Hotels don't tell you either. If they did, then can you imagine what the percentage of sailing that cruise would have? Here is an example, though this wasn't a ship.

My husband did a meeting in a hotel in New Jersey. That night in the other ball rooms were, His meeting for a HUGE electronics company, there was a high school senior prom, and in the last ball room was the annual "dressing for pleasure" convention. (yes, it IS what you think)

Can you imagine if the other groups knew who would be sharing their space, would of done? I bet they would never of booked. And I can tell you, a lot of senior girls were suddenly dateless because all the teen age boys were crashing the uhh...well, you know.

So back to the cruise question. Would I like to be notified? Oh yes. Will I be? nope, not in this life time. But then, they do announce what "theme" will be on a ship at times, like the NASCAR cruise with a bunch of Rusty wallace fans. If your not a race car person, you have been warned.
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Old November 20th, 2005, 11:32 PM
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I think I would like to know if there is a significant sized group onboard. Some years ago, when I was a rookie cruiser, I happened to be on the Norway during Spring Break. Not having kids, I did not investigate dates except for the dates that would work for me.

Needless to say, about 400 high school kids were onboard, with VERY little supervision - lots of drinking, gambling, tossing deck chairs off the ship, rude comments to their elders, etc. In their defense, NCL did have extra security people onboard and some kids were asked to leave in St. Thomas or St. Maarten. Not all the kids were poorly behaved, but the ones who were certainly annoyed other passengers.

But, not checking the dates was entirely my fault. Had my TA or NCL told me, I might have been able to choose another time frame.

Yes, there are discriminatory issues here and it would be difficult for the lines to decide how big a "group" is - 50, 100, 500, more? I do not have any answers as to how they can decide to do this and no, I don't think we'll see it anytime soon, but if I wandered onto a ship with a group of 300 people wearing hats and t-shirts saying "I Hate Left Handed, Blue Eyed Belgian Widows", I'd be really pissed.
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Old November 21st, 2005, 01:32 PM
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The "large groups" problem is really a problem mainly on small ships, such as those with 700 guests or less. Then, the fact that 2/3 of the ship's capacity was taken up by two corporate groups WOULD make a difference to an independent guest. And yes, this example actually happened!

With hotels, we have a little more info ahead of time as to which hotels cater to the convention crowd, and which do not. So if we book at a hotel that is known for such, we shouldn't be surprised if one is there. Cruise lines are a little diferent, as they are more confining, which is a problem when many of the ship's public rooms are reserved for large corporate groups.

Actually, rather than notifying booked guests in advance, I wish cruise lines would use a little common sense and adopt a policy of never booking more than a certain percentage of the ship's capacity (25%?, 33%?) to corporate group(s).

Thanks,
Richard
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Old November 21st, 2005, 02:48 PM
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My vote is yes: The information should be made available to agents and passengers, if they request it and if the total number of the group(s) are larger than 20% of the double occupancy of the ship.

Certain groups on board would actually change my mind on a particular sailing. It doesn't have anything to do with race, color, religion but if it was a large Mime, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Barber Shop, or Ballroom Dancing group that was onboard I would think twice.

In 2000 we were at a resort in Phoenix that was holding a convention for Pampered Chef and I had to become rude with some people because they were trying to sell you at all times. You couldn't say hi to someone.

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Old November 21st, 2005, 04:46 PM
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hey Mike..ballroom dancers are cool, I would be happy to be on the ship as long as I could see the dance competition

I bet Dave the Wave would like to know if the Brittany Spears Look alike fan club is onboard his cruise (smile)
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Old November 21st, 2005, 04:58 PM
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Venice:

There is nothing wrong with any of the groups (well, maybe the Pampered Chefs) I am not a fan of Ballroom Dancing and if all, or a large number, of the venues were used for it then I would not enjoy the cruise as much. It is just a matter of preference.

There would be many people that would not enjoy a Rock cruise.

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Mike
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Old November 21st, 2005, 07:24 PM
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After reading Thomas' post:

Quote:
A few years ago Mrs. Thomas, her sister, and their female friend booked a cruise which was booked by a large group of single men. They stayed holed up in their cabin the entire trip because they couldn't go anywhere on the ship without being constantly annoyed by men wanting a fling.
and venice's post:

Quote:
In our situation, to make the logistics work..all of the group cruisers were moved to early sitting and all of the non group passengers were forced into late seating and instead of having 2 shows per night, there was 8-10 pm show for the group cruisers and an 11 pm show for the non group, which I think caused a different cruise experience

the group cruisers could go to any ship activity, the non group could not
I've decided I would definitely want to be notified! Although I'm too old to have Mrs. Thomas' problem, when I was younger it probably would have put me off cruising forever

I would be very upset to have my dinner time changed and not be able to go to the early show if I wanted to, and I'd also be upset if I couldn't participate in the ship's activities.

The logistics of being notified may be difficult, but I'm sure the cruise lines could come up with something! I'd be more likely to book with a cruise line that would give me the information than one who refused.

Mike,

I could be wrong because my cruise tickets are in the SD box and I can't look at them now, but doesn't it say that you are not allowed to try to "sell" anything while on a cruise? Of course that's different than your situation at the hotel, but if someone was bothering me trying to "sell" anything, couldn't I report them?
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Old November 21st, 2005, 08:22 PM
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Fern,

Yes: You probably could report anyone who did try to solicit you.

I just wouldn't want to risk going by the hot tub and some lady beckoning me over and saying "Hey buddy, wanna buy a ladle." (kidding)

Take care,
Mike
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 10:56 AM
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I don't have a problem with large groups on board, except when the cruise line caters more to the group, than to anyone else on board.
We were on the Carnival Legend last year when they had a large group in excess of 600 on board, and they had blocked off certain shore tours for the group (this was before Carnival started advanced shore tour booking), and we had to settle for 2 nd and 3 rd choices even though we had our selections in as soon after we boarded as was possible. We probably paid more for the cruise than any member of the group, and they got prefferential treatment. If the cruise lines want to book large groups, I think the group members should have to book their own shore tours like anyone else on the voyage or the cruise line should advise you that a large group is on board and shore tours may be limited due to advanced booking by the group. Group members should be treated the same as anyone else on board, everyone is on vacation, not just the group!
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 01:06 PM
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I would appreciate being notified in advance if the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and the Victoria Secret Lingerie models and the 32 NFL cheerleaders squads were going to be onboard my cruise so that I could increase my heart medicine supply
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venice
I would appreciate being notified in advance if the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and the Victoria Secret Lingerie models and the 32 NFL cheerleaders squads were going to be onboard my cruise so that I could increase my heart medicine supply
You say this jokingly, but it is a fact that the Norway used to host the Sun Tropics (tanning lotion) models competition every year. But that was a small group.

I voted yes on this because I have read and heard this comment from so many different passengers who end up on a cruise with a large group. It does affect the cruise.

The model cited by travel agents is Las Vegas which does maintain a database of groups that are in town on any given date. It identifies the hotel they are holding their events in.

Now, the reason the cruise lines do NOT want to do this is because they know people will avoid certain ships because of large groups, especially a group like the bears in the Princess post. Then they would have to discount the ship to sell it out, which frankly they should. I am sure a lot of passengers would feel a lot better about sailing in the shadow of a large group if they knew they got the cruise at a discount.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 07:59 PM
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just for discussion sakes, let's say Carnival books the following large groups on the Conquest for a sailing..group A represents 25% of the ship and does not eat meat..group B represents 25% of the ship and does not drink alcohol ..group C represents 25% of the ship and does not drink,eat meat, gamble, dance or play bingo

If you were the other 25% of the ship, would you not want to know this before your cruise and be given other alternatives ?
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Old November 24th, 2005, 03:49 AM
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If having a large group on board affects my cruise (ie: dining times unavailable for me, shows unavailable for me, public venues unavailable for me) then, YES, the cruise line should notifiy pax not booked in the large group - it does affect their cruise experience! I have paid for use of the whole ship, I should be able to use the whole ship. Small groups that take up one venue for an hour twice in a week is not bad.....large groups that take up a whole dining time IS a problem!
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Old November 25th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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Okay, I've read the above and thought about it

And actually they should make people aware of large groups or bookings sharing you're vacation.

A good gripe
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Old December 1st, 2005, 08:03 PM
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Yes, I think the cruiselines should let you know if more then say 40 or 50% of the ship is booked by a group. And under NO circmstance should "regular" pax. be limited by what they can do because of a group booking.

I pay the price I want all the bells and whistles, BUT, if offered a discount because of a large group booking then I would accept some restrictions.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 08:26 PM
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I just heard about a cruise that had a very large group of mahjong players. It seemed they took up every available table, and were rude to boot..

I would prefer NOT to book a cruise if I knew large groups, would tip the balance in ejoying the cruise..Not being able to get a table by the pool to eat my lunch would annoy me, if it happened daily.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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3.5 weeks after Fern first posted this poll/thread, a rather large (75%) majority feel that the cruise lines should indeed notify cruisers of large groups that will be aboard.

I still disagree, but then I can be a bit obstinate.

For those who are in that large majority I have a few questions.

1) At what point in time should the cruise lines notify you? When you purchase? At final payment? A week prior to sailing?

2) Just how should they notify you. I believe most people purchase through a T/A. Should the lines notify the T/A's who in turn notify the cruisers? Reading this and other boards some T/A's are not always the best communicators.

3) Just what constitutes a "large" group, i.e. what size group would constitute a "notification".

4) If you are notified that there is one of these "large" groups, what should your options be? The cruiselines?

Over the years, I have cruised as part of groups (up to 400) and have been on cruises where there were big groups - including a rather infamous MahJohng group years ago (rude, nasty, inconsiderate). Our groups had, at most, two functions that neccessitated the use of a public room - but only for one hour. I can truly say that other groups who sailed on the ships I was on never really interfered with our enjoyment of the cruise. But, I certainly agree that this should NEVER, EVER be allowed to happened.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Doc JohnB
IMHO I believe cruiselines should notify PAX of large groups (40-50% of cruise capacity) prior to final payment date. Dining times are a 'big deal' to me. As Venice pointed out above the Carnival Conquest was about 50% large group and the group was assigned early dining and the non-group folks were assigned late dining. I read of a similar group 50% or more that 'took over' the late dining on a HAL ship. I would not be happy eating at 5:30. In the case of the HAL group, PAX with supposed late dining confirmations were not told of the switch until they boarded the ship. That just seems wrong to me. Apparently large groups have and probably will continue to 'take over' portions of cruise ships. I just think the cruiselines should inform the other passengers, prior to final payment, when 800 - 1000 members of a group will prohibit them from fully enjoying their dream cruise. Let them cancel if they want.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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The Conquest situation with the Smooth Jazz group was an aberration due to the aftermath of Katrina and Rita...So I think all things considered, everyone did the best they could to make the best of a not so good situation for all parties

Group dynamics vary..due to contractual obligations the cruise line might not know until less then 30 days before sailing the size and impact of a large group...If you let everyone know far in advance and then it changes 90 days in people might make decisions based upon mis information

However, there has to be stated that people have to understand that when they book a cruise, that is not an 100% charter, they have to expect they will be sailing and sharing with all types and from an economic perspective, the group has probably paid a premium and therefore can influence some operational decisions

My brother went on a 'Hogs on the High Seas" cruise and reported that there were absolutely no problems (they had about 40-45% of the ship)...Information is the key even if it's not given until you get onboard..once people understood the deal on the Conquest, they adjusted, they may not have been pleased, but they adjusted because they were not going to spoil their vacation
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Old December 13th, 2005, 03:05 PM
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Doc, points 1 - 4 agreed and totally, it's logical and sense, can't add. Well captured.

So this was dragged up because of a group of "mahjong players",,well my goodness that must have been heavy on the other passengers .

Some people are taking this out of perspective and how groups can affect other cruisers.

But go back to Docs points 1-4, they really sum up the reality against expectation, no way this is possible, unless the TA's all know in advance that this an "art cruise" or a "jazz cruise" and by that meaning that over 70% of the ship are part of that experience and everything aimed at it.

So outwith that, where do you draw the line? The Clampit familly just one $50 million dollars and are taking 50 of their friends on this cruise. Do you then take the booking and then send out an all points bulletin to warn the other 3.000?
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Old December 13th, 2005, 03:20 PM
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I have yet to cruise, so I have no experience in this area. I've read lots of reviews and other postings on numerous boards. Cruising seems like a great thing. I understand about 'sailing and sharing'. Actually, I'm a pretty flexible person. My vision of cruising is one of a relaxing vacation, visiting new places, going on excursions and experiencing new things. Here's the kicker; returning to the ship, relaxing and going to a nice, late dinner. HAL tries to provide 'confirmed' seating. I don't think Carnival does that. If I had a 'confirmed' seating and I was told (after I was on board) that was changed, my vision of the relaxing vacation would be shattered. Would I jump overboard? No. Would I be real happy? No. Would eating early totally ruin my cruise? Probably not, but the quiet, relaxing vacation would probably be blown. It seems to me that I am paying to enjoy the ship. If dining rooms, theaters, pools, etc are off limits to me, I wouldn't feel like I was getting what I paid for. My fears are based on the afore mentioned HAL cruise that had a group of over 1000 people. It seems to me that cruising is a bit of a gamble. You can't really be sure what you're going to get. Time will tell. I cancelled a 7 day Carribean cruise and booked a 10 day Panama cruise in hopes that really large groups may be less likely to cruise for ten days.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 08:33 PM
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DocJohnB,

Obstinacy aside, I feel that cruise lines should notify pax of large groups (i.e.,over 45%) before final payment. If you have a good TA, like we do, yes they should notify the TA. If you booked with the cruise line yourself you should be notified, too. If you booked with an online agency, well, you're on your own!

IMO, I probably wouldn't cancel just because a large group was booked, but I'd like to know who they are.

If you haven't been around women (or men) who play Maj, (and the real game isn't anywhere remotely close to the online or computer game), you really have no idea how important this game is to some people. Most people who play in my area are in their 60's up to their 90's. I don't think they're rude, they've just lived longer and don't care, at this point in their lives, what other people think!
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Old December 14th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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After just spending a week on the Carnival Spirit with a 500+ CardPlayer Cruise Group, I have learned to always ask first before booking about groups. Our small group as well as hundreds of others all had to eat late dinner even though we booked a year ago and requested early seating. We were never notified of the change and the staff couldn't have cared less, (unless you wanted to greese their palms with some cash) We spent the first 45 minutes of our vacation waitiing in line trying to change to early dinner with no sucsess. There are several reasons early is best for us which I won't go into (health issues) and we suffered every night. Due to the group there were lounges totally off limits to us the whole cruise. Private parties that took up space on the ship which we might have enjoyed. The ship totally catered to this group, to the detriment of their other passengers. I will not cruise with a large group again.
Yes.... cruise lines should notify passengers of groups this large.
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