Picking a cruise that suits your personality

Passenger Profiling

Ever wonder what your fellow shipmates will be like and if you’ll  gel? I’ve got you covered

By Patti Pietschmann

us at captain's partyWhether you’re a virgin cruiser or veteran seafarer trying a new cruise line you might wonder what your shipmates will be like.  This is especially true if you’re on a ship with assigned dining and  might be sitting at a table with strangersm(we always ask for a table for two).  So I’ve curated a  passenger profiling list based  400 cruises (yup, been covering the industry since I graduated from college) and reflects  the personal observations of my first mate Richard and I:

Carnival paradise and freedom in Grand CaymanCarnival: The Fun Ships no longer attract only younger passengers onboard mostly to party and go on active shore excursions. You’ll still find lots of energetic revelry around the swimming pools and in the bars, but families and the middle-aged are now in the mix. These ships are where you will find Middle America; what you won’t find are dedicated foodies.

Celebrity : This fleet of upscale ships attracts a mixed bag of millennials, the middle-aged and seniors who tend to be great fans of the fun and food  Celebrity provides. Passengers are likely to be better-traveled and more global than most mass-market lines aimed primarily at North Americans.

Costa:  This line credits itself as being “Italian’ but much of the crew hail from other parts of the world. Still the product rings true of Italy via cuisine, Italian captains and ambiance. A large segment of the passengers are from abroad.  Most of them are 55 and older, veteran cruisers who generally join in the activities with gusto. A regular Toga Party garners lots of attendance with passengers doing Roman-style garb.

cunardCunard:  Cunard’s famous Queens appeal to older, wiser, more sedate passengers, although the summer Atlantic crossings between New York City and Southampton also attract younger Sloane Rangers and other sophisticates who are anything but stuffy. You likely will encounter a high percentage of passengers from the British Commonwealth, who will carry on the tradition of dressing for dinner. You will also encounter one of the last bastions of the British class system at sea, with portions of the ship off limits to the hoi polloi.

IMG_0054Crystal:  Most of your shipmates on the two medium-size ships of this globe-trotting line will be 45 years-old and above, well-traveled and well off, and appreciative of the line’s reputation for outstanding food and service. You will find many repeat passengers who know the ropes and wouldn’t think of switching allegiances to another cruise line. This loyal clientele eagerly attends the lectures, seminars, computer classes and shows that the line works hard to provide. Although passengers tend to be upscale, there isn’t a whiff of pretension.

Disney:  what can we say? The passengers (mostly couples with young children) who flock to sail with Mickey and Minnie are staunch fans of everything Disney. They buy out the gift shop during the first days at sea, don logo tee-shirts, Mouse ears and go gung ho on the theme. For the most part Disney fans are not sophisticated travelers. Most are from Middle America but there is a sprinkling of foreigners.

Holland America:  Most of the passengers on the HAL cruises I have been on (though none in a while) were older, reserved, dedicated to the line and relatively undemanding regarding food and drink. They know what they want and they know that they like the consistent product that Holland America gives them.

MSC Cruises:  untested waters for me, research indicates that this Swiss-based line attracts  many Europeans along with Americans. Demographics include couples, families (children under 18 sharing a cabin with two adults cruise for free) and single passengers. Average age is 50 and older.

Norwegian:  it’s been eons since sailing on one of these budget ships and the line’ s come along way since then.  It continues, however, to attract a lot of firs-time, young cruisers, couples and friends sharing staterooms.  You won’t find foodies flocking to the fleet, but you will find plenty of party animals and very active seafarers.

marina photoOceania: Passengers on Oceania’s ships love the food and the far-flung itineraries the line offers. Many have cruised dozens of times with Oceania and wouldn’t sail on any other line, which prides itself on affordable luxury. Your fellow passenger will be middle-aged or above and confident in his or her choice.

Paul Gauguin:  this spiffy little ship that has the market cornered on French Polynesia, attracts water babies and arty adventurous passengers who appreciate nature and the beauty  of this part of the world.  They are usually sophisticated younger than average, well-dressed and love fine food, beach activities and culture. While most passengers are from the US (many lot from California) you will find some French, German and Italians on board.  Many who sail on PG spend a few days before or after the cruise in a port such as Bora Bora or Papeete.

Princess Cruises:  You’ll find every type of passenger on this line—wide-eyed first cruisers to those who already know the maître d’ and have sailed with the company dozens of times. The line’s big ships offer endless activities and options and a popular shore excursion program.  Expect more fellow guests  over 50 than under 30, lots of Californians (the line is headquartered outside Los Angeles), and a tolerant attitude toward dress and decorum.

Regent Seven Seas:  As with its sister company, Oceania, foodies and gourmets flock to the many restaurants on each of the line’s upmarket cruise ships. RSS’s similarly loyal, nicely put-together clientele comes from all over the world; if there’s a type, it is well to do. They enjoy the line’s luxury and worldwide itineraries and all-inclusive pricing, and if you don’t mind paying for it, you will too.

Royal Caribbean:  this mainstream cruise line attracts  aa similar segment of seafarers as Princess and Holland America.  During the summer there will be lots of families. The rest of year you’ll find a mixed bag of mostly middle class folks.  Passengers are fairly well cruised who  sail on these ships more for the ports and entertainment then say the food (which is often good but not usually exceptional).

DSCN0972Seabourn:  Passengers on the smaller, stylish ships of Seabourn tend to the chic, the sophisticated, and the international. Country club is the prevailing style of the moneyed leisure class that dotes on Seabourn’s easy luxury, excellent food, relaxed ambience and inclusive pricing and find it exactly what they want.  They tend to be repeaters who have been there, done that and have the funds to do more of it. Meet them in the bar and you’ll find most as friendly as they are accomplished.

36c16-ships2bin2bst-2bkittsSilversea:  Shipboard mates will be similar to those you will find sailing on the other premium small-ship lines that offer inclusive pricing—well-dressed, discerning and, because the line is Italian-owned, more of them may be European. They gravitate to Silversea for the food, varied itineraries, and the Italian-owned line’s refined cachet. The Bar, the convivial center of the ships, is where passengers meet before dinner.

056Windstar (photo by Glenn Bozarth): This fleet of mastered sailing ships attract young to middle-age, upscale adventurers who go for the wide variety (and convenient) selection of watersports from diving to snorkeling. Although they prefer being in the water, they love the lure of the wind-propelled sail and the fine food served on board.

 Tips for making friends:

Passengers tend to mingle more on upscale ships where drinks at the bar are free.  This isn’t because of the comps, but rather it reduces that awkward pause when you’re with people you just met and the check comes.

Also like-minded passengers tend to gravitate toward each other.  Say you take a snorkel or biking tour. You’ll notice back on board that the people who were along with be more friendly to you. The same goes for cultural tours etc.

Don’t barge in on passengers when they are sitting down to dinner, especially couples, unless invited. That’s okay at the bars but not the dining venues.

 

 

 

 

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The Cruiseable Bliss Tool app is a match maker for passengers and ships

IMG_5812Even though I, the Savvy Seafarer, Patti Pietschmann, is now a ‘team member’ on the new, exciting Cruiseable.com web site, I can unabashedly recommend the company’s hot new Bliss Tool app–a free download that helps people pick the cruise, cruise line, ship or destination that’s best for them. Think of it as a match maker of cruise and passenger. Aptly titled Bliss Tool, the app is easily downloaded to iPhone or iPad.  Once you have it you can easily search and scroll for cruise lines, ships byname, destinations, itineraries, maps, travel guides and photos. It sounds overwhelming but then you really want to be sure you pick your cruise carefully. There’s nothing worse than being on the wrong ship in the wrong ports of call especially after paying the fare (there is no buyer remorse cancellations that we know of).

According to the company the hallmark feature of its app is that its lets you zero in on exactly what you are looking for, leaving all guess work to them. Your National Cruise Examiner has written many article about how important it is to pick the right ship and this app goes even farther matching your preferences for spas, fitness, staterooms, dining (a major factor for most seafarers), entertainment and more.

“Twenty-three million people a year take cruises, but everyone has a different personal style and budget,” said CEO J.D. Lasica in a phone interview. “You might want to sail away with the kids, or to have a romantic escape, or to dive into local culture, or to see the Northern Lights on a cruise with fine dining and great entertainment. With our Bliss Filters, you can fine-tune your search, then save and share your personalized results with family or friends.”

What’s also cool about the app is you can save anything by bookmarking it and keeping a personal library on your home PC or laptop. “The Cruiseable app fills a big hole in the market,” said Giacomo Balli, chief technology officer. “Until now, consumers were limited to cruise discovery apps from the cruise lines, which steer you to their own ships, or from travel agencies. This is a tool intended to empower travelers with information and tips from fellow cruisers, not from the cruise lines’ marketing departments.”

Cruiseable.com employs a team of travel writers (including yours truly) and travel professionals whose assignments are to  monitor, evaluate and rate nearly 400 ships from 31 cruise lines. The mobile app combines ship reviews and destination articles with passenger content – photos, videos, reviews, comments – as well as search results that show cruise itineraries, dates, prices and availability.

“Both the app and the website draw from a single database,” Balli explained. “If you upload a photo or video or save an item while logged into the website, it shows up on your app a moment later – not weeks later when a new version of the app is released. And if you do something on the app, it’s reflected on the website instantly. That’s pretty cool.”

Lasica said the Cruiseable team wanted to build technologies that bridge the “artificial divide” between apps and the Web. “We think you want to explore, plan and book your cruise regardless of which device you’re using,” he said. “Unlike the vast majority of universal apps, the Cruiseable app on the iPad is not just a larger version of the iPhone app. The app was tailored to perform differently on the two platforms.”

“The iPhone is about swiping down vertically, Instagram style,” Balli said. “The iPad is about swiping across and getting immersed in these thousands of big, gorgeous full-screen images. Even the website somewhat resembles an app because it was designed with a mobile experience in mind.”

Cruisable.com can also book  your cruise and offers onboard credits of $50 for any cruise booked through them.  You can download the Cruiseable app  in Apple’s App Store, check them on Twitter@cruiseable or Facebookfacebook.com/cruiseable. Check out my latest Cruiseable.com article here.

Grab a luxury cruise on ultra posh Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering a sea of specials, check it out and book your cruise, these are fabulous ship with everything included in the fare from wines and spirits to shore excursions, WiFi and more. Plus matties the food’s fantastic, no kidding, we’re talking fine dining at sea.

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Princess Cruises gets right to the ‘heart’ of the matter with Cruising for a Cause

Princess Cruises gets right to the 'heart' of the matter with Cruising for a Cause

We cruised for a cause Feb. 10-15 aboard the spiffy Ruby Princess, it was quite an eye-opener with seminars and lectures by Heart Assn. members and guest speakers. We learned CPR, matters of the heart and how to stay healthy. And, we had fun!

Read  more about it here:  http://www.examiner.com/article/a-princess-cruise-created-for-a-good-cause-inspires-informs-and-delights

Carnival Cruises creates Dr. Seuss fantasty for kids

Image

Carnival Cruises, an industry leader in onboard children’s programs, just got more kid-friendly with the addition of Dr. Seuss-themed fun aboard its Fun Ships. In a press released received today, Dec. 11, the company announced a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to keep young seafarers entertained.

The Carnival Seuss at Sea program will offer a variety of exciting and immersive onboard youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences featuring the amazing world and words of Dr. Seuss. “It is fun to have fun but you have to know how,” said the Cat in the Hat in the iconic Dr. Seuss book.

A great way to get the kids to eat breakfast, the program kicks off in the main dining room with a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends. Children will eat it up. We’re talking moose juice and goose juice, along with colorful fruit and pancake stacks, funky French toast and more, with traditional breakfast favorites also available. Imagine your kid’s faces when they see waiters dressed in Dr. Seuss-inspired outfits and a cast of  Seuss characters coming alive before their eyes such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam. The breakfast will be hosted on the first sea day of each cruise (which is all the ships) and then cost $5 after.

There will also be a selection of c Dr. Seuss books, toys and themed activities with special showings of movies such as “The Cat in the Hat” and Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” aired outdoors on the giant screen of the Seaside Theater on Lido Deck as part of the cruise line’s Dive-In Movies programming.

The Seuss at Sea program will begin aboard Carnival Splendor in February 2014 with implementation across the full fleet by 2015, as well as Carnival Vista when that ship enters service in early 2016. For additional information, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit www.carnival.com .

Cruises are wonderful when you’re on the right ship

Carnival breezeMe in blue dressDon’t book a cruise until you read this:  http://www.examiner.com/article/a-matchmaker-s-guide-to-picking-the-ship-that-s-right-for-yousansebastian on spirit1porthole galley Read more:   http://www.examiner.com/article/a-matchmaker-s-guide-to-picking-the-ship-that-s-right-for-you

IMG_1963bestpattimealprincess_01rubychristeningIMG_2755

 

Just call me the ‘yenta of the sea’, but you really need to read the story on Examiner.com at the link above