Football teams implore you to join them on a special cruise. Radio station personalities use significant airtime to motivate you to book onto theirs. And even old time greats in hockey, football and other sports suggest their retired players’ ship tour makes an ideal choice.
And on a similar basis, people like me in the travel business host smaller groups who want to travel together, but not in a mass numbers way.
Over the past decade or more these hosted, or affinity cruises as they are sometimes described, have really become popular. What makes this cruise option a continued success often goes deeper than the personality of invitees alone.
While the advertising may extol the potential opportunity of meeting and mingling with the host athlete or personality, it is the chance to meet fellow travelers quickly, and in a positive atmosphere that is also inviting.
Of equal importance is the itinerary, the brand of the cruise company, and decidedly the price, since group pricing tends to be lower than single cabin rates. While each hosted cruise differs, most will include a get acquainted gathering of some kind in advance.
On our recent Paris to Prague river cruise, my wife and I had the pleasure of hosting a small group of 16, including ourselves.We had a small and informal get acquainted gathering beforehand so those that did not know each other could meet.
Because each cabin was booked separately with different air departure and return dates requested, the group would not meet again until we were in Paris getting ready for our included city tour of the city. But many of us were able to meet in the hotel lounge the evening before and start the trip off right with several glasses of wine.
The included excursion helped solidify the interactions with each other, making it so much more comfortable in getting to know everybody with us even more.
Group members would sit often sit with one another for lunch or dinner, or join those in the bar later.
It is important that the hosts communicate that members of the group are not obligated to travel together or dine together at all times. After all, travel is also about meeting new people and sharing experiences with them as well.
From Paris to the rivers of Germany, to Prague in the Czech, we always were comparing notes of what we liked the most, and even shared photos that were special to us individually.
It is, after all, the itinerary that makes the vacation a learning experience to later share with family and friends back home.
As the end of the cruise approached we found ourselves wanting to spend more and more time with the people in our group.
We will get together again this week at our house to enjoy a pot-luck dinner of interesting dishes and wines from France, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
We will share our photos, celebrate our new friends, and hope that one day we might again travel together, feeling we gained an unspoken kinship from having shared our 12 day journey with each other.
If you have travel questions or comments, or would like help planning your next trip email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.