One's first cruise is a breakthrough experience that will change you forever. But, there are plenty of "otherwise" intelligent people who hold so many misconceptions about cruising that they won't even consider trying it. They just can't get past their preconceined notions. In fact, to this day, only about 17% of the U.S, population has ever tried a cruise. In the U.K. the figure is about 3%, and in Italy it is 1%.
The professional trade organization of the industry, CLIA, has research that says some 60% of the U.S. population would like to take a cruise sometime in the next few years. So what has stopped them? My guess it is the other 40% of people who harbor irrational fears and doubts about being at sea.
What is wrong with these people? I believe it is one of perception. They have a visual image of what ships are like, and so far no one has been able to change that image, despite all the marketing, movies and hit television series. Whenever they are confronted with cruise ship-related topics, they just "tune out." Nothing new resonates with them.
Studies show most people only try their first cruise after a trusted friend or relative relates their own personal cruise experience to them and then actively convinces them to try it.
And what is the most commonly uttered phrase by a these first-time cruisers?
"I HAD NO IDEA IT WOULD BE LIKE THIS!!!"
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And then the world also has a few people like me. I got hooked on the show the Love Boat before I ever saw my fist cruise ship. Then when I finally did see one coming into a dock, and I saw the happy people getting off, I just knew I had to try it. I have been the instigator for many people to try their first cruise. I suspect I am the sole reason Arizona has gone from near the bottom of states contributing to cruises to now being one of the top 10.
So, for the moment, pretend I am that trusted friend or relative we just discussed.
Cruising is the safest form of travel in the modern world - magnitudes safer than cars, trains or planes. More people have died from lightning strikes and falling coconuts than cruise ship incidences.
Cruising is incomparably convenient. A typical touring holiday by rail or bus requires hours or even days to get from one destination to the next. You pack and unpack daily, wasting hours with repetitive tasks. Cruise ships travel by night while you are dining, dancing and dreaming the night away, and deliver you to a fresh adventure every morning. You can travel thousands of miles in as little as a week, visiting a new port every day. And the journey is as much fun as the destination.
Cruise ships offer levels of food and service that rival the finest hotels in the world. Every meal, plus 24-hour room service, is included in the cruise fare. Your wakeup call is your room steward delivering hot coffee to your stateroom, just in time for you to shower and dress for your optional tour. And the food is all excellent; lobster, lamb chops, crab legs, pizza, sushi, delectable desserts, free ice cream. The list goes on and on.
The service is better than the best hotel. Your room steward will clean your cabin entirely twice a day, changing towels, making the bed, wiping everything down, and leaving a chocolate on the pillow at night.
For many cruisers the ship itself is the best part of the trip even as they sail to the most exotic destinations in the world. Modern cruise ships are floating resorts with spa services, fitness centers, shopping, pools, hot tubs, nightclubs, casinos, and production shows to rival Las Vegas.
Think my words over, or ignore them and continue to wait for your trusted friend to tell you the same thing.
Keeping the Kids Entertained on Shore
Keeping the wee ones happy during those long days ashore is simply a matter of appealing to their natural interests. Here are a few suggestions for a stress-free shore experience.
Alaska Up Close and Personal on American Safari's Escape
More like a private yacht than a cruise ship, American Safari Cruises' 12-passenger Escape gives guests a singular experience at sea and onshore.
Enriching the Cruise Experience
Holland America's Terry Breen has some dramatically new ideas for onboard enrichment programs. Read on to see what HAL's new Director of Onboard Enrichment Programs has planned!
Best of CruiseMates Bargains! Our sponsor's HOTTEST DEALS, plus a commentary on Hurricanes
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