Once we have committed (put money down) on a future cruise, we log on to the Cruise Critic Roll Call for that cruise; April 28, 2011 spring transatlantic and since our Cruise was sold by Holland America as “Quest of the Mediterranean Sun” it was also sold as two back-to-back cruises with the second segment called May 14, 2011 – Riviera Romance Western Med – Noordam. Here on these “threads” one can meet others who have also “committed” to one or both segments.
The photo to the right is a group photo the ships photographer took of our CC group on the ms Amsterdam in 2007. We still communicate frequently with several of these awesome people. We sailed together for 64 days, and met before almost every port we visited.
As of this writing, the “Spring Transatlantic” has been viewed 7,682 times with 577 posts by contributors. WE also have over 60 cruisers committed to joining together after we get onboard. Also the “Riviera Romance” has been viewed 3,301 times with 163 postings.
These meetings of like-minded people have resulted in nine private shore excursions being put together via a Google Docs spreadsheet by one of our very loyal Cruise Critic members. This can be a very challenging endeavor as the sponsor of the excursion has to trust that those signing on will be compatible. There is still room for four more people on a May 11th Barcelona City Tour for 79 euros. This is the kind of friendship we have enjoyed in several past Cruise Critic gatherings.
All cruise lines have responded to Roll Calls in different ways, and we have witnessed a marked difference in attitudes since we joined this community in 2005. Room reservations for meetings are now made several weeks in advance of boarding, with ships and shore side staff becoming proactive, with Event Coordinators assigned to ensure the these groups are kept happy.
The Meet and Greet; as the title implies, that is usually held usually on the first day at sea. Name tags are supplied for the attendees, giving each other an opportunity to meet face-to-face. As operational needs permit, several of the ship’s officers are invited to introduce themselves, sometimes fielding questions concerning the day to day operations of their departments. Subsequent meetings can be arranged to share information about the ports and previous experiences. Arrangements to meet and share meals together can also be planned at these meetings.
As the cruise progresses, the roll call group continues to encourage and support those who are traveling by themselves, who enjoy the camaraderie of a group/family.
What Cruise Critic Isn’t: I have heard tales of some disgruntled passengers thinking that the meetings are a forum for airing their grievances experienced during the cruise. As hosts for the meetings, all we can do is refer them to the “Front Office” for resolution.
Next: Let the packing begin.