Cruise Critic Meet and Greet May 18, 2011–Some Final Thoughts

The Plan

Our cruise was made up of two separate cruises, The Spring Transatlantic, and The Riviera Romance. The First part ended on may 14th, with the second part starting the same day.  Since this is our first sea day it is our first opportunity to “Meet and Greet” the new comers.  I have reserved the Crow’s Nest (Captain Corner) for this meeting.  I will be amazed at how many show up since they will be leaving on the 21st.  Hopefully we can meet some of them privately soon after they board.

The Reality

The best laid plans……humm.  When planning a function onboard a cruise ship, and you are not paying for the use of their facilities, it is best sometimes to add to your planning a caveat that at least one little detail is not going to fall into place….but if you persevere, most times you will find success.

Such was the case with our cruise critic meeting on the 18th.  This was billed as a “Meet and Greet” for the Riviera Romancers, who had boarded on the 14th in Civitavecchia. Normally a meet and greet is held the first day at sea, which usually comes very close to embarkation.  But ours came within three days of disembarkation for most of those on both segments of the 21 day “Quest of the Mediterranean Sun”.  Not the best time, but I had no other choice.

I had not been too happy with the Captain’s Corner of the Crow’s nest venue as there was too much going on in the other areas of the Crow’s Nest to cause distractions.  So I decided to change to the Hudson Room for our 18 May Meet and Greet, since that room was now available. I kept the schedule to the 1:30 – 2:30 PM time slot thinking that this would not conflict with other scheduled events.  Well guess what folks?  The hotel department had already scheduled Mariner’s luncheons for 1 PM.  This meant that since Barbara and I had a formal invitation to attend that luncheon, we would not be able to attend. (to get our gift of a commemorative  tile, etc..)  It was too late to change anything as the Beverage Manager had already distributed invitations to our group.  I was perturbed, and started thinking that all this planning  had just been a waste of time.

The meeting did get off to a slow start yet as the minutes ticked away, more and more people started showing up, and most were from the Riviera Romancers in the beginning, and then die hard cruise critic folks from the Spring Transatlantic came in with their show of support. The beverage staff started showing up with trays of Mimosas and Bloody 2011 Med 4 (838)Marys’ and kept them coming throughout the meeting. Then the Hotel Manager, Mark Pells,  arrived with his impressive and entertaining “stand up routine” and my fears just faded away.  Of the many subjects he covered and questions answered, I think the most important was to allay our fears of our impending visit to Tunis.  We had just witnessed first hand how the ship handled our change of port on the 15th, and his words just seemed to reinforce our confidence in the Noordam’s crew to meet every challenge in regard to the safety of their guests.

Thanks to Barbara Cummings for these two Cruise Critic Meeting photos

Scott was followed by the cruise director, Drew Smith, who was unfortunately, left with2011 Med 4 (841) too little time and little to add. In numbers, I think we tallied around 30, but in the character of those in attendance it was a was much more than numbers, it was the sharing that they brought to the meeting.  As it turned out, I think this was one of the best cruise critic meetings I have been a privilege to be a part of since the Amsterdam 64 day cruise in the fall of 2007.

My final words for those contemplating organizing cruise critic meetings on future cruises are;  be prepared for surprises and venue changes, cultivate a relationship with the Event and Beverage managers at day one, the 10 Am time slot is the best, and finally and most important, stay away from the Crow’s nest, and book one of the private rooms early, and stand your ground on that booking.

Most cruise lines know and value the power of the  “word of mouth” and the HAL folks both on ship and shore are staunch believers of the importance of opinions expressed in the threads and postings on

Oh, and one other thing – never go it alone – team up with another member of your thread, or as in my case, someone to give you wise counsel and support.  For me that was my wife; Barbara, she was the best.

Thanks for coming along with us on this adventure, and thanks for your kind, encouraging words of comment that you leave on our postings and in your email messages.

We wish you “Fair Winds and Following Seas”

Jack and Barbara.

2011 Med 1 (86)

One of my favorite photos Barbara took of me!


2 thoughts on “Cruise Critic Meet and Greet May 18, 2011–Some Final Thoughts

  1. Jack, kudos to you and Barbara for all that you did for the CC bloggers on the TA cruise. Thanks to your efforts we met some outstanding folks and garnered all sorts of invaluable tips for that trip and subsequent ones. Hope our paths cross again soon

  2. Jack and Barbara-

    It was a pleasure meeting you and many of the CC-ers on the 4/28/11-5/14/11 portion of the HAL TA cruise. Thanks again for your efforts in arranging the get-togethers for all of us. We would “second the motion” re: the quality of the HAL food, programming, etc. We had the opportunity to cruise back Stateside via the Cunard QM2 as part of this year’s vacation, and, although that is a wonderful ship, we felt that the attitude of the HAL staff was superior to that shown on the QM2. We look forward to staying in touch with many of the CC:ers. Take care and –../—/-../ -…/.-.././…/… .Shel & Genia

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