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JLMoran

World cruises -- how does the crew work to avoid / prevent boredom?

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OK, I'm guessing no one here has actually gone on one of these. But after reading the descriptions and seeing how these cruises typically last anywhere between 66 and 110 days, I can't help but wonder... How the heck does the cruise line keep both the passengers and crew from going stir crazy and feeling total cabin fever on such a long trip?

 

Do they change out the show staff every couple of weeks so that they can present different shows in the theater over all that time? Change up the menus while they're at it? Swap out live performers for the pubs and other watering holes? I mean, these cruises tend to be on smaller ships like Voyager class, correct? So you're already talking about comparatively less to do on board during sea days than you get with a Freedom or Quantum class. I know I could only watch the same 2 or 3 theater shows a couple of times before I was wanting something different, and while having whatever specialty restaurant options helps diversify the menu, even that can get old after a while. The ship's library will help, certainly, and the big variety of ports to see. But there are still a good number of sea days while crossing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and that's where I'd imagine the risk of people getting bored out of their gourds is highest after an already long time on the ship.

 

I guess this is a big reason why they offer the flexibility to do different "legs" of the trip and embark / disembark when and where you want. But for those who really do want to do a true 'round-the-world cruise -- and I'll admit I've been contemplating something like that as a FANTASTIC bucket list item after I'm retired, assuming I can convince the wife to join me -- how do they manage things so everyone finally disembarks with a feeling of "My God, what an amazing trip!!", and the crew is also feeling good at the end of it all?

 

 

And of course, I can't end this without mentioning the retiree noted in one of my recent RCI emails who has decided to live out her remaining days on a cruise ship. ;)

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we have friends on a Holland America world cruise right now - they are keeping a journal & reporting on all these issues - some of the cruise is broken up in segments so not all onboard are doing the whole thing - entertainers will fly in for some ports & they have many themed events - & sometimes are 2-3 days at the same port - the ship is smaller but still over a thousand passengers;  the crew is apparently the same - but - is it any different than our shorter cruises where the crew has signed up for a 4 month contract?  

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Great question.

 

So for most of us in the US, we think of cruising as rotating 3, 4, or 7 night itineraries.  Where entertainment, dining, etc are pretty static.  This is however only one "type" of cruising.  While entertainment is often not as robust in the way we think of it on short Caribbean sailings, it is frequently changed out.  Different lecturers, performers, etc.  These acts and experts can be changed out anytime the ship is in port - there is no reason to wait until the end of a world cruise.  Further, generally speaking, guests on these sailings are looking for lower activities levels while on board in favor of port-intesive itineraries, visting a wide variety of new places.

 

These sailings are often on faaaar smaller than Voyager class btw.  Voyager class ships are 138k gross tons, carrying 3,100+ passengers.  Oceania's Insignia, for example, tends to do world cruises for that line, and she is 30k gross tons, carrying 684 passengers (upper berths on these ships are rarely used).  

 

In short, it's a very different kind of cruising, appealing to a very different audience.  We love longer sailings on smaller ships - but we like 7 night Caribbean sailings on larger ships too - they're just different.  So throw away the ways you think about repeating menus, entertainment, itineraries, etc when it comes to not just world cruises, but most cruises that are not home-ported (or temporarily home-ported) on roating through the same itinerary or two.

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Great explanation, Billy! Thanks a bunch!

 

I have to say, I'm both not surprised to find out how much smaller a world cruise ship is, but also semi-surprised. I was thinking they'd need to allow for potentially a lot more passengers, at least if the ship is providing various "legs" for people to get on and off and thus needing some flexibility in the total available cabins. But given what you said about it being such a different type of cruise, it also makes a lot of sense that a ship as "small" as 684 passengers works.

 

And what does it say about what a cruise n00b I am that I didn't even think they made ships that "small" any more? I thought they were all "minimum 2,500 berths or bust!" :D

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This is a great question JL.

 

I don't think the ships operate any differently than they do for a caribbean cruise. The crew still has their 9 month contracts, the entertainers still have contracts and jump from boat to boat, and the menu in the MDR is the same week after week after week.

 

What is different are the passengers. They are not looking for "entertain me" or "feed me free food I would not normally eat for dinner" or "give me opportunities onboard like ice skating or rock climbing or an escape room" like you and I enjoy on our brief one week stay onboard.

 

These passengers are playing a different game, just like the ones that spend long spans of time RCL ships; particularly Adventure in the Winter time. (they like Adventure because it goes to five different ports each week). If I could categorize these passengers I would say (IF...you could categorize them): A) they are retired and have wealth B) spending long time aboard is equal to the expense of owning an expensive condo in Florida C) they have been cruising for many, many, many years. Like 30 or 40 years. D) they never buy drink packages but will buy internet. E) They have a travel agent and play the credit card for miles or points game just like the rest of us.

 

i hope sometime you make time to talk to a Pinnacle and above member. Their stories are entertaining and enlightening and might change they way you think about our favorite way to vacation.

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Guest toodle68

We have watched a lot of the 'Dream Cruises' episodes where they show these smaller ships going to amazing locations like Antarctica or the Galapagos Islands. The one to Antarctica was very small ship with less than 100 people and getting to land via rubber boats that the ship carries. The crew (cooks and all) double as both their main jobs and part of the entertainment.  You would certainly need to be someone who is ok relaxing and doing little..

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This is a great question JL.

 

I don't think the ships operate any differently than they do for a caribbean cruise. The crew still has their 9 month contracts, the entertainers still have contracts and jump from boat to boat, and the menu in the MDR is the same week after week after week.

 

What is different are the passengers. They are not looking for "entertain me" or "feed me free food I would not normally eat for dinner" or "give me opportunities onboard like ice skating or rock climbing or an escape room" like you and I enjoy on our brief one week stay onboard.

 

These passengers are playing a different game, just like the ones that spend long spans of time RCL ships; particularly Adventure in the Winter time. (they like Adventure because it goes to five different ports each week). If I could categorize these passengers I would say (IF...you could categorize them): A) they are retired and have wealth B) spending long time aboard is equal to the expense of owning an expensive condo in Florida C) they have been cruising for many, many, many years. Like 30 or 40 years. D) they never buy drink packages but will buy internet. E) They have a travel agent and play the credit card for miles or points game just like the rest of us.

 

i hope sometime you make time to talk to a Pinnacle and above member. Their stories are entertaining and enlightening and might change they way you think about our favorite way to vacation.

 

These are great points when it comes to Pinnacle members and some longer RCI sailings, though when you look at world cruises outside of RCI the story can change quite a bit.

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