Getting to Know You: Meeting, Mingling and Mixing It Up

January 26, 2012 | By | 3 Comments

Azamara Club Cruises is one of Cruise Critic’s most enthusiastic partners when it comes to hosting onboard meet-and-greets for our members. But during my recent Singapore-to-Hong Kong voyage onboard Azamara Quest, the concept was taken to another level when I was asked to give a couple of enrichment lectures during the trip.
I was momentarily thrown for a loop. What would I talk about? I was told: How about cruising ….
Oh, right.

And so I did. In a marvelous expansion of our longtime meet-and-mingle-style get-togethers (that gathering for registered Cruise Critic members was held separately, on the first day at sea), 150 or so fellow passengers showed up at the Cabaret Lounge to hear what Cruise Critic had to say.
I was more interested in what was on the minds of my cruise comrades onboard (and I loved that about half who attended had never even heard of Cruise Critic before). What transpired was Cruise Critic’s first town hall-style event. Ostensibly, I came prepared with a topic for each lecture (how to sightsee like a traveler rather than a tourist was the first, and I followed up with a session on saving money), but as is always the case on Cruise Critic, the best information came out of the fun and spirited debates.
  • Hottest topic: With a lot of Australians onboard, the feistiest subject was “Why do Aussies pay more than Americans, Canadians and Brits for the very same cruises?” Good question. Complicated answer. Cruise line pricing is regulated by nationality. But we hear you.
  • Funniest moment: “I want to put together a cruise package for a friend who’s going on her first,” said Kerri Stott (member name: Sinophile). “She’s going on Queen Elizabeth. Personally she’s more of a Labour gal so I don’t know what she’s doing on Cunard.” Entire room (save perhaps for the Americans) broke into laughter. Americans, a hint: In the United Kingdom and Australia, the Labour Party is roughly equivalent to Democrats.
  • Best advice from fellow passengers: In response to Stott’s request for ideas for a “first-timer’s cruise kit,” a number of suggestions were pretty awesome — a map of the itinerary she can stick on the wall; highlighters to outline key activities on daily programs; Post-it notes for requests made to cabin stewards; lanyard and a hole punch; and a pashmina. (While we’re on the subject, what would you put in a first-timers cruise kit?)
  • Sweetest moment: Let’s be honest, sometimes a gathering of cruise “critics” can degenerate into a kvetch session. So, naturally, I was wondering: How happy were passengers on Azamara Quest? I figured I’d hear about it if they weren’t. But taking into account that the cruise line regularly rates highly among members, I shouldn’t have been surprised that there were no complaints. (See how highly Quest rates.) Moving right along …
  • This may have been Cruise Critic’s first-ever onboard town meeting, but I’m hoping it’s not the last.
    After all, talking about cruising while cruising is obviously a natural.
    It’s a no brainer: Make friends before you cruise and share shore excursion costs by joining one of Cruise Critic’s famous Roll Calls.
    He’s all ears: Azamara’s president answers cruisers’ most burning questions.
    Read Carolyn’s other reports from her Azamara cruise, including her somewhat wild night in Bangkok.
    Get your very own Lido Deck subscription.
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      3 Responses to “Getting to Know You: Meeting, Mingling and Mixing It Up”

      1. mitch ervin
        January 27th, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

        Wow..thats 5 minutes ill never get back. The only thing i can think of that would be worse then reading this would be paying so much money to go on a cruise and spending my time going to something like this…maybe next they will put a dentist office on cruise ahips.

      2. Dave Kristy
        January 27th, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

        Wow. And I thought I had seen every kind of rude comment online. This one takes the cake, and one can only hope that either someone has hacked you or you are just a stupid, immature teenager (more likely the latter). I’m sure Carolyn can handle it though. Carolyn, I would have enjoyed the discussion!

      3. Carolyn
        February 1st, 2012 @ 8:53 am

        Dave, thanks for the nice words, and I’m laughing. Actually I can see Mitch’s point — and by the way, Mitch, Holland America did, some years ago, offer dentists onboard cruises. So you just never know.


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      The Lido Deck is written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, reporting from ships and ports around the world. The daily blog covers cruise news, reviews, advice, and hot topics from the Cruise Critic message boards. Please note: When commenting, Cruise Critic's community guidelines apply.

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