Giveaway: The Man of 1,000 Cruises

January 2, 2013 | By | 44 Comments

After 1,000 cruises, it’s fair to say Douglas Ward has an opinion or two. One of the most esteemed names in cruise writing, Ward has spent more than 30 years taking scrupulous notes and making honest appraisals of main dining room cuisine, cruise ship cabins and at-sea service. (That’s after years working on ships in capacities ranging from jazz band leader to cruise director.) The author of the 2013 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships — and every book bearing the same name since 1984 — recently joined Cruise Critic for a Q&A covering the democratization of cruise travel, shrinking pillow chocolates and the dreaded, yet inevitable, onset of a la carte cruising.

Cruise Critic: Cruising is, to many, the most accessible form of modern travel. What changes has this “opening up to the masses” wrought, good and bad?
Douglas Ward: “The good: Larger ships with more itinerary choices; lower prices; more dining options; greater choice of family-friendly ships; more public rooms and things to do; more entertainment.
“The bad: Larger ships with more choices, but more passengers; less time at sea; constant activities, entertainment and noise; less formality, easy-going dress codes (with no enforcement); drink packages and all-inclusive packages that promote binge drinking; larger self-serve buffets (lower food costs) promotes binge eating; time-absorbing security checks; lines; and more impersonal service; many cabins with fixed-head showers (less hygienic than flexible-hose showers).”
CC: What do you think about the idea that cruising has gone a la carte? A necessary evolution or the price consumers have to pay for base fares to stay so low?
DW: “Unbundled (a la carte) cruising is most probably the result of the discount pricing to attract passengers. This means that passengers need to be savvy to avoid all the extra charges for everything from bottled water to extra-cost dining. It has, sadly, become an ‘increased hassle’ vacation — the opposite of what it used to be like — at least aboard the large resort ships.”
CC: What’s the biggest complaint you have about cruising today vs. when you started in the 60’s?
DW: “The constant hustling of passengers to buy things once onboard (particularly ice-laden drinks).”
CC: What virtues does “modern cruise travel” have that cruising in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s didn’t?
DW: “Vibration-free, more efficient cruise ships (using the latest ‘pod’ propulsion technology); cashless cruising; lecture programs; more dining choices; open-seating dining; wellness spas; television news content; movies on-demand; more sports facilities; greatly improved children’s facilities and aqua parks; balcony suites/cabins; multiroom family suites; ‘private’ island beach day experiences; Internet-connectivity; roll-over lifeboats.”
CC: Extensive list — but are cruise lines cutting back in noticeable places? Space-to-passenger ratio? MDR cuisine?
DW: “The quality and variety of food is the most obvious (cheaper cuts of meat, preportioned fish, less exotic fruits, fewer cheese choices, for example), and even the size of chocolates on your pillow at night (aboard Cunard Line ships chocolates have been downsized by about 20 percent). Squeezing more cabins into square superstructures adds revenue but decreases the space per passenger, and therefore the comfort factor.
CC: Is there anything from the “Love Boat Era” of cruising that you’d like to see revived?
DW: “Yes, more civility between passengers, more days at sea, fewer ports and more officers walking the decks (assuming there’s any time left today after company email exchanges!).”
CC: But is there really a Love Boat Era of cruising? What is it and when did it end?
DW: “Well, no, that’s marketing hype — at least in North America. However, cruising, or crossing the oceans by ship has always had some romantic connotations.”
CC: Speaking of connotation, Titanic II: a silly joke from a bored billionaire or a tasteless reality?
DW: “I think it’s a little of both, although I don’t think it has such an attractive name. The ship has such an iconic name that several similar projects have come and gone. I also wonder if the drinks will have ice in them?”
CC: What do you miss most about land when you’re at sea? What do you miss most about the water when you’re on land?
DW: “When I am at sea I miss the green trees and flowers in my own garden and the surrounding area. When I am on land I miss seeing the dolphins swimming close to a ship, and the feeling of going somewhere as a ship is moving in open water.
Will I stop? No, I’m not sure what I want to do when I grow up!”
Intrigued? We have two versions of Mr. Ward’s book, one hard copy and one digital, to give away. Entering is easy: In the comments, tell us the projected year you’ll hit your 1,000th cruise, assuming you live forever. Make sure you enter a valid e-mail address (so we can contact you should you win). First prize gets choice of hard copy or digital. Contest ends on January 4 at 3 p.m. EST.
Not one of the winners? The print, eBook and app versions of the 2013 Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships are available here.
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    44 Responses to “Giveaway: The Man of 1,000 Cruises”

    1. maryann
      January 2nd, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

      I’ll be lucky to reach my 1000th cruise in about 990 years. We have been on two on Azamara and loved them. I think they are close to the kind of cruise Douglas Ward likes with highly visible officers and little razmataz.

    2. Philip Rochon
      January 2nd, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

      Probably about 2100… By then it may be star cruises vs ocean cruises…

    3. Kathy B
      January 2nd, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

      Probably around the year 2500, given an average of two cruises a year!

    4. Jeff S
      January 2nd, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

      Well I have 4 in now, and 2 more for this year, so I need 994 more. At 3 per year, and with a little fudging, I’ll make it by 2345. That’s the easiest way to remember it.

    5. Sparky74
      January 2nd, 2013 @ 10:28 pm


      DW & I took our first cruise (a 4 nighter) in 2010 & are about to take cruise #5 in a few weeks & are considering another one later in the year. We tend to take 10 day + cruises. At the rate of 2/year it will be about 2510 before we reach cruise #1000 but once we retire, especially if we live near a port, we may ab able to cruise more often.

    6. Henry Kanner
      January 2nd, 2013 @ 10:38 pm

      After going on average of 2 cruises a year for the last 18 years that only leaves 964 cruises to go to reach that magic number of 1000 in the year 2495.Hope everyone can join me.

    7. Louisa Thomsen
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 10:08 am

      Hopefully I will pick up the pace soon, but at my current pace of one cruise a year it will be 3003.

    8. Morgan Maxwell
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:21 am

      I believe i will take my 1000th cruise in 355.555556 If i keep on the same track i am on now. I just disembarked my 45th cruise 2 days ago, and am currently 16.

    9. Sandy Stenhouse
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:22 am

      By the time I get to a thousand cruises I will need to be wheeled aboard and plugged in! I would be thankful to get to a hundred cruises but a thousand cruises would likely take until 3500 at the rate I am going. Who knows what cruising will be like then – intergalactic?

    10. Carol K
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:22 am

      We’ve seen many of the changes refered to in the twenty one years since we took our first cruise. We’re leaving on our 29th in a few weeks – now that we cruise longer rather than often, I think Hell would have to freeze over before we hit the magic 1000!

    11. Tim
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:28 am

      Hopefully sometime before the year 3000, but at this rate, 3010.

    12. Wendy Hicks
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:30 am

      Unfortunately it would probably be somewhere around the year 3000. :( Hoping I can lower that estimate one day!

    13. Denise Drew
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:33 am

      I’m sure I sailed 1,000 cruises in my thoughts and dreams – you can escape to what ever destination you desire by your thoughts. I’m desiring to go to the Greek Islands as it looks absolutely wonderful and breath taking… but it sure would be great in person – it would be my “reality lucky 13th”! So factoring in my age & cruises completed, my projected REAL 1,000 cruise would most definitly be 7026 – Ugh, I guess it’s back to dreaming again for me!!

    14. Mary B
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:41 am

      Good question, will have to contact my Mayan calendar… and get back to you…. maybe by 3013 that would be 1 a year but we normally do
      a few a year….

    15. CavalierX
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:50 am

      Considering my average is about four cruises per three years, I should be on my 1000th cruise in the year 2758. I can hardly wait (and I’d rather not have to).

    16. M-E Breton
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:56 am

      we have a long way to go,just 2 under our belt, one a year so we will be very happy to hit 1000 around 3010 – join me on the deck for sailaway !

    17. caroline ross
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

      Taking one or two cruises a year and have 4 cruises down another one this year will take me till about the year 2525 to get in my 1000th cruise unless I win the lottery and able to take more cruises in a year

    18. michellev
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

      I would love to say 2050 but since I have only been on 8 so far I have to win the lottery first.

    19. Brian
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

      At the current rate of one cruise every other year, that would put us at year 4,013. Perhaps it will be an outer space cruise by then! Stops include the moon and the former-planet known as Pluto.

    20. Susan Climan
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

      Probably the year 3000 since I only go on 1-2 cruises per year. I had better get moving!

    21. Harold
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

      My 1000th cruise will probably take place in 2511.

    22. J D
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

      I’ve always been an overachiever… if I start now, my vision would be 2020 ;)

    23. lredwards
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

      I’d reach that goal in 3008, assuming one cruise a year. I think I’m going to aim for 1000 days at sea instead!

    24. A Graham
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

      August 2251. The 1000th one will be on my will be to celebrate my 300th birthday. Please accept my invitation to my onboard party!

      I am leaving Saturday on the RCCL Oasis to continue working on it!

    25. JP
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

      12 done, 988 to go. At the current rate, my 1000th cruise will be on Tuesday, 3 September 3495. It’ll be the middle of hurricane season so all the ports may be cancelled and it’ll be 7 days at sea –bliss!

    26. Tangocherie
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

      At my currant rate of cruising, 3 per year, it should be be sometime around 2310, give or take 20 years… I’ll be a seasonned veteran by there;)

    27. Phyllis
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

      Last week we had our first cruise and we love it. I guess if we could take two a year it would be 2513. :)

    28. Neta Platt
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

      Well don’t think my health will let me hit that number, but we started in 1980 and now have 30+ but had a heart attack in Oct. 2012 and have been doing about 2-3 a year since I went on 24 hour oxygen in 2006. Still have 2 booked this year but only one in 2014 so far. It is so easy for my husband to only have to set my medical equipment up once when we get on the ship that is why we love cruising so much. Always try to do atleast one 2-3 week cruise and atleast one 7-10 day cruise every year. Would love to read his book, sounds interesting.

    29. MoMMaMooose
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

      We have been on 17 cruises since our first on the Home Lines in 1986. We’ve been mostly on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity with a Carnival and an MSC thrown in there.

      As of late we’ve been averaging 3 cruises every two years so at that rate we will hit 1000 cruises in the year 2669.

      However – when we retire in a few years – we will probably average 4 cruises a year so then we will hit 1000 cruises in the year 2260.

      MAN – I need to RETIRE – SOON!!

    30. Robin Thrall
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

      I only have 4 under my belt, with the first being in 1990 and the latest in Dec. 2012. With a future goal of one every other year, I should hit 1000 around my 3040th birthday in 4005 (go ahead and do the math, it’s ok)…Happy Birthday to me!

    31. Linda Elengold
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

      If I won the lottery, I’d spend at least half my time cruising the world. With more than 365 days at sea already, we could hit 1000 days by 2017. We could reach 1000 cruises by 2050! But, I really would need this book!

    32. Gwenda Helgert
      January 4th, 2013 @ 1:30 am

      I’d like to say “in the year 2525” like the song, ;-) but I’m afraid I’d need to convince my husband to cruise a bit more often to reach that goal!

    33. Sharon
      January 4th, 2013 @ 7:56 am

      I wish I could say I would hit it sooner…but with *only* 982 cruises to still go, I should reach that in about 982 years. So, if my math is correct that makes it about 2995 before I hit the 1000th cruise mark…

    34. wcruises
      January 4th, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

      Year 2338…only 978 more cruises to go!!

    35. Debra
      January 4th, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

      Around 2500, give or take.

    36. Mike Fowler
      January 4th, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

      Most likely, it will be 2114. We so wish it could be sooner, but we waited too long. It will certainly be fun trying to catch up though!

    37. Kim Turner
      January 4th, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

      As for me I have 998 cruises to go and unless I win a BIG Lottery so I can retire and cruise the remainder of my life or become immortal I probably will never reach that goal of 1,000 cruises. If I were to win this cruise I’d then have 997 to go! YES I’ll be well on my way then.

    38. Mark Grenzicki
      January 4th, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

      I have 3 done, a 4th booked– looks like if I hit the lottery I could go around the world a few times………uhhhhhhhhhh maybe 2053- if I could only be so lucky. ( with my wife-OF COURSE )

    39. Margie Tracy
      January 4th, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

      986 years at the rate we are going. one per year is all we can afford and that is getting difficult in this economy.

    40. jim
      January 4th, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

      Great Interview Dan!

    41. Rose
      January 6th, 2013 @ 9:06 am

      assuming I continue at our present rate of 1 per year, we’d reach 1000 by 3008… however, hoping we can increase ourtrip frequency in retirement someday, so maybe sooner? I’ll let you know!

    42. Hank
      March 6th, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

      Probably 500 years from now…Give or take a few

    43. Hank
      March 6th, 2013 @ 5:46 pm


    44. robin henry
      December 4th, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

      My first cruise was on the Oceanic, when I was in third grade. Everyone was well dress, my 2nd on ____ I went by myself, also the same, everyone well dressed. My husband and I went by Port Canaveral decades later, He stated, Wow look at those ships. So for fathers day I got both of us a cruise. When we boarded, I was so disappointed that it was not as elegant as it use to be. I got over it and we have been cruising since.
      We love it. Park and your home. Robin Henry:)

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