A curious event was listed on the daily program for the first evening of my recent Regent Seven Seas cruise: A block party.
Scheduled to coincide with Sailaway, the event – where you step out of your cabin into the hallway to have a drink and meet your neighbors – is apparently it’s a tradition with Regent. One that I had never seen on any other line has, in all my years of cruising.
Being a mildly unsociable person, I go on cruises because I love ships, I love the sea, and I love visiting different ports. I’m not actively seeking to meet other people; if that happens, it happens. And personally, I can’t think of anything I’d less like to do than meet my neighbors.
I grumpily decided that I would sneak up on deck and avoid the whole thing.
But when I opened my door, I was greeted by two beaming cabin stewards carrying bottles and trays of canapés. Only one couple was around, standing outside their door, looking embarrassed. We greeted each other politely and I made my excuses, selected a cube of cheese and hurried off to wave goodbye to Civitavecchia.
On my way, I was waylaid by a traveling companion and we ended up in the bar. There I canvassed opinion from others in the group I was with — all Brits — about the concept of block parties.
“A really good idea,” said one. “I’ve sailed with Regent before and it’s been a real laugh.”
“Harmless fun,” said another. “Although sometimes neighbors can be too friendly when encouraged; once I had one who practically climbed around the balcony to be sociable.”
“Just, no,” said a third. “Not for me. Cringe-worthy. That’s why I’m here, in the bar.”
Each to his (or her) own, then. I really don’t mean to be a killjoy, but the idea of this enforced jollity in a corridor seems most odd. I’m clearly in a minority because when I went back to my cabin, the party in every corridor I passed was in full swing and the (already included) booze was flowing. Regent is clearly onto something with its block parties – and Seabourn and Paul Gauguin do them too, according to this thread on block parties posted on our member forum.
So we’re asking you: How well do you really want to know your neighbors? Tell us in the comments.