6 Hot Topics Dividing Cruisers RIGHT NOW

6 Hot Topics Dividing Cruisers RIGHT NOW

On my last cruise, a Windstar Fjords cruise, I posted clips on Instagram of the best attended event of my trip. It immediately ignited a fiery, lively, and divided debate about whether the event was a good idea or not.

It got me thinking about other things that I talk about on social media or in my videos. Things that also sparked heated debates and where cruisers fell into “for” or “against” camps, with few on the fence. So, let’s find out where you stand on these right now as I suspect, like me, your stand is shifting as we face a new world of cruising.

Showing Your Talent

So, what that popular event that wound up so many cruisers up? A Crew Talent Show.

Cruisers who are pro the crew talent show argue that it’s a chance for crew to connect with the passengers, showcase their skills, or their country. On my Windstar trip, there were several crew members that asked me to go to the show. My waiter, Mark, who wanted me to hear how good a singer he was. And Ana, a waitress proud that her and other Indonesian crew were showcasing their traditional dances.

However, those against it argue that crew seem pressured into doing these, it’s really a way of cruise lines cutting back on entertainment costs, adding more duties and responsibilities onto an already overworked crew who rehearse and perform after their normal work is finished.

Where do you stand on that one? I do feel it is putting extra work and demands onto the crew, and they do make me feel uncomfortable.

6 Hot Topics Dividing Cruisers RIGHT NOW

Animal Behaviour

A few cruises before my Windstar sailing, I was on Holland America’s Oosterdam. I posted a series of towel animals that my cabin steward made during the trip. This also divided cruisers.

Many left comments saying that they are fun, they bring a smile to their face, and they are a great little treat that they enjoy coming back to at the end of the night.

Others argued they are a waste of overstretched cabin steward time who should be left to focus more on cleaning and service, and it’s environmentally unsound because it creates unnecessary additional laundry.

They argue some lines run classes on how to make them and it should be left at that.

Where do you stand on this cruise tradition? I do like them, but this is one I now tell my steward to skip for me.

6 Hot Topics Dividing Cruisers RIGHT NOW

Dressing Right

Another topic where my view is evolving, is around dress codes. Not around whether there should or shouldn’t be a dress code, but the enforcement of dress codes when there is one.

On my Windstar cruise, enforcement wasn’t really an issue because there technically a dress code. Other than a request to not wear shorts, distressed jeans, or scruffy trainers to the dining room. But it wasn’t a rule, as such.

Cunard Enforcement…

However, when I was on Cunard recently, lack of enforcement created a lot of angst. Cunard do have a clear dress code and this is the reason many chose the line. They want gala nights with the ship full of men dressed in tuxedos and ladies in fancy dresses. They choose it for those evenings when the ship feels like the glamorous days of ocean liners.

In the past, Cunard strictly enforced the code, turning people away from the restaurants. But on my last two cruises it was not strictly enforced. On gala nights across the ship it was much more mixed. And I could see those that had chosen the line for the dressing up getting annoyed.

Looking at the Facebook groups for luxury lines such as Silversea and Seabourn, I see many frustrated that the smart dress code is not being enforced. Arguing they chose these lines because they wanted a certain sophisticated dressy experience.

Others argue, get over it. People have paid for the trip and should be able to dress as they want on their vacation. How someone else is dressed should not affect your dining experience.

Where do you stand on that one? Should dress codes be enforced or not? As someone who likes dressing up, I am feeling if there is a dress code then enforce it. If lines don’t want to enforce it, then just have a request or suggested attire.

6 Hot Topics Dividing Cruisers RIGHT NOW

Select Few Only

A recent video of mine I knew would, and did, get a lot of comments and divided views as this is a hot topic these days as more lines are creating these.

I went on an MSC Virtuosa Norwegian fjords cruise and had booked in the Yacht Club, which is their premium Ship-within-a-Ship. This is a key card-controlled area with all the suites, a dedicated lounge and bar, its own restaurant, a Concierge and Guest Services desk, a deck with swimming pool and hot tubs with a buffet Grill. It took up a big part of the ship.

I’ve also been on Celebrity Edge and Silhouette where they have The Retreat, which again has a closed off area with all of this for suite guests. Many lines, including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and the new Princess class of ships also have these areas.

Some cruisers love them because they pay a little extra, and can tap into all the buzz, facilities, shows a big ship offers, and have a place to retreat and get away from the bustle, lines, noise, and crowds. Which on something like a ship like MSC Virtuosa, which carries 6,000 people, it did.

However, detractors feel lines are bringing back the old class system, First, Second and Steerage, and treating regular fare paying passengers poorly by closing off large parts of the ships to guests cramming them into progressively smaller general access areas.

Some of the newer ships coming out, like some of the Norwegian Prima class ships, a significant part of the ship is closed off for The Haven.

Where do you stand on the ship-within-a-ship argument? I must admit I have really liked when I have been able to afford them but do have a real sense of missing out when not.

6 Hot Topics Dividing Cruisers RIGHT NOW

All Together

The next big one I want to talk about is muster drills.

This topic only became divisive post lockdown. When cruising was starting up, to avoid creating crowds muster drills shifted from being in person to watching the safety video (either on a smartphone, tablet, or on the television), and at one’s own leisure checking in at our allocated muster station.

The style of muster divides cruisers these days.

A few months back on a Regent Seven Seas Cruise, they dropped the eMuster for an in-person muster. It was pretty shambolic, drawn out, and it didn’t flow very well. Which did get me wondering if it confirmed the point this style of muster is needed so the crew and passengers know how it all works. And if you want to keep ships safe, it should be an in-person muster.

Those who are against it and argue for the eMuster say it’s quicker, it’s simpler, you can get on with your vacation the minute you get on board, and that you still have done enough to know the process including where your muster station is.

Where do you stand on this one? I have to say I prefer the new approach as I find it easier, convenient, and feel knowing where my muster station is should be sufficient. But am I too blasé?

Let me know in the comments how you feel about any of these topics, and if there are any other things you think I’ve left out.



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4 Responses

  1. Eugene Walton says:

    For me cruising was always a very unique vacation. I looked forward to the special dinners and the relaxing time on the sea. Now it seems that for many people, a cruise is just another hotel. That’s a shame. Enforce the rules. Keep a cruise a special experience.

  2. Zilpha Blair says:

    As a 5 star Mariner with Holland America I say no to cruise talent shows, overworked crew gets less sleep. No to towel animals, waste of stewards time and water consumption. Select Few Only..buyer beware..do your homework beforehand. Muster drills, former drills were a Covid event waiting to incubate.

  3. Doug Dittberner says:

    We were on a Seabourn cruise earlier this year with a crew talent show with 11 acts. From what my wife and I could tell from a front and center seat these people really seemed to enjoy performing and and the acts, at least 9 of them were really good. And the audience gave them great applause, even after the 2 so so acts and a standing ovation at the end of the show. You could tell how proud they were. Under these circumstances would be a shame not to let them show off.
    Animal behavior-eliminate as it is a waste of staffs’ time, and ship’s resources.
    For god’s sake if you are going to have a formal night put on a shirt, tie, and a sport coat. Have the cruise ships announce prior to the cruise through correspondence to the cruisers the expectations and if they still prefer not to oblige then let them know in that correspondence that there will be ample selections for their dining pleasure in the buffet area. In addition in that same correspondence announce that there will be a fun casual evening also and should they want to participate they could dress up as their favorite hero or some other fun theme fun night. It would be their turn to flip the tables on all the stuffy formal people. Let all the people know that the cruise line wants everyone to enjoy the cruise.
    Ship within a ship-as long as I am not treated with less service than what I have experienced in the past let them pay the extra, isolate themselves, let some, for a period of time, feel like they are somebody they aren’t in real life, and I will be happy to meet people from all walks of life including a lot of the wealthy who want to enjoy mingling and experiencing such a wider view of the world.
    We watch the muster drill on our room tv, take it seriously, check the life jackets to see if they are different than we are used to, never, and then head down to muster station and get any extra info they may add. Pay much more attention this way than mass gatherings.

  4. leslie p says:

    Talent show, why not if they enjoy doing it, but we don’t know how much pressure there is on the crew.
    Towels I always thank my stewards and say I don’t need it. Other people really enjoy, so let people choose.
    Ship in ship I don’t care, would prefer to spend that much money for a ship that’s nice all over.
    Dress code don’t have it or enforce it. Ships are one of the very few places left where you can dress up.
    Muster drill definitely each on his own with sign in.

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