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View Poll Results: What Should Cruise Lines Do to Improve the Destination Experience?
Bring aboard local entertainers to perform and also have them offer classes and workshops 108 38.03%
Serve cuisine and wine that represents the region through which ships are traveling 164 57.75%
Offer free destination information 151 53.17%
Offer chef-led tours of food markets 58 20.42%
Create an onboard destination concierge who can recommend sites, shops, restaurants 107 37.68%
Feature port lecturers who actually live in the region through which the ship’s cruising 161 56.69%
Bring local chefs onboard from ports of call to prepare special dishes and teach cooking classes 66 23.24%
Feature fitness classes that actually take advantage of port locations (cycling, jogging, yoga) 26 9.15%
Showcase boutique-style shore tours that emphasize small group exploration. 76 26.76%
In kids' clubs, offer age-appropriate activities to complement ports of call 45 15.85%
Alert travelers to any major festivals or holidays in ports of call 161 56.69%
Have more copies of regional travel guides or books on the destination in the ship’s library 91 32.04%
Provide better maps to travelers for destinations (even if for extra fee) 129 45.42%
Provide independent exploration sample itineraries like good walks or recommended schedules 166 58.45%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 284. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old December 7th, 2009, 06:06 PM
Dan Askin Dan Askin is offline
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Default What Should Cruise Lines Do to Improve the Destination Experience?

Arthur Frommer, the legendary travel guru, is fond of saying that people who cruise don't experience travel genuinely. He may be right: cruise lines more often place an emphasis on onboard amenities. Stops at ports of call are often too short for anything but a superficial tourist experience. And though some lines have beefed up shore excursion menus and put on the occasional destination-oriented lecture, there's really very little effort to help passengers find a real connection to the places on itineraries.

Azamara Cruises, the small-ship line that's part of the Royal Caribbean/Celebrity family, is tackling the issue head on with a major new program that will emphasize the destination. (Read more about that here.) Cruise lines do offer some region-based entertainment (in some ports, local entertainers will perform). That makes us wonder: What would you like to see cruise lines do more of in creating excitement, awareness and experiences about the ports of call they visit?

Please vote for any or all of these choices and feel free as well to comment below.
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Last edited by Dan Askin; December 7th, 2009 at 06:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old December 7th, 2009, 06:10 PM
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You might want to ask the monitor to delete the first attempt.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 07:05 PM
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Glad you fixed the voting options, but my response remains the same: More OVERNIGHT port stops. :-)
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  #4  
Old December 7th, 2009, 07:23 PM
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Many folks just want to be on their own...away from home, in a nice room, with decent food.
I, personally, don't give a fig about the culture or history or architectural detail in any place....I just want to be away from my "cool-weather" home.
Good entertainment is great...but it doesn't have to be "port-specific"---hopefully, it won't be! (There are only so many steel drum tunes I can take!)
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  #5  
Old December 7th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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I sailed on the Quest earlier this year to Asia and found the ports okay. The drive into Phenom Phen was to long for the short stay in port so an over nighter would have been great. The dining room service was so bad I haven't been tempted to book another cruise on Azamara. Give me a great itinerary so tempting I'll rethink booking on this line.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 08:35 PM
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Port talks and "destination talks" that focus on the history and current lifestyle of the ports to be visited, as opposed to shopping talks touting the shops that pay kickbacks to the cruiselines. A few short classes on the language, so a person can order a coffee/tea/soda, ask for the bathroom, tell the cab they need to get back to the cruise ship dock, say "please" and "thank you". A reference sheet for the language used at the destination. More opportunities for "doing" instead of "viewing" while in port -- volunteer at an orphanage, help build a school. My DH can hardly WAIT till we do the "Go with Gus" trip -- even though we'll only be spending a little time at the school, he is already looking forward to it.


So what exactly does Arthur Frommer define as "real" travel? Do I need to be in a tent, with no running water, rubbing sticks together to make a fire? BTDT, don't wanna do it again, thankyouverymuch.
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  #7  
Old December 7th, 2009, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtwingcpa View Post
Glad you fixed the voting options, but my response remains the same: More OVERNIGHT port stops. :-)

I wholeheartly agree.....
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Old December 7th, 2009, 09:54 PM
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Default We get this all the time

We get this all the time from others who don't cruise but do land only. Having been land travelers we kind of get it. When you do a place like Europe or Asia by land (we have done Europe that way and are cruising in Asia this year) we really did feel like we were more "into" the country we were in. Being on a ship for a night in Venice is no substitute for staying a complete week in Venice and walking the streets late at night or first thing in the morning.

That said, we have had wonderful days onshore from ships in Europe that would rival any we ever spent on a land-based vacation. Wandering through Rhoades, Oia, private tours of Villefrance, Eze and Monte Carlo, Instanbul and spending the days in the hills above Amalfi with Marcello in the little town of Pantone having the best lunch of my life. That was an experience.

When we sail we always try to stay a few days pre and post cruise to get the local culture. We did that two years ago and fell in love with Barcelona after spending four days there. We can't wait to go back. We have planned for two days in Singapore pre-cruise and three post in Hong Kong on our upcoming Azamara SE Asia cruise. We are thrilled that every port except Danang is an overnight. We think we will find a new favorite cruise line in Azamara. As long-time X fans who bemoan their move to bigger ships we think that the size of the ships added to the move to more port intensive cruises will suit us well.

We also think that people like Arthur Frommer have it in their minds that cruising is predominately a Caribbean vacation. We aren't big into the Caribbean, we much prefer Europe. And big ships like Oasis, where the ship is the destination, only make Frommer's statement more true. But then he would probably feel the same way about all-inclusive resorts.

Lastly, it is interesting to note that Mr. Frommer's company publishes books about cruising as well as land travel. I guess he has no problem insulting it but still wants to make money from it.
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  #9  
Old December 7th, 2009, 11:19 PM
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As stated already...Have "port talks" that don't stress shopping but rather the history and culture of the ports....better maps that show something besides the stores in an area.....

I recall being on a cruise years ago that the CD did port talks using his personal slides to highlight the areas of interest in each port (we were in the med) gave suggestions for which tours to take based in personal interests.....yes he did a brief talk for the shoppers but AFTER the tour info....

I like the concept of the ships overnighting in ports ( was looking at the Amazara Quest for Italy for just this reason). Even sailing later in the evening so passagers can have an early dinner in port would make for a more unique experience..

As someone mentioned overnights and extented stays would benifit any port stop but the caribbean ....I just go there to thaw out and relax!!!!
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  #10  
Old December 8th, 2009, 02:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowPrincess View Post
Port talks and "destination talks" that focus on the history and current lifestyle of the ports to be visited, as opposed to shopping talks touting the shops that pay kickbacks to the cruiselines.
Well said! It is about more than just the money!
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Old December 8th, 2009, 06:09 AM
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We have taken two river cruises in Europe - many of these ideas are already incorporated into that type of cruise - we do enjoy getting more info on the places we are visiting (besides the shops!) Also some of the suggestions such as info on hikes or biking are something I try to do now on my own. But I thought Azamara and Oceania already had taken some steps of bringing local reps. on board at the various stops.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seastar2 View Post
As stated already...Have "port talks" that don't stress shopping but rather the history and culture of the ports....better maps that show something besides the stores in an area.....

I recall being on a cruise years ago that the CD did port talks using his personal slides to highlight the areas of interest in each port (we were in the med) gave suggestions for which tours to take based in personal interests.....yes he did a brief talk for the shoppers but AFTER the tour info....

I like the concept of the ships overnighting in ports ( was looking at the Amazara Quest for Italy for just this reason). Even sailing later in the evening so passagers can have an early dinner in port would make for a more unique experience..

As someone mentioned overnights and extented stays would benifit any port stop but the caribbean ....I just go there to thaw out and relax!!!!
We find that when you get away from Alaska, the Mexican Riviera & the Caribbean, the port talks are much better. The ships are not visiting these ports as often, so they don't have the "special deals" with the shops. The port talks actually tell us about the places. Unfortunately, the maps still stink.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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I understand Frommers point of view. When you cruise you barely have time to see a few things in a port and then on to the next one. You don't get a chance to immerse yourself in the culture and get a real feel for the country.
I enjoy cruising a lot but I look at the trip differently than my land travel. I see the ship as a great hotel and the ports as short daytrips into the area.
When I want more immersion(like in Europe) I travel myself and stay for a while. There are many different styles of travel and each is just perfect for that person!!
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Old December 8th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb at sea View Post
Many folks just want to be on their own...away from home, in a nice room, with decent food.
I, personally, don't give a fig about the culture or history or architectural detail in any place....I just want to be away from my "cool-weather" home.
Good entertainment is great...but it doesn't have to be "port-specific"---hopefully, it won't be! (There are only so many steel drum tunes I can take!)
I agree that when I cruise the Caribbean, I am just looking for warm weather and sunshine, and I will enjoy my time at any port. I am almost ashamed to admit that the culture and history takes a step back on those trips. I just canceled my Tulum tour in Cozumel to go on the Bar Hop bus

However, for other destinations that I am looking to explore and experience fully, I would never dream of cruising. There is a huge difference when you spend two weeks in a country, sampling local foods, walking plazas at night, being surrounded by people who speak a different language, and feeling like you're living in a different time when you are standing in a building that is 1000 years old...versus spending 6 hours in a city rushing from site to site to say you've "been there, done that".

I'd love if cruising would try to balance the destination experience a little more...but until then, I will balance my experiences on my own by taking both cruises and land trips.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 11:51 AM
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I don't give a hoot about any of those items listed.

I cruise for the sea......

I don't buy shore excursions, preferring to do things on my own..or not do anything if I chose.

I wouldn't attend lectures, cooking classes or other of those type activities.

What I want is a reasonably priced cruise, good food attractively served by attentive wait staff, a clean cabin...and my ice bucket filled a couple times a day.

Beyond that, leave me alone....and leave me to my own devises.. I'm a reasonably intelligent adult who can certainly function on my own. If I'm interested in history or culture, I can read and research before the cruise. If I want to taste local cuisine, I'll have lunch ashore.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 02:57 PM
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Default How about Apps?

I have an app for my phone that points out great places nearby along with information about them. I would love one that is specific for ports of call in each of the major cruise destinations. I haven even downloaded walking tours that are narrated. this would be a great thing for cruiselines to offer!
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  #17  
Old December 8th, 2009, 03:38 PM
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Hello,

Arthur Frommer is entitled to his opinion and I respectfully disagree.

As life sometimes requires us to compromise, so it is with travel by cruise ship. I want to see the world. But as I am older schlepping (a word Arthur will know and understand very well) suitcases from one airport or train station is sadly no longer for me and my DW.

And Frommer seems to discount the fact that many people who go on cruises do spend time before and after the cruise, in ports/countries seeing what can't be seen by ship. We do so each time we go on a cruise.

To answer the question, more overnights in ports is all I ask for. On our Azamara Quest cruise to the Far East, the Quest was in Hong Kong for two nights and Osaka Japan for overnight. It was really nice to be able to see Kyoto at night and taking the train back to Osaka leisurely.

Last edited by Fredr; December 8th, 2009 at 03:40 PM.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slotaddict View Post
I wholeheartly agree.....
Ditto! Overnight port stops to allow more time in the port.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 07:29 PM
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Default a little of topic but...

why not allow us to email cruise lines about what itineraries we want and try to make it hapen i would love to repaet this intin. i had but i haven't seen it since.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 10:04 PM
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Maybe I'm out of touch -- but I'm surprised that poll takers aren't more enthused about the idea of fitness programs in port -- and also more relevant-to-itinerary programs for kids. Am I missing something?

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