Posted May 13th, 2013, 08:04 PM
As others have said, there will be groups on your cruise. It's just a matter if they get to have private parties in public areas of the ship (such as take over a pool, a major size lounge, a dining room during a meal time, etc). Sometimes you won't even know there's big groups on board with you.
When we were boarding the Sensation for my second cruise, there was a giant sign welcoming passengers to "The World Tourney of Bingo." I didn't even know that actual tournaments would be held in bingo, and after that cruise, I would want to stay far away from any. The sessions were held in a major lounge on some days, so we just avoided that area. But seriously, you wouldn't want to be between the dining room and this group when the door was opened. Same for the casino door when it opened. They always seemed to be smoking or drinking when out and about. Even someone in the same row as us on the plane ride back to the west coast was a bit reluctant to admit she had booked the cruise for the bingo. She was amazed at these people's behavior. I think those who were in this group were about a third or more of the total passengers.
On another cruise, there was some sort of cardio convention. Doctors, technicians and others involved with equipment in this field. I think I only saw one sign on some door that the room was being used for this group. Don't know how many were involved, but the passengers we came into contact with from this group seemed very nice. (and you have to wonder, maybe a good cruise to be on if your ticker was acting up) There was also a group of travel agents onboard (only knew this from seeing signs on cabin doors).
A couple of cruises ago, there was a group of French-speaking passengers. There was a white board by the chapel/classroom that listed their schedule. One of the TV channels was devoted to French language programming (we were watching "The Incredibles" on this channel -- we didn't know French, but by that time, had seen the movie so many times, we knew the plot and much of the dialogue).
On our last cruise, there was a sign for a private party in one of the dining rooms, but in the morning (wasn't the MDR used for breakfast) for some group. Again, wouldn't have known they were onboard, otherwise.
You may also see family and school reunions. Again, unless it's some group being obnoxious or taking over public areas, you may not be bothered at all.
If you do hear about a group on board, see if you can get info (someone's suggestion above about calling and pretending you're interested in booking thru them sounds great). Ask if there's private parties, entertainment just for the group. See if they have a website.
Patty the Cruisin' Chick (may all your cruises be smooth sailin')
Hoping for another trip to the land of Aloha!
Carnival Jubilee - Mex. Riv.; Sensation - W. Caribb.; Holiday (2Xs) - Baja; Paradise - E Caribb; Ecstasy - Baja; Star Princess - Mex. Riv.; Sapphire Princess - Alaska; Island Princess - Hawaii; Golden Princess - Hawaii (one of the best cruises ever!!!!); another Golden Princess -- Hawaii
Read about my most recent cruise at http://www.sites.google.com/site/holidayalohaii/home