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Bear Cruise: Chumley's vs. Adventure Bears

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Trying to decide on a bear cruise for this fall and have it narrowed down to Chumley's (Royal Princess out of Fort Lauderdale to Eastern Caribbean) or Adventure Bears (Celebrity Summit out of San Juan to Southern Caribbean).

 

Aside from the obvious differences in ships, itineraries, dates, and departure ports, can anyone offer experiences/opinions on Chumley's vs. Adventure Bears? Adventure Bears definitely sounds like a smaller, more intimate group, but not sure if this is good or bad.

 

Thanks and woofs:)

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We have been on several bear cruise, gay cruises, straight cruises. Chumley's was way to big, not much planned and over charged every one of us. Adventure Bears are nice and small, mostly on Celebrity, but do the same Chumley does. Arno's Cruises are different. He plans two cruises a year, one in winter to the Caribbean and one in summer/fall anywhere in the world. Well organized. tons of stuff planned, lots of gifts and free stuff. Overall a lot of fun. We have been on 5 of his already. Check it out.

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I can only speak of Chumley's but have to disagree with Mountain Bears. I didn't feel particularly over charged and there were lots of activities. I do agree that it is a large group which in and of itself I didn't have a problem with though I am sure some do. My bigger issue with a group rather than a charter is that some (many?) in the group either "weren't raised right (as my friend Claudia would say) or enjoy being provocative and shocking the non-group cruisers. I'm not talking PDAs or holding hands. There was way too much heavy petting, groping, etc going on IMHO. I don't enjoy (and can only think of twice in all my cruises) watching a straight couple go at (ok, ok, there was that one really hot guy but he was the exception) but on Chumley's it was certainly widespread even though all the precruise info and announcements from Chumley reminded everyone that there were others onboard and to mind our Ps & Qs.

 

I've never done Arno's so can't advise but I will say that friends who have really enjoyed it. Perhaps the smaller group size keeps folks from being too rambunctious in public? Certainly hope that isn't the case in private as I did enjoy that aspect of Chumley's ;)

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Hello, I'm very interested in these group cruises.  I realize this thread is several years old but wonder what information and feed back people have regarding these group cruise organizers, in the time that has gone by. 

   I've cruised 4 times in the past and loved them...Particularly Celebrity Cruises.  

  Has anyone from Canada (like myself) ever joined one of these groups? Did you use a local Travel Agent or someone to book or did you book directly with the group organizer (as I suspect would have to be done)? 

   The only thing I've heard from Canadians travelling with these USA based group organizers is that they pay in USD which often costs more than if they book on the same cruise through the Cruise line website themselves.  Other than that feed back seems to be positive. 

   Thank you kindly for any information you have. 

    

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On 1/8/2019 at 7:39 PM, Hanginabout said:

Hello, I'm very interested in these group cruises.  I realize this thread is several years old but wonder what information and feed back people have regarding these group cruise organizers, in the time that has gone by. 

   I've cruised 4 times in the past and loved them...Particularly Celebrity Cruises.  

  Has anyone from Canada (like myself) ever joined one of these groups? Did you use a local Travel Agent or someone to book or did you book directly with the group organizer (as I suspect would have to be done)? 

   The only thing I've heard from Canadians travelling with these USA based group organizers is that they pay in USD which often costs more than if they book on the same cruise through the Cruise line website themselves.  Other than that feed back seems to be positive. 

   Thank you kindly for any information you have. 

    

 

I've been on a few group cruises, none of the ones mentioned above and yes, it's all in USD. I wouldn't say it's particularly more cheaper in CDN. It really depends on what the promo is and what the exchange rate the cruise line is using.

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My friend and I just booked the Bearracuda Heretic Cruise on the Summit for Feb 2020, the group is currently on this year's annual group. I joined their FB group, looks fun and has good reviews/feedback.

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We've enjoyed both Aquafest and Pied Piper cruises. The big Pied Piper cruise is their annual Halloween cruise. It's a lot of fun.

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We have been on one Aquafest group cruise, which was great, very inclusive, lots of things planned, Tom Baker is great, usually family embers are part of his team, and are very good. Three Pied Piper cruises, which were fine, a little clicky. Last one was with John Heath Travel, it was very good, John is very interested in his group. A group of twelve of us 'jumped ship' so to speak, from Pied Piper. If you go with a group, the rates are in USD, but usually include a couple of perks, like Bev Package, OBC, or paid gratuities, which usually makes it a better deal in the long run. We cruise a lot of regular cruises,  on which we have met many great friends, all straight.

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Adventure Bears!  We were on a cruise (Celebrity Summit) with them, was not with the group.  They were the nicest group of guys.  We hung out with several of them and made friends with a few and have kept in contact on facebook. 

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If you're looking for more of a Chub/Chaser cruise, there's a new event being launched this November on Adventure of the Seas. I don't wanna break any rules by listing the web site, but it's called Cruising At Large.

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hello and thank you everyone for all the feedback.  we went ahead a left a deposit for BEARCRUISE.Com November 2019 western Carribbean cruise through Dan Howell Travel.  I have to say the response form the Travel Agent was incredibly fast, and friendly.  So far I've been very impressed. 

   The Price seemed right, and they announced an additional discount, Plus the Miss Conception show on the Ship which was a HUGE selling feature.  I go to her show every time she comes to town. She is Amazing! 

   thanks again...really looking forward to it. 

 

  

   

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On 3/29/2019 at 5:31 PM, Hanginabout said:

hello and thank you everyone for all the feedback.  we went ahead a left a deposit for BEARCRUISE.Com November 2019 western Carribbean cruise through Dan Howell Travel.  I have to say the response form the Travel Agent was incredibly fast, and friendly.  So far I've been very impressed. 

   The Price seemed right, and they announced an additional discount, Plus the Miss Conception show on the Ship which was a HUGE selling feature.  I go to her show every time she comes to town. She is Amazing! 

   thanks again...really looking forward to it. 

 

  

   

Hanginabout, please post a review of your Bearcruise.com cruise when you get back, I haven't tried them yet and I'm curious. I've been on nearly all the other bear cruises. They are all pretty much the same, the only difference is the preferred cruise line and the size of the group. Here is a quick rundown of my experiences:

1. AdventureBears. Small group, extremely nice. Especially one of the leaders, his name was Lazarus. He made a lot of effort to make sure everybody had a great time. Unfortunately, there was a bitchy twink passenger in our group who was very judgmental and rudely openly criticized all the bear guests, especially on their appearances. He made a lot of people upset, I wonder why he went on a bear cruise to begin with. Not AdventureBears fault.

2. Chumley's. Big group, it was hard to meet new people. The only problem I had was with the leader, Chumley. I complimented him on throwing a great party one night, and he rudely replied in a negative tone, "you think so?!?!" A simple thank you would have been sufficient.

3. Arno's. Medium sized group. I like his bear cruises the best. He really gets into it and is a great organizer that hosts varied themed events and parties on board. Everyone involved seems pretty chill and I always have a great time. He uses Royal Caribbean, and that's my favorite cruise line.

Who else am I missing? What other bear cruises are great (or bad!).

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We've been on the chumley cruises twice and taking our third in October. We found the guys warm and friendly. Attending one of the board gaming sessions early on this last cruise really made all the difference in the world. We met a group of guys we ran around with the entire trip. On both cruises we felt like we made lifelong friends. 

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On 4/1/2019 at 8:50 PM, Chicken_Lips said:

Here is a quick rundown of my experiences:

1. AdventureBears. Small group, extremely nice. Especially one of the leaders, his name was Lazarus. He made a lot of effort to make sure everybody had a great time. Unfortunately, there was a bitchy twink passenger in our group who was very judgmental and rudely openly criticized all the bear guests, especially on their appearances. He made a lot of people upset, I wonder why he went on a bear cruise to begin with. Not AdventureBears fault.

2. Chumley's. Big group, it was hard to meet new people. The only problem I had was with the leader, Chumley. I complimented him on throwing a great party one night, and he rudely replied in a negative tone, "you think so?!?!" A simple thank you would have been sufficient.

3. Arno's. Medium sized group. I like his bear cruises the best. He really gets into it and is a great organizer that hosts varied themed events and parties on board. Everyone involved seems pretty chill and I always have a great time. He uses Royal Caribbean, and that's my favorite cruise line.

Who else am I missing? What other bear cruises are great (or bad!).

Since I originally posted this thread, I've been on 2 Adventure Bears and 2 Arno's.  My personal opinion:

 

Adventure Bears Didn't have the experience with the bitchy twink, but that could happen in any group. I agree that Laz goes out of his way to make sure everyone is having a good time and is taken care of.

 

Arno's There is a core group that have done all (or most) of his cruises for a long time and are very cliquish.   Arno, as the host, is clearly partial to this clique, and as a horndog, is clearly partial to the guys who are his type and whose pants he wants to get into.  

 

I've also found a Daddy Cruise group.  I did one cruise with them last December and am going again with them in January.  Similar experience as with Adventure Bears... the main host Brian does a good job of making sure everyone is taken care of.

 

In summary, I've had better experiences on bear/daddy group cruises where the host can keep his cruise business separate from his bedroom business and doesn't treat the group as his pool of potential sexual conquests.  I guess the latter is fine if you're a scorching hot muscle bear, but others of us cruise looking for something other than an Atlantis experience.

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I did notice the that in each of the bear cruises, there's usually a group of dedicated repeat regulars who form their own clique and dominate the social scene of the bear cruise. Sometimes it turns into a "Mean Girls" type of environment, but you'll find that at any gay bar/club too. That's just how gays are.

 

Often, the bears get offended if you don't hang out with them 24/7 on the cruise. Sometimes I like to venture out on my own and dine elsewhere for variety. Then when I return to the group, the bears noticed that I was gone and will make comments that I don't like them, or some other dumb crap like that. I paid for the cruise, I would like to enjoy the ship at the fullest extent. I find that in order to maintain some peaceful balance, I usually purchase my own shore excursions that aren't included in the bear itinerary. It allows me to take some time away from the gay drama, while giving me time to relax.

 

On one of my bear cruises, one of the hosts hit on me in front of the other bears at dinner and it make for an awkward situation. On the first night of the cruise, I was hitting it off pretty well with a bunch of guys at the dinner table. One of the hosts (cruise organizers) came over and asked me in front of the guys if I brought my sexy underwear with me. I chuckled. He then handed me a home made business card with him topless on the front of the card with his cruise cabin in the background, his cabin phone number was on the back. It was so goofy looking that I almost laughed, but I just said thank you and put the card down on the table as he walked away. Then the other guys at the table got angry and told me, "Oh, I guess we're just too ugly to get invited to your little sex party!" and they walked away. They were never friendly with me again for the rest of the cruise. That was a dumb move by the host, and I didn't ask for it to happen. See what I mean about the Mean Girl drama?

 

Lately I have been taking regular cruises away from the gay groups and have enjoyed them immensely. Even with all the drama, I have met some awesome bears along the way and will venture back into bear cruise territory once again.

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I've been on three of these bear cruises, here is my take

 

Arno's - As others have said, a very cliquish group, I found it hard to meet people.  The organizer brings in entertainment sometimes, so if seeing a has-been disco diva is your idea of a good time then this is for you.  Sails mostly on Royal Caribbean

 

Chumley - Large group of LARGE men.  Often 400-500+ guys and will totally take over the aft pool on Princess ships.  The upside of a group this large is they are usually assigned their own dining room and you could sit with different people every night and meet lots of guys.  Sails mostly on Princess

 

Adventure Bears - Bit more upscale environment and clientele than the other two bear groups, also a bit more low-key group.  Host's Laz and Randy go out of their way to ensure people are being included in activities.  Smallest of these three groups which has pros and cons.  They mostly sail on Celebrity or Princess. 

 

All these groups require that you book thru their travel agent, you can't book on your own and participate in their events.   The extent you participate in group activities is up to you.  They will have their own excursions, but you don't have to do those, you can book your own.   Same for dinner, dine with the group or go on your own.   Like wise with evening parties and social events, your call whether you partake or join in other general ship activities

Regardless of which group you sail with, you have the advantage of being with a large to VERY large group of gay men so you will have plenty of opportunity to make new friends.  

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I just went on my first Chumley Bear Cruise and while I enojoyed everyone we met while on the cruise, it did seem a bit clicky and the organizer seemed a bit confrontational and while there was drama while on-board and then on his FB page, instead of dropping the issues that has allgedley been resolved, he had to keep stirring the pot - guesisng only for his own satisfaction - which was the saddest part of the cruise.

 

The value - other than meeting some great guys - I am not sure what it is.  We got more by booking a suite through Princess than the benefits of Chumley.  Would I do it again - not anytime soon.  Am going to try Adventure Bears next winter.

 

Take it for what it is.

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Just returned from the bearcruise.com Celebrity Equinox NOV 02 - 09.  I have written a brief review on the boards.  the Group was amazing and we had such a good time.  the group was very diverse.  Younger and older. big and small, many Canadians lie ourselves.   If you are looking to cruise with a large group of alpha muscle bears this is not the group for you.  this is a group of real guys whom a friendly and out going. 

   I felt we really got a lot of value from this cruise with exclusive group events and get togethers. there seemed to be no clicks at all.  some people did form small groups but I think that that is natural....but anyone at any time could come and join and chat with anyone.  we never felt uncomfortable jumping into a group or sitting with others we'd just met. 

   the group was about 150 guys, I understand that is somewhat smaller than Chumley or Arno. 

  We did book our next cruise already for Feb of 2021 on the Celebrity Summit with the same group. 

 

  If you've any questions please just ask. 

    

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