I’m a big fan of cruses and always have a great time wherever I go. Over the years I’ve found that my experience is heightened even more when I take a moment to talk with some of the people I meet and trade stories or anecdotes from our lives or previous trips. Here are four reasons I’d encourage you to make friends on the next cruise ship you step foot on.
1. You can learn a lot from other’s experience
On a recent cruise, I was amazed how many people I ran into who were on their 30th, 40th, or more than 50th cruise. I immediately asked them about the ship, the ports, and for their advice on things to see or avoid. Cruisers tend to be a bit of an older crowd unless you go during a school, winter, or summer break. Depending on season, it might have quite an older crowd so it’s not uncommon to find those with some more life experience.
I picked up some great information just from talking with past cruisers, and I got the chance to ask about their favorite locations, hidden gems, and ways they’ve improved their experience. The next time you hear someone say they’ve cruised 20,30, 40, 50, etc times, have a seat and ask as many questions as you can get away with.
2. It Brings Out Friendly Competition
Every cruise has games and competitions and when you make friends on the ship, I find it gives you a friendly level of camaraderie when playing. Whether it be mini-golf or ping-pong, there’s usually the same mix of people who show up to play. There’s the younger friends (like my friend and I) a couple or two, the middle aged guys whose wife wanted to sleep in or go to the spa, etc.
After playing mini-golf on the first day and then ping-pong afterward, I noticed a few people in the same crowd. From then on it seemed I saw them everywhere, and we exchanged pleasantries, talked about our lives and a pledge to win the next time. “Ahh, there’s Dave, he beat me in ping-pong. Hey Dave, how’s the wife, I’m going to get you back on Tuesday!”
For me, it improves my overall cruise experience as I get a chance to make friends with the guys I just played against, and look out for them later on in the week when we can re-group and play again.
3. You might just stay in touch and make some longer-term friends.
My buddy and I met some great people on the ship, a few of whom we traded contact info with (see below). One of the groups we met was a guy and his wife, Dan and Iri. We met playing volleyball. (They beat us handedly) and found we had a lot of the same interests and shared travel experiences. Dan and Iri had been to Italy before, so when I told them I was headed there a couple of weeks later, they offered some recommendations. We traded email addresses and I’ve chatted with them since. As I’m currently traveling non-stop in a manner of speaking, it’s great to have another person I can turn to and ask for advice, feedback or opinions about travel.
4. You might otherwise miss out on a great picture or memory
My buddy and I (two on far right) and I have gone on about half a dozen cruises over the years. And we like to mix it up between seeing the ports, playing sports on the ship, or sitting in on the trivia games. What’s fun about the different sports and games is that you start to see the same people through the week. Case in point our “Super Trivia” team below, “The Cyclones.” We just happened to sit next to each other during the first day at sea and that was our team.
Over the next week whenever the trivia session met, we had our team and got to play together as well as share stories from our lives back home. On the last day we took this picture and I traded contact information. Tim, his wife and son on the left had their other son take some pictures and a few days later, I was excited to get an email from Tim with the pictures. I’ve traded a couple of emails with Tim since then, and won’t hesitate to stop by to see him should I ever be traveling through his town. (Be on the lookout Tim!)
Do you have any great stories from meeting new people on a cruise?