The Cougar Cruise is back!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to sea, here they come again. The Cougar Cruise is back and it’s a cruise to the Bahamas, December 2-5, 2011, aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky, departing from Miami.

“Adult Cougars (older women) and Cubs (younger men) of all ages” says The Society of Single Professionals and, co-sponsors of the event, are invited to cruise to Nassau and also NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.

“Last year’s Cougar Cruise to the Bahamas was so much fun,” says Rich Gosse, Executive Producer of, “we are doing it again”. The Cruise will be one of two grand prizes that will be awarded to the winner of the title of Miss Cougar America at the National Cougar Convention, April 29, 2011, at Greenhouse Nightclub in New York City.

The cost is $331 per person, cougar or cub, cruise only, inside cabin, based on double occupancy. The price includes port charges and taxes. We’re not sure who buys the drinks.

Flickr photo by KRO-media

Tips for solo travelers to make the cruise world fair

An ongoing complaint about cruise vacations has been from solo cruisers; people traveling alone. Solo cruisers pay double the cruise fare most of the time because cruise lines base their world on double-occupancy. That does not mean that solo cruisers just have to resign themselves to either paying double or forgetting about going on a cruise. Things are changing and there are steps the solo traveler can take to get the best possible value.

To be fair, the cruise industry is changing a little. Not much, but a little. Norwegian Cruise Line added solo studios to their new Norwegian Epic, an industry first and quite the experiment. The cruise world watched closely to check the popularity of the new accommodations. Apparently the results don’t have other cruise lines rushing to the drawing board to see if they can modify ships and cash in on the bonanza. Still, Norwegian is trying and singles like the Epic studios which recently won a design award from Travel + Leisure magazine.

But other than that bold move by Norwegian, we’ve just heard some rumblings about Royal Caribbean maybe slapping a few on some of the older ships during drydock. There is not a lot of help coming for singles from the cruise industry. The solo traveler will have to take the lead to make it happen but significant savings can be realized by being actively involved over the life of their cruise booking. Check these tips:

  • Check prices twice daily. Prices change, sometimes only for a few hours. Now that you have your cruise booked, you need to check for price reductions and have them applied when available. Your travel expert can help with this.
  • Buy discounted fares whenever possible (duh) and use a travel expert who is consistently accessible either by phone or email to get those new rates applied to your booking. While yes, it’s true that singles usually pay double, some lines offer a discount on select sailings as an incentive to book.
  • Buy way far in advance. That’s always a good idea. You get the best selection of cabins and often the best price too. A possible bonus: If the price goes up for your cruise closer to sailing, consider the price difference if you were to buy now an early buy bonus. If you are really hung up on pricing, this can help ease your pain.
  • Consider bringing a friend. I know, that’s the easy answer but maybe its time to really seriously consider it. A relative, someone from the office, a neighbor, maybe someone you know who did something nice for someone else and deserves recognition.
  • Check in with Single Travel sources like Singles Travel International to learn about their world and what it can mean to you. The singles scene does not have to evoke thoughts of singles bars, lonely nights alone or other similarly depressing thoughts.
  • Look at it differently. Instead of “Oh no, I don’t have anyone to travel with!”, try “Yes! I am going all by myself and can do whatever I want to, without regard for others”. You don’t have to be concerned about who’s turn it is to use the shower, where you will put your stuff in the cabin and what shore excursions “you both” or “all of you” would like.

There is no one single tool or idea that will make the cruise world totally fair for solo travelers. But by taking another look at the whole process, from booking to sailing, and by being actively involved along with your travel expert, solo cruising can be a rich and rewarding experience.

If all that’s not enough, try these 10 Reasons To Travel Alone, hold your head up high and have the cruise of a lifetime.

Flickr photo by Lisa Sanderson

Carnival says “no way” to cougar cruises

Back in September, Tom wrote about the first “cougar cruise”. For those out of the loop – Tom describes a cougar as “an older women who happens to enjoy the … ummmm … “company” of younger men.”

The cruise was on board the Carnival Elation and obviously the story made quite a bit of news. So much news in fact, that Carnival has now told the organizers behind the cruise that they are no longer welcome on their ships.

Someone from Carnival issued the following statement: “This theme group was not sponsored nor organised by Carnival but rather by a travel agent and the cruise line will not be allowing any future groups to be booked and marketed under this theme.”

I find this statement to be pretty dangerous – what grounds does the cruise line have to ban this “theme”. What is next? A ban on gay single groups? Older men and women? I’m not entirely sure why older women seeking a “cub” (the name given to the younger men) would force the cruise line to tell them to go elsewhere. The cruise was described as a huge success, so I can only assume Carnival either hates its guests having a good time, or they are making so much money, that they feel they can decide what kind of guests are welcome on their ships.

Still, the organizers has no problems finding other cruise lines who had no problem with the concept, and the second and third cruises have already been scheduled (on Royal Caribbean and NCL).