Friday, June 12, 2009

Cruise Roll Calls

How many of you sign up for cruise roll calls on Cruise Critic but then never show up for the meet and greets on board? How many of you never even bother to sign up in the first place?

For those who may not know what these are, there are boards or "roll calls" on on which the commonality is a future cruise. You pick the line, the ship and then the actual voyage and meet other people who are taking the same cruise. The individual roll calls can range from hundreds of posts to thousands of posts depending on how active they are. Through them, a day and time is arranged as to when to meet or get together on the ship, usually held the first or second day. Depending on the numbers, sometimes a senior officer or two will come to the meeting.

I confess: I used to be a roll call lurker. I'd post a few times, maybe hook up with a few people for a private excursion but never showed up for the get-together on board. However, a recent 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise my husband I took with another couple completely changed my thinking. This was a great cruise with gorgeous ports of call every day but the downside was there was a definite lack of nighttime activity on board except for one very visible group of about 12 people. They were always out together and seemed to be having a great time. You'd see them in the specialty restaurant, around the pool, ashore, and in the public rooms at night laughing away.

Halfway through the cruise we met up with one of the couples from this group and it turned out they had all met through an online roll call. They obviously enjoyed each other's company and on the last couple of nights were already planning another cruise together.

So on a cruise we took in March I decided that this time we would actually show up for the meet and greet. As it turns out, we met two great couples who not only were at the next table to us in the dining room but lived about 10 miles away from us back home. Our group of four doubled to eight and we had a super time throughout the voyage with them. We had lively dinners together and great days ashore. We have since booked a future cruise on which one of these couples will be joining us.

Apart from friends you might meet, these roll calls give you the chance to join in on some great private shore excursions. We took two on our last cruise that were probably the best we've ever experienced and had we tried to arrange either of them on our own, wouldn't have had the wherewithal or numbers to do so.

If you've never signed up for a cruise roll call, consider doing so!


  1. I usually sign up for the Cruise Critic roll call, but scope out the group from a distance before deciding whether I wish to join. Often Cruise Critic attracts a pretty pathetic bunch of people who have nothing better to do in their lives than make innocuous posts to such bulletin boards.
    On my last cruise, which was on Carnival, I signed up for both the Cruise Critic and Carnival Connections roll calls. While the Cruise Critic group seemed very lame - the types of people that would get one to change dining room tables - the Carnival Connections group was great (and a lot younger) and we met several times during the cruise.

  2. I don't make the meet and greet onbaord but I say so on the roll call. I'm mainly looking for ideas about what to do in port and I make that plainly clear.