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Adults Only On A Cruise Ship?

We probably should have known there was something politically incorrect about the cruise line known as Fred.Olsen when it put a period where most of us would put a space…okay, so it’s at least grammatically incorrect. It’s not like it’s being used to separate http and www.

Now there is more evidence that this little-known, British-based cruise line of four ships is sailing upstream, as they say, at least in the eyes of North Americans.

You may have noticed that just about every major cruise line is trumpeting the fact that it’s targeting families more than ever because, as more than one of them is happy to point Black Watchout, kids bring parents onto cruise ships and also grandparents otherwise known as Baby Boomers. So they’re promoting cruise pricing as family values.

Fred.Olsen is promoting adults.

Here’s what the press release says:

“A total of 20 adults-only cruises, for passengers aged 18 or above, are offered to guests who would rather cruise with people of a similar age.”

That’s a nice way of saying kids aren’t welcome unless they’re of adult age, in which case they’re adults.


Since Fred.Olsen’s four ships — Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch — visit 84 countries and 253 destinations, it’s not exactly like throwing out the babies with the seawater. Families are still welcome on most of the company’s cruises…kids, too. But the fact that 20 cruises are only for adults is an indicator that Fred.Olsen sees there’s an untapped market and it wants to be first to exploit it openly.


In the news…

• Carnival's fathom brand first to get green light for Cuba cruises, starting spring 2016
• Cruise lines to Alaska to get chance to continue to Russians when pier built this year
Today at portsandbows.com: Canadians to get cruise company in Cuba

Crown Princess
4 nights
January 25, 2016
Los Angeles (return): Catalina Island, Ensenada
Inside: $379
Cost per day: $94

Cruising's Not All About Luring Youth


Question: How can seniors avoid that terrible curse of the elderly wrinkles?

Answer: Take off their glasses.

Ah, seniors. We are the butt of thousands of Internet jokes. We are disregarded by marketers obsessed with the 25 to 49 crowd. Even cruise ships, once the haven of the nearly elderly, have become playgrounds for the young and rich.

But hold the phone!

We are not forgotten.

Cruise Lines International Association research shows the average age of cruisers has dropped to an all-time low (48 years), because of the aforementioned catering to youth that has made them realize what their elders have known for years: “Cruising is irresistible.” Yet despite the CLIA figures, it’s clear that cruise lines still count on their primary market because all of them have strategies that are essentially only for Golden Agers:

• Longer itineraries are everywhere, and it’s retirees who have the time to book them.

• Exotic cruises are plentiful for a demographic that often focuses on the ol’ Bucket List…like seeing the Panama Canal, cruising the Mediterranean, or crossing an ocean in a ship.

Rock climbing• Upscale lines like Cunard, Crystal, Azamara and Oceania cater to seniors because that’s usually the crowd with the most disposable income and the fewest financial obligations.

• River cruising’s growth in popularity is unquestionably because of seniors, for the same reason, but also because older folks like us are more interested in history, lectures and less-strenuous (i.e. do-able) activities like climbing rock walls…is it because we’re weary of climbing the wall?

• The major cruise line best suited to retirees, they say, is Holland America. The ships are smaller, there are fewer “family-style” adventures and its reputation includes rules about lights out by nine (just kidding).

And there’s always a place on the mainstream, family-oriented cruise lines for seniors…and generally the prices are more reasonable. If you’re among the crowd that would prefer a big ship and a more sedate experience, here’s one small tip:

Go when the kids are in school.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Carnival Sensation
3 nights
October 30, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): Nassau
Inside: $189
Cost per day: $163

The 55-plus Crowd of Consumers Sometimes Lost in the Rush for Youth

If you're of a certain vintage, then you have undoubtedly recognized that one of the things that comes with the vintage is you are no longer considered to be among the mainstream consumers. This applies in most consumer categories including, as surprising as this might be to people who avoid cruise ships, the cruise industry.

We saw it again yesterday. We watched the Emmy Awards on Sunday night, because that's what people of our vintage traditionally do. We watch TV to be entertained.

Yesterday, we woke up to a mini-controversy that hadn't occurred to us at the time. The show had not given the late Jack Klugman — who was 90 when he Jack Klugman220px-Cory_Monteith_2,_2011died last December — his due during the show's "memorial" segments. The three-time Emmy winner was mentioned in passing (no pun intended)…not canonized as the late Cory Monteith was. Monteith died at 31 as a no-time Emmy winner.

Why? Because the sponsors are after young people in the TV audience, because they are "the consumers."

Cruise lines are also after the young guns. How many retirees do you know who climb rock walls on ships, who stay up all night drinking exotic concoctions and who would be tempted to go on a cruise because they could zip-line or see Mickey Mouse?

Because cruise lines "have" the older set they chase the younger…but do they have the old folks? A man from Fred.Olsen Cruises was asked about this "age-ist" mentality last week in England. Here is part of what the man, Nathan Philpot, had to say:

"We're not catering to the needs of the over-55s market. Perhaps we prefer the airbrushed views of cruisers. We need to question ourselves — are we promoting the image of cruise that we feel more comfortable with or the image of cruise that is most relevant to the audience we are talking to?"

Retirees will likely always be the foundation of the cruise industry. Only retirees have — in significant numbers — the time to cruise regularly or for a long time (anything over two weeks). Like it or not, cruise lines can't afford to lose sight of that.

And retirees are a vintage of consumers.

Yesterday, we went shopping (okay, one of us did) at Justice, a clothing store just for girls. Young girls. After all, people of our vintage do have grandchildren, and that makes them consumers.

For life.

Caribbean Princess
4 nights
November 1, 2013
Houston (return): Progreso
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $99

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