Cruising Observations for Boomers

Mary Ann and I just got back from a 11 day Western Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox, which is about our 24th cruise. Here are some observations from our trip.

We observed and have heard from 3 other frequent cruisers that the cruise lines are now targeting younger people in the 45 to mid 50s age range.  Well after cruising some time with the older people, now we are right in the mainstream being an older boomer of age 67. So the cruise lines want to pass over my age group to target younger people? Doesn’t make sense.  As an example, Equinox presented their Modern Luxury theme with a new stage production which has men wearing only girdles and all cast members looking androgynous. Yuk!Equinox show

Cruise ships do change. Equinox used to be our favorite ship. That is why this was our third cruise on the Equinox. But things have changed. No activity staff at the upper lawn areas or throughout the ship like previous cruises. Cruise staff changes, entertainment changes, ports change, so don’t expect just because you liked the cruise last time you will like the same ship next time.

Equinox3On many cruises, the best part is meeting the people. We met many people we related to on this cruise and it was nice talking with them. Unless the cruise is really port intensive, you will have time to socialize and meeting people is super easy.

Too much of a good thing is bad.  When you first get on a cruise ship, you will love to eat and maybe drink too much. By about day 4, things start to catch up with you and you will have to pace yourself or else a good time turns bad.

Celebrity Equinox
Celebrity Equinox

Taking too many cruises back to back will burn you out on cruises. I think that is where I am now. Taking a 14 day cruise in Sept, then this 11 day cruise in December, I just decided to cancel my California Coast cruise in March because that is just too much cruising.  I will wait until the urge comes back, which won’t be long.

See why baby boomers like cruising. It is the best of boomer travel ideas.

 

Tips on How to Travel Safe This Summer

If you are a retired boomer like Mary Ann and I, then you are probably doing 4 or 5 trips a year now that you have the time.  Travel while you can is our motto.

Having no children or relatives at home, we do wonder how secure things will be while we are gone on one of our trips.  With Summer trips coming up, it is a perfect time to think about this and do some planning.

This morning I saw this:

Some AARP Tips on How to Travel Safe This Summer

  • Protect your home:  Unplug all major electronics and lock all your windows. Also, have a friend keep an eye on your home. If something goes wrong have a home repair service on speed dial. AARP members get 20% off HomeServe USA home repair plans.  A security system can also add a little peace of mind. If you don’t have an alarm system now is the perfect time to buy one, AARP members get 20% off ADT installation and $2 off monthly monitoring.
  • Protect your finances: According to a survey on identity theft 18 percent of respondents said they have had sensitive information lost or stolen while they were traveling. More than a quarter (27 percent) of all respondents said they brought their Social Security cards with them on their trip. One suggestion is for travelers leave their valuables in their hotel room in a secure location. Only bring what you need. Also, be wary of putting your personal information in public computers, many record key strokes. If you are still concerned, AARP members can get 13 percent off custom ID protection through AARP Identity Theft Protection.
  • Plan ahead: Make copies of your travel documents. Buy travel insurance in case you need to cancel your trip or something gets lost. Also, make sure you have access to a phone while traveling in case of emergencies. Mostly importantly, tell a close friend your travel arrangements. Make sure this person can deal with any emergency situation.

These are good tips that may help us baby boomers during our travels.  Be prepared and have a safe Summer!

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

 

Boomers on Royal Princess and Regent Princess Cruise Ships

These two ships are recent additions to Princess Cruises and my wife wanted to sail with the Royal Princess. We just did the reposition cruise on the Royal from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal down to Fort Lauderdale with three stops in the Caribbean.

It is hard to answer when people ask me what is the best cruise line for baby boomers and just as hard to compare ships because it really is up to your personal taste and desires. But having taken 22 cruises and having sailed on the Royal with 2600 guests with Princess Platinum or better cards, here are some observations. The sweet spot of the ages on this cruise was say mid 60’s to early 70’s, so we now fit it perfectly.  That is kind of strange since we used to think the people were older, now they are our fellow baby boomers.

The Royal is a nice big glitzy ship with 3560 guests and 1700 crew but you don’t feel too crowded. There are some large spaces like the Piazza atrium which some felt was too much for their taste but most people liked it. We noticed there is no problem finding a seat at the bar lounges and around the Piazza atrium’s three levels. That was nice.

Atrium on Royal Princess cruise ship
Atrium on Royal Princess

 I must say the food and the Royal’s singers and dancers were the best I have seen. Also we had no problem at all with our anything dining getting in without any wait. Those are a big part the cruising experience right there.

Smaller things people were complaining about were no stairs above deck 8 on the center of the ship. Shower curtains rather than glass doors. A small balcony in their cabins.

Alfredo's on Royal Princess
Alfredo’s

But as the cruise got on you saw many positives like I have mentioned above with the food, shows and no wait to dine. There is Alfredo’s  Pizzeria, a new no fee restaurant with is nice for lunch and a full size Gelateria bar serving ice cream and Italian crepes. The SeaWalk on the side of the ship was fun to walk across and look down 128 feet to the ocean under your feet.

Top of the SeaWalk give a good view.
Top of the SeaWalk gives a good view.

The Movies Under the Stairs on Pool side was amazing. It is the largest movie screen of any cruise ship. It look great even during the day. The sound qualify was amazing and resulted in some great pool parties during the day.

The Princess Theater has the most up to date technology and the digital props on stage were amazing.

I loved the Royal’s ship horn which plays part of the Love Boat Theme which I capture here as we were leaving Antigua. The passengers on the Carnival ship next to us got a kick of it and cheered us goodbye!

The Royal Princess (and Regent Princess) are beautiful ships and you should give them a try. They will be sailing the Caribbean this Winter through April.

More about Cruises for Boomers
Celebrity Equinox Cruise Photos
Cruise Travel Tips
British Isles Cruise
Veterans Cruise Discounts

AARP Travel, Vacations and Tours are Popular

AARP Travel,  Vacations, Tours are Popular

The nonprofit membership organization AARP (for individuals 50+ years of age) has long offered senior group travel and tour options for its members – and now it has improved its offerings even further with the launch of AARP Travel. This great new travel website has detailed destination information, special offers, and even an interactive Trip Finder to help prospective adventurers age 50 and older choose an exciting (or relaxing) tour or travel destination.

Baby boomers, the largest age demographic in the country, are moving into the age of retirement – and are seeking new experiences and social interactions to enjoy.

Boomers want experiences, not more stuff at this stage of their lives.

AARP-organized vacations, travel packages, and tours are ready-made senior-friendly travel options that can meet those needs while specifically catering to the desires of 50+ travelers.

Through relationships with Liberty Travel and Expedia, among other travel industry leaders, AARP can offer its members incredible group deals on some of the most sought-after travel destinations around the world.

Some of the favorite domestic AARP member vacations include Las Vegas packages, Hawaiian getaways, Washington, D.C. stays and tours, and New Orleans Jazz Festival experiences, and other offerings in major cities such as New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, San Antonio, and Portland.

For those looking to travel farther afield, there are a wide range of international travel options. You may enjoy tours of Paris museums, explorations of Barcelona and Rome, rail tours in the UK, cruises among the Galapagos Islands, and guided trips of Hong Kong, among many other destinations.

Available choices include fully escorted tours and small ship cruises, or independent travel with a planned itinerary and access to customer service support.

If you are looking for the right tour or travel package, even without a destination in mind, the interactive Trip Finder application on the AARP Travel website can help guide you toward some of the organization’s many offerings with “visual questions,” using photography to represent the geography, styles of travel, and activities offered by various packages.

The AARP also has a new travel relationship with Liberty Travel, offering personalized travel agent expertise, as well as discounts and exclusive benefits for AARP members. Many more travel companies and services are listed on the AARP Travel site.