Top reasons more men are enjoying cruise vacations


Contrary to popular belief,
guys and cruise travel do go together. Convincing one’s husband, father or
a male friend to take a vacation at sea may have been a challenge in the
past, but cruises today offer men of all ages plenty to do — with or
without the women in their lives in tow.

“Men are hardly bored on today’s cruise vacations,” said Bob
Levinstein, CEO of Cruise Compete, LLC. “At sea or in port, there’s plenty
to keep them busy all day long or, if they choose, they can simply relax by
the pool or on the beach. It’s easier than ever to get a man on a cruise
because they are virtually guaranteed to have an unforgettable vacation.”

A number of industry reports indicate men now account for about 45
percent of all cruise guests. The following summarizes many of the most
popular reasons why:

Great Food 24/7 — The kitchen is always open on a cruise ship. Day or
night, men can always find a meal, snack or treat to feed their appetites.
In addition to a ship’s main dining room, most cruises offer additional
eating alternatives, including casual buffets, bistro-style cafes that
offer light menu items and reservations-only specialty restaurants.
Virtually all ships feature 24-hour pizzeria services and room service. The
cruise lines also offer expansive menus for persons with special dietary
restrictions. In many eateries, casual attire is welcome.

Beer Tasting Parties and Tours — There is no shortage of bars on most
cruise ships and beer aficionados lick their lips upon boarding.
International brewers showcase signature and specialty beers on the major
cruise lines and sponsor special onboard beer-tasting parties for those of
drinking age. For more sophisticated types, wine-tasting opportunities
abound. Many cruise ships also feature cigar bars with an expansive
assortment of stogies to choose from any time of day. In port, travelers
are invited on special excursions to visit local pubs and brewers. Carnival
guests visiting Saint John, New Brunswick, for example, can sample their
favorite Moosehead beer products and other specialty beers only available
in Atlantic Canada.

Teeing it Up — Men who prefer to hit the links rather than the pool or
beach can enjoy the game at sea. In addition to amazingly real, on-board
computerized golf simulators, many cruise lines have expanded their stops
at some of the world’s most picturesque and challenging golf courses. Some
have even created special itineraries that visit a different course each
day. Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises, for example, has expanded its “Silver
Links” golf program to 12 cruises in 2008, featuring 35 world-class courses
in 16 countries and islands. Norwegian Cruise Line has launched a new Golf
Bermuda program; the popular cruise stop features more golf courses per
square mile than anywhere else in the world.

Exciting Adventure Travel — Cruise travel is ideal for men looking for
adventure. A number of cruise lines offer port excursions to fulfill active
lifestyles and raise everyone’s adrenaline. Carnival Cruise Lines take
travelers to Belize on an unforgettable cave tubing and rain forest
exploration tour. Those traveling with Celebrity Cruises to Alaska have the
opportunity to experience a thrilling rain forest canopy and zip line
adventure. Cruisers who like it hot may enjoy Norwegian Cruise Line’s
mesmerizing helicopter ride over Kilauea, the Earth’s most active volcano.
Crystal Cruises puts travelers who enjoy speed behind the wheel of a
Formula 1 race car in Monaco, with both on- and off-course instruction.

Fun in the Sun — Not everyone likes to sunbathe all day, so the cruise
lines have turned themselves into floating entertainment centers. The
newest innovations include bowling alleys and Flowrider surfing pools.
Virtually all of the major cruise ships already feature winding water
slides, challenging rock-climbing walls, giant trampolines and ice skating
rinks (sans hockey sticks and pucks), among other recreation amenities. The
private islands many ships visit include beach and water sports,
snorkeling, boat and kayak rentals, hiking and sightseeing opportunities
and other fun. Port excursions include jungle and rain forest tours,
horseback riding, bike tours, guided historical tours and other
unforgettable experiences.

Games of Chance — For men who like to gamble, virtually all ocean
cruise ships feature floating casinos, with the exception of Disney Cruise
Lines. Popular games, such as blackjack, roulette, poker, craps and slot
machines test one’s luck while passing the time by. The casinos only
operate when the ship is at sea, or when local laws allow gaming in port.
If the on-board casino is not enough, many cruise ports feature land-based
casinos. Insiders say Royal Caribbean’s newest ships feature the largest
gaming areas.

Invigorating Spa Treatments — In the past, the health spas found on
many cruise ships were filled almost exclusively with female guests. Times
have changed, however, as more men are enjoying the luxurious pampering and
ultimate relaxation afforded spa visitors. Renowned Steiner of London, the
largest spa provider in the world, operates many of the spas at sea, which
now rival the very best land-based spas. It is not uncommon to see men
enjoying massages, facials and pedicures. Additional services include
aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and thalassotherapy (seawater-based treatments).
Herbal and seaweed wraps also are common among many spa guests.

Breathtaking Shows — There are no sappy lounge acts aboard today’s
cruise ships. From Carnival’s Fiesta Latina and Far from Over: The 80s
musical reviews, to Royal Caribbean’s Invitation to Dance, based on the
popular Dancing with the Stars television show, the cruise lines are
producing lavish new, multi-million dollar, special effects- laden
entertainment extravaganzas. These Las Vegas-style productions are sure to
please even the most discerning cruise travelers — and men with short
attention spans.

“From a guy’s perspective, maybe the best thing about a cruise is the
all-inclusive nature of the vacation, which makes it a great, yet
affordable, gift to give a special woman,” Levinstein added. “The cruise
lines are offering a number of great deals this year on a variety of
sailings to destinations near and far. Your cruise fare includes
accommodations, great food all day and night, white-sand beaches,
world-class golf, relaxing spas, gambling, adventure and quality
entertainment and shows. There’s no better value out there.”