Q – We have a friend who once worked as a stevedore on the Cunard Line. He is 81 and still reads all he can about the cruise industry. The other night he told us that there are now lines where you board the ship and the passengers actually vote on where they are going. This sounds impossible but he insists it’s true.
A – That would present any number of logistical problems, a few fistfights, dozens of lawsuits, and a fair amount of drama. But it did happen on May of this year year on the top-rated Europe 2. It had been tested the year before on the Europa, a ship largely marketed in Germany. The Europa 2 cruise sailed from Istanbul to Athens and passengers were given a list of 2o possible destinations. Each day, the Captain would consult the weather charts and guests were offered a number of port choices. The on-board destination experts would then do a “sell” for each port and the guests would decide by secret ballot. The vote outcome was first released to Hillary’s e-mail server and then announced in the dining room during dinner. This actually worked out quite well and it did not present any real operational problems. Hapag-Lloyd will be doing it again and we expect a US-based cruise line to try this out on an experimental basis in the near future. The people who seem to have the hardest time with the concept are the marketing types who strangely feel that somehow listing where a ship will actually stop in a brochure is helpful tot he decision-making process. Please tell your friend we wish him the best.