What's clearly more interesting about this topic is the fact that this moderately high priced vacation ocean liner was completely packed, as in sold out. And, it seems that at least three other similar cruises that embarked on the exact same voyage fared the same.
Normally, this inconsequential fact should mean little to you and me. Except, a little birdie (in this case, one of the captain's crew) happened to mention to me that these exact same cruises were only 40-50 percent filled during the same time last year. And, had 20-30 percent vacancies just three and four months ago. After doing a little research on the Web, I found a number of travel publication articles which confirmed the same type of numbers over the last 18 months.
So, what does it mean? To me, it's a tell-tale sign that the masses are finally starting to become consumers again of higher end vacation packages. I'd say that means they also feel more confident that our economy has stabilized and life is getting better, as well.
By the way, I haven't taken a cruise in 20 years (and the one experience I had was commonly referred to as a "booze cruise.") So, I really didn't know what to expect from a Royal Caribbean Cruise line vacation. In the end, I'm not sure that I'm a cruise faring guy (cramped living conditions don't do it for me). But, I have to say that Royal Caribbean's (RC) service is simply fantastic and the overall experience was very positive. So, here's a little bit of a plug for the RC brand since the topic coincides with this post.
Every night, dinner was a true delight. Most people think of eating on cruises as a caloric adventure because of the "all you can eat" mindset. But, that doesn't necessarily equate to eating good food (only gaining lots of weight). Sure, you could get all you want at RC. But, surprisingly the lunch and dinner meals were gourmet in nature and whether one chose steak, seafood, Italian or even Indian, it all tasted great. In fact, each meal was so scrumptious that we felt as though our family could have been transplanted into a high end New York City restaurant.
There were about 2,500 people aboard our boat. That's a lot of needy souls. Yet, the customer service across the board was truly phenomenal. From the cleaning woman who took care of our room (she literally created animals out of our towels at night for the kids), to the waiting staff (who seemed to have a Radar O'Reilly sense of quickly providing us with something before we even had to ask), to every staff member I came into contact with (who never stopped smiling). Just pretty amazing.
This was a special vacation because we celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. I know they really enjoyed having our whole family together to mark this momentous occasion. Here's to them and the hope of more blue skies ahead.