One of the things I like about cruising is meeting new people. If you are on a weeklong cruise with your family, you may not have much opportunity to make more than a passing acquaintance. But when I am on a longer cruise or cruising alone I meet lots of people. One of the best ways to meet people is over a meal, particularly dinner when the conversation flows.
A decade ago you sat at an assigned table with the same people every night. I found that about 95 percent of the time we had fun and congenial dinner mates, and we frequently exchanged contact information at the end of the cruise. But I can think of only instance in which I have stayed in touch with someone I met on a cruise. It is a lovely woman named Jessie who sat with my parents and me on a 15-day Hawaii cruise. Jessie and I still exchange Christmas cards and inquire if the other is interested when we sign up for an extended cruise. But for the most part, these short friendships don’t outlast the cruise.
On my recent 30-day cruise, I worked hard at remembering the names of people I had dinner with each night. I opted for “anytime” dining, which meant I headed for the dining room when I was ready to eat and the maître d’ Jose sat me with other diners who came at about the same time. Even with almost 3,000 passengers, I found that I frequently sat with some of the same cruisers over the course of the trip. I’ve heard from some who visited my blog once they were home.
As readers of my cruise journal here know, after the first week of my 30-day cruise I had dinner almost every night with Robyn and Helen, two women around my age from Sydney, Australia. We typically had happy hour drinks, watched a performance, played music trivia and then went to dinner together. We talked about the possibility of signing up for the same cruises in the future and even seeing each other should we be visiting in each other’s cities and countries.
And as is my habit, I took along casual business cards (“Writer for Hire” rather than my Johnston Public Relations card), wrote my blog URL on the back and passed them out to many of the people I met. In some cases, I also got their cards with contact information or email addresses.
Imagine my disappointment when, upon arriving home, I discovered I could not find any contact information for Robyn or Helen. I had photos I wanted to share with them, wanted to hear how the rest of their cruise went (they stayed onboard until Singapore) and wanted to stay in touch for the day I hope to make it to Australia.
So, Robyn and Helen, if you stumble across this blog, sign in or leave me a way to contact you.
As for me, I have learned my lesson. I’ll carry a pocket address book with me in the future and make sure all my new cruise friends sign in with at least one way to stay in touch!