Singles go speed dating on Carnival Cruise Line

Casanovas of Australia today set sail in search of love onboard the first local departure of SinglesCruising.com.au – an introduction service which, as the name indicates, rounds up single travellers for a series of ice-breaking activities and games while on a cruise.

Today’s inaugural group consists of 80 Aussie singles aged roughly between 35-55, who will spend the next nine nights sailing the South Pacific onboard Carnival Cruise Line ship Carnival Spirit, visiting romantic and hopefully spark-inciting destinations such as the Isle of Pines, Mare, Lifou and Noumea, all in New Caledonia.

After setting sail from Sydney and during the first two days at sea en route to New Caledonia, professional activity staff onboard will host a variety of fun activities exclusively for travellers booked with SinglesCruising.com.au such as cocktail parties, costume & themed parties, dance tutorials, speed dating sessions, karaoke parties and more.

Singles can learn to dance on Carnival Cruise Line
Singles looking for love can mingle with activities such as dance lessons

Of course, being single travellers, the company also offers two people of the same gender the opportunity to save money on their cruise fare by pairing up two people into one cabin. This allows each to pay the twin-share fare rather than a single supplement, which varies but can be as high as 50% of the fare again.

Ahead of the maiden departure, Cruise Advice sat down with experienced SinglesCruise.com activity coordinator Shelby Bergeron – who has flown in from the USA to train local staff for future cruises – to learn more about the concept and its success rate in matching singles.

Carnival Spirit to host Sydney singles
Singles will depart Sydney on Carnival Spirit

What sort of pre-cruise social media activity do your passengers typically engage in?

We have a SinglesCruise.com Friends Facebook page with almost 5,000 active members as well as a private message board for each sailing and we send this info via email to all guests.

Do any matches tend to happen or sparks fly on social media before boarding even takes place?

Absolutely, many people know each other from the Facebook profile or their user name on the private message board; they become fast friends and embrace upon meeting!

What sort of match and icebreaker events have been planned for onboard? Can we have more detail than the website offers?

All activities are dependent on cruise ship room space availability but we can say we will definitely have several cocktail parties and theme nights, as well as:

Two Formal Nights
Dress to impress! Recommended attire for women is a cocktail dress, formal gown or pant suit. For men we suggest a suit, sport jacket or tuxedo – every man looks great in a tux!

Angels & Devils Night
Are you an angel or a little devil? Tonight is the night to dress the part! Get in full costume or choose to come in red or white. This is a night not soon to be forgotten!

Crazy T-Shirt Night
Find the craziest, funniest, most head turning t-shirt you can find and strut your stuff!

Poker Run Bar Hop
We will hop along to different bars and you will get playing cards as you arrive, the one at the last stop with the best hand wins! You can order a drink at each bar or simply enjoy making new friends while on the ship. (Drinks are not complimentary)

How engaged in the singles activities do passengers generally get? Are they keen to get involved in everything, or more like wall flowers?

Nearly all guests get involved when taking one of our vacations. If they are shy, our hosts do their best to get them out of their shell and involved.

What range of occupations do your single passengers typically represent?

The occupations for our guests include single professionals in all areas of expertise. On our last cruise I met a surgeon, a coin dealer, a nurse and a teacher.

Love heart on the beach
Love is in the air, at sea and on the sand.

Are there rules to follow, especially for passengers sharing with a room-mate, when it comes to…ahem…bonding? Necktie on the doorknob perhaps?

We encourage roommates to communicate and be aware that they should allow drawer and closet space to be shared 50/50. Most cruisers make friends and travel with us frequently because they are having so much fun. Here is a link to my tips on “how to share a room.” http://social.singlescruise.com/index.php/blogs/4/3/5-tips-on-sharing-a-cabin

How do you handle “bad breakups”, should they happen?

Most people make long-lasting strong friendships. SinglesCruise.com is not a match-making service. Some guests do find love while they are on these trips, but we have no involvement on board or after the cruise with how our guests handle a personal relationship.

Can you tell me about any awkward situations you’ve encountered while hosting a singles cruise?

We keep our guests privacy and I wouldn’t consider any of the situations awkward over my 10 years with the company, but I would call some of them unique! Something that does stand out in my opinion is the fact that I have planned four wedding receptions onboard a SinglesCruise, because the couple both had so many friends from SinglesCruise that they wanted all of their friends at the reception.

Have you seen any couples form between two people you wouldn’t have expected to find common ground?

I think all couples have common ground when they cruise with us – first and foremost, they like to travel.  After doing this for 10 years, I can tell you that there is a match for absolutely EVERYONE, you don’t have to be perfect to find the perfect match for you.

What sort of success rate have you seen with people finding love, and have there been any marriages?

We’ve had great success with love and marriage over the years. I would estimate that over the last 10 years we’ve had about 40 marriages. One of my best friends just got engaged to the man she met on last year’s 20’s and 30’s cruise. It took me six years to get her to go but she found love!

Are you pleased with how Australia’s singles have responded to the local product?

Absolutely, we have several Aussies who travel on our SinglesCruise.com sailing every year, so I know we will have great success in their home town!

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