The Cruise Expectations Curve: The 13 Year Old’s Perspective

In talking with my nearly 13 year old son today he came up with his “Cruise Expectations Curve” theory. Wise beyond his years he theorized that cruising might be somewhat like and addictive drug, in that your first cruise may always be your best cruise, and then you spend the rest of your life trying match that experience. While he still believes that a cruise is the best vacation experience, he says that no subsequent cruise has lived up to his first cruise experience.

I asked him why he felt this way, and he said that our very first family cruise together to Hawaii was fantastic because he had no idea what to expect. He didn’t know that the food would be so good, or that the service would be so attentive, or that the kids program would be so much fun, or that the days at sea would be so relaxing. That very first cruise was a 15 day round trip cruise from San Diego to Hawaii. He said he loved how beautiful Hawaii was and our days in port there. He also said he loved that the cruise was so long.

I asked him to compare that cruise on the Celebrity Infinity to our next two cruises on the Celebrity Mercury and differentiate why those cruises were less memorable in his mind than that first cruise. First, he said that the shorter cruise duration was a disappointment. After that first one being 15 days, the shorter cruises on the Mercury of 11 and 8 days were a let down. He also felt that he liked the larger newer Infinity over the slightly smaller older Mercury. Then he compared the destinations. He thought that the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands far surpassed that of Mexico and Alaska. He didn’t like the colder weather of Alaska either. He was also disappointed that he didn’t see any moose in Alaska. Finally, he compared the on board atmosphere of that first cruise to the atmosphere on board the two Mercury Cruises. He felt that the level of “fun” compared somewhat favorably between the Hawaii and Mexico cruise, but felt that the Alaska cruise was definitely less festive. He stated that the people on the Alaska cruise seemed to be there to see Alaska and the people on the other cruises seemed more willing to enjoy the fun activities aboard the ship.

Finally, I asked him to give me his impressions of last year’s Trans Atlantic cruise from Barcelona to San Juan on the Celebrity Summit. He said that cruise was his second favorite because it had plenty of sea days, was his first time on a different continent, and was a completely new experience. He compared the ship favorably to the Infinity, probably because they are sister ships. He also said that he had no expectations about the youth program because he knew he and his sister might be just about the only youths on board. He said it actually worked out very well, because with only three kids in the program they could pretty much choose the activities and not follow a set schedule. They enjoyed having that flexibility.

I asked him what he might be expecting from our upcoming Trans-Atlantic cruise on Celebrity Solstice. He said he is looking forward to the new one year old, ship with its new features and amenities. He is also excited about the fact that the ship will be visiting some new ports and some of the same ports as last year’s Trans-Atlantic. He looks forward to exploring some of the new ports, but also not having to get off the ship at repeat ports, giving him another “sea day” during the days at those ports.

Finally, I asked him how one can overcome the problem of subsequent cruises not living up to the memory of that first cruise. He said “I guess you just have to mentally remind yourself not to expect anything from your next cruise. That way when you are there everything seems new, wonderful and better than expected.”