Friday, October 27, 2017
finding my space
Here we are, at almost the end of the cruise, and I have not told you anything about my spacious cabin.
The wag in me says that is because there is nothing to tell. Or very little to tell. But Señor Wag is wrong. There may not be much space in my cabin, but there is a lot to say about it. Or, at least, the concept.
Norwegian Cruse Line knows how to read the free market. There are a lot of cruisers who travel solo. For many reasons.
Some are married to spouses who can no longer travel or have no desire to do so. Some are widowed. Some are young with under-developed social skills. Some are just lone wolves.
The typical cruise ship cabin is built and priced for at least two people. That means when I head off to the high seas, I pay a fare that assumes someone else will be in my cabin. Perhaps, Señor Wag. I have passed up several cruise "deals" for that reason.
Norwegian has a better idea. On its new ships, it has set aside two decks of inside cabins for solo travelers. They are called studio cabins. For good reason.
They are designed around the same concept as those sleeping cubicles that are popping up in international airports. Enough space for a bed, a shower, a toilet, and minimal storage space.
But Norwegian has taken the concept a step further. A singles lounge connects the two decks where only the studio guests can congregate behind a securely-locked door. A gated community for the socially awkward.
I spoke with an American widow on her first trip out of The States. She bought a studio cabin for the sense of security. I did not bother pointing out that the single foxes are locked behind the same door with the single hens.
The concept sounds as if it was designed for single twentysomethings. It probably is. But the solo travelers in their 70s and 80s found it just as inviting. Maybe because the concierge organized dining and entertainment events for those who felt more comfortable in a herd instead of striking out on their own.
And the great thing about the lounge is that when you encounter the retired American military man who insists all of America's problems could be resolved by setting up a Danish welfare state, nationalizing all of America's businesses, and putting all the lazy slackers to work in government jobs, you can return to your cabin and write an essay about him. After all, people I encounter are simply potential writing exercises.
As clever as the Studio Lounge concept is, I prefer a bit more space when I travel. But, if Norwegian ever expands its studio concept to balcony cabins, I will be up front in that line with the grannies and widows.