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Spa Struck, a.k.a Shannon Wianecki, has written about spas and travel for magazines throughout the US and Australia. Wanderlust has led her to explore Fiji, Indonesia, Australia, and Mexico, where she has enjoyed spa treatments beyond compare. She hopes one day to return for the second half of the massage...read more

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Baby Boomers Discover Cruises

Article by Joseph Ewart

Are Baby Boomers that much different from other cruise passengers? According to many cruise line executives this one group of guests has probably created more changes in cruise ship programming than any other travelers since Noah's Ark. The same group that made cell phones, BMW's and flat screen TV's a cultural phenomena is having a strong impact of how cruise lines go to market.

American Express

At a recent industry conference sponsored by Cruise Lines International Association, Marketing Chairman Dan Hanrahan (who is also president of Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises) pointed out that the lifestyle and interests of baby boomers has led to some unique new experiences on board for all passengers.

Baby Boomers, he said, tend to collect experiences as they get older versus physical possessions. So computer classes are often more popular than Bingo.

While at home, busy boomers dine out more often and therefore seek a wider variety of dining experiences on board a cruise ship. This has led to a movement from one or two main dining rooms with fixed seating times to more flexible alternative restaurants approximating the feel of a good bistro at home. Flexibility of dining times has led to a change in the old first and second seating system that has been around for 40 years. One cruise line, NCL threw out the concept completely when it introduced Freestyle Cruising a few years back and its new ships boast up to 10 restaurants touting an eat-when-and with-whom-you-choose option. Pride of Hawaii Cruise Ship Most other contemporary cruise lines offer a more limited version of this concept ranging from Princess Cruises Anytime Dining to Holland America' recently announced As You Wish open seating program in a section of their main dining rooms. Along with the dining hours and options, healthy lifestyle selections on cruise ship menus including spa cuisine has been a steadily growing trend.

Speaking of spas, cruise ships have witnessed a transformation from a small sauna and one massage table to elaborate complexes that offer everything from Thalassotherapy pools to hot stone massages. On board gyms have followed that trend with most ships now dedicating thousands of square feet and coveted ocean view space to their exercise facilities.

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