If you’ve joined a Cruise Critic roll call (and if you haven’t, head over there to sign up for your next cruise), you’ve probably heard someone mention a “cabin crawl.” If you’re new to Cruise Critic, you might wonder what on earth that is.
The cabin crawl is exactly what the name implies: Cruisers who’ve met virtually get together during a sailing to “crawl” from one cabin category to another. It’s like a pub crawl, but occasionally with more drinking.
The basic concept works like this. The self-proclaimed organizer asks her fellow cruisers if they’d like to participate, then collects information on each person’s cabin number and category. She’ll accept invitations unique to each category and prepare a list of the cabins everyone will visit. (But don’t worry, if your cabin type is already represented, you can participate without being a host.) She might pass this to the group, or she might choose to keep it a surprise for the crawl.
Before the cruise, the group agrees on a day, time and place to meet up onboard. The crawl usually starts at the lowest-category room and winds its way up to the highest category, with appropriate oohs and ahs along the way.
Simple, sure, but it’s a surprisingly fun way to check out cabins you otherwise might not have seen, to mentally congratulate (or flog) yourself over your excellent (or disappointing) cabin pick. Ship geeks will revel in the chance to see a variety of cabins, while others might simply appreciate seeing a penthouse suite in person — if you’re lucky enough to have the penthouse cruisers on your crawl. Cruise line loyalists might add a certain category to their mental checklists for their future sailings. And maybe you’ll discover a secret gem of a cabin, the one-of-a-kind room you wish you knew about ahead of time. (We were envious of the woman on our Noordam crawl who nabbed the huge — no exaggeration — “standard” veranda cabin with its enormous balcony.)
We’ve found many of our Cruise Critic members have upped the ante on the standard cabin crawl. Some creative options we’ve seen:
The Cabin/Wine Crawl: This one works best on all-inclusive lines or lines that permit passengers to bring wine onboard. Essentially, cabin occupants share a bottle of their favorite wine with crawl participants. Each cabin might have a different wine option, so by the end, crawlers have sampled a variety of new wines. This option has participants spending more time in each cabin and makes the whole crawl a little more social. But be warned: If you have a lot of cabins to visit, you could end up consuming a lot of wine. It’s OK to skip a few glasses or ask for a small pour; no one will give you a funny look. Teetotalers might want to bring along glasses of their favorite soft beverages so they don’t feel left out when the inevitable toast is offered.
The Poker Crawl: Each participant chips in a small, cruise-related prize, such as a lanyard for a sail card or a luggage tag holder (check out the Cruise Critic store for some ideas and options). Each crawler receives a playing card as he enters a cabin. At the end of the crawl, the participant with the best five-card poker hand wins the prize pot.
The Giveaway: This option is perfect for crawl groups made up of participants from all over the world. Ahead of time, crawlers purchase (or make) small items that represent their home states or home countries. For example, a Rhode Islander might bring saltwater taffy, while a Dutch crawler might bring miniature replica wooden clogs. They hand out the trinkets when crawlers arrive at their cabin, so everyone in the group ends up with a variety of souvenirs. This crawl does require you to know the number of participants ahead of time and clear room in your suitcase for your loot.
The Slot Pull: Ideal for big groups, the slot pull cabin crawl finishes in the casino. Each crawl participant slips an agreed-upon amount into one slot machine. When it’s loaded up, every person gets one pull. Any winnings are split equally among the group … or everyone agrees the loss was worth the fun.
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