Case 1- My inlaws. Older couple, normally loves long road trips across America. Favorite sites include Grand Canyon, natural beauty and ocean vistas in California. She has been averse to cruising in the past due to seasickness fears as she gets queasy watching IMAX movies. Why now? Well, road trips are taking longer due to having to constantly stop and walk around to avoid stiffness. Gas is, of course, more expensive and Sharon learned of the seasickness patch that could combat any issues with that. Add to that the natural beauty and ocean which they already enjoy and the great rates of cruising, plus a handy port and you have a couple of new cruisers.
Case 2- Family of brother and sister-in-law. Late 30's, 3 teenagers. Normally love renting a beach house at Amelia Island. Relaxation is key to their vacations, as well as fun for the kids. Past aversions include fears of being on the boat (too many Titanic viewings) and price concerns compared to the beach. Why now? This summer's beach vacation saw the teenagers sitting around more, and didn't have the zing of past trips. On a cruise, everyone can be entertained with their own thing OR relax ;) But, you still come together for dinner and certain events. When you figure in that they already love the beach and the cost of gas to drive across several states to get there, a port which is only a few hours away with the promise of a complete vacation is looking pretty good.
Case 3- Young couples who don't vacation much- Several people I know fit in this category. I have come across at least 3 couples recently who I have never really known to do the whole vacation thing, who now have cruises booked. Why now? Usually cost has kept them from vacationing until now. As regional cruise ports add more ships and itineraries, people are exposed to more people who have cruised, and are hearing about the great fares and destinations. This is prompting them to give it a try, thus spreading the word even further.
Now, I admit, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog if I still lived in North Dakota. (While I bet they wish they were cruising, expensive plane tickets make that difficult) But, it is really great to see people I know taking advantage of these regional ports, and I hope that the cruise lines will see how much this is increasing their base.