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Old Halloween meant sweet treats for kids in costumes, but new Halloween is increasingly becoming popular with adults, especially singles looking for more treats than tricks.
So it’s no surprise that in the cruising world, there are plenty of opportunities for travelers to book a holiday, dress up --and possibly meet someone.
“Halloween cruises are so popular we had to book three different ships,” according to Romeo Leary, singles cruise manager for VacationsToGo.
He has 270 singles on Allure of the Seas (seven days to the Caribbean), 175 on Carnival Splendor (seven days to Mexico) and 75 on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas (10 days to the Caribbean).
Shelby Bergeron, cruise director for Singlescruise.com, said her company has 400 people booked on Carnival Liberty, sailing to the Caribbean from Miami on October 29.
Halloween Singles Cruise Details:
SinglesCruise.com Carnival Liberty from Miami, Oct. 29
VacationsToGo: Mexican Riviera – Carnival Splendor from Long Beach. Oct. 30
VacationsToGo: Eastern Caribbean – Allure of the Seas Oct 30
Also on Carnival Splendor Oct. 30.--Latter Day Saints 5th Annual Halloween Cruise
“We expect to have 500 people booked by Halloween,” she said, “but women book later, because they want to make sure they are ‘still single.'”
These singles groups will have their own Halloween activities - the regular passengers are not invited - including private Halloween costume parties.
Halloween Cruise Costume Ideas
This year, Halloween falls on a Monday, so some of the cruises have a costume party as the first face-to-face event, creating even more pressure for singles to find the perfect outfit.
I asked the pros for advice.
“We like outfits we have to figure out,” said Shelby. “Like the guy in a black suit with baby chicks (stuffed toys, I hope) stuck all over it. He was a ‘chick magnet’.”
“Our last winner was Trailer Park Mary.” said Romeo (who by the way uses the Shakespearian pronunciation for his name). “She had bad plastic teeth and fake hairy legs. Most important, she played the part."
The experts say the main thing is to keep your costume simple, and don't wear anything that may hinder speech, walking or especially drinking.
“Use the latest trends,” said Shelby. Barack and Hillary are passé, but Charlie Sheen is a shoe-in. Bring Monopoly money for the “winning” image. Single ladies of a “certain persuasion” should know that cougars are tawny with no spots.
A warning if you plan to dress up like a ship’s officer: Real cruise ship officers love parties, and when they arrive and see you - the jig is up. Awkward!
What Else Do They Do on Halloween Cruises?
“We always teach everyone a simplified form of the dance from ‘Thriller’,” said Romeo of VacationsToGo. “Almost anyone can do it.”
Speaking of Michael Jackson, Shelby said a “great Michael Jackson moonwalker” won the contest last year. But this year, please remember to portray the King of Pop in good taste -- you can dance like Jackson in "Thriller," but please don’t dress like a Thriller zombie, even if it is Halloween. It’s just too soon.
Organized Singles Cruise Advantages
Regular cruises are filled almost entirely with couples and families – a depressing environment for single cruisers. And standard staterooms are sold on “double occupancy” basis - two fares for one room, so solo cruisers who want their own cabin must pay a “singles supplement” fare just for the empty bed.
This can make solo cruising expensive. That’s why singles group cruise organizers match roommates according to gender, age, smoking and drinking preferences. You save money and get like-minded, fun company in the bargain.
In the end, those are the true singles group cruise advantages.
“Many people have cruised with us 10 or 20 times, a few have 30-plus,” Romeo said. “This isn’t about finding love; these people want to cruise, and many of them have become lifetime friends,” said Shelby.
“Actually, we have had maybe 40 or 50 marriages within our group,” Romeo said. “Love can happen; but if it does, consider it a bonus,” said Shelby.
So – what are the chances for true romance?
Let’s look at the numbers (but you have to do the rest):
SinglesCruise.com - Carnival Liberty - 400 people:
Age 20s = 14 women, 17 men
Age 30s = 39 women, 35 men
Age 40s = 51 women, 32 men
Age 50s = 46 women, 38 men
Age 60+ = a good number
Explorer of the Seas (75 people): 45 women, 30 men (average age 50)
Allure of the Seas (270 people): 161 women, 109 men (average age 50)
Carnival Splendor (175 people): 91 women, 84 men (average age 52)
Obviously, the men have an advantage, based on numbers alone. But in real life it’s the personalities that matter, not the odds.
I couldn’t help noticing something funny about the VacationsToGo cruise on Carnival Splendor. There is also a completely separate singles group for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the same cruise.
So a word of warning: Don't dress like a "sister wife" with a Book of Mormon as your costume unless you really are a Latter Day Saint.
But there's no need to worry about getting mixed up with the other passengers. All groups use badges to identify members onboard. But if someone wants to come in and check out the action, Romeo says they'll be ready.
He said in the open access public rooms there will be drinking water, juice or Sprite (no caffeine).
“But beware of the ‘mocktail’ virgin colada!”
Paul Motter is the co-founder and editor of CruiseMates.com cruise travel guide.