Twitter Chat A Blueprint For Happy Travel

Travel + Leisure magazine is a great source of information online as well as in print.  Hosting a Twitter chat focused on cruise travel recently, Travel + Leisure Senior Editor Jacqueline Gifford asked some very good questions of Twitter users following along and responding. Taking some time to look back at a transcript of the chat, some interesting points came up and were reiterated by travel professionals as well as cruise travelers.

stop 20pix STOP: Not sure what a Twitter chat is or what to do with it?  Click here for a brief primer.

Using the hashtag #TL_Chat, we joined Gifford (@jacquigiff) and several other travel experts for a fast-paced hour of ten questions and answers on a variety of cruise travel topics.  Looking at just one question, “What is the most common mistake made by new cruise travelers?, we gained some good insight brought to the table by those who know.

Quick Look: A recent Twitter chat hosted by Travel + Leisure magazine brought a blueprint for new cruise travelers, among other interesting information.

The answers and ensuing discussion could be a blueprint for some great travel experiences gravitating toward several important areas.

Fast-growing river cruise company @VikingRiver noted  “Seems that most newbies tend to over pack or overdress for river cruising. Keep it casual and comfortable!”  @HIPR echoed that thought, settling the concerns of many first-time cruise traveler with “Don’t bother bringing all your nicest clothes… stick to what’s comfortable – you’re on vacation!”

Top cruise information source, TV’s @CruiseGuy added “Another 1st timer mistake is overpacking for the cruise.” @CruiseMaven agreed, listing “Packing too much” as a typical first-timer mistake and adding that first-timers, bringing up a related topic often not included in pre-cruise information, reminding us that new cruise travelers “Don’t know that it’s important to tip the shoreside luggage porters.”

@TravlandLeisure chimed “Overpacking & packing extraneous items like hair dryers,” then added a personal note that “Disney took my clothes steamer away last year.”  That thought touched on a topic not often covered by packing lists: cruise lines don’t want any heat generating devices brought on board for fear of fire.

@CelebrityCruise noted  that cruise travelers always seem to forget something, saying “New travelers usually forget to pack __________.” then adding one of the most important things any traveler can pack “Also, don’t forget to bring a great attitude to ensure a great vacation.”

On Board
@OrlandoChris (that’s us) took it on board, saying a common first-timer mistake is “Assuming a cruise is all-inclusive,” and that “NOT included expenses can add up fast.”  Also focusing on the onboard experience @GoGrandGetaways got detailed, noting that there is no reason for “waiting in line for breakfast. Order room service and dine in bed!”

Tall sailing ship cruise line @starclippers cautioned too much attention to detail can be a negative, saying: “Over scheduling can be a mistake. Don’t forget vacation is about relaxation!”  So true, as we found on our sailing of Royal Clipper, a laid back swing through the Caribbean’s Windward Islands.

@TravelBuzzz reminds us how important planning is, saying “Waiting too long to book popular #excursions that sell out fast!”  Cruise line @RoyalCaribbean touched on planning too, saying “Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Our previous cruisers are an amazing resource.”

Some answers source a participants personal beliefs or brand’s foundation, as when destination-focused @AzamaraVoyages noted (from their viewpoint) a big mistake is “Booking with a cruise line that only stays in each destination for a few hours,” an answer sourced from their frequent late and overnight stays in port.

@LuxCruiseNews might have saved someone a future disappointment, noting “Newbie cruisers should remember to make dining reservations and book shore excursions early – they fill up fast!

Use A Travel Agent
Interestingly, it was luxury cruise line @SeabournCruise that had no hesitation encouraging first timers to seek the advice of a travel agent. Said @SeabournCruise, “A mistake: not contacting their travel professional for advice and to book. Tap into their expertise!”, a thought that was reiterated by @CruiseLineUK  @WhenDoWeLeaveBE and several others.

@Silversea cruise line kept it simple, “Well, first-time cruisers have already avoided the biggest mistake of all: not taking a cruise!”, while @Cruise_Xperts focused on assumptions, tweeting “Biggest newbie mistake: assuming that all cruises offer more or less the same experience.”

Stopping in to chat with us, @CaptainBirdie added “Too often, first time cruisers just look for the lowest price rather than finding the right ship,” something we talk a lot about here when encouraging readers to find and use a travel professional.

A Small Sampling Of One
Again, that’s just some of the results of just one question asked by Travel + Leisure during one chat that lasted one hour.  More insight into cruise travel can be gained by reviewing the entire event, something you can do on line right now.  Click here to see a all ten questions and answers.

MultiMedia Element
Another interesting question from Travel + Leisure asked participants to tweet their all time favorite cruise photos.  Here are some of those:

 Photos- TL_chat participants