Dancing on cruise ships

A question:

I went on my first cruise. [...] It was a four night cruise to the Bahamas. I was please with the cruise but very disappointed with dancing. There was plenty of music played at various places on the ship, but none of the music was ballroom. I also found the dance floor extremely small, hardly enough room for a few couples. [Ronnie]

Newer ships tend to have larger dance floors, but none will accomodate a dance that requires a LOD movement. I.e. we've never had problems dancing Swing, Hustle, ChaCha, etc, but would never try a waltz, C2step, etc.

Also, the disco tends to have the worst floor for dancing usually some sort of glass/metal combo. Non-disco lounges usually will have a nice wooden floor. [Asya Kamsky]

It helps to know several dances. Some ships have great salsa and merengue bands, others play mostly big band music, others ships have DJs who play a lot of pop music suitable for NC2S, WCS and Hustle in the disco at night. [Ron Nicholson]

And of course you are among non-dancers:

Most of the ships, including the grand have very limited space for ballroom dancing, what you find when they do play a waltz, foxtrot, that many folks will get out there and do the bob and weave and not follow a line of dance. [Pete and Karen Burr]

Another aspect of being among non-dancers:

There is a big disadvantage to being a dancer. If you go on a cruise single without a dance partner, it just seems like an awful terrible waste to be hearing all that great dance music and have no with whom to to dance. Been there, done that, might have to do it again. [Ron Nicholson]

Dance hosts on cruise ships

In a nutshell

>I've heard that cruise lines will subsidize older, single gentlemen on some of their cruises. Is there any truth to this>

If you are respectable and charming and can dance (really dance - all ballroom basics) apply for "host programs" with several lines. Your travel agent should be able to steer you to the right ones. You also need to be able to make small talk with anyone, stay up past 10PM and avoid entanglements with any one passenger. You usually get your passage and sometimes certain shore excursions free. Airfare is up to you as are most other "extras". All the gentlemen I've met in the host programs are delightful people, but they really earn their keep! Good Luck.

The following is reprinted with permission from The Working Vacation http://www.theworkingvacation.com/text/about2.html:

Who make great Gentlemen Hosts?

What benefits do our Gentlemen Hosts receive?

From experience

On the cruise where I was fortunate enough to run into this program, the cruise director introduced the hosts on the first evening at the intro program where he/she explains the happenings for the week and introduces the rest of the staff. He also outlined the rules:

The Hosts would ask to dance with any woman not traveling with a male companion. All she had to do was sit near the dance floor or elsewise be easily seen. If a lady traveling with a male companion would like to be asked to dance, all she had to do was so indicate and she would be included in the dancing. The Hosts would not approach an accompanied lady without some indication. No host was allowed to dance with a lady twice in row.

A survey shows...

First, the gentlemen do not have to be "older", but they do have to pass a dance test and a very thorough background check.

All the lines that I know of that use these 'Hosts' go through an agent in New York, as do the gentlemen dancers. I don't know the name of the agent - who used to work for a cruise line but left to start this service. Any of the lines who offer this should be able to give you her number or address.

I sat next to a 'Dance Host' at dinner on my last cruise (sadly about 18 months ago) and he shared with me some of the inside scoop. They don't get paid for the cruise, but are traded the cruise for the hosting. Each line sets its own policy as to the trade. Some pay for airfare to the port, some pay only if you sign on for a certain number of weeks. Some offer all your laundry, but you are responsible for having a wardrobe that fits their specifications, ie, a tux or white dinner jacket, a blue blazer and white or grey slacks, .... Some cover your tips and provide a bar tab to entertain your dinner companions.

However, the 'Social Hosts' are required to sign a very specific contract as to what they will and will not do. They are required to be on or available for the dance floor from the time the pre-dinner dancing starts until the disco closes. They also may give the dance classes. And, depending on the line and sailing, they may be asked to pinch hit running the lighting at the show, or escort a group of ladies ashore, or say good-bye to the guest and point the way to their luggage at disembarkation.

Not being a very good guesser, I would say the four hosts on my last cruise were 53, 55, 58, and 70. And, as you have probably guessed, I enjoyed the dancing immensely. Wish more lines would offer this, especially on some of the shorter cruises.

I recently did a survey of the Gentlemen Hosts program (also called Dance Hosts or Social Hosts). Their main function is, of course, to dance with the ladies, but they are also sometimes called on to help in other spots - like escort a group ashore, or even run the lights for the entertainment staff, if the staff gets in a pinch.

Unfortunately, not as many lines are offering this program as there used to be. I don't have my notes with with me, but if I remember correctly, the following is what I found:

And, I think I found one other. I did not contact the "smaller ship" lines.

One thing I do know that was true, and I doubt it has changed, is that the lines do not hire the Hosts themselves. They are all placed through an agent in New York (one of the lines could give you her name). She is a former cruiseline employee that saw this need and started the business. The Hosts go through a VERY thorough screening/background check, have to past a dance test, and sign a contract with the cruiseline with lots of do's and don'ts. The agreement with the individual lines varies in what the line pays and what the Host is responsible for (ie, on one line, if the Host did a four-week stint, the line paid his transportation to and from his home; if it was less than four-weeks, the Host paid for the trip.)

This info is about a year old, but was accurate at the time. I was fortunate enough to be seated next to a Host at dinner and learned all kinds of neat stuff about the program, not to mention some great dancing! [Carol]

Who do you call?

Here is a company you can approach: http://www.theworkingvacation.com/.

This file is part of the FAQ list for the newsgroup rec.arts.dance. The FAQ list is being maintained by Victor Eijkhout (victor at eijkhout dot net, talk about vanity), who appreciates being sent additions or corrections on the material in this collection. Copyright 1994/5/6/7/8/9/2000 lies with the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

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Last modified on: 1999, Wednesday December 8.