Category Archives: Cruise

More Sailing Fun Facts

Last month we went over the Passenger Space Ratio, and this month we will continue on with a few more interesting numbers that describe cruise ships. We’ll take a look at the crew to passenger ratio, why we have nautical miles, some of the dimensions of cruise ships, and a pet peeve of mine.

One easy number is the crew to passenger ratio. I think of this as the “How much will I be pampered?” number. While I wouldn’t use this to decide that I’m not going on a particular ship, it does give an idea of how many passengers each crew member needs to ‘take care of’. Some crew may not be directly involved in guest service, but they need to be included because they keep the air conditioning running, emergency equipment in order, etc. The math for this one is as simple as taking the number of passengers (double occupancy) and dividing by the number of crew.

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Cruise Ship Comparison: Passenger Space Ratio

Editor’s Note: This will be part of a series that presents a few fun facts, figures and comparisons about cruise ships, and how to use them to help with making cruising decisions with your ToaD Travel Consultant.

When I board a ship for a cruise, I’m always interested in how roomy the ship is and how it will “feel” once I’m on board. I’m going to be there for a while and since I’m from the Midwest, I need a certain amount of personal space to feel comfortable.

Before I retired I used to do a lots of math. Now I’ve had some time to look at some interesting and simple calculations that help me to see how much elbow room I’m going to have on a cruise. It is a simple ratio that relates the total volume of the ship to the number of passengers. In simple terms, how much space can I expect?

This magic number is called the Passenger Space Ratio and it is easy to calculate to get a feel for how crowded you might feel on a certain class of ship. It is the simple ratio between the size of the ship (Gross Tonnage) and the number of passengers onboard. It is easy to compare with other ships since these two numbers are generally available across all cruise lines. At least now we can compare apples to apples.

About the numbers involved… Gross Tonnage (gt) is a bit of a math nightmare, and doesn’t really have anything to do with the weight of a ship. Instead, it is a measure of all of the enclosed spaces within the ship. There is a lot of history (and math) behind it, but all we really need to know is that it is a “fair” number that makes a good attempt to represent all ships properly for all sizes and usages. Since we only care about cruise ships, all of that math is done.

Since we usually don’t know how many guests will be on any given cruise ahead of time, we need to have a ‘standard’ number of passengers for each ship. It’s nice that almost all ships have a capacity number that is generally the number of staterooms with two occupants in each. This is sometimes called the ship’s capacity or double occupancy. The ship may hold many more people if every single bed, bunk and berth is occupied, but double occupancy is a reasonable number to use for comparisons, and is often used by cruise lines to determine a “full ship.”

Finally, we can calculate the Passenger Space Ratio. It is simply the amount of space on the ship divided by the number of passengers. There, done. If we only had a table with some of these values filled in, it would be interesting to see how different cruise line ships have designed, built and outfitted their ships and how each design, level of luxury and service offered changes this ratio.

The following table shows the gross tonnage, number of passengers (double occupancy) and the calculated passenger space ratio for several ship classes across several cruise lines.


Many ships fall within a reasonably close range, and some ship design features will affect this number. For instance, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has a Boardwalk and Central Park areas that are within the confines of the ship, but since they are open to the sky the space is not include in the Gross Tonnage figure. On the other hand, the atmosphere of having a few birds along for the ride and having an open park-like setting to eat lunch is amazing.

If you are looking up the Gross Tonnage for yourself, be sure that it is the Gross Tonnage, and not one of the other similar numbers that only help with the confusion (Gross Register Tonnage, Net Register Tonnage, Displacement, Compensated Gross Tonnage, etc.). Gross Tonnage is the number to use for all ships built after July 18, 1982, but sometime sources may round up, or the number could change over time if the ship has a major upgrade during dry dock that affects the number of passengers or the volume of enclosed space within the ship.
I wouldn’t make a decision to not go on a ship because the Passenger Space Ratio seems too low, or is a few hundredths lower than another ship, but it is useful.

Remember that there are several other numbers and statistics that we can look at that give us more information on everything from how a ship will ride in rough weather, how many crew are there to serve you, and a host of other things that can be compared across cruise line, ship classes. Taken together these can help to give an improved perspective on what you can expect on your cruise.





Updates to Our Cruise Incentive Plan

As many of you know, I started this agency with the hopes of being able to provide the best service to clients looking for travel.  Before the agency, I only worked with Disney vacations, but I realized that there was so much more available and I wanted to be able to help with it all.  I would say we have done a great job in offering you the best value for your hard earned dollar (or whatever currency you use!).  For our cruise clients, we have always offered competitive onboard credits without giving everything away.  You see, the onboard credits are paid out of the commission we earn from the cruise lines.  This amount varies based on the volume that we book through each company.  Your bookings have helped us reach higher levels no doubt!

We felt a need to offer a higher onboard credit in the past to get you “in the door” and see how great our customer service is and you have responded by booking more with us and sending many referrals our way.  We thank you for that!

We have never wanted to be in a position to compete with other travel agencies for your business based solely on the onboard credit amount being offered.  We don’t consider ourselves your travel agent, we consider ourselves your travel consultant.  A travel agent will just facilitate your booking — like an order taker.  We are here to offer our expertise and advice on what is best for you and your family.  We look for the best fit and the best value, which isn’t always the lowest price and highest credits.  We take care of you!  We are there if you have problems.  We fix the problems!  You can’t say this about all travel agents.

We are able to do this without a service fee to you because we receive a commission from the travel supplier.  Basically, we work for you for free.  We have offered an onboard credit as an incentive in the past to consider our services.  Unfortunately, Disney Cruise Line will be changing its terms with us starting on October 26, 2015.  They will be significantly cutting our commission for onboard bookings.  While we have considered not promoting booking onboard, the fact remains that an onboard booking is one of your best opportunities to receive a discount on a future Disney Cruise Line cruise.  Therefore, to give you the best value for your future vacations, we need to make you aware of these promotions.

We will continue to offer onboard credits for reservations booked through our agency at this time, but our offer will need to change.  The reductions in our onboard credit offer will in no way make up for the differences that we are receiving from Disney Cruise Line,  If we eliminated the onboard credits, it would not make up for the reduction either.  We feel though in order to give you the best service possible, our agents must be compensated so we cannot give away a significant portion of their commission.

Effective Monday, October 26, 2015, our onboard credit for new bookings will change as reflected on our Incentives page.

Special Limited Time Offer

Many of our customers have been with us for years.  Some have just found us but plan to be with us for many years.  For those folks, we will continue to offer the best onboard credits we can.  This offer will be available to anyone who is a client of ours on or before November 10, 2015 and has had a traveled package or cruise reservation with us within the past 12 months or a future booking for a package or cruise within the next 14 months.  Basically, if you are loyal to us, we will return the favor.

So you don’t have a current booking with Travel On A Dream?  How can you lock in the best onboard credits for your future trips?  Book a vacation today!

For all bookings from now through November 10, 2015, we will continue to offer our best onboard credits for all direct bookings (onboard bookings and transfers are excluded).  This includes booking a “placeholder” reservation for the future.  This is not limited to Disney Cruise Line reservations.  We will lock in your onboard credit offer and continue to offer this as long as you continue to use Travel On A Dream as your travel consultant.

Cruise Onboard Credit Amounts

  • 1500 – 1999  $50
  • $2000 – 2499  $75
  • $2500 – 2999  $100
  • $3000 – 3999  $125
  • $4000 – 4999  $150
  • $5000 – 5999  $175
  • $6000 – 6999  $200
  • $7000 – 7999  $225
  • $8000 – 8999  $250
  • $9000 and up  $300

This special onboard credit offer is based on cruise fare amount of the reservation with Travel On A Dream (this excludes taxes, insurance, transfers, pre/post cruise packages, airfare or prepaid gratuities).  This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts offered by Travel On A Dream including, but not limited to offers with group space.  This offer can be combined with offers from the cruise lines however.  Some cruise lines prohibit onboard credits, such as Carnival Cruise Lines, and onboard credits will not be offered in that case.  Onboard credit can be used for any purchases incurred once onboard your sailing including gratuities, beverages, cruise line organized shore excursions, spa treatments, photographs, etc.  Unused onboard credits cannot be redeemable for cash or cruise and are returned to Travel On A Dream.  All terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

Contact us today!

Vacation Protection Plans

You’re ready for your cruise, getting ready to board a plane and in a few short hours get on the ship.  Then you get the dreaded news, your flight will be delayed.  You go to the gate agent to see what options you have but unfortunately, you are not going to make it.

You’ve made it on the cruise, everyone is having a wonderful time when one of your party starts feeling so sick that they go to the doctor onboard.  They are diagnosed with appendicitis and need to get to a hospital immediately.

These are just a couple of the many reasons your trip could be cancelled or interrupted.  I have clients all the time who say “I don’t plan to cancel and everyone is healthy, so let’s skip the insurance.”

The problem is that we don’t anticipate what could happen.  Continue reading

#ToaDCruiseChallenge Continues With Round Two

We’ve been having a lot of fun with our Cruise Itinerary Challenge, leading up to our fourth birthday in just a week!  Here are the results from Round One!

Cruise Itinerary Challenge (2)Today, and over the next four days, we will narrow down the selections to four cruise itineraries, then two and finally, one favorite cruise itinerary.  Which one will it be?  When we reach four finalists, we will also blog on the cruise itineraries so you can choose which is really the best.

And now for the prize to all of you for joining in our competition to help us select a winner.  For every new cruise booked from June 6 – 30 , 2014 on the winning itinerary on most cruise lines, sailing between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, you will receive a bonus $25 onboard credit if you mention booking code #ToaDCruiseChallenge.  But you already have your cruise booked?  No problem!  Everyone with a cruise booked on the winning itinerary on most cruise lines, sailing between July 1, 2014 and June 30,  2015 and mentioning #ToaDCruiseChallenge to their agent will receive a gift in room as well!

On to today’s challenge!

1Join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter with us!