It had been 25 long years since Shane and Robyn Watson have taken a holiday without their kids. But once their youngest child had a 17th birthday party, they knew it was time to join a fresh demographic that cruise line Carnival is targeting.
Five years and 17 cruises later, the Watsons have become Honeyboomers: Couples whose kids have flown the coup, so they can holiday alone.
Coined by Carnival Cruise Line, Honeyboomers haven’t only got rid of the kids and are mapping out plans to spend their inheritance, they have also relinquished other responsibilities like work, mortgages – even pets like the family dog.
So for them, it really is a second honeymoon. And rekindling romance in their marriage is also on their to-do list. This cruise provides lessons in how to do that – it even includes flirting classes.
The Watsons took their first Honeyboomer cruise to Florida – a holiday they thought would allow them to reconnect as a couple.
“It’s quality time together rekindling the romance while watching spectacular sun sets, having romantic dinners, relaxing with a cocktail by the pool, going to amazing ports, plus exploring and snorkelling at places you’ve only dreamed about,” said the Watsons.
“We have talked many of our friends into having a ‘Honeyboom’ and they are all hooked too.”
While the line might be known for catering for the family market, they have introduced Honeyboomer-only activities and trialled new programs like the first ever ‘flirt-class’ at sea – a seminar hosted by a relationship expert to help spice up Honeyboomers’ marriages.
“The ‘flirt class’ really surprised us. It raised some great ideas in a fun environment, things we used to do when we were dating and have started doing again. Simple things you forget like pet names, romantic music from our past and continuing to have fun whilst trying new things as a couple,” said the Watsons.
They attended the flirt class with about other eight couples and learned simple techniques can add romance to their relationship.
One of which includes looking into the eyes of your partner and working out what your partner wants.
“It is just getting to a level where it is just the two of us. When you are dating you can work out what your partner wants – you didn’t have to say too much.
“But when the kids came along, everything got so hectic, you lose that ability to understand what you partner wants,” he said.
“At the beginning of our first cruise we really missed the kids because all our previous holidays were family oriented. Our conversations kept revolving around the kids, so we had a rule: no more talk about the kids,” said the Watsons.
“As we relaxed and reconnected, we remembered what it was like as a couple and really enjoyed being together and having fun. As the kids are now independent, cruising is now our time for fun!”
But now after 17 cruises, do the Watsons miss having the kids travelling with them?
“We are loving cruising so much that we’ve been trying to get them on for the last three years. We want to show them how great this kind of holiday can be.”
- 76 per cent of couples with teenage children aged 13 and above miss having fun with their partner
- Carnival has seen an 80 per cent increase in Honeyboomers sailing over the past four years
- Some couples enjoying longer seven to 12-night cruises to the Pacific Islands
- Others going on short three to five-day getaways to places like Moreton Island and Hobart
- The biggest trend for Honeyboomers is to cruise outside of the school holiday periods, where there are bargains to be had
- Shore excursions to rekindle the romance include snorkelling, parasailing and quad biking