They sound like an anachronism from another age. But the male “companion” or cruise dance host is about to make a reappearance as part of the battle for upper-premium cruise lines.
I, for one, welcome them back!
I have danced with Crystal Cruises’ dance ambassadors on their cruises. Not just one but several of them – all tall, well-groomed and handsome.
Most are well-spoken and with that steely grey hair that has suddenly become so popular among male models.
There’s one trait they share in common – they are all good dancers and trained to competently guide their women partners to glide gracefully on the dance floor.
Ah, the joys of dancing with a partner who actually enjoys dancing with you.
The recent boom in solo women cruisers has prompted many luxury lines to consider the re-introduction of male cruise dance hosts on board. Other initiatives include meet-and-greet sessions and special activities to make life on board more attractive for single cruisers.
Crystal Cruises, which is now owned by Abercrombie & Kent, and Silversea are returning male dance companions to their ships – particularly for longer journeys and world cruises.
Even the recently launched Oceania Vista, which has six single concierge cabins, is considering the move. Oceania Vista’s solo cabins have proved to be so popular that there is now a waitlist for the rest of the year.
The growing popularity of solo cruisers has led Celebrity Cruises to waive the single supplement on 275 sailings. Virgin Voyages has also just removed the solo supplement and many more cruise lines are constantly rolling out different promotions to entice more solo cruisers.
Lauren Brown, team leader at Flight Centre Forster, recently told Cruise & Travel that many solo travellers, particularly women, are opting for cruise holidays.
“We are seeing a lot of women asking about solo travel, in particular cruising,” she says. “Cruising is seen as an easy entry into solo travel for a number of reasons.
“Cruising is considered a social holiday where you can choose to spend time alone or join others when you want to meet people and have fun – such as dining, shows or having a drink at the bar. Plus shore excursions are another great way to experience new places and meet like-minded people.
“Another important aspect is security. Knowing that you can be safe, then relax and enjoy your holiday at ease. Not only for the traveller but also for their friends and family at home.”
Back to the topic of cruise dance hosts. A common complaint among silver-haired women cruisers is that many husbands or partners do not like to dance. While the women are gagging to have a twirl on the dance floor, their partners are unwilling to let themselves go for a spin.
The last time I was on board a Crystal Cruise from Fiji to the Cook Islands, Crystal called male dance partners, Ambassador Hosts. And what a job they performed.
They are always discreetly around when the band hits the right note and guests take a spin on the floor. They watch and if they spot a damsel dying to dance but has no partner, they will walk across the room and politely ask you for a dance – the old-fashioned way.
I also recall on sea days, many of the line’s entertainment performers double-up as dance teachers, giving salsa and rumba lessons to willing guests keen to know how to cha-cha-cha or do the foxtrot.
If the rise of solo women cruisers leads to the return of male dance hosts, I will be the first to welcome them back.
Long may they dance away the night at sea.