Frequently Asked Questions
Are Chumley's BearCruises only for Bears?
Without question, the secret to our success has been the wonderful diversity of our group. While of course we are mostly hairy/beefy/burly/gay 'bears', we absolutely are also those who love them! If you like a friendly welcoming crowd, chances are you'll like us. Many of our guests bring their friends and family along as they can take advantage of all or our group perks, and often those guests choose to join us year after year. When we say all are welcome, we mean ALL are welcome.
What is the 'vibe' on a Chumley's BearCruise?
Chumley's BearCruises were designed to be and continue to be an alternative to all-gay sailings as well as the stress of some traditional bear-run type events. Our sailings offer an opportunity to spend a full week with some amazing men from all over the world, in an environment that gives you time to get to know many of them and make friends for life. Our guests are respectful of our fellow passengers, and we expect the same of them.
Do I need to bring formal wear on a cruise?
While most 7-day sailings still feature 2 'formal' nights, like shuffleboard these are definitely becoming less and less a mainstay of the cruise industry. These dress codes are only for the Main Dining Room on these nights and have evolved into much more of a 'dress to impress' experience... while some still choose to wear suits, actual formal wear is very rare and in our group it is much more likely to see guests in a handsome kilt and kit! As we have our own reserved space in the Main Dining Room, we tend to be a bit less restrictive anyway, and generally ask our group to at least wear dress slacks and a dress shirt on these evenings. That said, and like anything on board you will have plenty of options to choose to do what makes you happy. Many of our guests love to dress up, band we absolutely love to see you in your finest, but for those who want to be as casual as possible while on vacation, there are many other dining options, including the buffet, specialty restaurants, pizza or a burger poolside, or even having it delivered to your cabin if you don't want to put pants on at all!
Is the entire group located in the same area of the ship?
In most instances, it is likely that your cabin will be adjacent to others in our group who are in a similar cabin category. Even similar cabin types are often located in different areas and levels all over the ship, so our guests are generally in 'pockets' throughout the ship. If you would like to be in adjacent cabins (many balcony cabins have can be opened to the neighbor's cabin), please be sure to inquire... but please check with your friends first!
What is included in the price?
The Chumley's BearCruise Package Pricing includes your 7-nights ship accommodations, all taxes and port fees, all shipboard meals with 24/7 coffee & tea & iced tea included, all shipboard cruise lines' entertainment, CBC private Facebook group access, access to negotiated pricing at the official CBC host hotel, access to all exclusive pre-cruise and shipboard private CBC events, CBC group dining, access to purchase optional private CBC shore excursions, exclusive gifts for CBC guests and participation credentials
Although you can opt to book airfare through the cruise line, airfare is not included in cruise cost. Alcohol is generally not included unless it is part of your chosen sailing package. Most lines offer complimentary coffee drinks but often also have an additional fee for 'upscale' coffee drinks, but again these may be included with beverage packages.
Similarly, most ships now feature 'high-end' restaurant options for a small fee for those interested. Optional purchases such as spa treatments, in-port excursions, souvenirs and casino games are also not included, but can be paid for with shipboard credits when available.
Is this an all-gay cruise?
No, we are a large group booked on a 'regularly scheduled' sailing, which allows us to offer much better pricing than 'all-gay' charters. While we offer plenty of private events and exursions with time to be with the group itself, we find that our guests are generally more interested in this relaxed and diverse environment... particpate in our events as much as you'd like, but you'll never need to feel as though you are trapped in a week-long circuit party at sea!
How do gratuities work?
Most cruise lines automatically deduct a set fee (generally $10-$15 a day), which is added to your final bill at the end of the sailing. This fee covers all of your tips including maitre'd, porters, waiters, cabin steward, etc. If you feel the amount should be lowered or raised, you'll certainly have the option to do so. For exceptional service, you may of course wish to personally tip a particular member of the staff personally, but please be sure to note their name and position, as almost just as welcomed would be a mention of that staffers name in the end of sailing ship's email survey.
Does the group dine together each night?
Our group does maintain a section for our own seating in the Main Dining Room each night, usually at the later seating time. If you prefer to eat at another venue, or with a smaller group, or at a different time, that is of course always up to you. We do not require you maintain the same seat/table each night, and instead encourage you to mix it up and make new friends if you'd like. If it fits your schedule and your appetite for that night, there is always a place for you in our reserved Main Dining Room section.
What if I don't have anyone to share a cabin with me?
Most cruise cabins are booked double-occupancy, so unless you prefer to be alone (usually at almost twice the cost of double-occupancy), you will want to have a cabinmate. If you have a partner or friend to join you that is great, but if not most likely you will find a great potential cabinmate through our online groups. By posting your preferences (i.e. cabin type, smoker or not, snorer or not, early riser or late night party guy, etc), most of our guests find great cabinmates. As we get closer to our sailing date, our travel agents will do their best to introduce any remaining guests still seeking a mate based on the cabin type they have booked.
Will I feel comfortable as a single person in this group?
On average, about 1/3 of our guests self-identify as single, another 1/3 as partnered, and 1/3 as married. Of course this will vary from cruise to cruise (and what parameters some guys use to define their relationships can be somewhat flexible!). We always have a couple of 'singles-only' gatherings early in the week so you can have an opportunity to meet the other singles in the group. It is always our goal to be a warm and welcoming environment for all to enjoy.
Can I bring valuables onboard?
Most cabins will have a self-activated safe, and you can certainly opt to have select items kept in the ship's safe via the Purser's desk, but we strongly suggest you only bring what is absolutely necessary. We are a casual group and want you to be able to enjoy yourself without having to worry about your valuables safety while on vacation... so unless you are actual royalty, maybe just bring the 'family jewels'?!
What are typical amenities like?
At a minimum, cabins on most ships will almost always featured self-controlled air conditioning/heat, cable and network TV channels, high quality soaps and lotions, an in-room safe and complimentary room service.
Can I book a Chumley's BearCruise through my own travel agent?
As we must pay for and plan for our exclusive events and content, we can only consider those who book through our group's agency as members of our group. We strive to offer the most affordable option and the best possible sailings at all times.
Are there private events on board the ship?
In addition to the online chat group which gives our guests access to not only the latest information but also the ability to meet and chat with their fellow guests, our annual sailings generally begin with a Registration/Check-In at our host hotel in the departure city and continues with our Opening Night Cocktail Party the first night at sea. Most nights we have some type of event planned solely for our group, including Pre-Dinner Cocktails, Singles Mixers and Dance Parties. Our private optional excursions while in port are always popular, and dinner with the group gives our guests an opportunity to review the day and unwind after each amazing day.
I've never cruised before, will I get seasick?
Although everyone is different, it is very rare that guests get seasick on modern cruise ships. Due to the size, technology and stabilizers on these ships, most guests tend to forget they are even at sea on most days. If you shy away from boats because of a bad experience on a past fishing trip, this is a very different experience. Of course while very rate there is always the chance of high seas, in which case meds are available for those who need them.
What is there to do on board the ship?
Like many large resorts, cruise ships offer the ability to do as much - or as little - as you would like. You will find state of the art gyms and spas, lectures and classes, theaters, movies and live shows. If you prefer to shop or sun by the pool, listen to live music, participate in a game show, take a wine course, or just sit and watch the horizon slip by, you will most likely always have plenty to do. And of course in addition to the ship's planned events, there are many private Chumley's BearCruise events as well. Probably the roughest part of our sailings is trying to decide what to do next, or when to nothing at all!
What should I pack for a cruise?
While this will vary somewhat based on the itinerary and season, we will keep you completely informed as to what you should bring with you, as well as what you don't need to pack!
Do I really need travel insurance?
As with any type of insurance, there is never any way to be certain if it will be needed, and in fact in most cases it never will be. However, for those who have found themselves in a situation where it was needed, they will absolutely tell you it was the best money they have ever spent. When you consider the amount of the cost vs the protection it provides, not to mention the questionable reliability of things like connecting flights etc, we think it's something everyone should have. We suggest you speak with our travel agent who can give you details unique to your plans, and then consider whether it is of value to you to have that protection.
Do I need a passport?
All US citizens are required to travel with a current and valid US passport. For non-US guests, please check with the cruise line website and if necessary your particular consulate for details pertaining to your own requirements, and of course our travel agents can help you as needed.
What if I see Chumley's BearCruise offered elsewhere?
Be aware that there are illegitimate sites that are set up to appear as though they are selling our cruises - they are absolutely not. The only way to join a Chumley's BearCruise is through this website, please don't be fooled.
How do I sign up?
Just complete the Registration Form for the sailing you are interested in; you will find this form on the bottom of that sailing's page... just click on the green button. You will be asked to submit your three first choices of cabin type in order. If you have any questions you can contact our travel agents prior to or upon sending your form. Once you've submitted your form, our travel agent will reach out to you to discuss your best available pricing and cabin options, but you are absolutely under no obligation until you have (hopefully) decided to join us. We hope you will consider spending your valuable time with us, and become a member of our always-growing Chumley's BearCruise family!
Can my friends and family on the ship join the private events?
We work with the cruise line and private vendors to provide the best options for our group, and in most situations must pre-plan and pay per person. Therefore while we hope you will reach out to your friends and family to join our group, as they must be booked through our group to be included.