Cruising the World Cup? Goooal!

Monday Mantra

Cruising the World Cup? Goooal!

Soccer fans have plenty to shout about at sea today.

We get a kick out of cruising…. We get a kick out of cruising…. We get a kick out of cruising….

Some people are surprised by the interest and excitement that this year’s World Cup generated in America. Not me. I’ve seen it coming, usually from the deck of a cruise ship.

In July 2002, I was sailing SeaDream Yacht Club in the Mediterranean. It was SeaDream’s inaugural year and it quickly became clear that there was nothing SeaDream Activities Director James Cabello couldn’t do. With the World Cup final scheduled the following day, I approached James and asked if it would be broadcast on board. When he said he’d arrange it, I pictured myself sitting at the end of my bed watching the action unfold on my suite’s TV, maybe wearing the personalized SeaDream pajamas that each guest receives, and guzzling a beer from my en suite fridge. As it turned out, that image was wrong. In typical SeaDream fashion, James took my simple request a step further, arranging a large screen set-up in the ship’s salon, complete with bar service and hors d’oeuvres. And while there were plenty of Americans on board, I was the only one who attended.


In 2006, World Cup fever still hadn’t taken hold at sea. Costa Cruises was the only line to broadcast World Cup matches on its ships, and only the semi-final and final ones at that. But they were rewarded mightily as Italy walked off with the trophy that year — and fans of “cruising Italian style” were able to see the action live…bravo, Costa!


By 2010, things had changed and as I was aboard the newly christened Norwegian Epic, it was clear that Americans were getting quite a kick out of the World Cup. Despite the gloriously sunny weather during Norwegian Epic’s July 4 inaugural from New York, hundreds chose to stay indoors to watch Spain’s victory over Paraguay on the ship’s giant screen. Whether fans chose a seat in the atrium or, like me, at O’Sheehan’s on the level above, they had a bird’s-eye view of the match that would lead Spain to the final and, ultimately, the 2010 trophy.


This year, nearly every major cruise line broadcasted all 64 World Cup matches. In fact, MSC Divina actually offered two special World Cup sailings to and from Brazil. It might have taken a while (almost as long as it took for the first — and winning — goal of yesterday’s final to be scored by Germany), but this year’s tournament has left no doubt:  The World Cup makes a big splash with cruisers all over the world!

— Judi Cuervo

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.