MMOB Forum will be launching soon!
We’re very excited to be launching our new Forum in the very near future. We will be announcing the launch on both our newsletter and here on The Muster Station. Please read the information below on how you will be able to use both of these features to enhance your cruising experience.
THE MUSTER STATION
Every cruise ship worth a salt requires all passengers to grab a life vest (usually from some tucked away crawl space) and head to a lounge, casino, lobby or meeting room to learn where to gather in case of an emergency.
We’ve all been there, standing in many a casino, leaning against a craps table with our ridiculous orange vests (that never match our outfits) scanning the room—not for the nearest exit—but looking for other LGBT passengers, kindred spirits in a sea of straight couples and kids.
I for one have fantasized about what everyone at the muster station must be thinking. Are they sizing up the passengers, planning shore excursions or just taking it all in, slightly overwhelmed by the cruise ship experience?
Borrowing from the necessity of gathering in one location before the ship sails, MeetMeOnBoard has adopted the name and the concept in our own, much more fun, version of The Muster Station.
It’s a gathering place for sure. But instead of listening silently to instructions from your crew, you are encouraged to jump into conversations with other members. You can do anything here (within reason, please).
Since launching this social media experiment last year, we’ve had hundreds of members join the conversation. Some have become prolific live bloggers, using The Muster Station as a personal cruise diary. Others have used it to shout to the masses that they need cabin mates. A few have posted heartwarming stories and others have posed serious questions.
Unlike other features of MeetMeOnBoard, The Muster Station is organized chronologically with the most recent post at the top of the page. It allows you instant access to comment and those comments are threaded below the original post.
One of the most exciting elements of The Muster Station is that it travels far and wide. Because we built the page to be a realtime conversation tool, Google loves it and makes it easy to search online. That also means what happens in the Muster Station doesn’t stay in the Muster Station.
There are so many great nuggets of cruise wisdom to be found there, you should definitely spend some time sifting through the conversation. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to separate out some of the topics from The Muster Station and put them in their own spot so they could be easily searched? Oh wait, there is.
Okay, we admit it. We are trying to be the LGBT Cruise Critic, sort of. One of the great things about that other site is its ability to give people a platform to talk about specific topics and to tell others that they will be traveling on the same ship. MeetMeOnBoard does the same thing but has more options for the LGBT cruise passenger.
Now we will be adding a Forum (which you have been requesting for quite some time) to our range of online offerings. It will work like any other forum, where someone starts a thread in a specific category and the conversation begins when more and more members respond to that initial thought. To create a little privacy wall between the Forum and the rest of the world we deliberately added a security step.
Once you sign in to the forum, just below the FAQs you will first notice the Crow’s Nest. We figured that would be the best place to get an overall view of the Forum landscape.
Here we have OPEN DISCUSSIONS and Cruise Critic Refugees. The OPEN DISCUSSIONS is a place where you will be able to write pretty much anything about cruise travel—whatever your heart’s desire. As this gets populated with sub categories you’ll see them being listed out down below. For now, we’ll put all general cruise conversations in that spot.
For those intrepid LGBT cruisers who’ve been relegated to the back pages of the LGBT board at Cruise Critic, we are bringing you front and center into the light. It’s still a private forum but you get the idea. We will feature you and your threads from that other site so hop over there and migrate (copy-paste) your conversations from there to here. And have fun with it.
Under the Crow’s Nest you will find the very familiar Roll Call: Meet Me On Board. It’s our version of Roll Calls, where we HIGHLY encourage you to post a quick note about your upcoming cruise. Just say, “I’m going on the XX cruise on XX date.” It’s that easy. You can of course say something else if you choose. It’s up to you. You’ll find the Roll Call broken into three alphabetical groups. Find your cruise line and voila!
Speaking of cruise lines, below Roll Call, you’ll notice we have the same three categories for cruise lines. This is the place to post general information about the ships. If you traveled on a Holland America ship and loved a meal, tell us about it in the general discussion. Or if you didn’t care for the ice skaters’ outfits on a Carnival cruise, we definitely want to hear about that here, too.
The rest of the forum will be arranged by general discussions about LGBT cruises (including all-gay, gay group and lesbian) and port cities and destinations. Here we want to hear the scoop on the latest Sweet and Atlantis sailings. Tell us about your taxi ride in Acapulco or your harrowing hang gliding experience in Jamaica.
The Forum v. The Muster Station
Look, this isn’t a celebrity death-match showdown between the Forum and The Muster Station. They are both wonderful and engaging (dare we say exciting) ways to further the conversation and grow the MeetMeOnBoard community. They are just different.
The Muster Station is a general realtime, bloggy place where the conversation is always going. It’s the place to see what’s happening right now and to jump into discussion as they unfold. It’s live. It’s now. It’s happening. It’s public. It’s also sometimes difficult to find what you want.
That’s where the Forum takes over. The forum is a permanent collection of discussions, conversations and debate. It’s intuitive and arranged by topic not by date. It’s a private conversation archive so only members who are signed in can view the forum.
Here’s where The Muster Station and the Forum overlap.
Conversations in The Muster Station don’t migrate automatically to the Forum after a certain period of time (though we wish they would.) You’ll notice that some of the most popular posts in The Muster Station now have twin postings in the Forum. This is just a way to keep those conversations going since they will likely get supplanted by something newer, sexier and glitzier in The Muster Station.
MeetMeOnBoard will continue to offer you many ways to communicate. Rather than driving how you should converse we will offer you a menu of choices and you just pick the most comfortable for you. If you love the old easy chair feel of the Forum then that’s terrific. If you want the speed and nowness The Muster Station, then that’s perfectly understandable. If you want the immediacy of seeing the MeetMeOnBoard members who are traveling on your exact cruise departure, then be sure to list your upcoming cruises on your profile page and use the AMAZING Cruise Mates feature. It’s so cooooooool.
The best thing to do is experiment. Try a little of the Forum. Mix in a skosh of The Muster Station and a big dollop of Cruise Mates and see how it enhances your overall MeetMeOnBoard experience.