One of my favorite things about being a cruiser and the cruiser lifestyle is the socializing. Don’t for a moment think that because you are leaving your family, friends, and neighbors, you are going to be lonely. Far from it. Cruisers get together often, we love spending time hanging out with each other. There are so many interesting people from different walks of life who are cruisers. The conversation is always interesting, and cruiser gatherings are always fun.
Because there are such a varied group of people cruising, there are also varied budgets. Some cruisers have tight budgets and watch every penny, and others have no need to watch their pennies. When you are with other Cruisers these things don’t matter at all.
So what should I take to Cruiser Gatherings? I hope the thoughts below are helpful to give you an idea of the different kinds of Cruiser Gatherings and what you are generally expected to take along with you.
Drinks and Alcohol
Drinks are always, bring your own. A good rule of thumb is if you think you are going to drink four beers take six, you can always bring your extras home. It is a pain to have to go all the way back to the boat to get more. Ladies will often drink wine and depending on the crowd it will be drink what you brought or everyone contributes a bottle or two matching their consumption.
Sundowners are a great way to hang out with new people. Normally most cruisers get on well with each other. Sundowners are a great way to test the waters and see how you get along. We have had many evenings with a new couple(s) that started as sundowners and turned into an all-night gathering going on until the early hours of the morning. Many great friendships are formed over sundowners with strangers.
When you go to someone for sundowners, you are expected to bring your drinks and an appetizer for the group to share.
If we are hosting an evening on our boat, I always have a plan for a quick, easy dinner I can throw together, if the evening is a success.
Another thing we do is to make sure we have extra cold beer or wine in the fridge to share with our new friends once theirs runs out. This is not expected in the cruising community. But we find that if we’ve just met and are all getting along well and having a great time, why bust up the party!
Dinner invitations usually happen with your close friends. For dinner gatherings, it is a case of knowing your friends. Different cultures have different ideas as to how dinner gatherings work. You will get to know what your different friends’ ideas on dinners are over time. If you have not been invited over for dinner before, take your own drinks and ask what you can contribute to the meal.
I have found that when you are invited over to someone for dinner, it is a good idea to tell them what you want to bring. For example, “Do you want me to bring an appetizer?” or “Can I bring a Salad?”. Rather than asking, “What can I bring?”. And being told to bring a dessert, which on our boat we never eat, and don’t have ingredients for. You may be different and love baking, then a dessert is a perfect thing to take with you.
We have some friends who we have dinners with regularly, Alternating between their boat and ours. The understanding with these friends is that nobody needs to bring anything – not even alcohol no matter who is hosting. When we go to them for dinner, we take nothing with us. This being said, if they are having a group of people over, we do take our own drinks.
We also have friends who we tell not to bring anything. They can’t help themselves and arrive with something to add to the meal. When we are invited over to them for dinner, I always make sure I take something with me, even if they say not to. If someone says to bring nothing, they are talking about food. Always bring your own drinks, unless specifically told not to.
Potlucks are nice and easy. Take your own drinks and a dish. I normally cater for about six or eight people. Ask the host what other boats are bringing. You choose what you want to add to the dinner lineup. Easy Peasy!
Beach BBQs – One of My Favorite Cruiser Gatherings
When you are going to a beach BBQ, take whatever you are going to grill for your family and a side dish or appetizer for the group to share. Coordinate with the organizer to find out who will be making the fire or bringing a portable BBQ to the beach. Take a look at our Beach BBQ Checklist to make sure you don’t leave anything behind.
Cruiser Holiday Gatherings
When you are in a place where there are lots of cruisers there are normally big cruiser gatherings for holidays like 4th July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The holiday gatherings are normally a huge beach BBQ.
On the Cruiser net (the radio channel all the cruisers in the bay listen to) people will coordinate how many fires there will be, and what else will be needed. For catering, purposes bring what you would for a BBQ, but maybe make a bigger than normal side or dessert to share with the group.
When you are provisioning, it is always a good idea to keep cruiser gatherings in the back of your mind. Often we have been in a bay alone expecting no get-togethers, and then a new boat arrives, or even better a few boats with friends arrive. And voila there is a pop cruiser gathering that evening on the beach.
So I guess the bottom line is always to take your own drinks and your sunny personality. You will have an amazing time. I hope this post has been helpful if it has please share it.