Help Wanted: Become A Sustaining Member

The global pandemic has left many of us exposed and disappointed. Like us, some of you had cruises that were postponed or canceled. We understand how it feels to have your dream trips swept out from under you. I had three barge cruises and one river cruise postponed. Though the chances of my Crystal river cruise looked dire, I completed it just last week, a year later than planned. The cruise along the Rhine and Moselle was nothing short of wonderful. My barge trips are scheduled to proceed in April and June of 2022.

In all, Britton and I have been on four cruises since August, and each has been well worth the “hassles” of testing and other protocols, which, in hindsight, weren’t all that bad. Getting over the hurdles took patience, and most of all, understanding of how it all works. That’s what we aim to provide, understanding. We discussed a lot of the protocols yesterday in our webinar, We Cruised On Four Different Ships Since August – Here’s How Each Handled The ‘New Normal’

The global pandemic also left many of us financially unprepared. Many people lost their jobs. Some saw their income tank. When Covid-19 sank the cruise industry, our revenues were submerged with it.

Since the spring of 2020, Britton and I have been working without pay. That’s okay for dad but it’s hard on a 26-year-old who was struggling before the pandemic to make ends meet.

So we thought we’d try something that we’ve never done: reach out to our subscribers to ask help from those who can afford to help. Don’t worry. We’ll never switch to a subscription model, so even if you can’t afford to help, you’ll still receive our content, which we love to produce, free of charge. That includes all articles, webinars, videos, pricing charts and more. We do it because we love cruising. Our services, providing advice and recommendations to anyone who asks (and up to 25 people each week do so), will continue to be free also.

We love helping folks like you get on cruises that promise to be enriching and satisfying. It’s something that I’ve been doing for a long time, with Britton continuing the tradition.

In 1996, the year my daughter was born, I launched a publication (Cruise Observer) aimed at “providing resources to help people make informed cruise vacation decisions.” (That same year, Britton, only nine months old, went on her first cruise, crossing the Atlantic on the venerable QE2).

The mission to help people get on the right itineraries and right ships has stayed the same throughout my journalistic evolution, which includes the launch of avidcruiser.com in November of 1999 and rivercruiseadvisor.com in October of 2010. I took a walk down memory lane this morning and was amused to find what the sites looked like back then. Avid Cruiser? Ouch! River Cruise Advisor? Not so bad. But of course, River Cruise Advisor was developed nearly a decade later.

Here’s what we’re asking.

Neither Britton nor I have been able to draw a salary from our sites for going on 20 months now (luckily, I diversified to camper van rentals two years ago and an AirBnB property six years ago, so I am okay). Britton is not okay.

When the Delta variant, anti-vaxers and anti-maskers prolonged the pandemic and the industry’s return, she finally threw up her hands and took a part-time job at a local Starbucks. She doesn’t want to go full-time as a barista because that would leave little time for her to do what she loves doing, producing content for our sites and helping you make those informed cruise vacation decisions.

Reaching out to our subscribers wasn’t easy to do because we worried that it would come across as a sign of weakness. The truth is we are hurting but we are confident that the industry will return and our revenues with it – the process is just taking longer than we expected. And we have on intention of giving up on the sites that we are so proud of.

So we’re reaching out to ask that if you find value in what we do, would you be willing to make a one-time or on-going contribution. Some of you have actually asked to do this before but we refused to take anything.

To host our sites and to pay for all the various subscriptions (such as the ones we use to send out our email newsletters and run our webinars) costs us around $6,000 annually. We’re a nimble operation compared to our competitors.

There are two ways for you to help sustain us. The first is to become a sustaining member by committing to a small monthly contribution. We are offering benefits for sustaining members that you’ll find along with information about how to contribute on this Patreon page.

The other way is to make a one-time contribution to help cover our operating costs on this GoFundMe page.

We realize the decision to help is a personal one, and no matter what you are able to do or not able to do, you are always welcome to be part of the community that we are building comprised on people who love cruising. Thank you for your continued support of River Cruise Advisor and Avid Cruiser.

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