Pokemon GO or NO?

Posted on by in Soundings

Susan SchaeferPokemon GO hasn’t been out for very long, but it’s already the best-selling game ever, and it’s taken the app world by storm. Of course, the question arose almost immediately; can Pokemon GO be played onboard cruise ships? So far the answer is pretty much “no.” But that’s not going to stop people from playing this addictive game wherever they can, like in cruise terminals before they board and in ports of call.

I haven’t downloaded the game, and probably never will either. However, from what I understand Pokemon GO is not playable on ships (or planes). That’s great, until obsessed kids melt down when they can’t play the game for the duration of their cruise. Hopefully it won’t turn them off to cruising (at least until they lose interest in the game and move on). I can only imagine taking a kid on a 14-night cruise and telling them they can’t play the game for two weeks.

However, it is a GREAT way to keep kids (and adults) busy while they are sitting in the cruise terminal, impatiently waiting to board their cruise ship. Cruise Critic recently went so far as to publish a list of US ports and what Pokemon treasures you will find in each. Personally I think that takes the fun out of the hunt, so if you prefer a challenge then don’t check out their list.

And then there’s the danger: it didn’t take criminals long at all to figure out how to manipulate the game to their advantage. Locally, we have already had several news stories within days of the game launching about how criminals used it to lure players to questionable areas of town. And that’s happening to people presumably within their own city. Imagine playing this game in ports of call in other countries. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will eventually. It won’t take long before we hear about cruise passengers becoming crime victims as a result of their game playing. Nothing screams tourist more than intently focusing on your phone, and not your surroundings.

Are your clients already asking if they can play Pokemon GO on their upcoming cruise? If so, what has your advice been? If they ask, it might not be a bad idea to provide them some pointers about being aware of their surroundings, and the cost they could incur with international data roaming.


Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations, she focuses on travel for 18 to 23-year-olds. Susan can be reached by email at susan@shipsntripstravel.com or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

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