December 11, 2009

USA: 'Cougar Cruise' sets sail as older women look to attract younger men

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LONDON, England / The Daily Mail / Travel / December 11, 2009

By Travelmail Reporter

Cruise ships are increasingly catering to holidaymakers' particular interests - whether it's art and culture or a particular hobby. And sexual attraction is no exception as what is thought to be the world's first 'Cougar Cruise' has proven a sell-out in the U.S.

Aimed at older women who prefer to date younger men known as 'cubs', the fully-booked International Cougar Cruise set sail from San Diego in California on December 4.

Revellers enjoyed three nights on board cruise line Carnival’s rather appropriately named ship 'Elation', which visited Ensenada in Mexico where guests enjoyed activities including horseback riding and other outdoor activities.

According to Valerie Gibson, author of 'Cougar: A Guide for Older Women Dating Younger Men', a cougar is the 'new breed of single, older woman - confident, sophisticated, desirable, and sexy. She knows exactly what she wants. What she doesn't want is children, cohabitation, or commitment.' Organised by The Society of Single Professionals and The Singles Travel Company and not Carnival itself, 300 spaces were booked on the 2,052-capacity ship by cougars and cubs from around the world and there was also a waiting list. Rich Gosse, chairman of The Society of Single Professionals, said the cruise had been a success. He said: 'We had 300 cougars and cubs and lots of parties. Lots of people had fun. What they did behind closed doors I cannot comment on because I wasn't there.

'Cubs are finally awakening to the fact that cougars make suitable partners.'

Mr Gosse added that feedback from fellow passengers who had not booked as a cougar or a cub had been positive. Mr Gosse said: 'Older women, in particular, are victimised by our youth-oriented society. They are regarded as "non-sexy".

'The truth is that there are millions of American men who find older women attractive, and we will prove it on the Cougar Cruise.'

On the prowl: 'Cougars' prefer to go out with younger men and there are a growing number of events catering for them Photo: Corbis

He said there were plans for a second U.S. Cougar Cruise next year and one in Australia. Singles Travel Company executive director Ann Thomas said: 'I've never seen a response quite like this.' She added: '2009 is the year of the Cougar. We were surprised to discover that there has never been an International Cougar Cruise. Obviously this cruise is long overdue.' [rc]

© 2009 Associated Newspapers Ltd