Carnival Says No to 'Cougar Cruise'

"It's like they say in Las Vegas: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Same thing on a cruise boat," Grosse said. "People don't have their bosses, their neighbors, their co-workers and their family looking over their shoulder. They can let the inner child out on a cruise."

Miss Cougar America Hits the Open Seas

Gloria Navarro is 42, divorced and into younger guys. She was the "guest of honor" for this cruise, and honor she was given after being named Miss Cougar America at the National Cougar Convention this past August. Gosse is also that event's organizer. Navarro, a California practice management consultant who focuses on dental practice, went on the cruise to dance, eat, hang out by the pool and of course meet some "cubs."

"I'm proud to represent a new breed of woman who are strong, independent, successful and just looking for somebody who is going to be a little more exciting than your average 40-and-up man," Navarro told ABC News.

So what makes these cubs so appealing?

Navarro said they have a sense of adventure and have fewer issues than older men.

"I always say: Men are the same at every age whether they're in their 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s. They just accumulate more baggage along the way," she said. "For myself, I believe that the cougar-cub relationship is one of mutual understanding and respect."

And why are the cubs attracted to the cougars, usually women in their 40s and 50s?

"The younger men get the advantage of being with an experienced woman, who according to the cubs, know what they want. "There's no game playing," Gosse said.

Navarro met a cub shortly after getting divorced two years ago, and "I've never looked back," she said. Right now, she is casually dating a 37-year-old who is "a little older than my typical cub." But she's open to meeting someone else on the cruise.

Ken Heit is director of sales for World Wide Cruises, American Express affiliated travel agency that has specialized in cruises for more than 20 years.

He said that while he has heard of singles cruises before, he had not seen any other cougar cruises. But it doesn't surprise him. There are niche cruises for music groups, art groups, churches -- even nudists.

Cruises Hurt by Recession

Like the rest of the travel industry, the cruise business has been hurt by the recession. Ships aren't going out to sea empty, but cruise companies have had to severely cut prices to fill rooms.

Heit said the cougar cruise is "an usual concept," but added that a hip is a logical place to have such an event.

"It's a closed environment. There's no place to run or to hide," Heit said. "It's easy to meet people. It's kind of conducive for people to meet. It's not like at a hotel where you can say, 'I'm tired of this. I'm driving away.' There's no place for you to go. You're on a ship."

Just not Carnival ships anymore.

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