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Suggestion when Shopping for Cruises

Here’s another one of those buyer-beware warnings…

Who wants to be the middle-aged woman accidentally going on a cruise for cougars (they exist)? Or the pick-your-strict-whatever individual who gets on a cruise ship and finds at least a portion of it is dedicated to nudists (it also happens)?

They are called “theme cruises” and they run the gamut of special interest. You name it, there’s a cruise for it…so just let your imagination go on this one.

The message here is make sure you check with the cruise line (or your travel agent) before booking to find out if there’s a large group of special-interest folks on the ship. It’s not that you have to participate in what’s going on during the cruise, but the special-interest activities might limit or impact in some way on what you want to do.

On one of our recent cruises, we overheard this sarcastic remark from a young woman sitting by the pool:

“I can’t wait to get back to San Francisco to tell everybody I spent my wedding cruise with a bunch of [expletive deleted]!”

And that’s the point. Check it out first.

Recommending Shore Excursions

A while ago we had an email from friends who share our passion for cruising. They’re going to South America in February and in the process of planning some shore excursions, wishing they could benefit from somebody else’s experience. They suggested we categorize shore-excursion input from our readers and make it available to others.

Good idea!

“When we went to St. Petersburg on Princess a friend told us not to miss Catherine’s Palace,” they wrote. “It was an evening tour and we were there for two days and took day tours both days and were not planning to be  exhausted with an evening tour, but did so and were rewarded with a magnificent evening. And we asked friends who had been to Oslo what to see and they said not to miss the Vigeland sculpture gardens — incredible.”

So here’s what we’d like. To all of you who have been on cruises (duh, this is a blog about cruising!), send us some details of your favorite shore excursion. Tell us:

• where it was
• what it was
• which cruise line
• why you liked it

Just enter the details in the “Comment” box below and fill in your details.

Once we have enough shore excursions to warrant it, we’ll create a link to them on the website.

Taxing Time for Alaska

While suppliers, retailers and operators continue to be concerned by the diminishing cruise market to Alaska, the good news is that the most northern state continues to be serviced by 10 cruise lines that will take you through the Inside Passage, to the Gulf of Alaska or on small-ship expeditions.
As always, the market will dictate the success of Alaska cruises. When the price becomes too steep for cruisers to enjoy the magnificent glaciers, the volume of passengers will fall, and that’s why Alaska cruise suppliers are petitioning legislators for tax cuts (as in head taxes, gambling taxes and regulatory fees).
If you find there are fewer ships and fewer cruises to choose from, don’t blame the cruise companies, which can only address customer demand while still turning a profit. Maybe the financial crunch has to hurt even more than a drop in 142,000 passengers before Alaska legislators make visits to their beautiful state more appealing to cruise budgets.
In Alaska, the cruise season is relatively short and when it comes to shoulder seasons they’re relatively cold. A cold shoulder is what cruise companies are getting from the state government…so far.
That’s it, we’re done.

Category: Cruise News, Ports, Stories  Tags: , ,  Comments off
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