So here’s a question for you. Do you think “a sunset is a sunset is a sunset?” If you don’t, you may find these sunset photos interesting, as we have from a variety of cruises in different parts of the world…
Tag-Archive for » Panama Canal «
Maybe we’re missing something here…
Windstar Cruises has a new program for sailing through the Panama Canal, at night. Yes, in the dark, or mostly in the dark. As the cruise line points out, it will give Windstar guests a chance “to experience the sights and sounds of the Panama Canal while enjoying amenities and activities that highlight the Panamanian culture.“
We always thought the idea was to SEE the Panama Canal, especially now with the long-awaited expansion closing in on completion (according to the Panama Canal website everything is between 92 and 100 per cent finished, although there is still no mention of when it will open).
Meanwhile, Windstar guests will “enjoy a cool and breezy nighttime passage through the Panama Canal, during which lights illuminate the inner workings of the waterway” while they “stroll along the deck and sip on local beverages, beers, and cocktails from a mobile drink cart while listening to local festive music from various regions around the country.”
Except for what would be illuminated, this sounds like it could apply to just about any cruise, just about anywhere.
Our Panama Canal experience is one crossing. We were mesmerized. This weekend, we dined with friends who are not avid cruisers, who recently cruised through the Canal and who will probably never set foot on a cruise ship again — translation: They didn’t have a good time.
The one part of the 16-day journey that mesmerized them was the Panama Canal.
Like us, they went through during the day. Like us, they saw it. Who knows how much of it Windstar’s guests will be able to see? At least they won’t know what they’re missing, right?
In the news…
• Two Celebrity Summit passengers die, 18 are hurt, in Tortola bus crash
• Zuiderdam 7th Holland American ship this year with CDC score of 100
• Regal Princess to star in 6-part ITV documentary ‘The Cruise’ in March
• Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas to get $30-million upgrade in spring
Today at portsandbows.com: Princess plans for Europe in 2017
Holland America Oosterdam
December 28, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, Fort-de-France, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay
Cost per day: $99
Everybody loves a deal. That used to mean taking advantage of last-minute sales that were sometimes the product of too much product. Too many televisions…too many optical mice…too many empty rooms. Take your pick.
On cruise ships, empty rooms generate no income. Then, along came Royal Caribbean, earlier this year deciding not to bow to the lure of slashing prices to fill some beds.
End of last-minute deals?
Maybe. Maybe not. This week, Windstar Cruises has last-minute bargains in the name of Veterans Day, which is Wednesday. The sale continues until Thursday and it applies on cruises in Europe, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal and the Caribbean.
How good a deal is 81 per cent off?
Whatever Windstar’s motivation, there are some real bargains, with an additional $100 off for vets and active-duty military personnel. Sail (and it is sailing as these are yachts) around Tahiti, or Costa Rica, or the Caribbean for seven days for $1,299. That’s less than $200 per day with a premium cruise line.
The European cruises are less attractive but, by Windstar prices, good deals. A week in the Greek Isles and Turkey goes for $2,599, a cruise with a sticker price of $7,399.
Granted, the deals are on select cruises. Granted, you do have to fly to the embarkation and disembarkation ports. Granted, you may have to book tomorrow, pack Wednesday and leave Thursday. But for a chance to sail on a ship most of us can only admire from the shore…
Isn’t that what last-minute deals are?
In the news…
• Emiel de Vries named Captain of Holland America's new Konigsdam
• No decision yet about sending SS United States to ship scrapyard
• Privately owned islands in Papua New Guinea to open for cruising in 2016
Today at portsandbows.com: First look at Anthem of the Seas
A writer for Conde Nast Traveler, Ondine Cohane, has produced the “Seven Cruise Wonders of the World.” It’s a clever idea and, like all such lists, highly subjective.
Picking up on it, Princess Cruises now has a contest for cruisers to add No. 8. The top prize is to sail away to one of the wonders (the eighth?) on a Princess ship.
What would your pick be?
Before deciding, here is Ms Cohane’s criteria for what qualifies as a cruise wonder, followed by her list of seven:
“The particular sense of arrival when approaching them by ship, the experience of anticipation and excitement when closing in on each treasure, and the sense of discovery that only an arrival by ship can really create.”
1. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
2. Panama Canal
3. Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan
4. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
5. Christ the Redeemer (statue), Brazil
6. Trunk Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands
7. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
So, about Number Eight?
Obviously, you draw on your experiences from cruising, not from pictures, We’ve seen two of her wonders (Glacier Bay, Panama Canal) and wouldn’t object to their inclusions. Using her criteria and our experiences, three candidates come to mind for the eighth wonder…
Vancouver: Approaching the Lions Gate Bridge and sailing under it, both times in early morning as the sun crested over the North Shore Mountains.
Venice: As beautiful and intriguing an arrival by ship as we’ve ever seen, and the city lives up to the anticipation.
Over to you…
In the news…
• Royal Caribbean pushing 30 per cent discounts on all cruise ships
• First LGBT cruise line, Anteros, to announce itineraries in April 2016
• SplashGolf in interactive water environment installed on Norwegian Epic
Today at portsandbows.com: Day by day on Fathom's Cuba cruise
We could be wrong about this but we detect the heavy hand of Frank Del Rio in Norwegian’s latest news bulletin.
And that’s good.
For the first time in 13 years, Norwegian is sending a ship to Asia and Australia. For the first time ever, Norwegian is sending a ship to the Persian Gulf and India. For the first time since any of us can remember, Norwegian is going to base a ship in South America for two consecutive winters (having taken the Norwegian Sun to South America a few years ago — on what will always be near the top of our favorite cruises — this item really got our attention).
And finally, for the first time since…April, the Norwegian Epic is returning to North America.
All of this is going to start happening next year, and it smacks of the ambitious and gregarious CEO of Norwegian Holdings, Frank Del Rio, who has been on the job just seven months, and his Norwegian lieutenant, Andy Stuart.
That Norwegian would find its way to Asia was inevitable, because there isn’t going to be a major cruise line without a presence there. That its new itineraries would spread to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and India demonstrates the intent the cruise line has to be a player in those markets.
By ships, here is how it shakes down for the fall and winter of 2016-17…
Norwegian Star will launch its program from Istanbul on October 31, 2016 on a 20-day cruise through the Mediterranean to the Suez Canal and eventually Dubai. After that, its ports on a variety of cruises will include Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bali, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.
Norwegian Epic will summer in Europe and winter in the Caribbean, from Miami, an about-face for a ship that was going to sail year-round from Barcelona. The first of its 3-4-and-7-day cruises will be in the fall of 2016.
Norwegian Sun (ah, memories) will continue to be the workhorse in South America, where in the winter of 2015-16 it will be on cruises of two weeks or longer.
By the time all this falls into place, the Norwegian Escape will be here (it hits the water October 25 and crosses the ocean four days later. With the return of the Epic, that means Norwegian’s four biggest ships of its 14-member fleet — Epic, Escape, Breakaway and Getaway — will all be spending their winters in Caribbean waters.
So for as much talk as there is about cruise lines and their expansion to Asia and Australia, the core of this business is still Caribbean cruises.
In the news…
• Carnival, Dr. Seuss host two celebrity book-reading events
• America Cruise Lines doubles capacity on Snake, Columbia Rivers
Today at portsandbows.com: Chef Curtis Stone on Princess fleet