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Eighth Cruise Wonder, Anyone?

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…

VancouverVancouver: 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.

New York: Crossing under the Verrazano Bridge to be faced with the Statue of Liberty, that icon of freedom.

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

Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
7 nights
December 13, 2015
Galveston (return): Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $512
Cost per day: $73

Impact of government shutdown possible glitch for cruise passengers this month

While you may already be weary of reading and hearing about the U.S. government shutdown, don't turn a blind eye or deaf ear to it if you're on a cruise ships in the next few weeks. It could — repeat, could — have an impact on your shore excursion should it happen to include a visit to a national park or another government-operated facility.

The national parks are a no-brainer, because they're all closed, and some passengers have already had to change shore excursions on Fall Foliage cruises in the north-east. However, some national parks are "attractions" you Alcatrazmay not have thought about as having locked doors right now because they don't have, you know, trees and animals.

Here's a few you may be planning on seeing either before, during or after your cruise (checking with your cruise line is highly recommended):

• The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York

• The Washington Monument, the National Zoo and the Smithsonian buildings in Washington

• The Hawaii volcanoes (Kilauea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island and Haleakala on Maui) and, yes, they are considered "national parks" but most people wouldn't think of them that way

Alcatraz (above) in San Francisco

• Independence Hall in Philadelphia

If you're like us, your cruise experience is often more than the ship and the shore excursions. When you leave from an area you're not in often, it's usually worth taking a few extra days to see the sights.

Alas, the sights are often government operated.

When there is no shutdown, that is.

National Parks

Carnival Ecstasy
5 nights
October 26, 2013
Port Canaveral (return): Little Stirrup Cay, NassauFreeport 
Inside: $189
Cost per day: $37

A Day for Queens in The Big Apple

There are all kinds of metaphors that can be applied to the meeting of “three queens.” Good poker hand, for one. Inclusive modernization of a Christmas carol (We Three ‘Kings’) for another. Let your imagination — or CNN queen of quirkiness Jeanne Moos — run with any more creative concoctions.

For we who spend a lot of time in the cruise world, “Three Queens” can only mean the good ships of Cunard: Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. They don’t get together for Royal Family reunions often — the last such company celebration (above) was in 2008, but tomorrow is one such occasion.

The sister ships will be rubbing shoulders, or hulls (almost), twice tomorrow. The first time will be under the Verrazzano Bridge (don’t read anything into their social status because they’re meeting under a bridge) as they arrive in tandem — all things being equal — from England (2) and the Caribbean (1). You’ll know who came from where by Queen Mary’s tan, which should contrast dramatically with New York’s anticipated snowfall.

The second meeting will be later that day, after they’ve been properly primped in port, Mary in Brooklyn and the others in Manhattan – too bad they couldn’t all be in the borough of Queens. They would spend a day in The Big Apple doing the things three sisters do in New York City, but there are some physical limitations, so they’ll probably have to settle for texting each other until evening.

That’s when they’ll make their grand departure from New York Harbor, gathering in front of the Statue of Liberty for a fireworks farewell that will be watched by thousands, including couples who paid $595 to watch from front row suites at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park.

And given that the clever queen of quirkiness lives in New York, what do you think the chances are Jeanne Moos will be there, too?

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