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Picking A Cruise By Shore Savings


Two years ago, the U.S. and Canadian dollars were at par. According to yesterday’s exchange rates, $1.00 U.S. was worth $1.22 Canadian. That kind of gap usually means an exodus of tourists in the direction of better deals, and apparently that’s what is happening in conjunction with Alaska cruises originating in Vancouver.

According to a report by Canada’s national broadcaster, CBC, the falling Canadian dollar is encouraging more Americans to cruise out of Vancouver this summer…perhaps combining a cruise with a Canadian vacation. The report estimates that 70 per cent of passengers boarding ships bound for Alaska in the Port of Vancouver are Americans.

It’s not so much that cruises are better deals — Americans booking cruises from Vancouver pay in U.S. dollars — as it is that everything else around the departure and return is a deal. Hotels, restaurants, tours, taxis…the whole enchilada.

The number of cruise visitors this year is expected to be about 800,000, on par with last year. That’s from 227 visits on 32 cruise ships. However, tourism analysts say Americans are likely to stay longer before or after the cruise, and spend more because of the currency bargains.

This foreign currency concept is foreign to us. Everybody likes a deal but our choices in picking a cruise would be more inclined to focus on whether the cruise is a deal, not whether the hotel before leaving was.

What about you?

In the news…

• Costa Deliziosa to sail from Fort Lauderdale starting in December
• Norwegian Dawn passengers anticipating compensation for delay
• Luxury cruise market expecting 53 per cent jump by 2018
• Azamara launches ‘Cruise Global, Eat Local’ dining program

Today at portsandbows.comA $90-million terminal upgrade for Quebec

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas
7 nights
September 20, 2015
San Juan (return): St. Croix, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia
Inside: $489
Cost per day: $69

Cruise Line Captures Cool Idea

In case you missed the memo, Frozen is hot. That’s Frozen the movie, plus all the Frozen-moviemerchandise that comes with it …can you say “What’s under the Christmas tree this year?” In fact, Frozen is so hot that it’s on the high seas, in a way.

The one-year-old movie that appeals to all-year-olds is not going to be on any of the big screens that ships now have, with the possible exception of Disney. Olaf will not be your maitre d’— although he could be a Scandinavian ship captain if that happens to be his name. Elsa is not likely to be the girl by the pool taking drink orders. There will not be a reindeer ride on Sven, at least not yet.

Frozen-OceaniaFrozen is on Oceania.

Clearly hoping to catch your eye by capitalizing on the movie’s fame, the promotional line reads like this: “With Oceania Cruises, Frozen describes only the refreshing tropical drink in your hand…as you leisurely sail from one sun-drenched Caribbean island to another.”

The come-on is called “Frozen…a la Oceania Cruises.”

So, there is Frozen…and there is Frozen. 

And that’s how you mix your drink with a movie.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas
7 nights
January 25, 2015
San Juan (return): BarbadosSt. LuciaAntiguaSt. MaartenSt. Croix
Inside: $382
Cost per day: $54

Sustainability On The Rivers Of America?

For the dinosaurs among us (who knew dinosaurs still existed?), "sustainable" is a 21st-century word whose meaning is, well, confusing. In fact, a study about the meaning this month showed that baby boomers are confused. We tend to think of it as a "healthy" word and, while it is that, it's much more.

So when the largest American cruise company talks about a "sustainable cuisine" it's worth examining further what that means.

For American Cruise Lines (yes, the largest AMERICAN cruise company because all the bigger ones are registered in other countries), a sustainable cuisine means Queen of the Westfeeding passengers on its river ships with produce from suppliers along the route. The idea is that it impacts less on the ecosystem (environment for the BBs) as the ships go up the lazy rivers.

Here's an example, part of American's Cruise Local. Eat Local campaign:

Passengers on Queen of the West, following in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark on the Columbia and Snake rivers, will find freshly caught salmon on the plate, accompanied by Astoria (Oregon) honey, Rainier (the mountain) cherries and local Queen of Mississippihuckleberries, mint and tomatoes.

Down the Mississippi, on board the "Queen" named after the river, passengers will be more likely to feast on pork from Des Moines, cheeses from Wisconsin and pralines from New Orleans.

In New England…lobster, of course.

You get the idea.

American's strategy is to "enhance" the experience for the end users while supporting the local economies it visits while at the same time monitoring impact on fish populations and offering smaller portions.

That's, well…healthy. So maybe we do know a little about the meaning of the "S" word.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas
12 nights
August 17, 2014
London (return): GibralterCartagenaBarcelonaPalma De MallorcaCadizLisbonVigo
Inside: $1,679
Cost per day: $139

It's Official…Knicks Cruising Norwegian

Timing is, indeed, everything. On the day that the New York Knicks open the new NBA season, Norwegian trumpets the fact that it is now the "official cruise line" of the Knicks. Coincidence, or getting the biggest bang for your buck?

And the Knicks even co-operated, polishing off Milwaukee 90-83 in last night's season opener. No, Milwaukee doesn't have an official cruise line so that was clearly the difference…right?

imgres copyThis is the 40th anniversary of a once-storied NBA franchise that is coming off a division title at just the right time…for Norwegian, too. The cruise line is getting more firmly entrenched in the Big Apple with each passing year — probably starting with the arrival of the Breakaway, the "unofficial" cruise ship of New York City, early in 2013.

Yes, right about the time the Knicks were making headlines for the first time in two decades by ushering the mighty Boston Celtics from the playoffs.

Again, karma.

And just in case you think Norwegian's next new ship, the Getaway, is going to adopt an NBA team when it hunkers down in Miami…not going to happen.

The Heat is a team owned by Micky Arison…you know, the guy who also owns Carnival.

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas
7 nights
January 19, 2014
San Juan (return): St. ThomasSt. KittsArubaCuracao
Inside: $579
Cost per day: $70

What Can Happen on Ship's 'Playground'

Here's a serious cruise incident for you to ponder:

Last February, a nine-year-old boy on a Royal Caribbean ship suffered a head injury while playing a game similar to dodge ball. Participants were other kids and crew members from the ship.

The ship was docked in the Bahamas. The kids were invited to play by the crew and, being kids, they were only too happy to oblige. The game was played on hardwood or concrete, with the kids dodging balls thrown by the crew. Nobody was wearing protective equipment and the boy, Leo Tao, collided with another child and had to undergo emergency brain surgery in Nassau.

You know what's next, right.

A lawsuit.

In it, the complainant says Leo suffered "severe and permanent damage" and that Royal Caribbean was at fault because "no protective equipment was provided…nor were any warning signs present."

The cruise line defense is that the accident "could happen at any school, playground, or daycare."

So…when is a playground-type collision somebody's fault, and when is it part of the risk of being a kid?

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas
13 nights
November 4, 2013
London, Funchal, St. MaartenSt. KittsSt. Thomas, San Juan
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $30



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