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Canada Cruising and a Name Contest

Cruising to Canada usually means one of two things. You’re en route to Alaska (west), or you’re going to see fall colors (east). If you’re sailing out of New York or Boston, it’s September or October and you’re off to see the brilliance of a Canadian autumn.

That’s part of the problem. In the eyes of the cruise lines, fall foliage is — as the French would say — the raison d’être for cruising to Canada.

“”We have to get beyond this idea that the colors of the leaves is the only reason to come,” Dan Hanrahan, CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said at a cruise symposium, “but the cruise industry can’t do that. We can sell the brand and the itinerary, but we’re not the ones to convince people to come beyond that.”

He is right. There will be 20,000 or so fewer people cruising Canada (east) this year, and tourism officials in Quebec are trying to find ways to bring them back. They could start with the rich history of the mighty St. Lawrence River and its gulf, where the country was claimed for France by Jacques Cartier, who thought he’d sailed far enough west to find Asia!

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Either Norwegian has run out of ideas for names of ships, or it’s seizing on a clever campaign that fits today’s climate of social media. NCL is inviting the public to submit names, for two ships that are due to be launched in 2013 and 2014, in partnership with USA Today.

Contestants can enter by clicking here and submitting (often) a name that starts with “Norwegian” for one of the ships only, from now until August 14, when the contest ends. Winners will be announced in September, and the prize is a trip for two to the naming ceremony for the first ship.

Norwegian doesn’t say so, but the prize must include some kind of inaugural voyage (even a short one) because the winners receive “balcony stateroom accommodations.”

Clever but…wouldn’t it be more appropriate if the winners went to the ceremony of the ship they named, which can only happen if the same entrant names both ships?

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Ever wonder why somebody who’s blind would go on a cruise?

Wonder no more. Just click on this link and take a few minutes to read the story of Patty and Terry Horvath, written by Ellen Creager of McClatchy-Tribune News Services.

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