Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cruises worthy of your bucket list

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CRUISE lines reposition their ships every year in April and May, with an armada of ships starting the trek to Vancouver and Seattle for the Alaska season. Some ships will make the trek in three or four days while others will take as long as a month.

Going from Florida through the Panama Canal and on to Vancouver is one of the most popular cruises around. Some cruise lines tie in hotel and air, some offer onboard perks and others bring compelling speakers on the ship.

Cruise lines know the canal is on a lot of bucket lists and battles between carriers and agents can lead to favourable pricing. For instance, leaving April 12, Holland America's Statendam will take 23 days to travel from Fort Lauderdale to Vancouver with a starting price of $1,357. That's $59 a day -- an excellent price for accommodation, food and entertainment.

Never tried cruising? Here is an appetizer leaving on May 6: a four-day, one-stop cruise on Holland America's Westerdam from San Diego to Vancouver for $143.64 -- less than $36 a day.

Some of the best values can be found when pairing cruises:

Holland America

If you have a month to spare, Holland America has paired a 14-day Asian cruise on the Volendam with a 17-day Transpacific cruise for a starting price of $1,745 per person. It departs from Kobe, Japan, on April 1 and includes overnights in Xingang (Beijing), Shanghai and Yokohama, Japan. The Alaska portion starts in Kodiak, and the final port is Vancouver.

Royal Caribbean

This Radiance of the Seas combo offers warm Australian and Hawaiian weather on the way to Vancouver. Starting April 19, the first leg is Sydney to Honolulu with stops at Picton and Wellington (New Zealand), Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora (French Polynesia), then Lahaina (Hawaii) and Honolulu. Stay on the same ship for the second leg and you'll tour the Hawaiian Islands before crossing the Pacific to Victoria and Vancouver. Leg one costs $1,209; leg two, $1,119.

Celebrity's Wine Cruise

How does meandering up the coast on the Celebrity Century while savouring Northern California wine from Napa, Sonoma and Monterey sound? The annual eight-day Wine Cruise leaves San Diego on April 27 and stops in Santa Barbara and Monterey before spending two days in San Francisco, one day each in Astoria and Victoria, and then arriving in Vancouver. Starting price is $818.

Starting prices noted here were available at the time of writing and is based on per-person, double occupancy, not including fees and taxes. For more details, go to the cruise lines' websites; Hollandamerica.com, Princess.com, Celebritycruises.com and Royalcaribbean.com.

PHIL'S TIP

Before Christmas, I was on a cruise with no luggage for five days. Whether flying or cruising, if you travel as a pair, mix your clothes between two suitcases. If one goes missing, you both have some clothes until the missing suitcase catches up. Take pictures of each suitcase and its contents; it helps if you have to make a claim.

-- Postmedia News

Visit portsandbows.com for daily updates on the latest cruise news, best deals and behind-the-scenes stories from the industry. You can also sign up for an email newsletter on the site for even more cruise information. Phil can be contacted directly at portsandbows

 

 

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2013 D3

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