Get onboard ~ cruising is back. From small intimate river cruises to mammoth floating resorts, ships of all sizes have regained near capacity levels. With vigorous year round demand for cabin space, last minute deals are becoming extinct. On the flip side, planning ahead can yield excellent savings with extras. Having sailed three cruises this year with another two upcoming, it’s crystal clear that watery vistas have been sorely missed.
Despite cloudy headlines of reduced river levels, most Rhine, Danube and Bordeaux sailings have been operating without incident. Crafting improved contingency plans for drought events, innovators such as Avalon, Uniworld, and AmaWaterways have adopted new methods, having learned from experience. By rearranging itineraries and using intercity motor coach connections as needed, these innovators are better prepared to handle seasonal disruptions. Amadeus River Cruises has smartly re-engineered their vessels with “bubble’ propulsion to raise the hull, using less draft to operate in shallower waters. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.
Disruptions can impact large ships as well. Case in point: the Holland America Boston to Montreal cruise on the Zaandam I just sailed was hastily booked when my Panama Canal cruise cancelled due to Eurodam’s abrupt dry docking. Delayed refurbishments have spilled over into 2022-2023 seasons, taking ships out of service for extended periods. Ergo, cruising locks and jungle explorations were swapped for Massachusetts to Maritimes scenery. Ultimately, a serendipitous experience!
Picture this…lighthouse dotted coastlines with historic seaports from Boston to Bar Harbor, colorful villages from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island, culminating in historic and lovely Quebec City and foodie central, hockey hallowed Montreal. Expertly made local crafts of wool, glass and clay, engaging locals, and of course, luscious seafood - including Maine lobster and fresh PEI oysters! The Holland America staff, cuisine, and service were superb, a five star experience overall. Why worry? Surprises are just unplanned adventures.
Our excursions took us to places we’d otherwise never have known ~ Peggy’s Cove and its world famous lighthouse…Sydney, Nova Scotia, host to the world’s largest violin…Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, where 114 Titanic souls are laid to rest…Baddeck, a charming fishing village and home to the Alexander Graham Bell museum. Fun fact: this was the Bells’ summer place. Meeting gracious residents, eagerly sharing their proud history and culture, soaking up their culture with Scottish/Irish roots, and just strolling around Charlottetown, PEI were unmatched trip highlights. Two weeks later, Hurricane Fiona blew through, leaving a devastating impact.
Simply heartbreaking. I remain grateful, having had this unexpected opportunity to savor the sweetness of these friendly locals who are determined to rebuild their exceptionally beautiful homeland.
After constant flux with rescheduling previously cancelled cruises and tours, the focus has finally returned to future travel planning. Important to note: more stringent booking policies have replaced previously flexible cancellation/ change fee forgiveness, common during the pandemic.
Despite that, trip inquiries for 2023-2024 remain robust; many clients have nonrefundable deposit commitments thru 2023. Numerous river cruises are already sold out; prices are rising with demand for short and long itineraries. How to save? Book now, sail later. Enjoy the perks.
Places to ponder…South America , the Mediterranean, Greek islands, South Pacific, Alaska, Nile or Zambezi River…What’s your next adventure? Your sunset verandah cabin awaits!