Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cruising and Traveling In The Western Hemisphere - What A Concept!

Over the holidays I had some time (actually very little time as many people were booking cruises while snowed in and before Seabourn's fare increases) to look forward into 2011.  And what I saw was somewhat surprising.  I am visiting and cruising a lot of North America...and I am excited about it.

On January 22, 2011 I am hosting a small group (do I host any other size group?) on the Celebrity Century for a friend's 60th birthday.  It is a short five day cruise out of Miami visiting Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.  Everyone has booked either a Sky Suite or a Royal Suite and we have reserved Murano, the specialty restaurant, for our exclusive use one evening.  I didn't pick the itinerary, but keeping in mind that most of the guests haven't been on many cruises it probably will be interesting for them.  As I do not plan on getting of the ship for long it will be a great experience to revisit the concept of "luxing up" a Celebrity cruise and comparing it to what is received from the luxury-designated cruise lines.

In March I will again be making my way to the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Conference in Miami, Florida to hear all of the cruise lines big announcements and learn more of the subtle changes and focuses coming in the industry. It is a great conference focused on the industry...not on travel agents or the public.

After that, on April 17, 2011 I will be boarding the Crystal Symphony with my family for a seven day cruise of the West Coast in Veranda Cabins. We are departing out of Vancouver and then visiting Victoria, BC; Seattle; Astoria, Oregon; San Francisco; Santa Barbara, California; and, Los Angeles.  I think it is a great West Coast itinerary with a little bit of a taste of everything...and with some snow still on the ground up north.  I am not sure how Crystal came up with this itinerary or why it is available in mid April, but for me and my family it allows us to revisit some places we love and to experience some others that we really should be more familiar with. 

Of course, the comparison between our Celebrity Sky Suite and Crystal Veranda Cabin experiences will be very interesting.  The one thing that strikes me immediately is that the Crystal itinerary is so far superior in diversity and interest that I "fear" the experience will be skewed.  I am also certain that there will be a bit more enrichment on the Crystal cruise and a bit more football playoffs for my New York Jets (hopefully) on the Celebrity cruise.

Then, after quickly unpacking in May it is off to the American Superyacht Forum which this year is being held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  This three day event is one of my favorites of the year.

Taking a break from the Western Hemisphere the plan is to revisit the little mountain village of Islamlar, Turkey in July.

In September it will be the nine day 2011 Goldring Travel Food & Foliage Cruise on the Seabourn Sojourn departing out of Quebec City, Quebec and then sailing to Port Sanguenay, Quebec; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston; and, New York City.  I will be writing more extensively about this great cruise which will be (hopefully) at the peak of leaf season and with the cold waters providing some great fresh seafood.  And, of course, the Ensemble Experience in Halifax, a Goldring Travel Exclusive Experience and a private Food & Wine Tasting are all included at no additional cost.

So with travels in 2011 starting in Lake Tahoe, California and then from Miami, Florida into the Caribbean...and then back to Miami...and then Victoria, British Columbia to Los Angeles, California...then to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida...and then Quebec City, Quebec to New York City it looks like this world traveler is going to be enjoying his own backyard.

How many of you have been to the Western Hemisphere cities I will be visiting?  I bet there are a few that peak your interest.  You may not want to wait to read what I have to say about them!