Cruise Checklist: Top Destination Picks For Every Budget

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According to the latest numbers, boomers are the most prolific of cruise travellers in Canada.

For Canadians, with three coasts and umpteen lakes, being on the water comes naturally. And according to the latest numbers, we boomers are the most prolific of cruise travellers in the country. We love the unpack-once-yet-visit-a-new-port-of-call-every-few-days convenience.

So what’s new? A tweaked definition of mixing business with pleasure, coined by the industry as “bleisure.” According to Mary Jean Tully of Tully Luxury Travel, it could mean, “bringing along family while on business to explore a culture.” And cruise lines are being inspired by the “global citizen” traveller, with opportunities for philanthropic pursuits and learning holidays. There’s the combo traveller, too: Uniworld River Cruises have teamed up with Canada’s Butterfield & Robinson, known for its cycling tours, to offer biking river cruises on the Danube and the Rhone in Europe.

The changing environment is also changing the cruise landscape. Carl Henderson of Travel Professionals International (TPI), part of the Virtuoso advisers network, says Royal Caribbean’s next class of ships will be powered by more environmentally friendly methods. And, for the first time, a luxury ship—Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity—was able to traverse the Northwest Passage.

Another hot topic? Cuba. But now, we’re touring the country from its coasts, says Kathy Mooney at Air Canada Vacations, rather than flying and flopping at its resorts.

Sailing solo? TPI’s Marilyn Baird says book a river cruise. “It’s a wonderful way to meet fellow travellers.”

Read on for our cruise 2017 checklist, for every budget.

Mary Jean Tully, Tully Luxury Travel
Budget List Caribbean; Alaska
Bucket List Tahiti; Australia and New Zealand; Galapagos; Antarctica; Iceland
Small Ship List Mekong through Vietnam and Cambodia; Irrawaddy in Myanmar

Lori Copeland, Merit Travel
Budget List Canadian Arctic; The St. Lawrence or Newfoundland
Bucket List Educational experiences and learning journeys such as Voyages to Antiquities’ Aegean Odyssey
Small Ship List A sailing vessel such as a Star Clipper throughout Europe during summer, Caribbean and Indonesia during winter.

Carl Henderson, Travel Professionals International
Budget-meets-Bucket List Tahiti. Right now, Paul Gauguin cruises offers up to 25 per cent off.
Small Ship List AMA Waterways, who cruise for Adventures by Disney and Backroads.

Kathy Mooney, cruise product development, Air Canada Vacations
Budget List Caribbean
Bucket List Far East; Australia; a European cruise.
Small Ship List China’s Yangtze

Marilyn Baird, Travel Professionals International
Budget List The Caribbean
Bucket List Specialty small ships for a truly all-inclusive feel
River List Europe, Asia and Africa. (Good for those who suffer motion sickness as rivers tend to be calm.)

A version of this article appeared in the December 2016/January 2017 issue with the headline, “Cruising: Where Next?”, p. 30.