Cruising – Part I

How We Got Hooked!

     Several years ago, in the spring of 2005, a friend shared a flyer she had received from a travel agent with Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Lynwood Washington. His name is Alan Schiller and he used to offer excellent special deals at  The flyer that got us hooked was a $199 per person three day cruise from Los Angeles, CA to Vancouver, BC – the price included airfare to the Ontario airport with bus transfers to the Port of Los Angeles.  Of course, as we learned, the $199 was the base price, with additional charges for port fees and taxes, travel insurance, and a $10 per day tipping surcharge – per person.   Still to us it was a fantastic deal.

     Before we left, we were advised of the possibility of continuing our cruise from Vancouver to Seward, Alaska and return to Seattle.  Again, the price was unbelievable, so we parlayed that three day cruise into our first fantastic “cruising” adventure.  Our first ship was the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Dream.  It was love at first sight. Although the Dream was not the most luxurious ship and she was a little worn around the edges, like any first love, the memories we made on-board will always remain precious to us.  Prior to our departure we were successful in talking Barbara’s sister and her husband into boarding the Dream in Vancouver and sharing the adventure.  What a great time we had and it was good that we could do it with family.

     Well, since we are now hooked, we waited anxiously for Alan’s next offering, and it wasn’t too long until  we received his next tempting offer.  This was a 17 day “re-positioning”  in the Fall of 2005 from Seattle through the Panama Canal ending at the Port of Houston – and as with all of Alan’s offerings – it included return air fare to Seattle.   The hook is set deeper and firmly in place – it was like an addiction!  This time we were able to convince two friends from church to go with us.  Although we enjoyed ourselves, we experienced one down downside of cruising – mechanical failure!  Our wonderful “Dream” developed engine trouble which caused  a delay in our arrival in Houston.  Subsequently we missed our return flight to Seattle.  There were some tense moments as we, along with several hundred travelers, had to scramble to make alternative flight arrangements.  This turn of events taught us the value of trip insurance, and the wisdom of arriving at the port of departure a day  before the cruise begins and leaving the day after disembarkation.  We also found out that if the cruise ship company makes your flight arrangements, it is up to their travel department to do the heavy lifting if unforeseen situations arise.

     Later cruises took us to New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Indonesia, the South Seas, the Hawaiian Islands, and most recently a 12 day adventure to several countries in Scandinavia, which I chronicled in this blog.  Yes, the “hook” is firmly set now!

Next time – Part II – Why cruise?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s