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Out to Sea column for September 9/17
(c) By Jim and Barb Fox
In a world where tensions are rising, cruise travellers are looking for a safe haven.
Canadians don’t have to search too far as a survey finds Canada’s Maritimes is the safest cruise destination in the world.
“This peaceful corner of Canada offers bucolic pastures, exceptional seafood and scenery galore,” writes Chris Gray Faust, senior editor of the Cruise Critic website.
|A young fiddler entertains the cruise ship crowds at Peggy’s Cove, N.S. (Jim Fox photo)|
She acknowledges that cruises do go to places “that some consider risky,” such as European capitals, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Even Alaska has the risk of bears but her list of the safest cruise destinations is “where you can leave most of your worries behind.”
Cruise vacations are among the safest but even so, today’s “safe haven may be tomorrow’s ugly headline,” she commented.
The Maritime provinces are downright friendly with many ports such as Charlottetown, Saint John and Halifax being small, and some, such as Sydney, Nova Scotia, having local greeters meet the ship.
The biggest risk in this part of the world is “falling in love and not wanting to leave,” she suggests.
The list of seven safe cruise ports continues with the Baltic in second place.
Countries such as Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark are “famously progressive and mostly immune from gun violence.”
New Zealand ranks third where it’s said there are more sheep than people and even the largest cities “seem quaint and down to earth.”
The Global Peace Index ranks the country fourth most peaceful behind Iceland, Denmark and Austria, with tourists less likely to be scammed.
|A picturesque spot is the harbour at Peggy’s Cove, N.S. with the lobster traps and colourful houses on the rocky shore. (Jim Fox photo)|
In this survey, the U.S. does OK with Costal California and the Pacific Northwest ranking fourth.
Take a laid back sailing along the West Coast and visit the vineyards in Santa Barbara, explore Cannery Row in Monterey and check out the Lewis & Clark history in Astoria, Oregon.
Another option is an expedition cruise in Washington State’s remote and safe San Juan Islands.
Many cruisers like the idea of wasting away on some “deserted island” far from the madding crowd.
Private cruise line islands in the Caribbean come in at fifth place.
These uninhabited sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters are where safety-minded cruisers are “isolated within a bubble of cabanas, shoreline and activities.”
|The sign says it all for writer Jim Fox at Half Moon Cay private island in the Bahamas. (Barbara Fox photo)|
There’s no traffic, taxis, hustlers hawking merchandise, just a Gilligan’s Island getaway.
British Isles’ cruises are sixth at such spots as the Orkney and Shetland Islands, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey.
Visitors can roam free but “you should still leave valuables on the ship.”
The survey is rounded out with Japan in seventh spot where gun ownership is against the law, so violent crime is “extremely unusual” and cruisers should feel safe on shore excursions and city tours.
|Costumed guides give tours in Charlottetown, including Province House where the Legislative Assembly has met since 1847. (Barbara Fox photo)|
Halifax booms with cruisers
One of the most popular ports of call for cruise passengers is Halifax, as the city’s population will grow by 11,120 on Oct. 3.
This is the result of the busiest cruise passenger day with four megaships discharging passengers.
Arriving that day is Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas with 4,180 passengers; TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6, 2,500; Norwegian Dawn, 2,300; and Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, 2,140 passengers.
This year’s cruise season from April 24 to Oct. 31 is the busiest ever, said Lane Farguson of the Halifax Port Authority.
The record number of visitors totals 274,000 from 173 “vessel calls,” he added.
There have been five inaugural calls, four visits from Queen Mary 2 and one from Disney Magic on Oct. 26 while Sept. 14 is a five-ship day.
Jim and Barb Fox can be reached at email@example.com
For more Out to Sea trip tips: http://outtoseatravel.blogspot.ca