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Update: COVID-19 Office Guidelines
Help prevent the spread of COVID-19
In order to reduce risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, we are limiting the number of people in our space.
Occupancy Limit - 2 customers in the office at any given time.
APPOINTMENT ONLY - please call or email to arrange a time for your visit to arrange future travel.
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Please sanitize your hands upon entry to office and be seated in the
chairs at the front window for the duration of your appointment to
satisfy the 6 ft social distancing protocol.
We will not be accepting customers seated directly at our desks at this time. We thank you for your understanding and patience through this
time of COVID-19.
Why book with us?
Cruise Line Cruise with Confidence Policies
Holland America Line
American Queen Steamboat Company
From Robert's Desk...
Too Early? We Agree.
If you’re reading this thinking “It’s just too early to think about booking a trip,” imagine what it’s like for us to be writing this! We agree. It’s too early. The border is still closed and a lot needs to happen before we all feel comfortable traveling. But, what has become crystal clear to us, is that by the time everything is in place, and you feel comfortable planning a trip, it may be too late.
We are hearing a lot of people telling us that they are aware of the passing of time more than ever now. My in-laws talk often of how long they have waiting to retire and
travel, and this has been taken away now. They feel that they have less time to see the
world and are more eager than ever to get out and enjoy safe travels. They are not alone.
Everyday, we have people tell us that they’ll be the first ones through our doors when a vaccine is ready. That’s great to hear, but by the time a vaccine is ready, millions will have already made bookings. Consider that millions of cancelled cruise passengers took future cruise credits, with bonus amounts, instead of refunds. These guests are now sitting on these Future Cruise Credits (FCC’s), and are really wanting to rebook something while prices are low and they can get upgraded cabins with their bonus amounts. It makes sense for them to book now - booking now doesn’t cost them a penny since they have the credits waiting. If any new bookings are cancelled due to a new wave of COVID-19, they’ll simply postpone their trip and higher credits to use next time. These FCC holders are certainly leading the charge of new bookings, but they aren’t alone now.
Others are realizing that fewer cabins and many more people wanting to travel can spell only one thing for prices, and you can’t blame the cruise lines for increasing prices when the vaccine-ready demand comes. But where do you start? What used to be so easy, booking a cruise, now feels strange and a little hard. Where should I go? What is everyone else doing right now? We can tell you that North American departures are leading the bookings recovery right now. Alaska is strong, with many people booking longer, Alaska tours. They want to see more of Alaska, and, Alaska is so easy for us here in the Lower Mainland. Caribbean bookings are very strong right now, particularly with travellers on the East Coast. We see high interest in Coastals and Hawaii cruises, particularly the roundtrip itineraries that don’t require any flights. The surprising one for all of us is that Europe is leading new bookings as well. Europe got in front of their pandemic outbreak and is now opening their doors. Travellers love Europe and bookings are now strong.
We know it’s early. But, new bookings can cancel right up until 48 hours before your departure (some cruise lines vary slightly on this policy so ask us about the policy of your preferred line). For bookings made by August 1, this cancel-at-any-time policy stays with you for the life of your booking - cancel at any time. Think of it as avoiding rush hour. Rush hour for travel is coming. It’ll start when everyone is comfortable
again. A lot of travellers will be competing for fewer cabins. Why not avoid the rush and all that comes with it? Start your plans now and take advantage of the flexibility, great rates, and onboard perks offered to new bookings now - the deals are great!
River Cruises Update
River-cruise companies are reporting the highest booking rates in their history right now. When you think about it, it makes sense. Viking was the first cruise line to cancel sailings
in 2020. They were very aggressive in putting travellers minds at ease. They were the first to
allow guests the option of cancelling right up until 24 hours before their departure. Many took
them up on it and now have future cruise credits in the amount of 125% of what they paid
originally. An extra 25% is a lot with a river cruise, and these guests are excited to now be
upgrading to French Balconies and Full-View verandas - and booking they are.
Another plus for a river cruise is the small-group nature of the ships. Most river boats hold just 180 travellers. If you are holding a future credit for a river cruise, there is no reason to wait to book your next cruise. It costs you nothing to book a new reservation with your future cruise credit, and you are then protected from any price increases, but can cancel at any time. Prices will go nowhere but up on these popular river cruises when promising news arrives!
Many people like the thought of a smaller ship and if you don’t want to travel far to board a
European river cruise, American Queen offers North American river cruises on beautifully decorated, small ships. It’s true that smaller ships are very popular right now. Our clients
love their American Queen experience. The food is terrific and everything is included upfront
- even a tour in each stop. One of our most popular is American Empress river cruise on the
Columbia and Snake Rivers. It’s just a short trip to board the ship in Portland, Oregon, and
bookings are WAY up on this itinerary since the pandemic. This package allows you to take the train, or a very short flight, to board your local river boat. We just didn’t have space to include the American Empress on this month’s yellow sheet, but call our office if you’d like some details on this, or have a look at their website: www.americanqueensteamboatcompany.com for all details. We’ve worked with American Queen for many, many years and everyone returns happy from their cruise. It’s a close-to-home, experience that feels right to book now!
A Few 2021 Highlights
There are many trips still scheduled to depart in 2020, but we’re really focusing on 2021, right now. We are confident that things will be returning to normal at some point in 2021, and
we want our clients to have a head start on this recovery.
ALASKA is always popular but even more so for 2021. It’s easy, no flight needed, and we’re
not taking Alaska’s beauty for granted after this epidemic - it feels fresh again! We always like getting away for more than 7 days, so we’re looking to Celebrity’s May 7, 9-night cruise -
roundtrip Vancouver - aboard the beautiful Eclipse. Extra time in Alaska isn’t just filled
in with more days at sea. They add ports that you can’t do in 7 days. For instance, Equinox
will visit charming Skagway AND Sitka on this cruise. The ship is great and is priced right,
right now. Princess will also offer a 10-nights - roundtrip Vancouver - cruise in the Fall. Both
of these will be excellent with the extra time to make this a more in-depth and relaxing
HAWAII is always popular from our region and there is lots of choice in 2021. Cruise one
way, fly one way trips (10 days or so), between Honolulu and Vancouver look great and allow
some hotel time in Waikiki. For those really wanting to relax, why not eliminate any flying
altogether and book Holland America’s roundtrip sailing from Vancouver - the only way to enjoy Hawaii without boarding a flight. See your Yellow Sheet for all details. PS. We have great deals on these cruises with prices well below Holland America’s best prices!
CARIBBEAN There are some fantastic offers right now for Caribbean cruises in 2021.
January/February departures may be a little rushed for you with final payments due in
October/November of this year, so why not look at some of the our March/April/May
deals. The weather is really great at this time of year (far away from hurricane season) and a
later sailing gives you a few more months for things to settle down. Once again, prices have
shot up dramatically on some of the popular cruises, yet our blocked prices remain at the
low, introductory rates. These are a great deal right now, so have a look at your Yellow Sheet
and call us for details.
EUROPE I admit that I was surprised when Cruise Lines International released the new booking details and Europe topped the list. Travellers just love Europe and 2021 features
many ships to choose from. We love traveling to Europe in the month of May. It’s Springtime
and the temperatures are beautifully warm and everything smells fresh. Merchants are happy
to see you after a long winter and summer’s heat and crowds haven’t arrived. We love
Celebrity’s Constellation departing May 7, 2021. This is a special, 13-nights itinerary
traveling from Barcelona to Venice. We have a great price right now - see our website for details.
You can even add a 10-nights, Greek Isles cruise for a complete, 23-night, Mediterranean
experience unlike any other! If things are safe, this is a winner with a fantastic itinerary. Also,
we have a couple of great Baltic cruises scheduled for 2021, to Russia. This is really
the trip of a lifetime and we will certainly package these with hotels and our great Russia
tour, but, for now, we are taking cruise-only, bookings with a $480 CDN deposit. The Baltic
is limited, and popular. Book this now!
"When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do."
— Walt Disney