Cruise Shore-Ex Planning Generic  BQ –  A casual friend has put us on a Canadian mailing list that includes updates of cruise information for the Canadian market. He claims that you can save money if you book in Canadian dollars. Wondering iof that is true but moire interested in the headline of the last issue that said there was a deluxe cruise coming up where the guests pick the ports during the cruise. Is this true? Is it available on Crystal or Seabourn, two lines we absolutely adore. 

A –  You are referencing a specific sailing, May 14th from Istanbul to Athens, where Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 will be giving guests a list of more than 20 different ports in the Eastern Mediteranean from which they will choose the specific itinerary. The Cap[tain will provide guests with advanced weather information and destination experts will describe the port options as part of the ship’s entertainment program. Passengers will vote via private ballot and the Captain will announce the selected upcoming port during dinner each evening.

csm_2014-04-29-HLKF_EUX_Titel_Schiff_6ff277f0b1This is, as far as we can research, a completely new concept. On the surface, we would have guessed that berthing rights and port clearances are usually handled far in advance of arrival so we were surprised this was even operationally possible. But it is a fascinating concept and lots of industry insiders will be watching to see how it turns out. That it will occur on the ship that leads our Top Ten Ratings makes it especially interesting.

We can only imagine if a similar policy were enacted on some of the three and four-night budget Caribbean cruises. The voting might direct the ship to the nearest bar.