Hello from Juneau, Alaska. We are currently on holiday and have not been able to answer any emails or comments (sorry!), but we promise to do so once we return next week. In the meantime, here is a quick rundown for weekend things to do; check Aroundthesunblog this Thursday evening for more!
– Portland Saturday Market’s Grand Reopening this Saturday and Sunday features dance performances, prizes, artist demonstrations and more
– Portland Adult Soapbox Derby this Saturday at Mt. Tabor Park
– The Simplify Sale this Saturday in Sherwood from 9:00am – 2:00pm, with live music, BBQ and more. Read more about it here.
– Willamette Week’s newest Cheap Skate features ‘Special Oyster Tuesdays,’ a custom/exotic car party, cheap vodkas and more.
POTC Spotlight: Cruise Vacations
As we mentioned before, we are currently on holiday, taking a cruise from Anchorage, AK to Vancouver, BC on a cruise ship. And as we contemplated what to focus on for this week’s spotlight, we thought, “Why not cruising?” On most ships you should fully expect to get a finely appointed stateroom, great food, entertainment, activities and fun ports of call to explore — all included with your fare. Plus some ships even offer fitness gyms, casinos, nightclubs, multiple pools (and waterslides), rock climbing walls, bowling, ice skating, miniature golf, basketball and more. To see what the biggest buzz is, check this behemoth out: The Freedom of the Seas.
Sure, cruising doesn’t have much to do with being cheap in Portland, but if you have ever wanted to sample a vacation on a cruise ship and don’t have the time or the money to fly down to Florida or Los Angeles, then all you need to do is look north. Specifically, Seattle, and if you don’t mind a six to seven-hour drive, then Vancouver, BC.
Cruising from Seattle is economical because you can get up there fairly quickly and park right across the street from the cruise terminal. If you are family or a group of 4-5, cruise ships have cabins that can fit (ahem, sqeeze) your party, and usually with a pretty significant discount. And with a weekend cruise, all you need is to take the Friday off and half of Monday off to get a quick escape from Portland.
The Alaska cruising season is fast coming to a close, and ships will be repositioning south and east in the months of September and October, which means you can get some pretty incredible deals. Cruise vacations average out to about $100-$125 per person / per day. Our general rule of thumb is that anytime the average goes down to $90 or less, then it’s a bargain. And for most of 2009, the cruise industry has been doling out these deals left and right. As an example, the particulars for our cruise average out to less than $60 per person per day, and if we include the tips/gratuities, around $68 per person / per day.
You’ll miss a few days of work, but if you have some vacation time saved up, here are some upcoming cruises sailing from Seattle that offer pricing less than $100 per person / per day:
– Monday, September 21st (4 nights): Celebrity Mercury sails for Nanaimo, BC, Victoria, BC and a day at sea before returning back to Seattle on Friday. Inside fares start at $269.
– Friday, September 25th (3 night weekend cruise): Celebrity Mercury sails for Nanaimo, BC and Victoria, BC before returning back to Seattle on Monday morning. Inside fares start at $299.
– Monday, September 28th (4 nights): Celebrity Mercury sails for Nanaimo, BC, Victoria, BC and a day at sea before returning back to Seattle on Friday. Inside fares start at $289.
– Monday, October 5th (4 nights): Celebrity Mercury sails for Nanaimo, BC, Victoria, BC and a day at sea before returning back to Seattle on Friday. Inside fares start at $299.
If you have more time on your hands and can get up to Vancouver, BC, then consider these options:
– Sunday, September 20th (6 nights): one-way cruise from Vancouver, BC down to Los Angeles, CA on the ship Norwegian Star. You’ll stop at Victoria, Astoria, and San Francisco. Inside fares begin at a mere $349. Just find a way back to Portland from L.A.!
– Monday, September 21st (18 nights): a one-way, Panama Canal cruise on the Coral Princess, leaving Vancouver, BC and sailing to Los Angeles, Mexico, Costa Rica, Columbia and Aruba before the final destination of Fort Lauderdale, FL. Fares begin at $999.
– Wednesday, September 23rd (3 nights): one-way cruise on the humongous ship Sapphire Princess from Vancouver, BC down to Los Angeles, with all days at sea. Inside fares start at just $99!
– Sunday, September 27th (4 nights): one-way cruise from Vancouver, BC down to San Diego, CA with one stop in Victoria on the Holland America Statendam. Inside fares start at $199.
– Sunday, October 4th (4 nights): one-way cruise on the ship Holland America Zaandam from Vancouver, BC down to San Diego, CA with one stop in Victoria. Inside fares start at $149.
– Monday, October 12th (11 nights): one-way cruise from Vancouver, BC down to San Diego, CA on the Celebrity Mercury. You’ll stop in Nanaimo, Victoria, Seattle, Astoria, San Francisco, Monterey and Catalina Island. Fares start at $779 inside.
If you are new to cruising and want to know what to expect, then we recommend you read these articles from CruiseMates.com or peruse the web site CruiseAddicts. For cruise pricing, itineraries and specials, we suggest BestPriceCruises and VacationsToGo. We’ve booked with both and have been very pleased.
Sorry for any typos, we are typing as fast as we can before our internet minutes expire at the library and so we can catch our ship! Thanks for your readership and support!