Canada

Victoria, Canada working to expand harbor to handle Quantum Class cruise ships

In:
28Jan2019

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority owns and operates the deep water, marina and upland holdings throughout Victoria's harbor and is working on expanding the docking infrastructure of Greater Victoria Harbor to allow cruise ships larger than a Quantum Class ship.

The project is planned for completion by May 2019, which is when Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas is expected to visit Victoria regularly.

This $6.8 million expansion project involves extending the existing berth and moor vessels by more than 55 meters, then adding a breasting "dolphin" and an additional structure that restricts the longitudinal movement of the ship when it’s moored near the pier. 

When complete, the harbor will be able to handle cruise ships of up to 200,000 gross tons.    

The construction project was awarded to Ruskin Construction Ltd. through a competitive bid process. Work began in October 2018 with the installation of falsework to temporarily support pouring of the concrete bollard platforms to which the ships will be moored. 

Ovation of the Seas will visit Victoria regularly beginning in May. The ship measure 348 meters in length, features 18 decks and can accommodate as many as 4,900 passengers — about 1,000 more passengers than the Royal Caribbean vessel that moored at the harbor previously.    

Royal Caribbean announces 2020-2021 Northeast, Bermuda & Caribbean sailings

In:
12Dec2018

Royal Caribbean announced today its 2020-2021 Bermuda, Northeast and 7-night Caribbean sailings.

As we reported earlier, Oasis of the Seas will become the first ship in her class, and the world's largest, to sail from the Northeast.  Oasis will arrive in May 2020 and  transport travelers to the clear blue waters of The Bahamas all summer with 7-night itineraries, as well as a select number of short cruises north to New England and Canada.

Adventure of the Seas will return to Cape Liberty, sailing a variety of 5- and 9-night summer and fall itineraries to Bermuda, New England and Canada, The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Vision of the Seas will offer three 10- to 11-night open-jaw itineraries between Bayonne and Quebec City with an overnight in Quebec’s capital.

Symphony of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas will return to PortMiami and Port Canaveral, Fla., respectively, offering 7-night itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Both ships will feature visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Brilliance of the Seas will sail 7- to 10-night cruises to Canada starting in September 2020, while Grandeur of the Seas continues to offer 9-night itineraries to Canada and New England for fall foliage from her year-round homeport in Baltimore, Md. Grandeur will embark on a combination of 5- and 9-night itineraries to Bermuda and The Bahamas in the summer months, and transition to 9-night Southeast Coast & Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean cruises for the winter. Northeast, Canada and Bermuda itineraries will be available to book as of Dec. 13, 2018.

In 2020, San Juan, Puerto Rico will welcome what will be the newly modernized Freedom of the Seas. Freedom will return for the third consecutive year to sail 7-night itineraries year-round throughout the Southern Caribbean, traveling to destinations like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Johns, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia and Bridgetown, Barbados.

Liberty of the Seas  will continue to sail from Galveston to the Western Caribbean ahead of her own highly anticipated amplification in early 2021. 

Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society members can begin booking sailings on December 12, 2018, with the general public available to begin booking on December 13, 2018.

Northeast

Bermuda

7-night Caribbean

Excursion Focus: Craigdarroch Castle and Butchart Garden

In:
Category: 
20Aug2018

If you take a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, there is a good chance your cruise will make a stop at Victoria, Canada, and the two most popular cultural tourist attractions are available to see in one tour via the cruise line.

If you do even a minimal amount of research into what to do in Victoria, you will find that Craigdarroch Castle and Butchart Garden are at the top of many lists.  As a result, we thought it would make sense to take a tour to bring us to both.

Description

The Craigdarroch Castle and Butchart Garden shore excursion is a bus tour that will take you from the cruise ship area and visit the two most popular spots in Victoria.

The tour bus waits just outside the area where your ship docks, although be forewarned it is a rather long walk from the ship to the buses and delays getting off the ship is not unusual.

Once on the bus, we took a guided tour to our first stop.  Throughout the bus ride, our guide provides a narration of the history of Victoria, as well as pointing out significant spots along the way.  

Our first stop was Craigdarroch Castle, which is a 19th century home built by industrialist Robert Dunsmuir in 1890, with antique furnishings and gorgeous glass fixtures. 

As you arrive, your group is greeted by one of the castle's employees who talks about the history of the home, as well as sharing some rules.  One of the more unusual rules is you cannot wear backpacks into the castle.  If you have a backpack, you must wear it on your front as a means of avoiding accidentally running into things in the house.

As you enter Craigdarroch Castle, you will walk through much of the house in a path that will take you floor by floor, upstairs and then across the home and down stairs until you exit.  Keep in mind that backtracking is difficult, so do not leave a floor until you are satisfied with what you have seen.

The home is kept in a state that is representative of what it looked like back in the late 1800s.  

Beyond the inherit beauty and grandeur of the home, Craigdarroch Castle provides a glimpse into what life was like during this era. The house features a collection of residential stained and leaded glass, period furnishings, wood paneling and carvings.

After everyone visits the castle, it is time to hop back on the bus and onto the next stop at Butchart Garden.

Upon arrival to Butchart Garden, you essentially have an hour and a half to walk the grounds and explore on your own.  

Butchart Gardens is massive, encompassing a 55-acre site that originated as a turn-of-the-century quarry site that turned into a beautification project.


There are many trails and paths to see, with the Sunken Garden being a well-known highlight.

This tour does not provide nearly enough time to see the entire breadth of the Gardens, so be prepared to prioritize what you want to see.

Once time at the Gardens is up, you re-board the bus to take you back to the port area.  On our tour, they offered to drop guests off in downtown Victoria as well.

Comments

The Craigdarroch Castle and Butchart Garden bus tour covers exactly what it promised, and gives just enough time to get a sense of what each attraction offers.

The time spent at Craigdarroch Castle is sufficient to see all the rooms and get a good feel for the history and opulence of the home.  There are other tours and groups visiting at the same time you will be, so do not expect a private viewing.

As noted earlier, Butchart Garden is so massive an area that there is simply not enough time to "see it all" in the window of time you have on this tour.  The goal of this excursion is really for guests to get a sense of what Butchart Garden is all about, without committing most of the day to seeing it.  A friend was on a multi-hour tour of just Butchart Garden and remarked that he still did not have enough time to see it all.

The bus driver provides narration throughout your visit, and it is a good way of learning about the history and lifestyle of Victoria.  The narration can also serve as a means of making mental notes for places to visit on your own later in the day.

Ultimately, we booked this tour because we wanted to see both attractions without spending a bundle of time at either one.  This was our first visit to Victoria, so we wanted a "taste" of what the area has to offer.  If you are looking for an opportunity to see both Craigdarroch Castle and Butchart Garden but not necessarily in-depth, this is a great tour for you.  There were a few hours left over for touring Victoria on our own, including grabbing lunch downtown.

Cost: $129 per adult, $89 per child.

Royal Caribbean announces 2017-2018 Seasonal and Year-Round Itineraries to Caribbean and Canada

In:
12Apr2016

Royal Caribbean released today its 2017-2018 cruise schedule for ships departing from the Northeast, Florida and Puerto Rico, year-round and seasonal escapes to the Caribbean and Canada.

All of the released sailings will go on sale on April 13, 2016.

The big change is there will be two ships based out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey beginning in summer 2017.

Royal Caribbean will offer expanded Caribbean itineraries from the Northeast in 2017, with Rhapsody of the Seas joining Anthem of the Seas in Cape Liberty, New Jersey.

  • Rhapsody of the Seas will sail 7-night itineraries to the Bahamas throughout the summer.
  • Anthem of the Seas will sail to Bermuda in the summer and the Caribbean year-round on 5-, 7- and 9-night itineraries. Anthem of the Seas will also sail to Bermuda in the summer. In the autumn months, Anthem of the Seas will sail 9-night voyages to New England and Canada.

Baltimore, Maryland

Grandeur of the Seas, sailing from Baltimore all year, will continue offering a wide breadth of cruise experiences, from a 5-night itinerary calling on Bermuda to a 9-night voyage sailing to New England and Canada as the colors of fall foliage begin to show. Grandeur will also sail 12-night itineraries to premier Southern Caribbean destinations, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and St. Maarten, as well as new 9-night itinerary to Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas.

Southern Caribbean Hot Spots from Miami, Fla.:

Navigator of the Seas will sail 5- and 9-night itineraries to Southern Caribbean destinations, such as Aruba and Bonaire.

Eastern and Western Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.:

Independence of the Seas will offer 4- and 5-night itineraries to Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica and Labadee, Haiti.
Freedom of the Seas will offer 6- and 8-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
Serenade of the Seas will sail 10- and 11-night Caribbean itineraries including a new port of call in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Key West and Beyond from Tampa, Fla.:

Brilliance of the Seas will join Rhapsody in Tampa for the winter, offering 4 and 5-night itineraries to Key West, Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman.
Rhapsody of the Seas will relocate to Tampa for the winter season and sail 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries.

Exotic Island Escapes from Puerto Rico:

Jewel of the Seas will sail to romantic destinations such as St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Barbados on 7-night itineraries from San Juan.

Which sailings sound interesting to you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Royal Caribbean cancels Brilliance of the Seas cruises to Quebec

In:
09Aug2013

Royal Caribbean announce it is cancelling its three cruises in Quebec, Canada for Brilliance of the Seas.

Port of Quebec spokesman, Anick Métivier, commented on the decision, "This is a repositioning of the ship that the cruise line has decided to do.  Cruise lines reposition their ships generally based on fluctuations of the international market, and it is beyond our control."

As a result of the cancellation, the Port of Quebec has downgraded its projections for cruise passengers for the year from 117,500 to 111,000.  Despite the cancellation, this will still be the second best cruise season ever for Quebec.

Two other Royal Caribbean ships are still planning cruises to Quebec.  Explorer of the Seas will be arriving in Quebec from September 18 to 20, 2013 and another visit planned in 2014.  Legend of the Seas will make her inaugural visit to Quebec in 2014 as well.

Video: Radiance of the Seas Welcomes British Columbia's Attorney General

In:
13Jul2011

Royal Caribbean explains why they picked British Columbia shipyards for Radiance of the Seas upgrades

In:
07Jun2011

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas is undergoing upgrades and enhancements at Victoria Shipyards in British Columbia, Canada and will be ready to sail out on Thursday.  The choice Royal Caribbean made of these shipyards has a lot to do with the competitive options offered by Victoria Shipyards.

Royal Caribbean's vice-president of technical projects, Kevin Douglas, believes that Victoria Shipyards was the right choice to handle Radiance of the Seas' upgrades, "It’s not just an economic argument, it’s whether the shipyard has the capability to do all the work we need, is there the infrastructure around the shipyard.  We want to get in and out quickly.  On the West Coast of Canada and the U.S., this would be our choice, no question about it.".

In just three weeks, the shipyard will have Radiance of the Seas back into service to begin the Alaska cruise season.  Radiance is scheduled to leave Esquimalt Harbour on Thursday, bound for Vancouver to pick up passengers.

During it's time in the shipyards, 1700 workers have been working on upgrading, replacing and enhancing many aspects of Radiance of the Seas.  The ship's overhaul is meant to keep her a competitive option in a cruise market where the newer and bigger ships can cause customers to overlook the older ships in the fleet.

Royal Caribbean announces new 2012 cruises to Bermuda and North East USA

In:
17Mar2011

Royal Caribbean announced new itineraries for 2012 that will sail from Baltimore, Maryland to Bermuda aboard Enchantment of the Seas.

The announcement adds a new set of six-night cruises to Bermuda as well as eight-night Bermuda and Northeast United States cruises that will sail out of Baltimore in the spring and summer of 2012.  Enchantment's new six-night itinerary will make 3-day calls to Kings Wharf, Bermuda

In addition, Royal Caribbean is also planning to send Explorer of the Seas, which is based out of Bayonne, NJ, on a new seven-night round trip cruise in September and October of 2012 that will feature three days in Bermuda.  The new itineraries will include five and nine-night Bermuda & Caribbean itineraries through the spring and summer of 2012.

Adding to the news, Jewel of the Seas will continue its ninth season of sailings out of Boston, MA of roundtrip seven-night Canadian cruises.

Photo of the Day: Enchantment of the Seas visits St. John

In:
17Aug2010

Photo by Shawn Rouse

New Canadian fuel rules could hurt cruise business

In:
Category: 
12Jul2010

Canada is proposing a cut in the amount of sulfur that cruise ships may have in their fuel for 2012, which could make cruising to Canada much more expensive for cruise lines.  The current regulations stipulate cruise ships within 200 miles of the Canadian coast can use fuel that is 1.5 to 2.5 percent sulfur. The proposed cuts, set in an agreement with the United States, would demand sharp cuts in sulfur in the next five years with the first ones kicking in in 2012.

Fred Olsen, a British cruise line, said it is considering dropping Halifax as a port of call in 2012, saying the new rules could cost it thousands of dollars a day for each ship in Canadian waters.

The new sulfur limit would be 1 percent by 2012 and 0.1 percent by 2015. 

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