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Canada releases new advisory for cruise vacations

Father and daughter sitting on private balcony of cruise anchoring near the coast/Getty Images

Many Canadians use the beginning of a new year, and the beginning of Canada’s cold winter, to get some highly anticipated vacation time away from home.

According to latest Travel Markets Outlook reports from The Conference Board of Canada, a growing number of Canadian households plan to take a winter vacation this year. The company’s Travel Intentions Survey, conducted in October 2018, found that 67.6 per cent of respondents are planning to take one or more overnight trips away from home for vacation or leisure purposes between Nov. 1, 2018 and Apr. 30, 2019.

A popular choice for Canadians are winter cruises, even cruise options within our own country. According to the State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry is projected to grow in 2019, with an estimated 30 million travellers expected to cruise globally throughout the year.

“The off-peak season is rising in popularity whether travellers want to escape the cold in a tropical locale or embrace the chill in a new destination,” the report states.

According to the association, Generation Z travellers are set to become the largest consumer generation, and the mult-destination aspect of a cruise is attractive to this group of voyagers.

Cruise ship passing on the River Danube, Passau, Bavaria, Germany, Europe. Getty Images

Government advisory

High interest in cruise travel has prompted the Canadian government to release travel advice for winter cruisers this week.

“Global Affairs Canada would like to remind cruise travellers that planning ahead is the key to a successful trip,” Global Affairs Canada said in Wednesday’s release.

Canadian travellers are encouraged by the government to book trips directly through a cruise company, or a reputable tour company, and sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to be contacted in case of an emergency while abroad, or a personal emergency at home.

Global Affairs is also reminding Canadians to protect their passport at all times. In 2017, more 10,000 passports were reported lost or stolen abroad. Back in March 2018, a woman from Halifax had her passport stolen in Cuba, resulting in her waiting in jail for several hours while the theft case was being investigated my local authorities.

From a health perspective, the government is encouraging Canadians to get travel insurance that covers any injuries, hospital visits or medical evacuations at sea. Ideally, Canadians should visit a media clinic six weeks before departure for recommendations on immunizations and preventative medications to take before, during or after travel.

The close proximity of guests on a cruise leads to quick spreading of sicknesses onboard. Just one week ago, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was subject to a norovirus outbreak on a ship that departed from Port Canaveral, Florida. After nearly 500 passengers fell ill, the week-long cruise through the Caribbean was cut short.

As a more general reminder, Global Affairs Canada also urges travellers to practice reasonable safety precautions while on vacation, including keeping doors locked, not leaving drinks or food unattended and following local laws.

Although there are certainly things to keep in mind when you’re booking a cruise, preparation and smart travel habits will definitely lead to fun and enjoyable cruise experience.

Here are some cruise recommendations for Canadian travellers looking to vacation at sea:

Adventure Canada

Just because you want the cruise experience, doesn’t mean you need to leave the country. Adventure Canada with give you an engaging, expedition travel experience from the territories to the Maritimes, the North Atlantic and even journeys though the Pacific Northwest. Cruises start from around $4,000.

Viking Cruises

If you’re looking for more of an international experience, the comfort-driven Viking River Cruise experience might be a good option. From Scandinavia and the Baltic, to Asia, Australia and Africa, you’re bound to find a match for your ideal voyage through international rivers and oceans. Cruises start from around $3,000.

Disney Cruise Line

If you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation, Disney Cruise Lines continues to be a favourite. The “magic of Disney” is alive and well on this cruise line, with plenty of fun actives for children and more intimate, relaxing experiences for parents available as well. Cruises start from around $2,000.