New fleet of riverboats bound for U.S. waters
WHILE I often try to keep to a single theme in my weekly column, occasionally I find I must wander from the proverbial pillar to post as I update or follow up on stories introduced in previous weeks.
Such is the case this week as I supplement information relating to an inquiry or story from previous writings.
In my column last week, I referred to the limited number of river cruises available in Canada and the United States, highlighting, in part, the two boats operated by the American Cruise Lines organization.
With the ever-increasing popularity of river cruising around the world, it was surprising to me to find such a dearth of options. Similar thoughts must have been in the minds of the top brass at American Cruise Lines as well.
Since my column was written, the company has announced the construction of a new fleet of riverboats that will be introduced into a number of rivers in the United States in the next few years.
While their current fleet of two consists only of paddlewheelers, the new ships will feature modern designs, spacious interiors and large balconies as integral units in the staterooms.
Notwithstanding the quaintness offered by paddlewheel-type craft, the introduction of state-of-the-art riverboats such as the ones being sailed upon around the world will have a major impact.
Launch dates for the new vessels were not announced, but clearly this will open an entirely new era of river cruising on American waters.
As a followup to my future trends article at the end of 2014, American Express, the giant credit card and travel organization, has released the results of a survey highlighting the top destinations Canadians said they would be visiting in 2015.
It is no surprise three of the top places we intend to visit are in Mexico.
Cancun, the gateway to the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta with nearby Nuevo Vallarta, and the wealthier San Jose del Cabo, all three available non-stop from Winnipeg, were the places Canadians across Canada said they would be travelling in the coming months.
Two Caribbean destinations, not available non-stop from Winnipeg, completed the sunspot list. Aruba and St. Maarten are both widely available via the Toronto gateway and have become very popular from the eastern departure points.
While Manitobans visit these countries, they are usually selected by those who take a two-week vacation as opposed to just one week. The extra time or the potential for an overnight layover in at least one direction is not a deterrent.
It was surprising Cuba wasn’t on the list. In a recent press release, Cuba announced the past year saw a record three million visitors to their country. There is no question a significant percentage of those numbers represent Canadian visits. The last figures I have suggest more than one million Canadians choose Cuba for their holidays every year.
Beyond the traditional winter-escape destinations we tend to favour regardless of which part of the country we live in, there appears to be a strong determination to broaden our scope of travel to almost every continent. When asked which cities Canadians intended to visit this year, the following cities occupy spots on the top 10 list: London, England; Santiago, Chile; Mumbai, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Bangkok, Thailand, and Sydney, Australia.
The survey also pinpointed a number of cities high on the radar as potential rising stars. These were Da Nang, Vietnam; Naha, Japan; Hurghada, Egypt; Bodrum, Turkey; Kazan, Russia, and Eilat, Israel.
Finally, a response to a question that seems to arise on a regular basis from people who travel frequently and find the investment they made in their luggage doesn’t look so attractive after being tossed by airline staff over several trips.
Readers want to know how to clean scuffed baggage and how to solve the problem of spills on the interior of bags.
The best way to help bring back at least some of the original look is to use a solution of three teaspoons of very mild soap diluted in about five litres of water and combined with a couple of teaspoons of a mild detergent used for carpets and upholstery, such as Shout.
It is important you do not use harsher soaps such as those used for the dishwasher.
Once you have cleared the worst stains, rub the fabrics with a clean, damp soft material to rinse the panels and remove any soap residue.
Repair depots use compressed air to blow into the panels to eliminate as much humidity as possible. At home, you likely have no other choice than a hair dryer.
Once dried, leave the luggage open to aerate for 24 to 48 hours in a dustfree area that is as dry as possible.
While this advice from a major luggage distributor may be the best they have to offer, they also caution that the choice of cleaning substances is important. In their experimentation, they have discovered that many cleaning products will damage the body materials, the finish of the surfaces and even the plastic parts and lining of luggage.
Forward your travel questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ron Pradinuk is president of Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre and can be heard Sundays at noon on CJOB. Previous columns and tips can be found at journeystravelgear.com or read Ron’s travel blog at thattravelguy.ca.
Visiting the main sites in Santiago, Chile, is prime in Canadian travel plans.