You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Alaska’ tag.

I just love this time of year!  It is when all of the cruiseships heading to Alaska for the summer season, stop here in San Francisco.  This allows me to tour the ships and report back the good, the bad and the….well you never know…

Today’s post is all about the Oceania Regatta.  She is all class!  You will not find a kids club on this ship, nor a single disco.  Not that these are bad things, it just not the clientele that this ship attracts.  If you are looking for a relaxed, intimate and beautiful ship to visit Alaska?  It has been found!

This ship holds approximately 600 guests, which is vastly lower than the other mass market cruiseships you will find in Alaska this season.  No need to pack your suit or fancy dress for a formal night, because it does not exist here on the Regatta!  Oceania tends to describe the relaxed atmosphere onboard as Country Club Casual.  There are only 9 passenger decks, so truly she is easy to navigate without having to take the elevators to get around.  She was refurbished back in 2011 and truly the beauty of this ship stands out.


She sails with the Canyon Ranch Spa onboard which offers you the best treatments and spa cuisine.  Are you getting the idea here…this cruise is all about RELAXING!!


The staterooms on the Regatta are spacious, comfortable and once again classic.  The dark wood and the décor exude comfort and elegance.


Now let’s address the fantastic attraction of Oceania – its gourmet cuisine!  The menus are inspired by the Executive Culinary Director and renowned Master Chef, Jacques Pépin.   All I have to say here is MAJOR YUM!!!  All 5 dining areas, including but not limited to the specialty restaurants are included in the cruisefare. No nickel and diming you the travelers while onboard.  While we are discussing inclusions…sodas, bottled water, cappuccinos, espressos, teas and juices are also INCLUDED in the cruisefare.


Oceania tends to offer incredible offers from time to time, such as 2 for cruisefares, free airfare, prepaid gratuities and of course my favorite…onboard credits.

Give me a call (650) 906-6000 or send me an e-mail at, to discuss your next vacation to Alaska or to the other wonderful European, Asian and South American itineraries that Oceania sails.

Well, Disney Cruiseline just announced their itinerary line-up for 2012 and (drum roll, please) it includes three new homeports – New York, Seattle and Galveston!  Now, a Disney cruise is even more convenient for you, as you can depart for your dream vacation from your backyard.

From New York…
Beginning May 25, 2012, the Disney Magic will sail 20 cruises from New York – with three unique and varied itineraries.

  • Eight-night Bahamas cruises that include a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and a stop at Port Canaveral, Florida, giving guests an opportunity to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort.  As part of this itinerary, you’ll receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and roundtrip transportation between the port and resort.
  • Five-night cruises up the New England coast that will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In these popular Canadian ports, you can soak in splendid natural vistas, explore historic sites, visit quaint cafés and charming shops and browse Canada’s oldest farmer’s market.
  • Three two-night cruises (June 15, July 13 and August 10) that are perfect for families looking for a quick getaway and a sampling of the Disney Cruise Line experience with a day at sea over a weekend.

From Seattle…
Beginning May 28, 2012, the Disney Wonder will sail another season of Alaskan cruises including seven-night voyages from the Port of Seattle to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia.

These cruises will combine the natural wonder and adventurous spirit of Alaska with the unparalleled, family-friendly experience found on a Disney Cruise Line ship. Disney works closely with Alaskan tour operators to create exclusive Port Adventures that allow you to enjoy Alaska’s natural beauty, rich history and abundant wildlife.

From Galveston…
Beginning September 22, 2012, the Disney Magic will sail seven-night cruises from Galveston to the Western Caribbean. Ports of call include Grand Cayman and Mexico’s Costa Maya and Cozumel.

On this cruise, your family can enjoy a tropical getaway with world-class entertainment and impeccable guest service found only on a Disney Cruise Line vacation. You’ll have three magical days at sea to explore all of the fun aboard the Disney Magic and three days in port to lounge on warm, golden beaches, to swim and snorkel in azure waters or to shop to your heart’s content in exotic marketplaces.

If you want to secure your spot on one of these exciting new itineraries, bookings for 2012 open April 8, 2011, by contacting me at (650) 906-6000 or

Which itinerary are you most excited for?

So this topic makes my job rather interesting…  Just when I thought it was hard enough to ask my clients their weight when booking their helicopter tour in Hawaii…now this! 

I welcome any ideas on how to gently ask if a client has a criminal history. 

Here’s the low-down for traveling to Canada:

If you have been convicted of a DWI or DUI (Driving While Impaired or Driving Under the Influence) or other criminal convictions, such as reckless driving, negligent driving, misdemeanor drug possession, all felonies, domestic violence, shoplifting, theft, etc…  Any of these can make a person inadmissible to Canada, if they occurred within the last five (5) to ten (10) years

Upon entry into Canada, routine screenings include the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”  If you have been convicted of impaired driving – even if no collision was involved – you may be denied entrance.  Even with no other criminal violations.  Think carefully.  Don’t lie about any convictions, regardless of how ‘trivial’. 

Lying/forgetting about a conviction could get you barred from entry into Canada for many years.   Increased cooperation between Canada and U.S., as part of post-911 security measures, means that the border agent could already have access to criminal records.   While it is possible for a Canadian immigration officer or border patrol officer at a port of entry to allow a person with a criminal record into Canada, this cannot be guaranteed!!!

A person with a conviction may be deemed rehabilitated and be eligible for entry after a certain period has expired from the completion of the sentence imposed (which would include any driving suspension) on the conviction.   Depending on the offence, this period may be as short as 5 years or as long as 10 years.  If a person cannot qualify for deemed rehabilitation, they may apply for individual criminal rehabilitation.

There are several ways individuals can overcome criminal inadmissibility.  These include:

  • Deemed rehabilitation at a Canadian port of entry;
  • Streamlined rehabilitation at a Canadian port of entry; and
  • Approval of rehabilitation through a Canadian Consulate in the United States.

1. Deemed Rehabilitated:

Persons are eligible to apply for deemed rehabilitation at a port of entry if the following are true:

  • There was only one conviction in total;
  • At least ten years have elapsed since all of the sentences for the conviction were completed (payment of all fees, jail time completed, restitution paid, etc);
  • The conviction would not be considered serious criminality in Canada (most felony convictions in the United States are equivalent to serious criminality in Canada); and
  • The conviction did not involve any serious property damage, physical harm to any person, or any type of weapon.

2. Streamlined Rehabilitation:

Persons are eligible to apply for streamlined rehabilitation at a port of entry if the following are true:

  • There were two or less convictions in total;
  • At least five years have elapsed since all of the sentences for the conviction(s) were completed (payment of all fees, jail time completed, restitution paid, etc);
  • The convictions would not be considered serious criminality in Canada (most felony convictions in the United States are equivalent to serious criminality in Canada); and
  • The convictions did not involve any serious property damage, physical harm to any person, or any type of weapon.

3. Deemed & Streamlined Rehabilitation Applications:

Deemed rehabilitation and streamlined rehabilitation applications are processed at Canadian ports of entry. Submitting an application for rehabilitation does not guarantee that the request will be approved. The following documents should brought with you:

  • A United States passport or birth certificate (with photo identification);
  • A copy of court documents for each conviction, and proof that all sentences were completed;
  • A recent FBI identification record;
  • Recent police certificates from the state where the conviction(s) occurred, and from any state where a person has lived for six (6) months or longer in the last 10 years; and
  • A fee is involved for the streamlined rehabilitation process, equivalent to $200.00 Canadian. There is no fee for deemed rehabilitation.

4. Approval of Rehabilitation:

If more than 5 years have elapsed since all sentences related to the conviction(s) were completed, but a person is not eligible for rehabilitation at a port of entry (because of the nature or number of convictions), a person may apply for approval of rehabilitation through a Canadian Consulate in the United States. The same documents required for port of entry rehabilitation identified above are also required for rehabilitation through a Canadian Consulate, plus a completed Application for Criminal Rehabilitation (Citizenship & Immigration Canada Form IMM 1444.

Bottomline – let’s work together to make sure your have the best vacation ever, even if you have made a boo boo in the past!

(This blogger is not licensed to practice law. You are urged to undertake your own investigation, and contact the Canadian Consulate.)


Sorry everybody, but I have been down for the count with one of the worst head colds I’ve had in years.  I just got this info from my Princess Rep and I thought I would share the info with you.  I love having San Francisco as a departure port for these cruises!   For those of us locally it does not require any flying.  For those out of town, it gives you the opportunity to come in a day or 2 ahead and experience this very cool city!

So drop me a line if you are interested in any of these itineraries!


  • May 22-Sept. 19, 2010 SEA PRINCESS  10-day round-trip from SFO.

           (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm/scenic cruising* &   Victoria)

            *some itineraries call on Glacier Bay, June 1, June 21, Jul 11, Jul 31, Aug 10   


  • Sept. 29, 2010  SEA PRINCESS  10-day round-trip from SFO (Catalina, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego)
  • Apr 8, 19 & 30, 2011 STAR PRINCESS  (3 voyages) 11-day round-trip from SFO (Acapulco, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas)


  • Sept.16, 2009 ISLAND PRINCESS 15-day SFO to FLL (Acapulco, Huatulco, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Fuerte Amador for Panama City, Panama Canal, Cartagena, Aruba)
  • May 7, 2010 SEA PRINCESS 15-day FLL to SFO (Aruba, Cartegena, Panama Canal, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Hualtulco, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas)
  • Oct. 6, 2010 ISLAND PRINCESS 15-day SFO to FLL (Cabo San Lucas, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Fuerte Amador for Panama City, Panama Canal, Cartagena, Aruba)
  • Oct. 9, 2010  SEA PRINCESS 16-day SFO to FLL (Cabo San Lucas, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, San Juan del Sur Nicaragua, Fuerte Amador for Panama City, Panama Canal, Cartagena, Aruba)
  • April 25, 2011 SEA PRINCESS 16-day FLL to SFO (Aruba, Cartagena, 2-day Canal experience, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Cabo San Lucas)


  • Sept. 22, 2010 SAPPHIRE PRINCESS 30-day SFO to SYD (Honolulu, Lahaina, cross the Equator, Bora Bora, Papeete, Moorea, Pago Pago, Apia, Fiji, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Fiordland Nat’l Park/scenic cruising) 


  • Sept. 20, 2010 SAPPHIRE PRINCESS 2-day Vancouver to SFO (no ports)
  • May 11, 2011 STAR PRINCESS  2-day SFO to Vancouver (no ports)
  • May 14, 2011 ISLAND PRINCESS 2-day SFO to Vancouver (no ports)
  • May 19, 2011 CORAL PRINCESS 4-day SFO to Vancouver (Victoria)

So today I headed up to the Port of San Francisco, with a few of my favorite colleagues, to do a ship inspection of Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess.  The Sea Princess is doing 10 day round-trip Alaska sailings this summer from San Francisco.  She is 10 years old and I was expecting her to look rather tired.  Much to my surprise, her public areas did not reflect this.  However, she is in desperate need of updated mattresses, bedding and flat screen TV’s in the staterooms.  I was actually shocked on how tiny the TV’s were.  I know as a society we have become spoiled with our Mega Flat Screens, but frankly, I truly believe those were 10-inch monitors…

She holds 1,950 passengers and simply without the travelers on-board yet, it felt cramped with just the 200 or so agents, plus the staff.  I’ve been on plenty of other ships with the same capacity including other Princess ships and my preferred line – Celebrity Cruises are far more spacious than the Sea.

The spa was the most disappointing I have ever seen on a cruise ship!!!  It was dull, lifeless and very small.

Now let’s address what they refer to as the Grand Casino…There was NOTHING grand about this!  It was tiny!!!  I think it only had 30 slot machines?  A majority of the room was geared toward just plain seating.  Am I mistaken, but isn’t the casino on a ship a huge moneymaker for the cruiseline?

Sea Princess Casino

Truly the 2 things I was very pleased with were the size and layout of the mini-suites and the buffet area.  I’ve been on the Coral Princess twice in a mini-suite, in which they are just oversized staterooms.  However, on the Sea Princess, they are large, have wonderful flow between rooms and the bathrooms are the extremely beautiful.  The buffet area and dining room, I thought was a nice size, bright (surrounded by windows) & airy – perfect for Alaska!

Sea Princess Mini Suite

Finally, let’s discuss the food…We were invited for lunch in one of the main dining rooms…I almost would have preferred to eat their pizzeria.  The Shrimp with Melons was bland; the Chateaubriand was overcooked and tough.  The bread & chocolate soufflé were the only things that were worth eating.  If this is what they serve us, what in the world do they serve clients for 10 nights?

Now don’t get me wrong…I am a huge advocate for the 10/11 day roundtrip Alaska itinerary out of San Francisco.  I just think that Princess should put in place a much better ship than the Sea Princess.  When you look at the quality of the competitor’s ships, this cruise ship truly fails.  I highly recommend Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas or Serenade of the Seas (departing out of Seattle & Vancouver, respectively).  These ships were specifically designed for viewing the beauty of Alaska and are a far better value and cruising experience!

Contact me to discuss booking that last minute Alaska cruise for 2009 or locking in a stateroom for 2010 at 2009 rates on either RCCL or Celebrity!

Lauren Liebert

Blog Stats

  • 62,926 hits