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Cruising's Best Of "The Best"

Glacier Bay in Alaska - The Travel Factory Glacier Bay in Alaska

Quite often I get asked which cruise line or ship do I prefer, in fact that question was asked yesterday in an interview with a potential cruiser. They usually don't like my answer because I've never been on one I didn't like!!!

For some folks, that question was answered in a survey conducted by Cruise Critic which is an on-line cruise review site. This was a survey covering a lot of “Bests” from their loyal and opinionated website participants.

I could have almost predicted the winner of the Most Popular Cruise Destination in 2018. It was Glacier Bay in Alaska, and for the third year in a row they remained “the best”!! We've just returned from there with our 24th trip to that famous destination, and again, it proved to be just as fabulous as ever. The captain pulls up to the terminus point at Margerie Glacier and positions the ship so that the guests who are on the port (left) side of the ship can observe and anticipate a part of the glacier calving off into the Bay. He stays in that position for about 45 minutes then pivots the ship so that the folks staying on the starboard (right) side of the ship for the next 45 minutes can have their “front row” seats.

Interestingly, Princess closes all the shops and suspends any scheduled activities during this time, so it forces you to look at that particular nature that really is spectacular. And the animal possibilities are numerous, especially the gulls and killiwakes (thousands of little birds looking for water insects). We've also seen sea otters lounging on iceburg pieces. There's also sightings of a school of porpoises and seals. Going into Glacier Bay and leaving we've also seen whales in that area. One of the positives of the day is that a couple of National Park Forest Rangers board the ship as we enter, and they narrate the transition of the Bay pointing out the different glaciers as well as sightings of wildlife. Just a great 8 hours, and if you've brought your binoculars, you'll get an eyefull!!!!

One of the most surprising “best” awards was naming Havana as the “Best Cruise Destination in the Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya. There are only 17 cruise lines that call there, so everyone who went there must have been frequent visitors not only to Cuba but also to the Cruise Critic survey!!

The Best Cruise Line Private Island was Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay. Royal Caribbean is running them a race by their intensive up-grading of they “beach day” at Labadee, Haiti. Water slides, zip lines, water buckets and even some adult-only retreats on those locations is appealing to those who like beach variety as well as “quiet”.

One of the more puzzling winners of the “best” ship in Hawaii was Carnival Cruise Line. They just have one ship that sails to Hawaii, and they make only 1 trip there a year from Honolulu to Vancouver in April. On the other hand, Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America has a 7-night cruise of the islands from Honolulu every Saturday of the year!!! What were they thinking??!!

So, the tip here is to take all these surveys with a grain of salt, and if you want some real good advice, seek out the professionals at The Travel Factory who “have been there, done that”, and will give you the benefit of their experience. We can be reached at 4150 Southwest Drive between Rosa's and Chick-Fin-A on the southside of Abilene. Also, you can call us at 698-1421 or visit our website:

www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com. According to OUR survey, we're the BEST!!!!

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