Princess Cruises has been offering California Coastal Wine cruises for a few seasons now, but next year will mark the first time the line has created voyages that explore the Pacific Coast roundtrip from Vancouver – and one local travel agency is taking full advantage of the opportunity.

Princess Cruises' Grand Princess sails to California round-trip from Vancouver next year. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess sails to California round-trip from Vancouver next year. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Next September, Vancouver-based Cruise Experts Travel is offering a special hosted voyage aboard the iconic Grand Princess. The company has made personally-hosted sailings one of their hallmarks, and this 10-night Wine Cruise offers the unique opportunity to showcase some of California’s best ports of call without the need for expensive one-way airfare that usually comes with such voyages.

Heading to Long Beach, California for a cruise?  Be sure to make time to check out the venerable RMS Queen Mary - right next to the cruise terminal! Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Heading to Long Beach, California for a cruise? Be sure to make time to check out the venerable RMS Queen Mary – right next to the cruise terminal! Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Departing roundtrip from Vancouver on September 22, 2014, Grand Princess calls first on Victoria before heading south for an overnight stay in San Francisco. The cruise then sails for Santa Barbara, picturesque Catalina Island, and Long Beach, California, where guests can chose to explore nearby Los Angeles, Anaheim, or maybe just hit the beach. Two sea days allow for time to enjoy the recently-refitted Grand Princess before she returns to Vancouver’s Canada Place Cruise Terminal.

The full itinerary:

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Aside from the unique itinerary, what is exciting about this hosted cruise is that Cruise Experts Travel has secured private winery tours in both San Francisco and Santa Barbara exclusively for their guests, along with a private cocktail party onboard, a welcome aboard gift, and of course, the chance to meet fellow cruisers and wine enthusiasts. The company has tapped experienced agent Heather Clifton to act as the onboard host throughout the journey.

No visit to Victoria, British Columbia is complete without a trip to the world-renowned Butchart Gardens. Photo © Aaron Saunders

No visit to Victoria, British Columbia is complete without a trip to the world-renowned Butchart Gardens. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Pacific Coastal cruises tend to happen only during the spring and fall, when cruise ships reposition to and from Alaska. Typically, these are short voyages that operate one-way between ports like Los Angeles and Vancouver and may not include port calls. So a 10-day voyage to California roundtrip from Vancouver is massively appealing, and not just for those who live in the local area. Throw in some exclusive winery tours, and you’ve got the makings of a great cruise experience.

Full details can be found by clicking here!

What’s a hosted cruise with Cruise Experts Travel like? This summer, I had the opportunity to host the line’s “Ultimate Alaska” CruiseTour from Fairbanks to Vancouver. You can read more about the experience here.

Night falls aboard the Coral Princess as we speed towards Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The version of this article that ran today in the Vancouver Province contained an incorrect web address. It should have read “http://www.cruiseexpertstravel.com”

 

 

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