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Vacations for Canadians

It’s that time of year. The time where the best of the best face one another until one is crowned champion. No, we’re not talking about college basketball. We’re talking about the Vacations for Canadians 2023 March Madness – Cruise Edition. The destinations have been randomly seeded. Some destinations didn’t make the “Sweet Sixteen” but maybe they’ll make an appearance next year.

 

Let’s take a look at our competitors for this year:

March Madness brackets with cruise destinations

1. The Caribbean

Coming in as the clear front runner, the Caribbean is one of our most popular cruise requests. Soaking up the sun on the beaches, admiring the clear blue water, it is easy to see why the Caribbean is the one to beat in this year’s showdown. With ports like St. Maarten, Saint Lucia, Antigua, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and on and on…..this really is their competition. But maybe an upset will happen. Only you, the faithful Vacation for Canadian members can decide.

2. French Polynesia

Perhaps a surprise to some that French Polynesia comes in at number 2 (I did say they were randomly selected) but this competitor is determined to prove they deserve that #2 ranking. If you’ve been, you know it’s fair. And if you haven’t, well perhaps you’ve just found your next bucket list destination. Gorgeous landscapes with locations like Fiji, Bora Bora, or Tahiti just to mention a few. You’re welcome readers!

a cruise ship in French Polynesia with blue water

3. Bermuda

A history-filled paradise full of pink sand beaches await you in Bermuda. Plus, with cruises out of New York are a real bonus for our Canadian travelers that want to drive to their embarkation port. Offering a variety of cruise lengths and some overnight stays, Bermuda continues to remain near the top of the rankings but will they have enough to become champions in this year’s tournament?

a cruise ship in Bermuda

4. Europe

With so many incredible ports to choose from, this could be the betting favourite this year despite coming in at #4. London, Norway, Amsterdam, Ireland, Iceland……there are just too many incredible stops to mention in one article. But with an abundance of options, it’s no wonder why this continues to be one of our most popular requests. And being positioned on the same side of the March Madness Bracket with the Caribbean this could end up being a semi-final showdown of two goliaths.

A cruise ship in port in Europe

5. Panama Canal

Ever been at the movies or a sports stadium and have to exit your row and hold your breath to squeeze between the seats in front of you and the other guests in their seats? That’s how I feel just looking at the picture below. Imagine this mega cruise ships passing through these small canal lock systems of the Panama Canal. Incredible. It takes a while so no need to fuss, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights from your balcony, the top deck, maybe the helipad if you’re lucky enough. Plenty to see and plenty of places to see it from on your floating hotel.

a cruise ship narrowly making it through the Panama Canal

6. Alaska

It doesn’t get much more majestic than this. Whether it’s being up close and personal with snowcapped mountains and sprawling glaciers, the abundance of wildlife like whales, bald eagles, mountain goats, and bears, or tasting salmon straight from the waters, Alaska really is something to see and experience. Imagine sitting on your balcony as your ship pulls up right next to one of the massive glaciers along your route. It happens and if you haven’t experienced it yet, you really are missing out.

a cruise ship in the ocean with the mountains of Alaska behind

7. Mediterranean

With so many great port options in one area, I had no choice but to separate a Mediterranean cruise from a Greek Isles cruise. Italy, Croatia, Turkey, I bet your bucket list just gets longer and longer as you read this. And if you haven’t checked this one off, well then what are you waiting for? And for those of you that have, you know just how incredible these ports are and how many different amazing excursions can be experienced so that no two visits will be the same. This could be a perennial dark horse in the competition. Maybe the Romans will conquer once again.

a cruise ship in the Mediterranean sea

8. Hawaii

Yes, the competition is that strong this year that Hawaii is all the way down at number 8. I’m sure readers won’t agree but like I said, it was random. But now it’s up to you to vote for your favourites through. So much culture and history to be immersed in, it’s no wonder when people cruise Hawaii that it’s not enough and they book themselves a land tour there as well. Good thing we have you covered there too. Why not ask our reps at Vacations for Canadians for all the options before or after your Hawaii cruise?

9. Mexico

Tacos and tequila, say no more. Okay, I’m going to say more anyway otherwise this would be a very short write up for a #9 seed. Just like Hawaii, Mexico is very rich in its own history and culture. Visiting Mayan ruins, learning about how their traditions started and have evolved, and experiencing some of the greatest natural habitats in the world is just part of why this is always a popular choice amongst our clientele. And then there’s also Tacos & Tequila.

10. Bahamas

There is a reason for this photo. Bahamas is the cruising mecca. Every cruise line loves the Bahamas. So much so that many of the cruise lines have bought up real estate and have their own private islands. You don’t coin a phrase like “Perfect Day at Coco Cay” unless you’re that confident that a stop in the Bahamas really will result in the perfect day. But a tournament opening match-up with the Mediterranean is not the perfect way to start their road to victory.

11. Australia & New Zealand

You may think the pic below is photoshopped but I assure you, it’s not. Just look at that incredible view of a cruise ship rotating in the harbour directly in front of the Sydney Opera House. That’s a lifetime memory right there. And you’re not even off the boat to experience it. As we continue to expand our competition to the world stage, we’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t include Australia and New Zealand. Want to pretend to be Crocodile Dundee? Check. Go on a trek in the Outback? Done. See where they shot Lord of the Rings? Yep. All on one holiday? Only if you’re cruising.

A cruise ship in the Sydney harbour with the Sydney opera house visible

12. Asia

Whether it’s soaking up the sun on the world class beaches of Vietnam, experiencing a breathtaking excursion to the Great Wall of China, or satisfying your inner foodie with incredible culinary dishes in Japan, the options are plentiful and so are the ports you’ll get to visit. Yes, the flights are long, but sometimes the furthest travels have the richest rewards and that certainly is the case with this destination. Considered a long shot by many but who knows, upsets happen in other competitions so perhaps we need to watch this one closely.

A cruise ship approaching an Asian city scape

13. Transatlantic / Transpacific

So you like the sound of somewhere warm like Florida or the Caribbean, but you also like the thought of Southern Europe or the Mediterranean. Can’t decide but you love to cruise and have two weeks to sail and make lifelong memories and possibly lifelong cruising friends along the way – meet the Transatlantic / Transpacific. Why settle for a couple of sea days when you can have 10? And experience a little bit of everything on the book ends of this vacation. This long cruise is more of a marathon and not a sprint and in competitions like this, sometimes it comes down to endurance.

A cruise ship in the ocean with no visible land

14. Greek Isles

Ok, to be fair when I did the random rankings I probably should have redrawn when I picked this one. There are very few things more breathtaking than a tour of the Greek Islands and the landscape of ports like Santorini, Mykonos, or Corfu. Not to mention embarking out of Athens. This is where champions were built in the very first Olympics and now the Greek Isles are here and ready to prove this ranking is a farce. If I would have left this paired with the Mediterranean cruise I don’t think many others would have stood a chance. But just how strong can it be on its own. We shall see.

A Greek island is in the foreground with a cruise ship in the background in the blue sea

15. Canada / New England

Our home and native land……ok, and we’ll include East Coast of the United States. We are spoiled to have some wonderful port spaces of our own here in Canada, with plenty of culture to experience in Quebec, the hospitable atmosphere of our Maritime provinces as well as the charming waterfront of stops in Maine or Massachusetts. Perhaps there will be a home crowd advantage for this destination to help it through the tournament.

A cruise ship is in the background with rocky terrain and a lighthouse in the foreground

16. South America

Don’t feel bad for South America getting the lowest seed. They’re ready to shock the world. And after not being featured too much in the travel scene, Teena has shown us all just how amazing a South American trip can be. Just look at these incredible waterfalls. Or maybe you just need to time it out right so you’re in Rio for Carnival. Awe inspiring views are plentiful along this adventure and if you’re following our Facebook page, then you’re probably envious of Teena right now and already thinking about a South American cruise next February. Let the agents at Vacations for Canadians help with that.

horsehoe shaped iguazu falls in Argentina with water flowing and greenery around

You Can Win a Prize!

So there you have it, the bracket is set. The competitors are ready. Are you, the faithful readers, subscribers, and followers of Vacations for Canadians and Cruise Deals for Canadians ready for this? Brace yourself because it’s March Madness and anything is possible.

 

And if this isn’t exciting enough, let’s throw in a prize for you, the readers, as well. Did you see my post with the March Madness bracket? Find the post by Searching “March Madness” in our Cruise Deals for Canadians group, print it, screenshot it, make your own to replicate mine, type it out in a list, whatever you have to do, then email your predictions to me at matt@vacationsforcanadians.com to be entered.  Make sure you fill in the entire bracket all the way to one winner. At the end, whoever has the correct winner and the most correct choices along the way to the Championship will win a $100 Vacations for Canadians gift certificate. This really is MADNESS!! Good luck everyone!

 

 

~ Matt Houtby ~