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Find My Ship

The cruise industry, while not back in full swing, is definitely back. It's easy to tell by going to Cruise Mapper where you can see the whereabouts of cruise ships and passenger ferries.I discovered Cruise Mapper in 2019 just before I took an adventure cruise out of the Northwest Passage. As a joke, I typed "Find My Ship" into a search engine. To my surprise, I got several results, the best of which was cruise mapper.

The most important thing about getting out of the NWP is that the ship first has to get into the NWP. In 2018, there was too much ice for the ship to make it all the way, so passengers were flown by charter plane to where the ship could meet them. I didn't say "dock" because there aren't docks in the Canadian NWP. Passengers have to be shuttled by Zodiac. I really wanted to start my trip in Kugluktuk, so I silently cheered as I watched the ship on Cruise Mapper advance. Fortunately, it did not encounter any significant ice in 2019. (Cruise ship whereabouts on January 7, 2022)

Just today, someone remarked to me that he thought that South American countries weren't letting cruise ships land. While the continent looks mostly barren of cruise ships, you'll see they are piled on top of one another in the Galápagos Islands, and seemingly crashing into each other between Ushuaia, Chile, and the Antarctic Peninsula. It looks as if Brazil is allowing a few ships. If you want serenity, Europe and and the Bahamas seem to be the places to avoid. If you go to Cruise Mapper and zoom, you'll see that there are Costa Rica cruises, and cruise ships going through the Panama Canal.

If you want to see where all kinds of ships are, including commercial vessels, then visit the Marine Traffic VesselFinder. The density of ships on the map looks as if there is a traffic jam on the open seas. But the ocean is really, really big. While a popular cruise route might see another cruise ship, they typically aren't close. River cruises are different due to the constrained width of a river. When I cruised the Nile one year, there were so many river boats that ours had to quadruple park. That meant we walked off our vessel and through the lobby of three others before we reached land.

I'll be shipping out a lot this year. First cruise is on a 22-passenger vessel in the Pacific Northwest. Then on a 132-passenger ship that will circumnavigate Ireland. Next a 198-passenger ship that will circumnavigate Newfoundland as well as steam around Atlantic Canada, including Sable Island. Finally, I will steam from 2022 to 2023 on the 126-passenger National Geographic Endurance, starting in Ushuaia, Chile and ending in Dunedin, New Zealand. I am hoping that these smaller vessels, with all their health requirements (vaccination + booster + negative test) will succeed, as I am looking forward to seeing the world again.

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