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Cruise Guide: Princess salutes San Fran departures

By Michael Coleman

Princess Cruises will be marking almost 40-years of sailing from San Francisco with 20 scheduled departures from the bay area in 2008.

In addition to yearly favorites such as Alaska to the north and the Mexican Riviera to the south, the line has a host of voyages on tap including several luxurious month-long Pacific crossings to or from Sydney and a special voyage to Central and South America.

Look also for a 15-day Panama Canal transit between Ft. Lauderdale and San Francisco aboard Coral Princess with calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Panama Canal, Cartagena and Aruba. The trip begins April 25.

“San Francisco has long been an important port for us, said Jan Swartz, Princess’ senior vice president of customer service and sales. We’re offering more departures from ‘The City by the Bay’ than any other cruise line this year.”

Dawn Princess will be offering a Pacific crossing to Australia during a 31-day sailing that takes passengers from San Francisco to Sydney on September 24. Honolulu, Kona, Christmas Island, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea, Rarotonga, Pago Pago, Fiji, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, plus cruising through Fiordland National Park, are among the scheduled port calls. 

Not to be outdone, Sun Princess offers a 28-day itinerary from Sydney to San Francisco departing on July 14, visiting Auckland, Dravuni Island, Apia (Western Samoa), Pago Pago, Rarotonga, Moorea, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Christmas Island, Honolulu, Maui and Hilo.

In another eye-opening transit, look for Sun Princess to travel north to Alaska and to the Far East in one 23-day sailing from San Francisco to Beijing. After what will no doubt be a dramatic departure under the Golden Gate Bridge, the ship calls at the Canadian ports of Victoria and Vancouver, then showcases Alaska with calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Glacier Bay, and Kodiak. Russia is next, with a call at Petropavlovsk, followed by Yokohama (for Tokyo), Osaka (for Kyoto), Nagasaki, Pusan, and China. The voyage departs on August 10.

Cruise passengers seeking the Andes and South America as part of their travel plans wont be disappointed. 

An 18-day Pacific Ocean voyage between San Francisco and Santiago features a variety of Latin America destinations including the opportunity to visit the famed Machu Picchu. The itinerary includes Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Nicaragua (Puerto Corinto), Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Panama Canal (Puerto Amador), Quito (Manta), Lima (Callao – overnight for visits to Machu Picchu), and La Serena (Coquimbo). Star Princess will offer two departures, on November 20 and the reverse itinerary on March 30, 2009.

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