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The 4 Best High Seas Haunted Jaunts

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Image from flickr commons

Expedia, one of our affiliates, has a deal that immediately caught my cruise-loving eye: Book a Cruise this Summer and Enjoy up to $750 Onboard Credit with Expedia! Expires 6/29/15


We’ve now been on 11 cruises. Alaska, Canada and New England, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Mexico, the Mediterranean…cruising has allowed us to see a bunch of places we couldn’t have afforded to travel to individually.

It’s also allowed me to travel to some really awesome haunted places. Yes, cruising is definitely my preferred method of haunt jaunting.

HOW TO JUDGE THE “SPIRITEDNESS” OF A CRUISE

My husband judges cruises by their cost per day. The lower the better. (It’s why we cruise so much. He loves having our hotel and food costs wrapped up into one, usually for no more than $100 per day per person, but often for much less than that.)

Not me. I judge cruises by their HPoCC value. I’m more interested in seeing how many haunted ports of call we can squeeze into one cruise.

However, it often works out that a cruise with a high HPoCC value for me also works out to a satisfying cost per person per day rate for my hub.

And with the kind of deal Expedia is currently running? Score! (Incentive to hurry up and book our next cruise, which I was hoping would be to Ireland and Scotland, but it’s not going to happen this year. My search for you will have to wait a little longer, Nessie…)

MAKE YOUR DEPARTURE PORT COUNT

Under “Best Cruise Bets” below, you’ll notice I recommend ports to sail from. Why?

It all goes into my HPoCC calculations. Cruises that leave from cities with lots of haunted history, ghost tours and haunted hotels to stay in pre and/or post trip only increase a cruise’s HPoCC value in my eyes.

With all that in mind, and without further ado, here are the four best high seas haunted jaunts any ghost hunting, cruise loving, vacation seeking traveler could take. (“Best” defined in my terms of best HPoCC value. However, if you sail at the right time you can often find good cost per day rates on these as well, for those financial-minded among you of my husband’s ilk.)

1. ALASKA

Alaska Welcome SignThere is civilization in Alaska, naturally. But not as much as many of the states in the Lower 48 have. Alaska still retains a raw, wild, untamed feel. There’s an allure to it you maybe can’t even appreciate until you’ve visited. I’m speaking from experience. Alaska wasn’t high on my list of Places to Go. In fact, it wasn’t even on it at all.

But my husband found us a deal we couldn’t refuse in 2008. Begrudgingly I went…and was immediately enchanted. I loved our first Alaskan cruise so much I begged to go back again a few years later. It might even work out we get to do a third tour this summer. (I’ve got my cruise picked out, which is one of the ones mentioned below. It just has to match up with my husband’s idea of a good deal.)

Best Cruise Bets: The most popular are 7 Night Northbound or Southbound cruises. Depending on which direction you head, you’ll take out of, and end up at, either Seward, Alaska; Whittier, Alaska; or Vancouver, B.C., Canada. You’ll end up in Anchorage to either get to or from both Seward and Whittier.

We’ve taken out of both Seward and Whittier. Never had a chance to take the ghost tour in Anchorage, but we did get to see the Ghost Forest on both journeys to the ports in Seward and Whittier.

And as far as I’m concerned, Vancouver is a rockin’ haunted port city. It’s stunning, charming, full of haunted history and last time we were lucky enough to stay in the unofficially haunted The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Grand!

Another option if you have more time is the 14-night round trip from Seattle, which is the one I have my eye on. (Specifically, Holland America’s 14-night Glacier Northbound Alaska Cruise.) Seattle is loaded with haunted places, but this cruise also hits Skagway and Victoria, B.C. Skagway has a Ghosts & Good Time Girls tour I didn’t get to do the first time we went. We’ve also never been to Victoria, but I’d love to see some of its haunts, like Craigdarroch Castle and The Fairmont Empress hotel.

Tips & Don’t Miss:

  1. In Vancouver: be sure to allow plenty of time to explore Granville Island and the Gaslamp District
  2. If you take a cruise to/from Whittier or Seward ports: Ride the train to/from Anchorage! It’s about the same fare as a bus ticket (you have to take either a train or bus from Anchorage to the ports; a taxi isn’t feasible). The train winds you through spectacular scenery, including straight through a ghost forest, as well as past glaciers. (But to be fair to the bus, which we took the first time, it showed us a lot of the same scenery. Plus the driver stopped and showed us a salmon run, which was pretty neat.)
  3. Keep an eye out for Bigfoot. You’ll be jaunting through his territory big time!
2. BERMUDA
Map of the Bermuda Triangle
Map of the Bermuda Triangle

Visiting Bermuda means you’re trekking into the heart of the Bermuda Triangle. Will you come back? {Insert Shrug Here}

I’ll tell you one thing though, if you get stuck on the island (or islands, as Bermuda actually consists of about 181 of them), there’s a lot worse places you could end up.

Pink sand beaches, balmy breezes, delicious cuisine, and towns with old forts and charming architecture to explore… After visiting Bermuda myself, I’m of the opinion anyone who went missing in the vicinity may have done so on purpose.

Best Cruise Bets: Try a 7-night Bermuda Cruise sailing from either Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Manhattan/New York or Miami.

Depending on the cruise line, you’ll dock for three nights in either Hamilton or King’s Wharf, which gives you the best of both worlds: cruise ship life and plenty of time to explore all Bermuda has to offer.

Tips & Don’t Miss:

  1. National Museum of Bermuda (a.k.a. Bermuda Maritime Museum) in King’s Wharf. It was right by our cruise ship. I asked Wayne to go in. He thought I was going to try and sucker him into seeing the dolphins. (A popular tourist attraction called Dolphin Quest is also there.) We instead spent over three hours learning all about Bermuda’s fascinating history and people. (And, yes, about how it got its well-deserved nickname: “Shipwreck Island.”)

 

3. CANADA/NEW ENGLAND

The Ship's Map

The Canada/New England cruise was the longest cruise we’ve taken yet (only 10 days…I say “only” because there are some that are three times that long, although not in Canada and New England). Anyway, we looked for sea monsters in Gloucester, MA; saw (but sadly didn’t get to tour) Newport, RI’s haunted Belcourt Castle; jaunted to Halifax’s haunted Citadel; and from the time we started in NYC until we ended up in Quebec were reminded how Titanic’s legacy still haunts many places. Plus we were treated to spectacular scenery along the way.

Best Cruise Bets: You can squeeze in some good high seas haunt jaunting with a 7-night cruise from Boston to Montreal. (Or vice versa, routes run both ways.)

A better bet, if you can afford the time, is a 10 or 14 night cruise. One that leaves from Boston or NYC. It’s hard to find routes with Newport (which is a very ghost-friendly town) on them as much these days for some reason. However I have noticed some, especially from Holland America, that take you from Boston to Bermuda, Bar Harbor (which isn’t brimming with ghosts but is an excellent port), Halifax, Sydney (itself not super paranormal but a quick trip away is the haunting, and allegedly haunted, Fortress Louisbourg), Charlottetown (capital of PEI, home of beloved fictional heroine Anne of Green Gables), and Quebec (where most cruise ships dock overnight to give visitors more time to explore this majestic city on the St. Lawrence, which is brimming with ghosts).

Tips & Don’t Miss:

  1. If you like cemeteries, you’ll find ones with some very neat, as well as unfortunate, history attached to them. Like the Titanic Graves in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Mount Olivet Cemetery, and Baron de Hirsch Cemetery in Halifax.
  2. A fun thing to take advantage of on an overnight cruise ship stay in Quebec is one of their ghost tours.
4. BRITISH ISLES CRUISES
Satellite image of the British Isles, excluding Shetland and the Channel Islands – Image from Wikipedia

If you want to experience haunted castles, search for the Loch Ness Monster, or enjoy a pint in a haunted pub, a British Isles cruise is for you. Not to mention you’ll be treated to panoramic views and glimpses into centuries old history, traditions, and superstitions.

Best Cruise Bets: Princess offers some great 12-night cruises that leave from London (well, Southampton, but it’s essentially London, which is an absolutely A++ haunted places city) and visit Cork and Dublin in Ireland, Glasgow, Invergordon (gateway to Loch Ness and Nessie) and Edinburgh in the UK, as well as a stop in France before returning to port in Southampton.

Tips & Don’t Miss:

  1. If you’re not all that into Nessie (or afraid of a chance meeting with a lake monster), there are other lochs deemed to be more picturesque than Loch Ness when you get to the Invergordon region.
  2. Fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones? You might want to make sure your cruise pick stops in either Dublin or Belfast (or both). You can take Game of Thrones filming location tours from each of these cities. (Not that this has to do with anything haunted or paranormal, but it’s a fun thing to know about, especially for GoT fans.)
  3. If your British Isles cruise has a stop in Le Havre, France, you’re a poor, lucky, bastard. From there you can trek to Paris for the day, or Mont St. Micheal (Google it if the name doesn’t ring a bell; the image of t’s domineering presence on the island on which it was built is one I’m sure you’ve seen before –and, yes, rumor has it it is haunted.), or take a tour of the D-Day beaches of Normandy, an experience sure to haunt you for the rest of your life.
Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her on a tennis court somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
http://www.courtneymroch.com

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