Inauguration Cruise 2009|
We wish Barack Obama the best of luck and good judgement in his Presidency. We will need every advantage in the coming years to manage the difficulties our nation is facing.
Speaking of facing challenges, some people who are especially excited about the Obama Presidency, but having a hard time finding accommodations for the inaugural ceremony, are proposing an unusual and exciting way to celebrate the January 20 ceremonies.
Two Chicago-based travel companies have organized the "Yes We Can 2009 Inauguration Cruise," set to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Baltimore where they will be provided with bus transportation to the nation's capitol to witness the historic event on the Mall.
Inspired to organize this cruise is Karen Philips from "Yes We Can Cruise, Inc." who was shocked when she first heard that all of the hotels in Washington D.C. were already sold out by the time she started making her inaugural plans. And so, she says she heard a voice telling her, "Karen, do a cruise."
Karen began the search for an available cruise ship, and found the Regal Empress, a vintage liner that had been in service for ten years sailing out of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, on regular cruises to the Bahamas. The ship was a lucky break for Philips, who says the bigger cruise lines didn't have any ships available.
The "Yes We Can Cruise" includes eight days on an all-inclusive cruise and shuttle service to Washington. The ship leaves Ft. Lauderdale on Friday, January 16th. It steams north for two days at sea and arrives in Baltimore, the closest major port city to Washington D.C.; 40 minutes away by bus, not accounting for traffic. Participants are first offered the "Yes We Can Cruise Ball" at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in Baltimore the night before the inaugural. Tickets are $100 per person.
The next day, January 20 Inauguration Day, the entire entourage will be transferred by bus from the ship to the Mall in Washington D.C. where the Obama inaugural ceremony will take place. They will be shuttled back to Baltimore at the end of the ceremony the same day so the ship can set sail at 11:00 pm.
Two more days at sea steaming south will take Regal Empress to Freeport, Bahamas for the obligatory stop in a foreign port required of most cruise ships sailing from the U.S. After a day in paradise the ship returns to Ft. Lauderdale the next day.
Prices for the cruise start at $1999 per person for an inside stateroom, but the ship has 16 different cabin categories ranging up to the Admiral Suite selling for $2999 per person, with room for a third and fourth at lower rates. The ship has all the expected cruise amenities including a casino, nightly entertainment, all meals included, Internet access and 24-hour complimentary room service, etc.
Obama Volunteers are being offered passage for $1100 per person, and so far 50 of those have signed up. The latest count for booked participants is only 200 people so there is still plenty of availability onboard. The cruise came together when Phillip's volunteer "Yes We Can Cruise, inc." chanced upon a Chicago-based company called HotelBlox who was looking for a similar cruise solution to the inauguration glut challenge. The company had been researching hotel rooms in the Capitol and found almost nothing in terms of block space they could put together for their customers.
The biggest challenge will be the bus transfers from Baltimore to Washington D.C. Based on preliminary reports, thousands of busses have already been chartered for this event and long wait times to organize and route traffic are expected.
For more information and reservations, visit www.yeswecan2009cruise.com or call 866-621-2560 weekdays 9 am to 11 pm. Phones are also open on weekends and Dec. 24 and 26 for shortened hours.
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