Frequently asked questions about handbell cruises
What activities are planned on handbell cruises?
During the days that we are “at sea” (two or more days) there will be ringing activities, including massed ringing with our guest clinician and classes. We usually have time to help people with bass techniques, treble techniques, special techniques, solo and ensemble ringing or other topics cruisers find interesting. When bell activities are not scheduled, the bells are available for rehearsing, practicing ensembles (formed by those interested on the first day), and more.
There will also be a sail-away cocktail party on the first night.
Otherwise, you have the opportunity to enjoy the cruise and the ports into which we sail!
Are there concerts for the ship’s passengers?
Yes, handbell cruisers will perform the pieces they have learned. The showcase is open to the ship’s passengers, but space is usually limited. Bells of the Cascades will also play a concert at some point during the week that is open to all.
What should I bring? Do I need to bring bells or music?
People coming on the cruise with us do not need to bring their handbells. We supply all of the bells, music — no need to prepare in advance! — and other equipment.
The only things you need to bring are yourself, your luggage, and an easel (split-back) binder, gloves and a riser (if you want one). Because all the equipment is borrowed, even if you’re used to ringing without gloves, we ask that you wear them on the cruise. They can be any color and style, black, white, tie-dyed, gardening, etc.
How many people usually go on the bell cruise?
Our normal attendance is between 125 and 150. About two-thirds of those people participate in the ringing activities. There are, of course, many other people on the cruise ship.
Can non-ringing friends and family go too?
Absolutely! We love our non-ringing friends. Each cruise approximately ⅓ of the passengers who go with us are friends and family of cruisers who are not ringers. Our non-ringing friends are invited to participate in the sail-away party, listen to rehearsals, and attend the showcase concerts
We even have a beginners class designed for those who have come with friends and never rung, but want to try their hand at it in a very low-key environment!
How much does it cost?
For Cruise XV in 2019, the cost was:
- Inside cabins starting at $1,989
- Ocean-view cabins starting at $2,089
- Veranda cabins starting at $2,589
- Suites starting at $2,989
Prices are based on double occupancy. When booking, ask your agent about special pricing for third and fourth passengers in a cabin and any promotions that can be applied to add amenities to your cruise.
Prices include all port fees, taxes, bell activities, and food and ship entertainment while on board.
Where have you gone in the past?
Here’s our complete history, with the clinicians for each cruise:
- Cruise I: Summer 1993, Alaska, Bells of the Cascades members as clinicians
- Cruise II: Winter 1995, Caribbean, Bells of the Cascades members as clinicians
- Cruise III: Winter 1997, Western Caribbean, Hart Morris, clinician
- Cruise IV: Summer 1998, Alaska, Arnold Sherman, clinician
- Cruise V: Winter 2000, Mexico, Kevin McChesney, clinician
- Cruise VI: Winter 2002, Eastern Caribbean, William Payn, clinician
- Cruise VII: Summer 2003, Alaska, Tim Waugh, clinician
- Cruise VIII: Winter 2005, Western Caribbean, David Davidson, clinician
- Cruise IX: Winter 2007, Mexico, Jason Wells, clinician
- Cruise X: Winter 2009, Eastern Caribbean, David Harris, clinician
- Cruise XI: Summer 2010, Alaska, William Payn, clinician
- Cruise XII: Winter 2013, Southern Caribbean, Fred Gramann, clinician
- Cruise XIII: Winter 2015, Eastern Caribbean, Michael Glasgow and Stephanie Wiltse, clinicians
- Cruise XIV: Summer 2016, Alaska, Fred Gramann, clinician
- Cruise XV: Winter 2019, Western Caribbean and the Panama Canal, Cathy Moklebust, clinician