The future of handbell cruising with BOC

Handbell cruises

Handbell Cruise XV: Panamania!
The Panamanian flag

Bells of the Cascades has become known as the “cruising choir” within the world of handbells, having sponsored 15 cruises during our history. (View images from previous handbell cruises.)

Because of the pandemic, planning for our next event is uncertain. Currently, within the first two weeks of December of 2022, we are conducting a survey of our supporters to gather input on the thoughts and feelings of our handbell community. We invite you to add your voice to help steer our decision making, and we thank you very much for your participation!

Submit your responses to our survey HERE by December 16, 2022.

You can also contact us at with any questions.

Looking back at our last cruise….

The 2019 cruise: Panamania! with Cathy Moklebust

A 10-day cruise from Florida to the Panama Canal and back, Jan. 6–16, 2019

Follow updates for this cruise by joining the event on Facebook.

Read on for details about the cruise, our ports and featured clinician Cathy Moklebust. Cathy has been a favorite composer of Bells of the Cascades for years. Her unique and delightful sense of melodic and rhythmic interaction makes her a perfect choice for a trip to Panama.

If you’re ready to book, prices start at $1989 per person based on double occupancy. Your fare includes the 10-day cruise, all of Bells of the Cascades’ activities, a hosted cocktail party, meals and entertainment on board the ship, and all taxes and port charges. 

Book your ticket

To participate in ringing activities, your cruise must be booked through University at Sea.

Prices, based on double occupancy:

  • Inside cabins starting at $1,989
  • Ocean-view cabins starting at $2,089
  • Veranda cabins starting at $2,589
  • Suites starting at $2,989

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.

You may book a room with a $600 deposit per person.

Prices include all port fees, taxes, bell activities, and food and ship entertainment while on board.

View details about cabin options on Cruise XV.

To reserve your cabin, contact University at Sea at (800) 422-0711 or register online.

Details about the cruise

Cruise XV: Panamania!

Our ten-day cruise to Panama, Jan. 6–16, 2019, will feature clinician Cathy Moklebust.

Join us on the Holland America ms Zuiderdam from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with stops in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Willemstad, Curaçao on our way to the Panama Canal. We’ll enter the canal throught the locks a Cristóbal, sail around Gatun Lake, then exit back through Cristóbal with stops at Colón, Panama and Puerto Limón, Costa Rica on our way back to Ft. Lauderdale. 

All ringing activities will take place on the days we are at sea but still leaving plenty of time to enjoy the ship and all the amenities provided by Holland America. There will be no ringing activities while we are in port or sailing the canal.

During the days that we are “at sea” there will be ringing activities, including massed ringing with our guest clinician and classes. There is usually 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.

The final day at sea, handbell cruisers will present 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 cruise that is open to all.

About our clinician

Cathy Moklebust has developed and directed handbell programs since 1983, and has played bells since childhood. She is a nationally known clinician and festival conductor and one of today’s most popular handbell music composers. With more than 250 published works, it’s likely you’ve enjoyed Cathy’s music. We hope you’ll enjoy her rhythmic prowess even more as we’re sailing to Panama!

Cathy’s music has been described as having a uniquely delightful sense of melodic and rhythmic interaction. She has been commissioned to write music for festivals and other events, as well as for many individual handbell ensembles.

Cathy is an active percussionist, and has performed as principal or section percussionist with several professional and community bands and orchestras throughout the upper Midwest. Cathy has played in, conducted, and coached church and community handbell ensembles in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. Since 1989, she has worked in the music retail and publishing industry; currently she and her husband David operate Moklebust Music Services, a music preparation service.


Jan. 6: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, departing 5:00 PM.
Jan. 7: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
Jan. 8: At sea, ringing!
Jan. 9: Oranjestad, Aruba, 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
Jan. 10: Willemstad, Curaçao, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Jan. 11: At sea, ringing!
Jan. 12: Cruising Panama Canal and Gatun Lake. 9:00 to 10:00 AM at Gatun Lake, 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM in Colón, Panama.
Jan. 13: Puerto Limón, Costa Rica, 6:30 AM to 4:00 PM.
Jan. 14: At sea, ringing!
Jan. 15: At sea, ringing!
Jan. 16: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Arrive 7:00 AM.

View the handbell cruise on Facebook and share with your friends.


Read our frequently asked questions for details on how our handbell cruises operate. Feel free to contact us at with any other questions you have!