Thursday, April 3, 2008

Vacationing, from a Cruise Specialist’s Perspective

Tropical breezes are blowing, the surf is calling, but if you are like most Americans, you are feeling guilty about taking time off to relax with your family, even though you desperately need to. Did you know that most Americans, earn on average 14 days of vacation compared to Britain (24 days), Spain (30 days) and France (36 days). Also, a recent study discovered that most Americans don’t even use their vacation time. Another study discovered that women who took holidays were more satisfied with their marriages and less likely to become depressed, while a separate study showed that among men who were at high risk for coronary heart disease, those who took vacations had a lower death rate. So don’t feel guilty about taking a vacation; it’s healthy for you to do so.

So while that is sinking in, let’s pretend that you’ve decided to take the big plunge. You call me and say that you have a large bank of vacation time stored up, you’ve always wanted to go to Norway to see the Fjords, you and your family want to get away for a couple weeks. Checking the available itineraries, looking at various demographics, your budget and other factors, I recommend the 12 Night Arctic Circle / Norwegian Fjords cruise which departs from Amsterdam on Celebrity Century. I suggest arriving in Amsterdam two days early, so that you can recover from any jet lag and take full advantage of the long flight over the pond.

You sleep on the plane ride over the pond, you are already feeling relaxed even before you get off the plane in Amsterdam. Two marvelous days in Amsterdam visiting Anne Frank’s house, museums, and cruising around Amsterdam taking in the sights on the hop-on-hop-off canal boat tour and you are really starting to relax even further. You’ve already forgotten about your work problems, and you’ve not even gotten onto the ship yet. Now, you are really starting to get into the vacation spirit.

On cruise day you arrive at the pier, drop off your luggage, and checkin to get your cabin keys. You walk through the doorway, a room steward greets you with a glass of champagne and escorts you to your cabin. You are thinking, I could get used to this. After making your spa appointments, you have some lunch, and get ready for the only compulsary activity of the cruise, the mandatory lifeboat drill. The ship sails on time and you get ready for dinner and your first night at sea.

Let's fast forward to the morning of arrival in the first Norwegian port, Alesund. You open the door to your verandah and get your first glimpse of the Norwegian Fjords. In the still of the morning, the only sound is that of rushing water from a nearby waterfall flowing from one of the nearby mountain peaks. The sight exceeds your expectations. You pinch yourself to make sure you are awake. This is truly beautiful country. You are now extremely happy that you took your cruise vacation.

Clap! Clap! Wake up! Have you been dreaming? It's time to go to work, or you'll be late! You reluctantly come back to reality, but alas, you've decided that you DO really need to plan a cruise vacation. You've worked hard and you deserve some time away from work with your family. Don't wait too long, you might change your mind. Give me a call and tell me about your dream. Every day I help clients plan their dream getaway. No matter if it's a 3 night Bahamas cruise or a 108 night World Cruise that you are dreaming about, let me put my 25+ years of cruise experience to work for you to plan your well deserved vacation. Until then, sweet dreams.

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