Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Happy Hanukkah 2017



Happy Hanukkah ! The Holiday Season has arrived. The eight-day Festival of Lights begins tonight December 12th at Sundown and continues through December 20th. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah (candelabrum) lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.   More info....

We love cruising around the holiday time because the ships are decorated for the season.  As you know the ship's crew is made up of many nationalities and faiths.  So too are the passengers that board the vessel for each cruise.  The cruise lines try to make the environment fitting for all regardless of their beliefs and also will accommodate special requests to help you celebrate.



Holiday time is a time for families. Regardless of the holiday that you celebrate, there is one common theme ... spending time together as a family to celebrate the holiday. As we walked along the decks of the ship and saw the decorations, we couldn't help but think about the ship's crew. For the most part, the crew will not be spending time with families this holiday season. They will be onboard providing service to passengers just like they do every day of the year.

Many of out troops have missed several holidays.   Unfortunately, not all military will be home for the holidays, so once again let us keep the troops and their families in our thoughts, that they remain safe and can one year safely return in time for the holidays.

Whether you are together for the holidays or separated by many miles, may this be a season filled with joy and happiness. Thank you to those that serve, both on the ships and in the military - our thoughts are with you and your families during this time. Happy Holidays to All.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

Loyalty Has Its Rewards

Loyalty Programs Are Everywhere

Hotels, Airlines, Cruise Lines, Restaurants, Businesses

Loyalty programs are nothing new. We bet that your key chain has several key fobs for local establishments, your wallet may have several loyalty cards, and your cell phone has more loyalty apps than games (oh and it can still make calls too).

The travel industry was among the early adopters of loyalty programs. Airlines and hotels reward points for each trip. Those points can be saved and used for future travel discounts or other benefits.

 Cruise lines followed suit with a multi-tier approach. The more you sail, the more rewards you are entitled to (airlines are the same these days as well).  Rewards typically offer benefits before and during your cruise.  Before your trip, you may be able to take advantage of special pricing.   During your trip you may get early boarding, discounts on onboard experiences, and other amenities.  As you advance through the levels, the benefits improve, so that tends to tilt the scales in favor of one cruise line over another when planning your trips.

The purpose of loyalty programs is really quite simple.  The businesses recognize that you have choices, and through the incentive program, are hoping that you will select them.


Book Onboard

It's probably pretty safe to say that most travelers are aware of the various loyalty programs for the suppliers they are using for their vacation.   Those same travelers may not be aware of the cruise line's book on board incentives.   These programs come in various names such as "Next Cruise".  There are different flavors of the programs these days.  Most offer two choices;   book a specific cruise (often with a better incentive) or book an open-ended trip which can be finalized at a later date.  Deposits are usually reduced, there are typically on board credits (OBC) involved, and your travel professional who helped you plan the trip you are on will get the booking so that they can assist you in planning your next cruise as well.

We have just enhanced our Loyalty Cruise Perks offer.  You can "double dip".  Not only can you reap the benefits of booking on board your current cruise, but you also have up to 30 days to cash in on incentives with us as well.   Use the reward towards shore excursions, hotels stays, resorts for a day, or an OBC.   Click on the link to learn more about this program.  But wait, there's more ...

Coming Soon

We've taken things a step furtherYou know the value of a travel professional in helping sort our the maze of cruise choices.   You work hard to earn your vacation dollars and want to be assured you've selected the right cruise based on your requirements for that trip.   Time is money and getting answers to questions that come up along the way is another one of the intangible benefits your cruise specialist provides. 


Why not share your travel professional's details with your family and friends?   A new program is launching shortly where you can become a Vacation Superhero by doing just that.

Stay tuned for complete details about the program.   All we can tell you for now,is that it will be rewarding for you.


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Friday, December 8, 2017

National Christmas Tree Day

Museum of Science & Industry
Chicago, Illinois

75th Anniversary 
Christmas Around the World

National Christmas Tree Day is being observed today! It has been observed annually on December 8th since 2015.

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of Christmas Around the World.   This Christmas tradition began in 1942 with a single tree and today there is a giant four story Christmas tree in the grand domed hallway entrance to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  There are more than 50 trees decorated by volunteers in a style representative of the featured country.   On weekends there are also live performances which you can attend.

Each tree has a descriptive plaque describing the customs depicted on the tree.   There are also dolls, manger scenes, and other traditional decorations at the base of the trees.  If you want to learn more, the gift shop has a book which you can purchase to learn more about the Christmas customs across the globe.

We just visited the museum last weekend, spending hours enjoying the Christmas Around the World exhibit, as well as other parts of the museum.   If you plans include some time in the Chicago area this holiday season, we encourage you to visit the museum with your family to see this amazing display.  Congratulations to the Museum of Science and Industry for celebrating this milestone anniversary of bringing the spirit of Christmas from around the globe to the Chicago area.   A special thank you to the volunteers that made this possible.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pearl Harbor 76 Years Later

76th Anniversary of 
Pearl Harbor Attack

"December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The attack caught America by surprise, killing 2,400 Americans, sinking 12 ships and destroying 188 aircraft -- and triggering U.S. entry into World War II. In fact, the U.S. declared war on Japan the following day when FDR made the above quote.

Seventy-six years ago today the United States was drawn into World War II when Pearl Harbor was attacked. While this was before I was born, it is still a date that is impossible for me to forget.

Ceremonies mark the anniversary today.  Among those will be a special tribute to the battleship Arizona, which exploded and sank during the attack, killing more than 1,100 officers and servicemen aboard. The ship's hull remains at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, marked by the USS Arizona Memorial overhead.

These pictures were taken during a visit to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial during a cruise vacation to Hawaii. The background of this image is the oil slick which still rises to the surface of the water around the memorial.

These images remain in my mind several years after our visit. We were so moved by our visit, we went back the next day for a second visit. 

Out of respect to the Sailors and Marines entombed below, visitors are asked to remain silent during their visit. The silence adds to the eerie atmosphere at the memorial.

Visiting Hawaii by cruise ship is a great way to see the islands.  Instead of making your own arrangements to move from one island to another, the cruise itinerary is already planned for you.  All you need to decide is what excursions you want to do on your own or with a group.  You can choose from a 7-night itinerary on Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America or a longer cruise, typically 14 or 15 night Circle Cruise which starts somewhere in California, goes to Hawaii and returns.

Cruise vacations to Hawaii, often start or end in Honolulu, Oahu. I would encourage you to visit the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial during your visit there. It is even more moving when you visit on or around December 7th.

For more information about U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and today's events, see the National Park Service website.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Cruise Lines Salute Veterans

 

Veterans Day 2017

First and foremost, today is the annual observance of Veteran's Day, a day set aside to honor the nation's veterans.   The image in this article was taken at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France, on one of our cruises several years ago.    The image of row after row of crosses will never leave me.

Every day we go about our business, and I suspect most of us take our freedom for granted.   It isn't because we aren't caring people, but instead perhaps because we just don't think about it.  So I ask you today to take a moment to reflect on the veterans, living and deceased, for without whose service we wouldn't be the free nation we are today.

We could never thank our military men and women enough for their courageous service and sacrifice to our country and its people. Yet today we lift up our voices to express gratefulness and honor to these military troops both from the past and present.


 THANK YOU FROM 

A GRATEFUL NATION 

Many cruise lines recognize our troops with special rates.  We've listed a couple offers which you might not be aware of.   Be sure to mention your military service when contacting us so that we can see if there are any rates that you qualify for.  We would be honored to help you plan some R & R.

 
Cruise Line Veterans Day Offer
Carnival Cruise Line
Saluting our soldiers with exclusive rates on select sailings through 2018! Plus, share your deal with two additional rooms.
Destinations include: Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Alaska
Royal Caribbean
Ongoing promotion allows Military, Police  & Fire personnel special discounts on select sailings

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Meetings At Sea


Achieve17 Conference 

Royal Caribbean 
Harmony of the Seas

We've just returned from our 2017 National Conference for Cruises Inc., CruiseOne, and Dream Vacations, which was held on board Royal Caribbean's latest ship in the Oasis-Class, Harmony of the Seas. We had a group of over 1000 people, including executives from our partner cruise line and land suppliers. The picture on the right was from our opening session which was held in the Royal Theater, which actually was one of our main venues throughout the week.  Royal Caribbean and our headquarters staff planned an amazing event once again.



Attention Corporate Meeting Planners  
Take the Stress Out of Your Next Meeting

Corporate Retreats are all about getting hard work done, encouraging team building, rewarding professional growth and highlighting company credibility. As a business, you make important decisions daily that spearhead your entire operation towards success. So, when planning your company’s retreat, why handle things any differently?

Think outside the box and take the humdrum corporate event setting from old to BOLD by holding your next corporate retreat aboard an incredible cruise ship. Bring productivity to the high seas with an exceptional alternative to the usual corporate scene. Let us custom-design your unique event to meet your requirements and expectations. We will make it easy, simple and above all…memorable for everyone!



THE BENEFITS OF CORPORATE RETREAT CRUISING: 

  • We will help you through the entire process of choosing the best fit for you and your team. 
  • All you need is just a reservation of EIGHT cabins or more and the appointed retreat leader cruises for FREE! 
  • With Cruises Inc. by your side, you will have a hassle-free booking process along with full assistance with the overall coordination. 
  • Earn the best corporate rates around and get access to exclusive perks like reduced rates, shipboard credits and additional on board amenities. 
  • You’ll have access to expert advice from an Independent Vacation Specialist with years of experience in corporate retreat planning. 
  • Meeting areas are available to accommodate any special request. 
  • The more attendees participating, the more you can save.




National Plan A Cruise Month Promotions 

Cruise lines are offering special promotions and pricing on popular cruises to encourage consumers to plan their next cruise vacation now. We'll be featuring promotions on our website and social media.

A Cruise Can Take You There (click for mini-series)

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