Friday, October 27, 2017

Stress Free Cruise Tips


Greetings From Ft. Lauderdale
2017 Achieve
Cruises Inc, CruiseOne, Dream Vacations
National Conference

When going on a cruise vacation there are a few ways that you can take some of the stress of traveling away. One of the easiest ways is to arrive at the embarkation port a day early.

 Unless you live close to the port city, odds are that you plan to fly to your cruise destination. Flights can be delayed for many reasons: weather and mechanical problems probably being the most common. The last thing you want is to start your vacation worrying if the ship will be there when you arrive.

As you might expect, I follow my own advice about arriving a day early.   I'm writing this post from our hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.   Our National Conference will be held on board Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas.   Tonight MSC Cruises hosted a cocktail party poolside at one of our two conference hotels:  Hilton Marina Fort Lauderdale.   They are celebrating their new ship MSC Seaside.   We love that new ship smell and can't wait for her to be put into service next year.

When things go wrong, such as missed connection, unexpected illness, and flight delays, a little pre-planning can help with the stress and protect your vacation investment.  Our second tip for eliminating stress is purchase travel insurance.



TRAVEL PROTECTION 

Choose A Plan Now; Rest Easy Later. 

Common travel problems like flight delays, injuries and illness, unpredictable weather and lost or stolen luggage are why we recommend you travel with the LeisureCare Travel Protection plan. The LeisureCare Travel Protection Plan provides protection designed just for travelers. It can provide coverage for many of the things that can go wrong before and during your trip.

We will be posting highlights from Harmony of the Seas, so be sure to come back to visit again.



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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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Will that be With or Without Air


Will that be With or Without Air? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. You do want to make an informed decision, however.

When clients call me to plan a cruise, one of the first questions I ask them is if this is cruise-only or cruise-with-air. More often than not, they aren't sure which way to go.

There are several factors that come into play when deciding whether to do cruise-only or purchase airfare in addition to the cruise. Let's take a closer look at this.

Where does the cruise depart from?
It is possible to sail from 23 U.S. ports. Depending on where you live, it might be easier and less expensive to drive to the homeport instead of flying there.

Is this a round-trip cruise?
If the cruise departs and retuns to the same port, and you can drive to that port easily, that still might be your first choice. Flying is also an option if the port isn't in driving distance. Since this is a round-trip cruise, you'll be able to make round-trip air accomodations either through the cruise line or on your own.

Is this a repositioning cruise?
If the cruise is a repositioning cruise (often also known as a Transatlantic depending on destination) that may complicate things a bit. If the embarkation port is your homeport, it still might make sense to drive to the port. You'll just have to make arrangements to pick up your car upon return from the port of disembarkation.

If the embarkation port is not your homeport, you'll have to fly to that destination. Depending on the final destination port of the cruise, you may or may not have to fly home from there. Either way, you are now no longer talking about round-trip airfare.

Is there a cruise line incentive?
Especially in this ecomony, the cruise line may offer an incentive for booking select cruises. European cruises are good examples of when you might see some incentive. The incentive could be reduced air, free air, or upgraded accomodations with air purchase. You'll want to compute the complete cost of your cruise with or without applying the incentive.

Which air is cheaper?
Let's face it, you want the best value for your money, but you may also want convenience. So the question about which air is cheaper (cruise line or independent arrangements) may not be so clear cut after all. One thing you need to keep in mind is that the cruise line is arranging flights as a convenience to you and bears no responsibility if the air carrier doesn't deliver on its implied promise to get you to your destination on time. You'll want to check the cruise contract carefully and understand your rights and coverages. Travel insurance is your best bet if you want peace of mind.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cruise lines typically purchase bulk seating as one-way tickets so that they can use them as needed. That will often impact the price of the ticket and make independent booking the cheaper price.

Do you want full control of your arrangements?
This may come as a shock to you, but you can still have control of airline and departure times even when booking your flights through the cruise line. Custom air is available from most cruise lines and may be subject to additional fees, but may be the best of both worlds for you.

If you have premier frequent flier status with an airline, you might want to factor that into your decision process. Depending on the length of your cruise, and whether there are formal nights, you might be bringing extra baggage which could have cost implications. You'll want to take advantage of any extra baggage allowances your status allows you.

Are transfers from airport to pier included?
A hidden cost that you may overlook is the price to get to/from the airport/pier. Often the cruise line air will include transfers. You also need to determine the cost of transfers if you make alternative arrangements. In some destinations, like Europe, transfers can be rather expensive if you need to arrange them on your own.

Are you confused - what to do?
As you can see, there are many factors that come into play when deciding the best transportation for your cruise. I've listed the majority of the considerations here but there may be others depending on the cruise and ports involved. It is best to seek advice when making this decision. Your cruise specialist will be familiar with the transportation options for your cruise vacation and offer advice. The decision will still be up to you.

One approach that you might consider is to book the cruise-with-air initially and then do your homework to see if alternate arrangements are better for you. Don't wait until the last minute to book your flights or your ship may sail without you.



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)

Follow Us On

Sign-up for Exclusive Email Offers


Where have you explored? 

#FoodTravelChat

Join us every Wednesday evening at 8pm EST for lively conversation about food travel brought to you by It's a tasty world & we're dishing it up!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Top 5 Packing Tips for the Perfect Escape


As airline baggage fees continue to rise with no end in sight, creative packing strategies have become the budget-savvy traveler's best friend. With airlines charging upwards of $75 dollars for a second bag and some even charging for the first, packing lightly is now a must.

We are packing for our National Conference Cruise that leaves this week on Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas.  Therefore, we thought we'd share this post for Plan a Cruise Month.

October 30th is Checklists Day

As a local Cruises Inc. independent vacation specialist, we frequently consult with our clients on the best way to pack for their travels. The Top 5 tips to save space and money include:

1. Make a list. Before packing anything, create a list with each day of your vacation and what you will need. Having a list saves time, creates less hassle and even more excitement about your upcoming trip. Plus, having a list can save you from realizing you've included ten pairs of underwear for your 3-night cruise!

2. Always pack full outfits. It is easy to throw items randomly into a suitcase that you `might need, but it is more efficient to include outfits for your respective days on the road or at sea. Remember your accessories, shoes, hats and more.

3. Keep it simple! If your vacation includes sun and sand, don't over pack sweaters and pants. Most likely, you will end up in a bathing suit and flip flops with a suitcase of heavy (and costly - remember the airline fees!) clothes you never use.

4. Don't overdo toiletries. Sure, you may love your uber-concentrated overnight moisturizer, but if it's not a must, leave it at home. Packing only the essentials will save space. And remember, most resorts and cruise ships today offer blow dryers and complimentary amenities (even some created just for them by your favorite cosmetic companies). Don't forget airport security policies limit your carry-on liquids (this includes lotions, creams and sprays) to 3.4 oz. If you don't want it confiscated, don't bring it.

5. Finally, don't stress. Preparing for a trip can be overwhelming, needing to pack for your entire family, cleaning the house, remembering your important documents, finding a pet-sitter and more. The ultimate goal is to relax and unwind with your kids, significant other and friends. If you're organized about your packing, you can save time and money.

Travel agents are trained experts in every aspect of travel - from packing to specific airline or cruise line rules/regulations and more - so don't feel like you're alone in the vacation planning process. For help with your next trip, Contact Us.





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)

Follow Us On

Sign-up for Exclusive Email Offers


Where have you explored? 

#FoodTravelChat

Join us every Wednesday evening at 8pm EST for lively conversation about food travel brought to you by It's a tasty world & we're dishing it up!


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Now is the Time to Plan a Cruise Down Under

Sydney Harbour - Credit: Tourism Australia Copyright

Now is the Time...
Cruise Australia

More Ships
Larger Ships
More Choices

Some time in our lives we'd all love to leave our footprints on a white sand beach or snorkel the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef. It is here, in Australia and the South Pacific, that natural beauty abounds. Fascinating people inhabit peaceful islands and charming cities combine old-world atmosphere with hardy, frontier spirit.

Cruise Season:  October - April


A cruise to Australia, New Zealand, and/or the South Pacific can fulfill almost every exotic adventure that a serious traveler could dream. Cruises and cruisetours start at 14 nights long and sail seasonally between October and April. The beauty of these itineraries is that you can see as much of the South Pacific as you like in one cruise.
Great Barrier Reef - Credit: Tourism Australia Copyright

2017-18 Deployments Announced

Cruise lines have begun announcing their Australia plans for the 2017-18 season, and now is the time to plan a cruise vacation there as additional capacity means greater flexibility and potential savings.   In this article, we will discuss the deployments that have been announced.  In future articles and on our website, we will provide updates on the itineraries, and also take a closer look at the destination itself.

Australia is one of the world's fastest-growing cruise destinations and this next deployment reflects increases to programs as the lines establish a strong presence Down Under.

Carnival Cruise Line continues to base the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit in Sydney, Australia year-round. The Spirit sails Australia Cruises, Long Cruises, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands on 2 – 5 Days, 6 – 9 Days, and 10+ Days itineraries. The 88,500-ton Spirit  is so big it can't fit under the city's Harbour Bridge, therefore, it will be based at Circular Quay's Overseas Passenger Terminal.

The 88,500-ton, 2,680-passenger Carnival Legend, sister ship to the Carnival Legend, has been deployed seasonally in Australia after being "Aussified" in 2014 where she  received a range of upgrades to ensure she's perfectly suited for the tastes of the Aussie market.   It sails Australia Cruises, Long Cruises, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands on 2 – 5 Days, 6 – 9 Days, and 10+ Days itineraries. See Carnival Australia for specific details about these cruises.

Celebrity Cruises deployed  the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice to Australia and New Zealand in December, 2012, taking the place of the smaller, 1,814-passenger Celebrity Century.  It has been there since that time. The itineraries offer guests a vast array of options, ranging from 10 to 16 nights, departing from Sydney, Fremantle and Auckland.

Royal Caribbean International announced that it will have four ships in Australia during the 2017-18 season.Voyager of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Explorere of the Seas will continue to be based in Sydney, offering two- to 14-night sailings around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. The line offers the most ships and sailings from Sydney seasonally.

Royal Caribbean has big plans for the 2018 season as they announced newest ship, Ovation of the Seas, will also be in the region sailing 5 to 14-night itineraries.

Holland America has two ships sailing in Australia:  the 1,972-passenger Noordam and the 1,258 -passenger Maasddam,    The ships will sail 8 to 15-night itineraries in and around Australia and New Zealand departing from Sydney, Fremantle and Auckland.

Princess Cruises deployment  includes 5 ships,  4 to 14-night itineraries, and 76 voyages. The following ships are deployed in the region: Diamond Princess, Golden Princess, Majestic Princess, Sea Princess, and Sun Princess.

Norwegian Cruises will have one ship deployed in the region, Norwegian Jewel.  Itineraries will range from 3 to 14-Nights.    Several luxury lines will also have deployments in Australia & New Zealand.   See the complete list of cruise itineraries here (210 different voyages).

Contact us for more information about Cruising in Australia

Visit Australia.com to learn more about what Australia has to offer during your cruise vacation. 
 
TM © The Brand Australia trademark and the Tourism Australia trademark are the subject of copyright and trademarks of Tourism Australia, 2004.






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)

Follow Us On

Sign-up for Exclusive Email Offers


Where have you explored? 

#FoodTravelChat

Join us every Wednesday evening at 8pm EST for lively conversation about food travel brought to you by It's a tasty world & we're dishing it up!