Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Meet Us at Streamwood Summer Celebration

Once a year we participate in our local Chamber of Commerce hosted Summer Celebration.
This will be our 13th appearance at the show.  A couple years ago I turned over my role as Chairman of the Chamber's Summer Celebration Committee so I shouldn't have to split my time between the Chamber Booth and my personal one, and look forward to meeting many of our fans during the three day event.

For those in the area, it is your chance to meet us in person to discuss your vacation plans, pick up some brochures, and take advantage of our exclusive offers.   Here is one of those specials that we will be featuring during the event July 26th - 28th.  We also extend the offers to our readers - ask us for complete details.  (click the link above for times and location)

Select from Cruises, Resorts, & Tours

Where do YOU Want to Go - So Many Choices

Explore Tours  ---  Explore Cruises
Perhaps the hottest new destination for 2019 and beyond is Australia & New Zealand.

We've just cruised around New Zealand from Sydney, Australia, earlier this year, so we can give you first-hand tips for your vacation.

Journey with us from Tauranga and experience the real Middle-earth™ at the Hobbiton™ Movie Set (pictured here), where, in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire™, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

If that sounds interesting, browse our Diary of New Zealand Cruise for highlights from that excursion as well as other sites of Australia and New Zealand.

Exclusive Offers

Even if you aren't able to visit us at our booth, you can still take advantage of our special offers like this one from Royal Caribbean and other Cruise Lines.

You may be familiar with BOGOHO promotion where you get 50% second guest. Now the offer is even better with 25% off third & fourth guests.   Additional amenities are also combinable to make this an even more attractive offer (Valid on select ships & sailings).  View all Royal Caribbean offers.

Hurry - These are Limited Time Offers!

We rarely write about our cruise and land offers in our column, but these were too good to pass up.  Don't miss out on these great deals! 

We hope to meet many of our local fans at the Summer Celebration.  This is one of the best parts of the business - being able to have 1-1 conversations in person to help plan your dream vacation.  So where do You want to go?
Click for Schedule of Events


We get several calls for cruise ship and land vacation brochures.   In this day and age, the majority of the suppliers have cut down on printed materials and replaced them with online versions.

We stock brochures that are available from our suppliers on a regular basis and increase our stock in time for this annual event.   If you are in the area, this is a great opportunity for you to browse our "wish books".

Did you know that was how I convinced my husband to take an Alaska cruise?  He had said, "It's cold there.   We live where it's cold.  Why would I go on a vacation to somewhere that is cold?"   Well we've been back to Alaska several times since that initial look at an Alaska brochure.

What's on your wish list?   If we don't have a brochure, we'll be happy to do some research and provide you with all the details.

Come see us if you are in the area last weekend of  July  - or call us afterwards to discuss your wish list.

Follow Us On

Sign-up for Exclusive Email Offers

Friday, July 12, 2019

Tropical Storm Barry Impacts Cruises

Archive | Graphics

Tropical Storm Barry

Tropical Storm Barry formed in the Gulf and has prompted warnings and port closures.  Reports from Air Force Reserve and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast before landfall, and Barry is expected to be a hurricane when the center reaches the Louisiana coast. Weakening is expected after Barry moves inland.

The Port of New Orleans said it ceased cargo-loading operations at its Napoleon Avenue container terminal at noon Thursday and Carnival Cruise Line said it had diverted its Carnival Valor cruise ship to Mobile, Alabama, as the region prepared for Tropical Storm Barry's expected arrival this weekend.
Tropical Storm Barry
1000 AM CDT Fri Jul 12 2019


near 65 MPH...100 KM/H

A Storm Surge Warning has been issued for Lake Pontchartrain
and east of Shell Beach to Biloxi Mississippi.


A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
* Intracoastal City to Grand Isle

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Mouth of the Pearl River to Grand Isle
* Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New
* Intracoastal City to Cameron

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...
* Intracoastal City to Biloxi
* Lake Pontchartrain

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...
* Biloxi to the Mississippi/Alabama border

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* Mouth of the Mississippi River to Grand Isle
* Intracoastal City to Cameron

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* East of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama

Click Here to Learn More

Royal Caribbean Itinerary Updates 
(click for latest)

We are monitoring Tropical Storm Barry to determine if any itineraries need to be modified.

Recent post on Twitter  from their meteorologist:
Update on TS #Barry and #Invest93L: @royalcaribbean Guests Boarding #Enchantment, we have a video playing on Channel 14 in your Staterooms explaining the forecast and our voyage plans safely away from storm. #Liberty Guests arrival Sunday is also far, and safely behind #Barry.

Follow @JamesVanFleet or visit the Royal Caribbean Facebook page for frequent updates.



Norwegian Cruise Line Weather Alert (click for latest)

There are no NCL ships in the region.

Carnival Cruise Line Travel Alerts (click for latest)

Our Fleet Operations Center in Miami has been actively monitoring Tropical Storm Barry in the Gulf. As the safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority, we will continue to keep an eye on things and provide you with timely updates as more information becomes available.

Buses were lined up near the Alabama Cruise Terminal Thursday morning to transport Carnival Valor passengers from Mobile to New Orleans. It left downtown Mobile for another cruise later Thursday afternoon. That voyage, which was initially scheduled to leave the Valor’s homeport of New Orleans, is a four-day voyage to Cozumel.

Carnival ValorJuly 11Modifiedre-routed from New Orleans to Mobile on Thursday, July 11, 2019

Hurricane Season Dates 

Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1st and ends November 30th. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15th and also ends November 30th.
Make a Plan (FEMA) 

Read entire series (click here)

More links and information about tropical storms and other weather conditions can be found in the Weather & Hurricane Zone tabs above.

If you live in, or plan to vacation in, an area where hurricanes are prevalent, please prepare in advance by reading our series.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Cruising Marlborough Sounds

click to enlarge images

Departing Picton

Due to high winds and rough seas, our itinerary had been changed to a day in Picton followed by scenic cruising through the Marlborough Sounds before continuing on our journey back to Sydney.

The Marlborough Sounds encompass 1,500 km of coastline, bays, beaches and native forest. It is a place of incredible natural beauty, a place that needs to be seen to be believed. The area is abundant with wildlife, from penguins and rare King Shags to dolphins and fur seals, and offers some of the world's best boating, diving, fishing and hiking.

After Dinner Treat

As we cruised through the sounds, the sun was starting to set.  The sun rays glistened through the clouds and reflected in the sea.   The gentle movement of the ship through the sounds left a wake behind us as Picton got further out of sight.

Later in the evening the sky was on fire with color.  Here are just a few images captured on one of our cameras.  See the Shutterfly photo page for more images.

Additional photos can be found on our Australia & New Zealand Shutterfly page

Marlborough Sounds
Sunset Cruising Sounds

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.


Connect With Us On

Sign-up for Exclusive Email Offers

Where have you explored? 

Gather your travel and food pics and join us every Wednesday night for the latest installment of #FoodTravelChat

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Coming to America

America in Images

As the 4th of July holiday approached, we scanned through our photo archives for a few fitting memories from past trips.

These images were captured during one of our cruises out of New York.   Just imagine what the immigrants who were coming to America thought as they saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. 

click images to enlarge
Statue of Liberty

On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.  It was later designated as a National Monument in 1924, restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986, and in 2011, underwent a renovation of the 125 year old pedestal and the 200 year old fort base from which the statue rises.

A gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States... The Statue of Liberty is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.

 Sailing in or out of NY Harbor is something you should put on your bucket list if you haven't already done so.  Some cruises that you could select include trans-Atlantic voyages, Bermuda, and Canada / New England itineraries.

America images
What Images of America come to your mind?

If you like Travel & Photography join us each  Wednesday for #FoodTravelChat!   For some thoughts on the 4th of July, see our previous blog post: