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Posts Tagged ‘#TravelTuesday’

Carnival Vista

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Set Sail to Europe

Carnival Vista on the Way

Carnival Vista on the Way

The latest Carnival Cruises Fun Ship will embark on her inaugural journey to the Mediterranean on May 1, 2016.  Pricing starts at only $1,399 for this 13-day voyage. You can be one of the first to experience the line’s largest ship to date, Carnival Vista as she visits ports-of-call along the Mediterranean Sea, including departures from Barcelona and Athens.

While on board, enjoy delectable dining experiences including in the new Horizons Restaurant and New-England-style Seafood Shack. Beer fans will love sampling mircobrews in the brewery. There’s something for all tastes.

As the name implies, the real star of this ship will be the views, which were a critical component to the ship’s design. The new open-air design gives guests a more intimate feeling, which in itself is surprising given the sheer size.  However, the sweeping views can be appreciated throughout the ship.

Carnival Vista Family Areas (Photo Courtesy of Carnival Cruises)

Carnival Vista Family Areas (Photo Courtesy of Carnival)

The ship boasts the first ever IMAX theater at sea. There’s also a family-friendly dedicated area.

Here are some of the sailings* you might want to consider:

  • 8-day Sailings –  Barcelona, Spain from $899
  • 10-day Sailings – Barcelona, Spain from $1,099
  • 12-day Sailings – Barcelona, Spain from $1,649
  • 10-day Sailings – Athens, Greece from $1,099
  • Oct 21, 2016 – TransAtlantic from Barcelona, Spain to New York, starting at $1,399

* Terms and conditions apply so call us for details.

Call us for exact pricing for the stateroom and departure of your choice.  Bon Voyage!

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Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

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Reason #10 – Why Use a Travel Agent?

A Travel Agent Adds Value to Your Experience

A Travel Agent Adds Value to Your Experience

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, so-and-so has a new movie.” and your response is, “I thought he was dead.”  Well the same has been about the travel agent. The talk regarding the death of the travel agent is just a vicious rumor. Travel agents add so much value to a person’s travel planning and ultimate experience.

Learn why you should use a travel agent to plan and book your vacation, honeymoon or special milestone trip. In this series on the top 10 reasons to use a travel agent, you will read truth not rumor.

Here’s the first of the Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent, presented in David Letterman style.

10. Got a Life? If you do have a life then you are busy, too busy to spend your time planning and booking a vacation. Let a professional do it for you. Do you pay someone to wash your car, manicure your nails, walk your dog, clean your house, babysit your children, mow your lawn? So why shouldn’t you use a professional (that you don’t have to pay-but more on that later) for a decision this important to you? Not only is this one of the largest investments you will make year in and year out, it’s also one of the most important.

It’s not like you get a vacation every month, right? You don’t get that much vacation time away from work and your other responsibilities.  Allowing a travel professional to handle the important details of your vacation, dream honeymoon, anniversary or milestone trip gives your special getaway the best chance of being the best vacation you’ve ever taken.

And just in case you didn’t know . . . to use a song title from the great Motown songwriting team of Ashford and Simpson, “(It) Don’t Cost you Nothing”, which leads me to reason #9, so check back next month.

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Travel Update 9-15-15

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We want you to be in-the-know on what’s happening around the world in travel-related news so here’s the latest travel update.  Enjoy!

 

Travel Update for Airlines

Airlines Not Playing Nicely

Travel Update - Airlines

Travel Update – Airlines

Well the good ol’ days of airlines re-booking other carriers’ customers has ended today. Delta and American Airlines no longer have an interline ticketing and baggage agreement in place. This means travelers will not be able to enjoy the convenience of having these two carriers offer the option of re-booking on behalf of the other.

 

Can’t We All Just Get Along

It seems American was doing all the re-booking for Delta without the benefit of reciprocation.  So the parties over. Starting today, no flight segments operated by Delta and American on the same ticket. However, tickets purchased prior today, will still be honored.

 

United Wants to Entertain You

Well, they want you to be able to entertain yourself. So, they have initiated a new program called, “Flyer Friendly”, which includes FREE movies and popular TV shows, including HBO. By downloading the United app or by clicking the United.com website 24-hours prior to your flight, you’ll be able to determine what amenities are offered on your flight.

 

It’s About Damned Time

Who wants to be bored while flying cross country?  All you do is wonder how much closer you are to getting off the plane. Now, your time will fly by (pun intended) with streaming, from your own personal device of more than 125 movies, including children selections. Through their partnership with VEVO, music videos are also available too but unfortunately, there’s no room to bust a move. You’ll have to be content to just lip sync.

Don’t want to wait until your next flight? Then check out United Entertainment Choices now for a list of available movie titles.

 

But Wait, There’s More

Another reason to download the United app-it’s ability to navigation easier throughout the airport with better maps.  Passengers flying out of or connecting in one their hubs

  • Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles
  • New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington

will also be able to take advantage of a new self-booking function, in case of a delay, flight cancellation or missed connection.  But I’m sure you’ll NEVER need this capability, right?! Apple IOS devices are available currently with an Android version to follow shortly.

New Club at SFO

Delta has redesigned their Sky Club at the San Francisco airport.  If this is how you role, then you’ll get to enjoy a lounge twice the size as the prior one. The 9,000 square feet upgrade is conveniently located behind the security-check point, allowing for easier gate access. Plus, there are plenty of extras to make the wait pleasurable while the back-of-the-plane stiffs jockey for a seat in the cattle-call lounge.  A self-service espresso machine, two shower suites, a nice selection of premium cocktail choices, as well as craft beers, Greek yogurt, morning bagels, hot soup and salads. Ah, the good life!

 

Travel Update – Health Concerns

Hand, Food & Mouth Disease Strikes Asia

Travelers heading to the Far East should be aware that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta is continuing a Level 1 Warning for travelers to Asia. The warning, issued earlier this year applies to Singapore and Japan. According to the World Health Organization, Singapore has reported approximately 18,000 cases of hand, food and mouth disease. Japan also has had a serious outbreak.

If you are traveling with small children, especially those under the age of 5, they are the most susceptible to contracting the disease. Another good reason to not take a long-haul flight with a child. What should you look for?  Symptoms include fever, mouth blisters as well as a rash.  At this time, there is no vaccine available so take precautions. the CDC advises the following common sense advise:

 

Precautions
  1. Just like your mother told you, wash your hands often.
  2. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if good old soap and water aren’t available.
  3. Keep your hands off your sister, as well as your own face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth.

This may be yet another great reason to purchase travel insurance prior to leaving home.

 

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Traveler News

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Travel Updates and Alerts

For the week of July 28, here’s the latest traveler news and hot topics for the leisure and business traveler, ranging from cruises to airlines to destinations to resorts and hotels. Enjoy!

Cruise News
UNESCO World Heritage  Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Vietnamese officials have issued a temporary ban on overnight, as well as day cruises on Halong Bay due to flooding.  The region was hit with the worst flooding in 40 years.  According to the press, at least 14 people have died and another three are missing due to the floods.

Many tourists in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay have been stranded on more remote islands.

 

 

WindStar Cruises has introduced a new, all-inclusive vacation for Panama and Costa Rica itineraries. With WindStar, you sail on the extraordinary in a country club environment. This special offer includes:

  • FREE Shore Excursions
  • FREE Beverage Package
  • FREE Gratuities
  • FREE Private Events

You’ll also get FREE, unlimited Wi-Fi so you can share all of your exciting travels as they happen with family and friends.

 

Destinations

At long last, Americans can travel direct to Cuba. Through the revised, people-to-people program, we can send you to our frozen-in-time Caribbean neighbor. We sell several land and sea-based itineraries including:

  • Culture of the Afro-Cuban, 7-days
  • Charming Colonial Cities, 9 days
  • Cultural Exploration, varies
  • Hidden Gems, 9 days
  • Land & Sea, 10 days
  • Grand Coast to Coast Tour, 17 days

If you would like to be one of lucky few Americans during the past 50 years to visit Cuba, Call Us Today. We have a bucket list, Cuban vacation designed with your interests in mind.

 

Lush Hawaii

Lush Hawaii

With perfect year-round weather, Hawaii is always a great vacation choice. But now the stakes just got hotter. The luxurious, oceanfront Wailea Marriott Resort and Spa has a new special starting at only $996 per person.

When you book before August 15, 2015 and travel between August 22 – December 21, 2015, you’ll receive:

  • 5-night Garden View Room
  • 5-days Midsize Car Rental
  • All Applicable Taxes

We’d be happy to book this romantic getaway or honeymoon for you and your sweetheart.  Give us a call for full details.

Airlines

Lot Polish Airlines announced plans to expand its presence in America.  They are adding flights from New York and Chicago, headed to Warsaw. This will be welcome news for many travelers heading to the region to disembark on  river cruises.In addition, the airline will start flying to Tokyo in January.

 

Thinking about heading “Down Under”?  Well it just got easier.  American Airlines will begin non-stop service between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia on the Boeing 777-300-ER. The “Triple 7″ has in-seat entertainment, international Wi-Fi, AC power outlets, USB ports and most importantly, added legroom.  This arrangement came about as a result of a partnership with Quantas.  The first flight from LAX will depart on Dec. 17, 2015.


 

 

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Airline News 7-6-15

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Airline News from Delta and American

Airlines News and Updates

Airlines Poise for Summer

Here’s the latest airline news and updates for the week of 7-6-15.

 

Airlines Accused of Collusion

This past week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has alleged collusion within the airlines industry, resulting in artificially higher airfares.  According to the Associated Press, the DOJ accuses the airlines of limiting the number of seats, which is leading to higher prices. This is a particular concern given the increase in summer travel. This comes at a time when the airlines have seen a doubling in their profit markets of more than $30 billion.

Spain Controllers to Strike

Spanish air traffic controllers have announced an industrial strike action scheduled July 11th, 12th, 26th and 26th for three hours each day. Travel to and from Spain will be impacted. The strike is a reaction to sanctions handed down to 61 air traffic controllers who had previously participated in a strike in 2010.

 

American Airlines

Going Down Under Just Got Easier

Pending regulatory approvals, American Airlines and Qantas Airways plan to expand their joint business by adding new service between the U.S. and Australia. New routes between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Sydney Airport (SYD), operated by American Airlines, and between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and SYD, operated by Qantas.

More Flights to Australia

According to these OneWorld Partners, services will initially operate on peak days and ramp up to six times per week in January 2016.

Delta

Expands Coast to Coast

Starting in November, Delta will expand cross country service from New York JFK with an additional LAX frequency and upgraded service between New York JFK and San Francisco.
On flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles, Delta will increase service from nine to ten daily peak day flights, with four flights operated with Boeing 767 wide-body aircraft.

Goes Turkey

Delta will begin offering daily service between New York JFK and Istanbul this month for the summer.

Direct Flights to Provence

Joint venture partners Delta and Air France will offer year round nonstop service between Nice and New York JFK. The flight is the only service to link the French Riviera region to
the United States nonstop.
 Source: NewsLine

Major Changes for Minors

Effective, June 22, 2015, children traveling alone as unaccompanied minors must be booked by directly contacting the American Airlines Reservations department. This policy change only impacts newly booked reservations and if you are unclear of our policies and restrictions related to unaccompanied minor travel, one of the AA representatives will be glad to answer your questions.

 

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Travel News 6-29-15

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Travel Use You Can Use

Princess Heads to South America
Christ the Redeemer in Brazil

Christ the Redeemer in Brazil

Here’s some of the latest travel news for cruisers and those traveling internationally.

Crown Princess will be Princess’ largest ship ever to sail a full season of cruises to South America. It has added cruising itineraries sailing the southernmost tip of South America and the Chilean Fjord. You’ll get an opportunity to visit the amazing cities of Santiago (Valparaiso) and either Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires . There will be nine (9) departures during the season.

Crown Princess will offer cruises around Cape Horn on 14- and 33-day itineraries, including overnight calls in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Lima (Callao) on select departures. Crown Princess will sail between two continents and cross the Equator on an Andes and South America cruise featuring Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica with an optional overland tour of Machu Picchu.

Contact us if you are interested in any of these itineraries.

 

Delta and Aeromexico To Join Forces

Grupo Aeromexico and Delta have filed an application with the Mexican Comision Federal de Competencia Economica (Federal Economic Competition Commission) for a Joint Cooperation Agreement on flights between the United States and Mexico.

Subject to the required economic competition authority’s approvals, the airlines expect to offer an expanded network, enhancing routes and schedules, concurrently increasing opportunities to co-locate and invest in airport facilities by improving gates, lounges and the overall connecting experience, Grupo Aeromexico said in a statement announcing the application. Additionally, the airlines will increase joint sales and marketing initiatives.

Source: TravelAgent Central

 

Hepatitis A Outbreak in Mexico

The Center for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Watch for Mexico, particularly Tulum. Please go to the CDC website for more information if you are traveling to this area or contact your travel agent.

 

Yachting the Riveria

WindStar Cruises has a wine cruise departing on Oct. 13, 2015 for the French and Italian Riviera.  The 7-day cruise departs from Nice and disembarks in Rome (Civitavecchia).  Call us, your WindStar Specialist at 619-944-5202 to book this relaxing yachting lifestyle cruise and receive exclusive amenities.

 

 

 

 

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5 Cinco de Mayo Facts

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A Gringo Celebration

Viva Mexico

Viva Mexico

Will you be heading out tonight to celebrate the gringo holiday Cinco de Mayo? Here are five Cinco de Mayo facts to toss around the bar this evening as you join in the revelry.

Fact 1 : According to a recent survey, nine out of ten people think this holiday is Mexican Independence Day. But those of you in the know, know better.

Fact 2: Cinco de Mayo commemorates the day Mexico unexpectedly defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. For some, perhaps it’s another way to keep alive the North American tradition of sticking it to the French.

Fact 3: The Battle of Puebla victory was short lived as Napoleon III regrouped and France won the rematch a year later.

Fact 4: May 5th is not a holiday in Mexico. However, it is recognized as one in the state of Puebla, which is located southeast of Mexico City.

Anejo Tequila & Lime

Anejo Tequila & Lime

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a day to celebrate Mexican heritage. But personally, I think it’s a retailer holiday.  It’s just another way for bars, restaurants and spirits makers to tack some revenue onto their bottom line. But, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. St. Paddy’s day was six weeks ago after all so everyone is looking for a quasi-legitimate reason to go out and get liquored up.

Fact 5: If anyone asks, tell them that Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16th. Dieciséis de Septiembre just doesn’t have the same ring does it? 

Salud!

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Top 5 Travel Tips of Savvy Travelers

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Top Travel Tips for Savvy Travelers

Savvy travelers know the top travel tips to use to grab great deals and avoid the maddening crowds. Now, you can too.  You should use these travel tips to make your next vacation planning experience a lot smoother.

Travel Tip - Travel during Non-Peak Times

Travel Tip – Travel during Non-Peak Times

5. Travel During Off-Peak

Traveling on off-peak days of the week and off-peak times allows you to take advantage of better fares. You’ll also have a better chance of not fighting over the armrest with fewer people on the planes. You may even get to snag a great seat typically reserved for elite-status airline members only.

Plan your weekend getaway for a Thursday through Sunday or Friday through Monday. You can spend the added flight savings on fun activities and dinners out in the city you are visiting.

4. Vacation during Shoulder Season

When planning a vacation to the Caribbean, Bali or Hawaii, avoid peak travel season. Also, keep in mind snowbirds will be trying to escape their frozen tundra hometowns, making reservations harder and more expensive to come by. A good travel agent will help you plan your vacation during non-peak travel times.

Travel Tip - Avoid Foreign Travelers' Peak Travel Seasons

Travel Tip – Avoid Foreign Travelers’ Peak Travel Seasons

We took a Caribbean cruise during the first two weeks of December. The following week, the same two-week cruise cost twice as much.

Savvy travelers consider the travel patterns of foreigners. Japanese, German, Canadian and British tourists travel extensively and may be driving up rates during certain months.  Also, if you don’t have school-age children, then avoid summer and school breaks, especially Spring break.

 

3. Get Email Notifications

Pick a few airlines and hotel brands you like, then join their loyalty membership programs. If you have traveled on a certain airline or stayed at a hotel chain, then you’re already ahead of the game. Simply, sign up for email notifications from these companies. You should do this about eight months out from your departure date.

If you want to keep these emails separate from your others, set up a unique email account just for these offers.

Travel Tip - Snag Luxury Accommodations by Going Direct

Travel Tip – Snag Luxury Accommodations by Going Direct

2. Travel Mid-day

Schedule your flights during the middle of the day. First, you’ll avoid the morning rush. Secondly, you’ll get to spend a bit more time enjoying your vacation. Photographers love taking pictures during the early morning hours. Heading out for a quick photo shoot before leaving for the airport may give you an opportunity to capture those final vacation memories.

 

 1. Go Directly to the Source

Rates vary wildly at hotels, especially at luxury properties. In January, we traveled to Las Vegas.  A major technology conference was in town through Thursday. When planning the getaway, I called our desired hotel, the Wynn, inquiring about rates.  The rack rate was starting at $625 per night through Thursday. So, on Thursday night, we stayed at a hotel a block off The Strip, then moved to The Wynn from Friday through Monday at an average nightly rate of $325 per night, a savings of almost 50%.

In addition, you can call the hotel manager and ask for the seasons or months that will have lower occupancy rates, with the idea of landing a deal during these slow times. You may also increase your odds of scoring a room upgrade.

 

Source: Conde Nast Traveler

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Tulum Ruins

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Mayan Ruins of Tulum

Gay-Tulum-Calendar-InfoTulum is one of approximately 3,000 Mayan ruins located throughout the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It is one of the smallest ruins uncovered. During the Late Post Classical Period, which was from 1250- 1550 AD, Tulum developed as a city with strategic importance. The Mayan civilization had the only fully developed written language in the pre-Columbian Americas.

In the Mayan language, Tulum means “fence” or “wall”. The walls were 26 feet thick walls, averaging 16 feet in height and 1,300 feet in length.  They were used as a defense against invasions. The explorers of the Juan de Grijalva Spanish Expedition of 1518 were the first Europeans to spot the ruins of the walled city of Tulum.

Tulum Ruins are set high above the Caribbean Sea

Tulum is set high above the Caribbean Sea

There are only 20 remaining structures at the Tulum Ruins. However, due to its location high on the cliffs above the Caribbean Sea and its proximity to the beach, it is a popular tourist spot. The inlet or former port is located between the Inner Precinct and the Temple of the Wind. With access to both land and sea, it became an important trade route for engaging in commercial activities with other cultures in Central America, as well as other people of the Yucatan. The Mayans primarily traded honey, furs, tobacco and pearls. The structures were designed to provide guidance to sailors as they approached the reefs.

 

The Tulum Ruins

Main-Building-at-TulumThe three primary, remaining structures at the Tulum Ruins are:

El Castillo / The Castle

This is the main building. It was designed to take advantage of its crucial vantage point to the sea.

 

Temple of the Descending God

This structure is easily recognizable due to its internationally slanting walls. The stucco façade has carvings of the Descending God, as well as items used in offerings.

 

Temple of the Frescoes

This is one of the best preserved buildings. It has great examples of mural paintings, depicting various images of fruits, flowers and the important Mayan crop corn.

 

 

 

You’ll also be able to see these three structures on the grounds at Tulum:

House of Columns

This building’s entrance was graced with massive columns. The interior was quite large and was covered by a flat roof.

 

The Northwestern House

This building was a portal with two interior pathways and three entrances.

 

House of Halach Huinic

Also known as House of the Great Lord, this palace flanked by columns had three interior rooms. The façade held niches where figures were placed.

 

For vacationers to the Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum is listed on the Top 10 Attractions list of places to see and things to do.  It can be easily accessed via cruise ship port of call or from one of the all-inclusive resorts in the area.

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Cruise Perks

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Celebrity Cruises Sailing in Alaska

Celebrity Cruises Sailing in Alaska

 Cruise Perks

If you are looking for a bargain, you’ll want to check into the great cruise perks from Celebrity Cruises. Called 1-2-3 Go, the perks package offers the opportunity to enjoy all of the popular amenities guests typically want while on a cruise. Celebrity Cruises must really know their customers. It seems as though someone back at the Celebrity headquarters actually is reading those comment cards they ask you to to complete at the end of the cruise.  Who knew?

The Celebrity Commitment

On select Celebrity departures, guests may select one of three popular cruise perks to enhance their vacation experience while on board:

  1. FREE Classic Beverage Package for 2
  2. FREE Gratuities for 2
  3. An on-board Credit up to $300

 

Tell Me More
Celebrity Cruises is Perfect for the Foodie

Celebrity Cruises is Perfect for the Foodie

The deal gets even better for European sailings.  Guests can choose from two of the above. If you book the upgraded Celebrity Cruises Concierge Class, then you get to enjoy all three amenities from the package. Concierge Class passengers also are entitled to priority check-in, a special pre-departure lounge, as well as on-board Concierge Service.

 

I’ll be enjoying a Celebrity Cruise within the next few months and we are taking advantage of the Beverage Package.  No surprise there right?  Celebrity understands that passengers want to know what their expenses will be before the end of the cruise and these programs ease some of the uncertainty of shipboard expenses. These offers allow passengers to not get the nickle and dime treatment by making the cruise pricing more inclusive.

 

Current Specials

For specific details and information on the terms and conditions on these great amenity cruise perks offers, contact your travel professional. Celebrity has more than 385 breathtaking itineraries from which to choose. Currently, you can plan and book a cruise through April 2016.

 

For a limited time, Fine Living Enthusiast has an exclusive offer of $200 on-board credit for you to use as you like. This is in addition to any of the above-mentioned offers. Call us for any 2014 Celebrity 7-night or more sailing. This exclusive offer ends December 5. So please call now.

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