Shipboard Giant Piano

Shipboard Giant Piano

When I saw this staircase on the Symphony of the Seas, I loved it. Not only is this a giant piano, the keys also light up when you step on them. Yes, a piano plays, too. Well so does this piano. Was someone walks up or down the steps, you can hear it play! I love it!

The Symphony of the Seas, currently the largest cruise ship in the world, is a ship with many exciting things.

Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus Information

Many are concerned about the spread of this virus. Is it all a bunch of media hype? Well, here’s some information from various organizations, including World Health Organization, put together by Centrav. View it here, where it is updated as needed.

Do you need to be afraid of this virus? Well, check out the information for yourself to decide.

Cruises and Weddings

Cruises and Weddings

It seems like everyone is doing a Destination Wedding. Nothing’s wrong with that, if you want to have your wedding at a specific place.

One type of Destination Wedding now is on a cruise ship. Sometimes it’s before you leave, and you’re allowed a certain number of people on board with you. Some may cruise with you, some may just be there for the wedding and then leave.

Sometimes you may have a wedding while in international waters. Sometimes it may be on a beach or other location when you’re in a port.

There are all sorts of options. Cruise lines are all about giving you what you want. While there is a price to pay, it isn’t as much as you may think. Some have packages as low as $500.

If you have a lot of people cruising with you, enough to make a group, the cost can be even lower. But you have to decide if you want a bunch of people going with you on your honeymoon. That said, many ships have special areas for suite guests. If you are the only one in your group to get one of these suites, you’ll be able to stay in this area all you want and avoid everyone else. It’s up to you.

Vow renewals is another great option on a cruise ship. Consider the “biggest vow renewal at sea” that took place in February 2019. Not to be outdone, Princess Cruises did the same thing this past February, with Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat‘s Captain Stubing) officiating the event on the Regal Princess.

Your travel advisor will get in touch with the proper person at the cruise line and in turn the cruise line representative will be in touch with you to make sure it’s what you want.

There’s nothing like a romantic honeymoon at sea after your wedding or vow renewal.

Splash Zone for Kids

Splash Zone for Kids

On Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas is a special area for younger children. What’s nice about this splash area, children who are not potty trained, and wear swim diapers, are allowed in this area. While they are not allowed in the pools, they are allowed to splash around and have fun here.

What child wouldn’t have fun splashing around a place like this? There are things that spray water, drip water, and pour water!

There are things to climb, slide down (the very young children may not enjoy the large slide, but there are very small ones, too. There is water underneath so a child can just splash by jumping or sitting and using their hands.

The whole area is designed for families with younger children. Even the “hot tub” is designed for families.

A number of Royal Caribbean ships now have these splash areas that can even be used by children in swim diapers!

Star Wars Immersive Adventure

Many Star Wars fans have been waiting for the Galactic Starcruiser Resort to open. Well, it’s getting closer. Here’s a video to explain some of the adventure that awaits you.

Alaska

I had to share this video from Princess Cruises. It has beautiful flyovers of mountains and glaciers in Alaska.

See this beauty in Alaska with a cruise or a cruise tour on a Princess ship. Contact us for details.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Is Coming Up

Valentine’s Day, or as one couple we know calls it, “Forced Display of Affection Day,” can be a great time to give a gift of travel. No, you don’t have to travel FOR Valentine’s Day (it’s usually more expensive, and more crowded for those romantic getaways).

However, you can put down a deposit on that trip you’ve been hoping to see with your sweetie. The anticipation of the trip may even add to the gift.

We can help you find the best value for your trip. Anywhere.

Denied Boarding

Denied Boarding

Your travel advisor helped you book your cruise and your deposit was made.

Your travel advisor recommended Travel Insurance, if he or she was doing right by you. Why?

Well, what happens if you miss the ship? You are responsible to meet your ship or find your own way home. That happens at the embarkation point or at any port at which you disembark.

Ok, so you’re sure you’ll make the ship. Ok.

But, what happens if you or one of your party gets sick? When you get to the ship, the person who is ill may be denied boarding. Why? Because the protection of the other guests is important – no one wants a ship full of sick people.

So, let’s say you lie when asked if anyone has had any of the symptoms listed by the cruise line. Later it is found out, especially when you may have to go to the medical center on the ship. What are the circumstances?

Well, the least could be quarantine in your stateroom, or in the medical facility (expensive). However, you could also be put off the ship at the next port.

If you purchase the right travel insurance coverage, you could have recovered the cost of your cruise (for a later cruise) and gotten help with other incidentals and with returning home.

No one wants something out of the ordinary to happen when travelling anywhere, especially your travel advisor. However, if your travel advisor is worth anything, he or she will always offer travel insurance and recommend it.

It is optional, and probably won’t be necessary, but it sure comes in handy if you ever need it. Just like automobile insurance, you hope you never have to use it, but it sure is nice to have when something happens.

So, if your travel advisor recommends travel insurance, consider it well before you decide to opt out.

Make Memories

Make Memories

Memories are important. I think of them a lot now that I’m getting older. I want to remember the things I’ve done with my children, family, and friends.

Yes, there have been a lot of good memories, but there have been some things that went terribly wrong. Even those times I can look back on, because we got through them. Many we can laugh at now that they are in the past. All were with it, though.

I remember in Costa Rica our son almost fell into a well. That was scary. That’s what happens when you have a very curious three-year-old son who doesn’t understand the dangers of a deep well.

I also remember surprising our three oldest children with a trip to Walt Disney World. All they knew was we were going to see Grandma Soles. They didn’t know we were going to see her at Disney World! We got on the plane, met Grandma at the airport, got our luggage, found our driver and hopped in the van to take us to “The World.”

I remember our son, who was seven at the time, when he saw the Walt Disney World arch showing that we were entering “the happiest place on earth.” He couldn’t speak. All he could do was point. The girls were excited, too, but at least they could talk.

I remember this picture on the left when Wayne and Nat had matching shirts. Many time the girls and I had matching outfits, but finally the men had something that matched.

I remember when Wayne and I went on a trip to Colorado with my parents. It was a time Wayne really got to know them better. While there were clashes, there were a lot of good memories. Like every night we would go play miniature golf and then go out for dessert. The loser at miniature golf had to pay for dessert.

There are so many memories! Yes, you can make memories with your travels.

Travel and Children

Travel and Children

Is travel important to children?

I say it is. Travel allows you time to get away from everything that normally pulls you away from your family. It gives you time to spend with each other that you may not be able to do at home.

Travel also allows your children to see how others live, whether across the state or country, or in another country.

We took our three older children to Costa Rica on a missions trip, but they were very young. Our children were aged 5, 3, and almost 2. Our youngest wasn’t born, yet. While there, our oldest learned a lot about how some people lived – no electricity, an oven made out of mud, a well with no running water, out houses, etc. However, she doesn’t remember it now.

My youngest wasn’t out of the country until she was 17 when  I took her on a cruise. She didn’t see much about the culture at the ports we saw, because we weren’t there long enough to do anything to see it.

Most of our vacations were to visit family or to go to Walt Disney World. While Walt Disney World was something all the children enjoyed, I wish we had done some other things, too.

Our two oldest daughters did go out of the country again later, on their own, but it sure is fun when you can teach your children as you travel.

Take the time to make memories with your family through travel.

Denied Boarding

Special Events – Special Trips

Valentine’s Day, Wedding Anniversaries, Honeymoons, Birthdays, Family Reunions, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays are all great times for trips.

Wayne and I are going to be celebrating 40 years of marriage this year. Yes, they have all been good years! A cruise is our plan! Celebrating 40 years should be special, and a trip we both enjoy is a good way to celebrate.

Birthdays are another great opportunity to go on trips with both family and friends.

Family reunions, especially, are great for trips, because then no one has to be responsible for all the cooking.

Some families prefer to travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas, because you can just spend time with family without doing all the meal preparation and clean up. You just relax and let someone else do that for you.

If you have a large group going, you need to plan well ahead. You’ll get the best deal and what you want in the way of accommodations, meals, etc.

Planning ahead for just two is also good to do if there are specific accommodations, meals, excursions, etc. you want to do. If you wait, there is the chance you may miss out on a “must do” thing. But, if you don’t mind, you can many times find a good deal waiting. Know that sometimes the price will go up if it is popular.

Just remember, travel with a spouse, family, friends, etc. should be a time to make memories, so make them!

Why I’m a Travel Advisor

Why I’m a Travel Advisor

After I left my corporate job to become a homemaker (and eventually a mother to four children), I still had my hands in planning vacations not just for our family, but for large trips that included my parents and siblings (with their families), and my husband’s family.

One day I decided it was time to do something about it, so here I am.

Our favorite family trips when the children were younger was Walt Disney World. Now that the children are all older (the youngest is a senior in high school), my new favorite vacation (one of my husband’s favorites, too) is a cruise.

I remember recently a friend mentioned he was going on a cruise. Someone asked where it was going and he didn’t know off hand. I just said, “Who cares where it’s going? It’s going!” I don’t care where the ship is going, I just want to be on the ship!

But I still love working with others to find the perfect trip, tour, cruise, etc.



Travel Deals!

We don’t typically post travel deals unless it’s an exceptional deal, and many times they have a VERY SHORT window of opportunity.

Why?

Because there are always deals going on, especially for cruises. Yes, there is almost always at least one special going on for each cruise line. There are also specials going on for all-inclusive resorts, tours, hotels, etc.

Also, there are some deals we are not allowed to advertise.

So, if you are looking for something at any time, just let us know. We can get some quotes and if we know of an unadvertised deal, we’ll let you know.

Rise of the Resistance

While “Rise of the Resistance” is already open in Walt Disney World, it is opening this week in Disneyland.

Here’s a video of the ride from TheTimTracker’s YouTube channel that he took in December when the Press was allowed to preview it:

Lost or Stolen Passport While Travelling?

Lost or Stolen Passport While Travelling?

One thing you would hate to have lost or stolen while travelling abroad is your passport.

If you don’t have it, you will most likely be denied boarding a cruise ship, airplane, or any other transportation that would take you out of that country.

Always keep a copy of your passport. While it won’t work for a substitute, it will help speed up the replacement at the embassy.

Here are some tips when travelling abroad and keeping your passport safe:

  1. Keep your passport on your person at all times. A cross-body bag is a good choice to keep it on your person. An extra measure of safety is to use a safety pin to hold the compartment the passport is in closed. Even using one on all the compartments will not give away which compartment it is in.
  2. Never take that bag off your person while ashore, even when eating at a cafe or other restaurant. Pickpockets live for travelers putting their bags down for “just a second.”
  3. Keep copies of your passport in your luggage, with a contact back at home, and in your email account, so they can be accessed easily anywhere, at any time, to speed up the replacement process overseas.
Best Cruise Deals

Best Cruise Deals

How do you get the best deal on a cruise? Well, that answer can depend on a number of factors.

If a particular ship and/or itinerary is popular, the best time to book is as soon as it is available for sale. Why? The price can go up. Once you put down a deposit, that price can never go up. Also, if you wait, you risk not getting a particular type of state room or location.

Can the price go down? There are times it may, if it is proving to be an itinerary that isn’t selling. If you have already made final payment, you are not able to take advantage of a different price. As a travel advisor, if I see the price drop (or see a sale), I check to see if it would be a better deal for you or not. Sometimes the price may go down slightly, but if you choose to take that price, you may lose other benefits (like on board credit, free wi-fi, free drink package, etc.) instead. That is when you will have to decide if you are better off keeping what you have. The better price may not mean a better value.

So, as a rule of thumb, the best time to purchase for the best deal is as early as possible.

Now there is another opportunity for great fares, and many times the best fares, is if you are flexible. Many times within 120 or 90 days of a cruise leaving, you can find great deals for ships trying to fill up their cabins. You may have to sacrifice state room type or location, but sometimes those deals are almost too good to pass up. Sometimes you can book a cruise today and leave in a couple days. Just know that state room choices are very limited, and many times you do not get any added benefits.

We are here to help you find the best value for your vacation, cruise or otherwise. Sometimes we have access to specials that we are not allowed to advertise, so check with us.

Making Family (or friend) Memories

Making Family (or friend) Memories

What can I say? When you travel together, you make memories together. Even when something goes wrong, you’ll look back on it with those who traveled with you and maybe even laugh. Even if you don’t, it’s a memory, and it was shared with someone you love.

I remember when my husband and I took our three children (at the time we only had three) to Costa Rica. Something went wrong – terribly wrong – when we had to change planes in Miami.

Since we had plenty of time to catch the next plane, and our children were aged 5, 3, and almost 2, we decided to wait and get off the plane last. We didn’t want to cause anyone a problem if they didn’t have the time we did. After all, it can be slow getting off a plane with young children.

We were able to manage our carry-on bags since we had some child-sized ones our two older children could pull to help us. But when we got off the plan and saw only an escalator going up, we had to stop and stare.

I didn’t want our young children trying to take bags up the escalator, and I knew the two younger ones would need help. No stairway, no elevator, just one escalator that was going up.

We were trying to decide how to handle this since we couldn’t leave our children alone on either side of the escalator. I would have to carry the youngest and hold onto the hand of the next youngest and hope the oldest could get up by copying me. That meant I wouldn’t have any free hands to help with the luggage, except the diaper bag I could throw over my shoulder.

Well, our son (the three-year-old) decided he could go up by himself and started to get on the escalator (without permission) and fell. He was so scared with those “teeth” moving. He kept trying to crawl back down and we could see the fear in his eyes.

I was holding the youngest, and Wayne had his hands full of luggage, but dropped it all. He tried to get him when someone upstairs saw what was happening and pushed the emergency stop button. We were so thankful for that person!

Anyway, we still had a problem with getting the children and the luggage all up, but the pilot had stepped off the plane and saw what happened and offered to help with some of our luggage. Another person for whom to be thankful.

Now I can look back on that and somewhat laugh, but my heart was beating so fast and I was a bit shaky for a while after that.

Believe me, that wasn’t the only thing that went wrong on that trip, that was only the first, but we are so glad we went. And yes, there were a lot of good things that happened, too. While the youngest doesn’t remember the trip at all, and the other two remember only a little bit, my husband and I will cherish that trip where we visited some dear friends who were missionaries in Costa Rica.

Even memories of things that go wrong are great to have!

Splash Zone for Kids

I Need a Cruise!

Ok, I always think I need a cruise! But after the holiday season, I really want to go on a cruise.

I love being able to participate in the activities and entertainment – or not. It’s a great time for me to relax and get away from everything.

Unfortunately, my favorite cruise buddy, my husband, is going to be very busy for a while. So, unless a deal I can’t pass up comes along, and I take one of my children with me, I will have to delay a cruise.

If you “need” a cruise, let us know. Sometimes there are great deals on short notice. While we can’t guarantee a super deal, it doesn’t hurt to ask. We’d be happy to see what we can find for you.

You can make a lot of great memories, like the memory I have with my youngest daughter when we cruised together last year. We took the cupcake decorating class together.

Best Cruise Deals

No-Stress Cruises

Shore excursions, specialty dining, spa appointments, a drink package, and even some entertainment events on board can be booked ahead, at home. This will allow you to get what you want, when you want it, and not have to wait in a line. Yes, you can still do this on the ship’s app for some cruise lines, but many times you get a discount if booked before boarding. Also, if the time you want is filled up, well…

If you have any dietary restrictions, be sure to let your travel advisor know so he/she can notify the cruise line.

Many of the ocean cruise ships have an adult-only pool area. If you want to spend some time relaxing on deck, without all the noise and chaos, spend some time there. Some ships may have a fee, but most do not.

Many ships have a day pass for the spa. Choose a day at sea, or even a day in port if you don’t want to get off the ship. While it won’t include massages, or treatments, you will have access to the facilities, like a sauna, whirlpool, steam room, relaxation room, etc.

Take some time to walk around the ship and check out some of the artwork, decor, the library, card room, etc. Some ships even have scavenger hunts you can do on your own.

There are a number of activities and entertainment options on each ship. While there are fewer opportunities while you are in port, you are sure to find something of interest. There could be cooking demonstrations, shows, movies, crafts, etc. Some have an extra charge, but most do not.

Get a stateroom with a balcony. This will allow you to step outside anytime you wish. You may sit on the balcony and just enjoy the view.

Before you leave, if you have any questions or concerns, ask your travel advisor.