Archive for September, 2012

Holland America has 15 ships sailing all over the world. Choose the one you want in this free cruise contest. If you are not one of the lucky winners, then book your next cruise with The Cruise Experts. You will be taken care of!

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You know the cruise ship toilets if you have been on a cruise before, are not like the ones at home. They are hooked up to a valve and a giant vacuum system that sucks the crap out of the toilet when the valve is opened, literally! In order for the system to work, there can’t be any thing in the toilet that will have a hard time flowing out the outflow, through a flexible elbow that can be accessed only through a removable panel in the hallway, and into the myriad of pipes and valves taking it to the ships waste treatment system. Conventional toilets rely on water and gravity for the waste to float downhill through pipes, and that typically takes a lot more water. Conventional toilets use about 7 liters of water compared to about 1 liter in a vacuum system, and the pipes don’t have to be installed with a minimum .5% fall. There are a lot of things that you should not put in these ship toilets, but to make it simple, lets talk about all the things that you can safely put in there.
1. Toilet paper.
2. Nothing else.
3. (Not even tissue’s) Like Kleenex tissue. The type you use to blow your nose.
Yes, it is that simple. No, tissue is not the same thing as tp. Think about it. Tissue is designed not to break up and is strong. It gets clogged in the elbow. So does paper towels, and whatever else you can think of. So when you flush it, it stays together, it clumps, and it clogs.
I know from first hand experience, and can tell you that when you need the toilet, you need the toilet! Of course when you are on a cruise, unless you spring for the owners suite, or the Royal Suite, there is only one bathroom. When it is not working and you have already called the maintenance team to come unclog the vacuum system, even waiting 10 minutes seems like forever. Do you wait, or try to make a run for the public restrooms. I hope I can remember where the closest one is!

We are here and ready to find you your next best cruise. No fees to book!

Kevin Souder
The Cruise Experts
(866) 968-2789

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Afraid of Heights?

MONFALCONE, Italy — What will it be like to walk across the 17-deck-high, glass-bottomed “SeaWalk” planned for Princess Cruises’ next ship? In a word, scary — at least for passengers who are afraid of heights.
The photos on this page, taken today during a tour of the still-under-construction Royal Princess, offer the first glimpse of the much-ballyhooed SeaWalk, which will be cantilevered from the side of the ship over the ocean.
Located on the starboard side of the 3,600-passenger vessel, near the main pool area, the SeaWalk — an industry first — will extend nearly 30 feet from the ship and feature glass walls and floors that will be put in place over the coming months. In the picture above, Princess executives and journalists are walking above the SeaWalk, on what will be its roof. Temporary floor covering can be seen below them where the glass flooring eventually will be inserted.
RELATED:Next Princess ship to have glass-bottomed ‘SeaWalk’
PHOTO TOUR:Last look at the ‘Love Boat’
The Royal Princess also will have another cantilevered feature on the port side of the same deck, the SeaView bar, which will have space for 20 people.
USA TODAY was one of a handful of news outlets to get a tour of the Royal Princess today at the Italian shipyard where it is has been under construction for more than two years. Scheduled to debut in June 2013, the 141,000-ton vessel is Princess Cruises’ largest ever and its first since 2008.

Pasted from http://travel.usatoday.com/cruises/post/2012/09/royal-princess-ship-skywalk/70000144/1>

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Group cruising

“A cruise is a great way for like-minded people to do things as both a group and independently,” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales for Celebrity Cruises. “Cruising offers a great value proposition when planning a group because of all of the things included in the base fare. Land-based options are offered at a la carte pricing, while cruising includes your room, food and entertainment. Guests also get to see multiple countries while packing only once.” 

Among cruise lines, agents polled for the survey ranked Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity and Princess Cruises as their top go-to suppliers. 

Pieter Hahn, manager and vice president of Fantasy Travel in Bradenton, Fla., agreed that cruising “is a nice, easy package.” In the past year, Hahn has seen his group business double; it now comprises 30% of his total bookings. 

Choice of destination and itinerary vary by group based on many factors. In Hahn’s case, he cites his Florida location as his strongest selling point. For one thing, he targets “snowbirds” living in condo/villa complexes and mobile home parks. For another, his location is near embarkation ports accessible by motorcoaches, which he arranges for transfer. 

Jon Harper, vice president of group and incentive markets for East Town Travel, a member of the Ensemble Group, doesn’t have that kind of location advantage in Milwaukee. He has grown his group business by matching destinations with itineraries based on an affinity group’s interests. For example, for his art and history museum groups he creates private activities with museums and exclusive interactions with artists and curators in after-hours events. 

Vicki Freed, senior vice president for sale and trade support and services at Royal Caribbean International, said groups that have never traveled together before may initially choose the Caribbean or other close-to-home itineraries but often evolve over time and graduate to other destinations. 

But the social element is often just as important in group travel as the destination. Peg Haskins, president of Viking Travel/The Cruise Shop in Westmont, Ill., said the “ability to mix with the people of similar interests and lifestyles is sometimes more important than the ports of call.” 

Choosing the right ship for the group is crucial. Some groups might require meeting or conference rooms for days at sea. Others will want to commandeer an entire specialty restaurant for a celebratory meal. On Royal Caribbean’s ships, groups can purchase an hour to surf the FlowRiders or request a private ice skating session. 

Nexion President Jackie Friedman stressed that agents need to ensure there is adequate space to meet the group’s needs. For example, in the case of craft-based groups, she said, you need to “understand what the activities are going to be for the group and if they need to spread out materials. Some ships won’t have room for something like that.” 

As for how to find target groups, Joni Rein, vice president of worldwide sales for Carnival Cruise Lines, said the beauty of group travel is that your market “can be found everywhere, from church groups and social groups to special interest and fan groups.” Rein advises agents to start by approaching the group leader: “This often gives [agents] an immediate point of contact and insider knowledge that will help from the get-go. Qualifying individuals within the group comes easy,” she said, since the primary qualifier is: “Do they have an affinity to the affinity?” 

Freed suggested that beginning agents who lack a client list should develop groups from their own passions and interests, such as craft stores. She recalled that one agent found great success working with Michaels arts and crafts stores and even had a representative from the company come onboard to demonstrate skills in various crafts. 

Harper said he has had success working with fundraising groups because on a ship “they have a captive audience.” He has also had success organizing groups with local radio stations, which then promote the cruises on-air and often put a station celebrity onboard. 

“Folks can buy any cruise,” Harper said. “But when they have the opportunity to join others with similar interests and experience unique opportunities that would not normally be available, they want to join the fun.” 

It’s important to keep in mind that booking cruise groups is not just a matter of selling more cabins; it also takes advantage of a cruise line’s amenity points program, which Harper said enable agents to ” be very creative, providing perceived added-values, including unique ‘exclusive’ components,” that often end up costing the agent nothing. A cruise line’s amenity points can be applied to such things as offering cocktail parties, upgrades, logo items, a reduction in the number of clients needed to get a complimentary cabin and even a discounted price. Or, amenity points can simply earn bonus 
Posted from “Travel Weekly Magazine”
To book your next Group, Call The Cruise Experts at (866) 968-2789 or go to www.TheCruiseXperts.com

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Royal Caribbean launches product around Barbie doll
By Tom Stieghorst
Royal Caribbean isn’t trading in its signiture gold and blue colors, but its ships are going to be a lot more pink starting in January.

That’s when something called the “Barbie Experience” will debut for young princesses ages 4 to 11.

Girls can sleep in Barbie-themed cabins, design Barbie outfits, go to tea and participate in a fashion show at the end of the cruise. The experience will come in a basic free version and a premium one that will cost $349.

Cruisers with long memories might recall a Carnival-branded Barbie doll that was around during the late 1990s on Carnival Cruise Lines ships.

“That was simply a doll sold in the gift shop,” said Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s vice president of sales. Freed is a big Barbie collector and worked for Carnival when Carnival Cruise Barbie set sail in 1997.

Mattel Inc., Royal Caribbean’s partner in the Barbie Experience, started making the iconic doll in 1959.
Barbie was a smash success in a test last fall on the Freedom of the Seas, Freed said. “When you think about all the families we carry, this is a really great fit,” she said.

Go to Royal Caribbean’s Barbie Sweepstakes and win here. http://www.barbiecruisevacation.com/

Article from Travel Weekly
To Book your next cruise, go to http://www.TheCruiseXperts.com
or Call (866) 968-2789

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Norwegian Breakaway Reveals new paint scheme.

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Norwegian Cruise Line revealed the hull of their upcoming Norwegian Breakaway today, designed by popular artist Peter Max. This is the first time Norwegian has commissioned such a well-known artist to paint the hull of one of their vessels, covering nearly 40,000 square feet of the hull.
“While it has been an honor to have my art exhibited in museums and galleries, I have also enjoyed creating giant ‘canvases’ for public view, including my 600 ft. Woodstock stage, a giant World’s Fair mural, the body of a Continental 777 super jet, and now, the hull of Norwegian Breakaway,” said Peter Max from his New York studio. “The artwork is a composite of New York City and cosmic imagery— the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, a giant sunburst, planets, stars, and musical notes. That’s my New York! And now Norwegian Breakaway is my New York cruise ship ‘canvas.’”
“Norwegian Breakaway is New York’s ship and this colorful artwork by Peter Max will make the ship an instant icon,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “The Big Apple is known for its love of art and its many galleries – and now, Norwegian Breakaway becomes a floating piece of art that will cruise in and dock every Saturday on New York’s West Side.With this distinctive design, unlike anything else on the water, the ship will be recognizable to the millions of New Yorkers who will see her as she journeys up and down the Hudson River each week.”
Launching in June 2013, Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest ship to homeport year-round in New York City, offering Bermuda and Florida/Caribbean sailings.

Posted from Cruise Radio News

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You say, “this won’t happen to me”

Travel Insurance is one of those things, like all other insurance, that you think of as a gamble. Well, that is really what insurance is! If you can afford to self-insure yourself because you are one of the wealthy travelers among us, then you may not think you need to purchase the insurance. But if you’re like most of us and  losing thousands of dollars due to an unforeseen emergency would really put a damper on things, or be outright catastrophic, then you should probably spend the extra few dollars and buy the policy; why would you gamble on that hard to come by vacation that you manage to squeeze out of your work schedule?
When we travel personally we always buy the travel insurance, and we are experts in the cruise travel industry.
We see all the unfortunate things that can happen to folks unexpectedly that our other customers don’t get to hear about. When you are excited about booking and planning for your vacation, the last thing you are thinking of is disaster! You should be anxiously looking forward to upcoming adventure. If you purchase the insurance, you will have peace of mind planning the vacation that awaits you and won’t have to worry about the unforeseen.
Remember that the cruise lines have penalties in place that are very stringent. They don’t care what the reason is because then they would have to devote countless time and resources judging each circumstance to decide what is a good reason to miss your cruise or what is not.
If you have to cancel and make a claim in order to be reimbursed, then you must have all the necessary paperwork and documents in order when you make the claim. You will need to contact the insurance company for what they require, but here are a few examples. Proof of relationship to the person who has the emergency, insurance only covers those who are immediate family. Doctors notes stating you were unable to travel during the specific dates of the cruise, supporting medical records, a waiver will be required of the person in question to release such records.
Your typical medical insurance plan here in the U.S, almost always will  not cover you outside the US. Things like ship infirmary, hospitals in other countries, or even possible air lift from the ship, are not covered, unless you buy travel insurance. The cost to be air lifted typically starts at $30,000 and goes up from there. We had a client, Dottie from New Jersey, whose husband had to have quadruple bi-pass surgery the week of their departure. The insurance paid the $12,000 they had wrapped up for the cost of all 7 passengers because they were all immediate family.
Weather concerns; 30 clients from Omaha were flying to Miami and due to bad weather during a blizzard in Nebraska, they missed the ship. They had to buy food in restaurants, extra hotel days, and plane tickets to St Thomas to pick up the ship there. Insurance covered it all including the coolers of beer that they had on the beach!
We try to keep this simple, but there are many types of policies, circumstances, and details to mention here. Hopefully this article will make you think a little more about purchasing the insurance and decide which is best for you.

Kevin Souder
The Cruise Experts
Orlando, FL

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