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The Cruise Experts International, Inc. Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

The Cruise Experts has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2015.

The Cruise Experts has strived to give the very best customer service to all of our valued clients since opening in 2004. We are proud to have earned this prestigious award from Angie’s List and look forward to providing World Class Service for many years to come! We are a full service agency that offers concierge service to our clients by booking resorts, tours, land packages, and we specialize in cruises.

“Only about 5 percent of the Travel Agents in The U.S. have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2015 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

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 Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than three million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

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There is a ship that provides blazing fast connectivity at sea to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine. A ship that lets its guests download streaming music and videos from the cloud, Netflix, Hulu and more at speeds equal to those on land. A ship that lets you play Xbox Live with other gamers anywhere around the world. A ship where technology is there at every turn to make the guest experience richer than ever before. This isn’t a ship- it’s a Smartship. This is Quantum of the Seas SM. This changes everything.

Quantum smart ship

 

SMART

CONCIERGE

Via wearable and portable technology you can book shore excursions, make dinner reservations and more anywhere onboard the ship.

SMART

CONNECT

Blazing internet connectivity speeds let you post to Facebook, Tweet, stream Netflix, play Xbox Live with gamers worldwide and more.

SMART

EXPERIENCES

You’ll experience never before seen wonders at sea like Two70°SM featuring dancing robotic screens; virtual balconies; smart art and our Bionic Bar.

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Oasis of the Seas

 

 

 

 

 

By Barry Vaudrin

For those cruise vacationers who have been on many cruises over the years, you might know some of these secrets of cruising, however; it’s my challenge here to come up with cruise secrets that avid cruisers may not be aware of.

1. Always seek out a Cruise Expert agency to book your cruise.

I have a few friends that regardless of my advice, continue to fall for the mistake of booking their cruise directly with the cruise line, or with a travel agency that doesn’t specialize in booking cruises.  Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with booking directly through the cruise line, it’s simply in your best interest to find a Cruise Expert agency, because they are aware of and granted by the cruise lines based on their booking volume, special perks, upgrades, discounts and amenities only offered to high volume cruise agencies.   You may get a great deal on your cruise booked directly with the cruise line, and it may even be the same price quoted by a cruise-only agency, but what you may not know, is that that same cruise booked through the cruise-only agency can offer a special amenities package that the cruise line does not offer.  You could save money.  You could get an upgrade, and you can receive unbiased advice from a cruise-only travel agency.  It does not cost anything extra to book through a cruise-only travel agency, and I think you will be pleased with the results the next time you plan to book a cruise.  Tap-in to the upgrades, discounts, special amenities and other nice surprises the next time you book a cruise with a cruise-only travel agency.

2. Order more than one entrée.

When you are onboard a wonderful cruise ship and dining in the main dining room, why limit yourself to only one entrée?  This is a little secret many don’t know, which is you can order multiple entrees if you see several option on the menu that appeal to you.  Go ahead, the next time you’re in the dining room, order two entrees, or two soups, or two desserts, you’re on vacation!

3. Book Shore Excursions online, before your cruise.

Many cruise lines now offer pre-booking shore excursions well before your cruise date.  You may not save money doing this, but here’s the key….if you wait to book your cruise once you board the ship, you may find that the best shore excursions are sold out.  Don’t find yourself in this situation, plan out which excursions you may like weeks or months before your cruise,  and secure your excursion tickets before they are sold out.

4. Use the showers and steam room in the spa.

The bathroom and shower in your stateroom may be very nice, but I have found that the showers in the spas sometimes have water-pressure.  Also, many of the spas have a steam room that is free to use in the men’s and women’s changing areas.  I love a nice steam to wake me up for the day.

5. Change-out bed linens and pillows.

Chances are you will find your bed and linens to be very comfortable, but if you discover you’re not entirely comfortable with your mattress, the linens or pillows, talk to your room steward and explain your concern, because often times there are special mattress-toppers, linens and pillows your steward can find to make your bed fit your comfort needs.

6. Never purchase bottled water onboard the ship.

I’m amazed when I see passengers spend their hard-earned cash on something like bottled water.  The modern cruise ships have incredibly high-tech water filtration systems onboard, so the water right out of the tap in your stateroom is going to be exceptionally purified and clean.  When you pack for your next cruise, buy a nice water / juice bottle and pack it in your luggage.  Fill your water / juice bottle using the sink in your stateroom.  One extra little trick I do, is bring several boxes or packets of your favorite Crystal Light or the new MioEnergy “liquid water enhancer” and flavor your water, add some ice to make it cold and ta ta…..you have a refreshing drink that doesn’t cost you a penny onboard the ship!

7. If you don’t like your table-mates?

It happens; sometimes you may get placed at a table with people who might not fit with your idea of good dinner companions.  At the entrance to the dinning room, ask to speak with the Restaurant Manager or Maître-d, and simply request to be place at another table.  You will be discreetly moved to another table.

8. Gratuities

Most cruise lines now offer automated gratuities to make it simpler to thank and tip the service crew that clean your stateroom and bring your food in the dinning room.  For those, however; who want to have more control of who receives a gratuity from you, and how much you give, you can visit the purser’s desk and ask for the automated gratuities to be removed from your end-of-cruise invoice.  Once this has been done, you can determine how much you want to tip certain people that have made your cruise an excellent experience.  This is a personal issue, and I often enjoy rewarding those who go the extra mile by personally handing them an envelope with my cash-gratuity inside.  The automated gratuity system is convenient for those who don’t know how much to tip, and who should receive a tip.  I like to tip the old-fashioned way, and personally hand that waiter, maitre d, or cabin steward my personal thanks with cash in an envelope.

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Here is an article from Cruise Radio that we thought would be really helpful and we decided to share.

6 Things to Survive an Airport Layover

OCTOBER 17, 2013 BY  LEAVE A COMMENT

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This fall I’m going to be traveling an estimated 17,000 air miles. That’s a lot of airports, and flying out of Jacksonville, that’s a lot of layovers. There are a few things I pack to keep myself organize and entertained sane during an airport layover.

Here’s my list:

Gate Guru app. I won’t talk about an app unless I use it, and thanks to a US Air captain I’m hooked.  I am a big fan of Gate Guru. The folks at Trip Advisor developed it and it shows you what there is to eat (most importantly), local weather, a map of the airport, tips from other passengers, amenities, flights that are scheduled out of that airport and gate information. Pretty much it’s everything you need when you get to your destination in one little handy program. It’s truly brilliant. Check out Gate Guru here.

Power cord. You will be a hero when you roll into an airport (like Philly) with a power cord. They have just a few plugs in the main terminal areas. If someone is using one of the plugs, ask if you can plug your power strip in and invite them to use your power strip. Crisis averted.

Back up battery. You can get something that will cost you around $75 like an Mophie or a rechargeable unit from your local drug store or off Amazon. I use a power pack from Duracell that charges off my USB drive. It is good for a little over one charge and I charge it overnight after every use.

Notebook. I’m not talking about the Nichols Sparks novel, I’m referring to an actual little notebook. They come in handy for the folks whose mind that never shuts off (like mine) or for a to-do list when you get to your destination. Plus, as of now, we can’t use electronics — on take off, taxi or landing — so it gives you something to do if you don’t want to make mindless conversation with the stranger sitting next to you.

Gift Card. I always do my research when I am heading to an airport with a layover and pick up a gift card for a places that I will want to eat or get a coffee from. It helps because it makes me not want to buy a bunch of fatty airport food and keeps my budget under control. I keep the gift card in my backpack and don’t have to reach for my wallet. I get very paranoid when I pull my wallet out in airports. Not because of crime but because I’m clumsy and have dropped debit cards before.

These are just a few things I use in my arsenal of airport survival tools. What do you use when to help with layovers?

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NCL-Breakaway2

Norwegian Cruise Line today launched the “Norwegians Name Their Ships” contest asking fans in five countries to help select the names for the line’s two new Breakaway Plus class ships. From now through September 24, 2013, Norwegian’s Facebook fans in the United States, Canada*, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom have the opportunity to vote for their two favorite potential ship names from a list of the line’s top 10 name prospects.  Those who vote will be entered to win a trip to the first ship’s inaugural festivities.

Norwegian’s new Breakaway Plus ships will be the largest in the line’s fleet at approximately 163,000 gross tons and 4,200 passenger berths each and will be similar in design and innovation to the line’s current Breakaway class, the first of which, Norwegian Breakaway, launched in New York in early May and the second of which, Norwegian Getaway, will launch in January and arrive in her homeport of Miami in February.

To enter, fans should go to Norwegian’s Facebook page in the appropriate region. In the US and Canada, fans should visit the Norwegians Name Their Ships tab. Once there, they will see a list of 10 possible names.  They can vote once per day for the two names that they like best.  Norwegian will pick one name for each ship based on the names that receive the top number of votes from the community.

Those who vote and complete the entry form will be entered to win a trip for two on the first Breakaway Plus ship’s inaugural festivities. There will be a winner from each region. The winners will receive a trip for two to the first ship’s invitation only inaugural festivities.  The trip includes round-trip coach airfare for two, ground transportation, balcony stateroom accommodations (double occupancy), and on-board meals.

The contest is only open to residents of the United States, Canada (excluding Quebec), Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom, 18 years of age and older.  For more information on how to enter and for the official rules, details on the prizes, and to share this contest with your friends, visit the Norwegians Name Their Ships tab located on Norwegian’s Facebook Page.

Source: Norwegian

Call The Cruise Experts for your next vacation. We charge no booking fees and have the same price as online. We are your professional Travel Agent with customer service the way it used to be. Remember, Without a Travel Agent, You Are on Your Own!

(866) 968-2789 or (469) Cru-ises

www.TheCruiseXperts.com

 

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Vicki Freed pic

 

 

Please read below for my statement to Woman’s Day, regarding their article “9 Things Travel Agents Won’t Tell You”

To the Editor:

It was with extreme dismay and disbelief that I read the Woman’s Day article “9 Things Travel Agents Won’t Tell You.” As part of the leadership team at Royal Caribbean International, a cruise vacation company that continually advocates for agents as a booking channel, I found every one of your points to be highly misinformed.

Plain and simple, this is irresponsible “journalism.” Your quick and easy fluff piece is filled with damaging allegations about a highly dedicated group of individuals.

I have worked in travel, directly with travel agents, for more than 30 years. Travel advisors are not vindictive, money hungry, misleading people as your article portrays them to be. Anyone who operated in that way would not last a day in this field. Travel agents are fueled by a passion for serving others. They are entrusted with the most memorable days of their clients’ lives and they do not take that lightly. They work tirelessly to learn all they can about their clients’ needs, desires, and dreams. Based on these intimate qualifiers, they craft vacations using their up-to-the-minute knowledge of destinations, suppliers, and offers. At Royal Caribbean, we call travel agents “value interpreters” due to their unrivaled ability to get the very best vacation value for their client, dollar for dollar.

For the majority of full-time agents, there is never a day off. They are always on the clock – reaching out to clients, obtaining certifications, meeting with supplier reps, attending experiential events, resolving concerns, and on and on – not to mention, planning the actual vacation! When you break it down to per hour earnings, you’ll understand – it is not overflowing bank accounts that drive the travel agent – but the overflowing memory vaults of their happy and grateful clients.

You recommend in your article that readers should save travel agent services for milestone vacations. With a travel agent, EVERY vacation will be a milestone. Just as it should be. Our guests work hard for those few precious days each year where they can truly enjoy family, friends, peace, beauty, and the joy of travel. Every vacation is special. Every client is special. And it’s for that reason that Royal Caribbean International continues to recommend booking our vacations with a travel agent.

Sincerely,

Vicki L. Freed, CTC
Senior Vice President
Sales and Trade Support & Service
Royal Caribbean International

 

 

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Royal Princess

 

Princess Cruises has announced two preview cruises aboard Royal Princess, giving passengers a unique opportunity to get a taste of the new ship before its official inaugural voyage. The June 9 and June 14 cruises will sail roundtrip from Southampton on a two-night itinerary featuring a call in St. Peter Port, on the island of Guernsey.

Passengers on the short sailings will be able to sample Royal Princess’ many ground-breaking features, including the dramatic over-water SeaWalk, Princess Live! television studio, and plush new poolside cabanas before the ship’s inaugural sailing on June 16, 2013.

Both voyages will go on sale on January 29, with limited availability. Per person cruise fares start at $530 for an obstructed-view balcony stateroom.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship for Princess Cruises. Among the special features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; the new Princess Live! television studio; a pastry shop; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

The ship’s 2013 maiden season will include cruises on the line’s signature Grand Mediterranean itinerary throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the fall.

Source: Princess Cruises

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