Helpful Hints on Cruising
by Tim Rubacky
Let’s explore what the different types of cabins that are available, which locations are the most desireable and which locations you should avoid if possible.
TYPES OF CABINS Single: Accomodates a single person. May have a single bed or a full-size/double bed. Double: Accomodates two people. Twin beds, double bed or queen/king. Triple/Quad: Accomodates three or four. The third and fourth person may be accommodated on a sleeper sofa, a folding upper bed (like a bunk bed) or any combination thereof. Inside: a cabin with no window or view Oceanview: a cabin with an oceanview through a porthole or window. Mini-suite: A larger oceanview cabin with separate sitting and sleeping areas. Suite: Usually the best grade of accommodations with a separate bedroom/sleeping area, living area and sometimes a dining area, wet bar and lavish bathrooms.
WHAT TYPE OF CABIN IS BEST FOR ME?
This is a purely personal issue and mitigated by many factors such as preference, size needs, budget and of course, availability. If you don’t need a cabin with a window and wish to save the extra money, by all means, take an inside cabin. They’re an excellent value. If you’re like me, and need to see daylight or are even slightly claustrophobic, take an oceanview cabin.
WHAT ABOUT BALCONIES AND SUITES?
Do you need a balcony or suite and are they worth the extra price. Once again, this depends on your priorities, wants and needs. A balcony is a great plus if you like to have your own (Semi) private deck space to relax without intrusion from other passengers. I don’t find them a “must” on a seven night Caribbean or Europe itinerary, but they are a nice extra.. Where I find they are really worth the extra cost is on longer itineraries and when cruising scenic regions such as Alaska, the Norwegian Fjords or the Panama Canal where prime viewing space on deck is at a premium. Balconies are a great place to enjoy morning coffee, an afternoon nap or evening cocktails as you watch your ship depart from port and once you sail with one you probably wont want to do without.
Mini-Suites and Suites will provide you with extra space, but that space comes at a price. You’ll most likely get a separate sitting area, a sleeping area or separate bedroom and many come with a much larger bathroom, whirlpool tub and walk in closets. While suites tend to be closer in size to a hotel room, check out the mini-suites with caution. Many lines mini suites are simply standard cabins with a balcony.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Choose the location of your cabin with care. Look to see what areas are above, below and adjacent to your cabins. Showlounges, Discos, kitchens/serving areas and stairtowers/elevator lobbies can be a source of noise. If you have a jogging track or deck area above, you may be disturbed in the morning by the sound of crew members dragging deck chairs about or the thump-thump of passengers out for a morning jog. You should also avoid cabins at the very front (bow) and down low to the rear (stern) of the ship as you are more likely to experience movement and machinery noise from the bow/stern thrusters, anchors or propulsion machinery. A mid ship location is always best but don’t be afraid to go forward or aft and if given the choice, go aft rather than forward. And while forward facing balconies overlooking the bow may present magnificent vistas and views, they can be quite windy. Midship balconies are the most plentiful, but if I can get an aft facing one overlooking the wake, I’d go with that.
WHAT IS A CABIN “GUARANTEE?”
Yet another very important factor when choosing a cabin. In many instances, you will be offered the opportunity to choose and specific cabin or a “guarantee”.
A “guarantee” is simply a guarantee by the cruise line that you will receive a cabin in the category you booked or possibly a cabin in a higher category. You may also be offered what is now referred to as a “run of ship” guarantee which means the cruise line is simply guaranteeing you space on the ship and can wind up with the lowest category or possibly a very nice and substantially upgraded accommodation.
It is very important to remember that when choosing a cabin on a “guarantee” basis you will have little to no say in what cabin you are assigned. If location is important to you, don’t take this gamble. These can result in accommodations with which you are pleasantly surprised but can also lead to extreme disappointment if you are placed in a less than desireable location.
A cabin chosen with care can make or break your cruise experience!
|Copyright © 2003, Cruisemates. All rights reserved.|
Helpful Hints on Cruising
Top Ten Tips On Bargain Hunting
by Anne Campbell
By this time, you should know that no one pays full brochure rates for a cruise – it’s like the sticker price of a car, a figure to base discounts on. And remember, a bargain’s only a bargain when you wind up cruising on a ship that fits your personal interests and lifestyle.
HERE’S MY “GOLDEN RULE”:
Never, never select a ship based on price alone, or just to save a couple of hundred dollars. Narrow your search down to one or two ships you’re sure you’ll love, then start looking for the best rates on those particular vessels. If you’re looking for a last-minute discount, be prepared to compromise on cabin location – the best staterooms go early.
Bargain hunting is also affected by luck–looking in the right place at the right time. But with the volatility of cruise prices, you can easily wind up paying a much lower price than you dreamed possible, or upgrading to a cabin you couldn’t otherwise afford.
KEEPING ALL THAT IN MIND, HERE ARE 10 TIPS FOR BARGAIN-HUNTING:
|Copyright © 2000 – 2003, Anne Campbell. All rights reserved.|
Visitors to Tuscany for many reasons. Many come in search of fine art, others to explore the extraordinary countryside. Gourmets and wine buffs descend on Tuscany to enjoy the simple yet wonderful cuisine and wine. Walkers enjoy the mountain paths, cyclists the rolling hills, summer vacationers the sea coast and islands. Students come to learn the beautiful Italian language and culture.
There is a lot to see and do in Tuscany, the difficulty is really where to start. Certainly most should start with Florence, and continue on to Siena and Pisa (a tourist trap, but one worth the hassle). The cities of Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano and Lucca are all a very worthwhile use of your travel time. One of the beauties of the region is that it is dynamic and ever changing which begs one to return again and again.
Ready for the food, art and wine of Tuscany? Contact R and B International Travel and get started planning your trip.
Are you ready to getaway to France? Contact R and B International Travel and get started.
Recently we’ve all been hearing a lot of our clients telling us that they are booking a condo directly with an owner, rather than with a travel agent, because it costs less.
Before you make that decision, let us explain the benefits of booking through a travel agent and a reputable management company, like Outrigger Hospitality. Here are three great reasons to book with a travel agent.
It’s your vacation and your time to relax. Let us book your condo for you. Give R B International Travel a call to book your next Outrigger getaway to any of the Hawaiian Islands.
The new Marco Polo Club Invitational Programs brochure offers a spectacular collection of off-the-beaten-path destinations and unique insider-access experiences for members of Abercrombie & Kent’s exclusive travel Club. A&K’s world-renowned Tour Directors lead journeys such as India’s Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh (July 4-17, 2011), where you witness the Hemis Festival, a Buddhist celebration rarely attended by outsiders. On Laos & Myanmar Rediscovered (February 10-23, 2011), glimpse life along the Mekong and Ayeyarwady rivers, observing the ancient traditions of locals as you go.
Contact R and B International Travel to order the latest Marco Polo Club brochure or to learn more about the benefits of a membership.
It now seems straight out of Indiana Jones. In the summer of 1911, a dashing American explorer named Hiram Bingham led a Yale University expedition through the jungles near Cuzco to discover an unknown ruin perched on a spectacular Andean crag – the “lost city of the Incas.”
Adventurers had been searching for the site for centuries, although nobody had been sure of its existence. News of the romantic find spread around the world, and Bingham would go on to become a US Senator. But the 1911 “discovery” was actually less heroic than it sounds: Bingham had actually been led there by a local farmer named Melchor Arteaga, whom he had met while camping on the Urubamba River.
Far from being “lost,” the Peruvian peasants of the area had always known about the site, and gave it its name, Machu Picchu, which means Ancient Peak. Still, to modern archaeologists, Machu Picchu raises more questions than it answers. About 1000 people once lived there, in around 200 structures – but why was the spectacular citadel built?
Bingham himself threw out wild theories: At first, he thought he had found the last refuge of the Incas who held out against the Spanish, Vilcabamba. (In fact, he had already come across the real ruins of Vilcabamba, which lay 60 miles to the west, and he had found them unimpressive). He then decided that Machu Picchu was the last holdout of Cuzco’s sacred Virgins of the Sun, who had fled the marauding conquistadors – and for want of another theory, this has certainly held the popular imagination.
A century later, archaeologists are still arguing about the city’s true purpose. Most agree that it was an religious center for the Incas. Beyond that, speculation reigns. Was it part of a province wiped out in a rebellion? Or a royal estate supplying Cuzco with coca leaves? One thing hasn’t changed since 1911: Everyone’s first glimpse of the city poised high above the jungle-covered ravines is one of the most majestic images in South America.
Set your own course for adventure when you take a Monograms vacation to South America. Contact R and B International Travel , and plan your adventure!
We’re in the homestretch in the NASCAR Chase To The Cup, with the final two races in Phoenix and Miami remaining to decide who the 2010 Champion will be. Even though this season is drawing to a close, the kickoff for 2011 is just four months away — so many great races from the historic tracks at Daytona, Charlotte and Darlington — to the newcomers like Las Vegas, Texas and Kentucky.
Too many choices, but fortunately, there’s no wrong answer! 37 races to consider, each one with its own style and character. Time to make our decision—soon it’s gonna’ be time to go racin’ again!
Secure your spot for one of next seasons exciting races, contact R and B International Travel today!
Honeymoons too often take a backseat to the arrangements and plans of the actual wedding, but you owe it to yourself to give honeymoon planning greater and more careful attention. After all, while the wedding is mainly for your family and friends, the once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon that follows is a private getaway for you and your new spouse to celebrate your marriage. Though you may spend a portion of your vacation relaxing and reflecting on this major life change, the honeymoon is most of all an opportunity to enjoy being a newlywed, spending quality time with your new spouse, and experiencing a romantic and exciting getaway.
Honeymooners have endless options. Following months of wedding planning, couples often retreat to a luxurious resort that caters to their every need, while others trek to an adventurous escape from their day-to-day lives. Whether a beach vacation, a safari, or a ski trip, the honeymoon should reflect your joint personality and wishes.
Keep in mind that perfect honeymoons don’t just happen, and planning requires thoughtfulness, patience, careful attention to details, and a lot of decision-making along the way. The more homework you do before leaving for your honeymoon, the more you will enjoy your special vacation.
Top Honeymoon Hotspots
Your honeymoon can be the most romantic trip you’ll ever take, and it can also be a lot of fun. Look for a destination that offers everything you want. Remember that there is no “ideal” destination – the personality of you and your partner will determine where on the planet your honeymoon should be. However, the following locations traditionally are considered the greatest spots to honeymoon and top many newlyweds’ travel wish-lists.
Planning a Hassle-Free Honeymoon
If you and your fiancé are just beginning to think about your honeymoon plans, a good place to start is agreeing on a specific destination. A recommended way to do this is to sit down together and compile a list of your top dream vacations. Choosing a destination and an itinerary that really works for your personality is also key. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at this stage, since you have so many possibilities, but you can narrow down the options by deciding if you’d prefer a tropical beach, big city, or a place known for adventure travel. Also consider if you want warm or cool weather, a distant land or someplace closer to home, a vibrant location with people to meet, or seclusion, where it will just be the two of you. Speak with your travel consultant about all of your honeymoon ideas, and consider including adventurous and unusual travel themes along with more popular options like mass market cruises and all-inclusive resorts.
Also remember that you may need to psychologically accommodate to your new status as a partner and a spouse, and with proper planning and smart travel choices, you can enhance your opportunity to bond without undue stress over logistics or other complications. Your travel consultant can always develop a customized honeymoon that provides not just a vacation experience, but a real journey for the two of you set in a locale that reflects your personalities and values.
Once you’ve decided where you want to go, your next step is to make a budget. Find out if you have any frequent flier miles or hotel discounts you can use towards your trip. Also think about putting all the wedding expenses on a single credit card that accumulates frequent flier miles for the honeymoon. The cost of your honeymoon will, of course, be the sum total of the accommodations, activities, transportation, meals, tips, souvenirs and other travel costs. Be candid with your travel consultant to make your honeymoon economically comfortable.
When considering your budget, know that all-inclusive resorts take care of most of your meals, athletic equipment, and tips. Some also include liquor and bar costs as well as resort-specific activities. These arrangements vary widely, however, with some including roundtrip airfare, so find out exactly what is and is not included in the price.
Also note that honeymoon packages offered by hotels, airlines, and wholesalers typically include special perks for newlyweds that you can’t get with standard packages. Your travel consultant will know to ask your hotel if special honeymoon packages are available.
Once you have a budget, decide when to go and for how long. Figure out how many vacation days you have and how many you’ll need before the wedding to take care of odds and ends at the last minute. Decide whether you want to leave immediately after your wedding, or wait a few days or weeks to give yourself more time to focus on the trip. If you don’t have very many vacation days, you may want to take a “mini-moon” the weekend of the wedding and then a longer, second honeymoon on your first anniversary. It’s usually a good idea to give yourself at least a day or two to continue the honeymoon after returning home, before you head back to work and settle into your everyday life.
Don’t forget to research the travel documents you might need for your honeymoon as well. U.S. citizens need valid passports for all air and sea travel to and from Europe, Asia, and Australia. As of January 8, 2007, passports are also required for travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Your travel consultant will assist with all of the necessary documentation, including documentation of your recent name change!
Be diligent about keeping copies of all correspondence, confirmation numbers, and invoices given to you by your travel consultant. Double- and triple-check all the plans to be sure that your departure and return dates are correct. Inform everyone along the way that you’re traveling on your honeymoon, so you don’t miss out on complimentary perks. Stay organized by creating a folder or notebook where you can keep all this information.
One last bit of advice: Have realistic expectations throughout the course of planning and taking your honeymoon trip. While it’s only natural for you to want your honeymoon to be perfect, bear in mind that travel is inherently an adventure. Approach your honeymoon with an open mind, and prepare to have plenty of laughs along the way.
There really are endless possibilities for honeymooners. Whether you decide to go on an exotic foreign expedition or visit a nearby luxurious resort, start planning early to make sure you’re right where you want to be… and then Bon Voyage!
Contact R and B International Travel today to start planning your Honeymoon.
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