Category Archives: vacations

“Why does it seem unfair to pay double to cruise single?”

Cruising Solo

“Do I really have to pay 200%?” 

I have been a Cruise Specialist for almost 12 years now and approximately 1/4 of  my clients are solo/single travelers.  Cruising is a great way for singles to travel.  Whether it is with a group or a couple of single friends, after a day on a cruise solo travelers are suddenly “not so solo” anymore!  On any given cruise ship there are bound to be quite a few singles…so you won’t be alone!  Cruise lines do cater to the singles by hosting “meet & greet” cocktail parties throughout the cruise.

For singles & solo cruisers, having your own cabin is often the most preferred way to cruise as it is nice to have the privacy of your own cabin. There is however, one question that always comes up when someone traveling solo calls for information…

”Why do I have to pay double to have a have my own room?”  

For those of you unfamiliar with cruising, the cruise fare is usually quoted in a “per person”  rate.  That rate is always based on double occupancy.  However, if you are planning to have your own stateroom as a solo you are required to pay “double” (except on very few occasions where the cruise line is running specials).  For many this seems unfair and sometimes it is a deciding factor in cruising for a single/solo.

Although on the surface, it does seem unfair.  But if you think about the cost of a cruise in terms of booking a hotel rate, it is really not unfair at all.

If you are planning a weekend vacation at a hotel, you are quoted a “per night” rate based on the room you choose.  For example, you may choose a hotel accommodation that costs $300 per night.  If you are traveling alone it will cost you $300 per night.  If you are sharing with a friend and splitting the cost, it would then cost you each $150 per night.  The hotel does not charge you half the room price if you are only 1 person in the room.  The hotel bases their operating budget on the cost of the room, whether 1 or 2 guests are in the hotel room.

A cruise ship is very similar.  If a stateroom costs $300 per night, as a solo you would pay $300 per night and if you share the stateroom you would split that.  Sounds fair…but why does it seem so unfair?

It is the way Cruise pricing is quoted…on a “per person basis.” If a client hears that a cruise is $150 per person/per night, it is hard to understand why as a solo you have to pay double ($300 per night).  It somehow sounds wrong for a cruise to charge a 200% cruise fare for a solo traveler.  But the reality is that the Stateroom has to be paid for, exactly like the Hotel room.  The Cruise lines formulate a budget based on each stateroom being filled whether 1 or 2 guests are in the stateroom. IF the cruise was quoted in a “Per Cabin” rate instead of a “per person” rate, no one would think twice about the solo pricing.

Some cite that the difference is that Cruise fares include meals and the solo traveler is only eating for 1, so shouldn’t there be a discount?  Yet if you were staying at a hotel that included daily breakfast, you would not get a discount on the Hotel room rate if you are solo.  Again, it is thought of in terms of a “Room charge per night”.

As a solo cruiser, it might sound unfair to pay double, but when you compare it on equal terms to a hotel vacation, you will still find the Cruise a much better value…even when you are traveling solo!

So don’t let that 200% charge for a Solo Cruise fare scare you away…it is just in the way it is phrased.  And let’s not forget the benefits of having your own room – privacy, space and your own closet!  Plan your solo travel today! 

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Flight Attendants Make a Difference

 

Carlos - "What every flight attendant should be"

As an avid traveler for so many years, and then becoming a travel agent…I fly frequently.  I love air travel as a means to reaching destinations rather than auto travel.  On a whole, I think that Airlines attempt to  satisfy customers.  But as they say in life, “You can’t please everybody!”  However, the other rule of business is “The Customer is always right!”  Considering the “things that can go wrong, and the things that will go wrong”..being a flight attendant is a true test of Customer service. After all, even in the worst Customer Service situation, the customer usually storms out of the place….that is not an option on an airplane!

Now, I am not saying that there isn’t anything to complain about on an airplane.Strictly from a passengers view, there is so much to complain about when traveling by plane…

  • The seats are too small
  • We had to sit on the plane for 1 hour before taking off
  • It is so hot!  It is freezing!
  • The passengers in the rear have taken up all the overhead space in the front!
  • The food is worse than TV dinners!   Now you must pay for that bad food!
  • The guy in front of me reclined his seat the whole time!
  • My TV screen doesn’t work.

All of these complaints are valid, and the airline executives are for the most part immune to these daily complaints.  But unfortunately it is the people on the front line (the Cabin Attendants) who are FULLY aware of these inconveniences and problems.  In fact, the airline executives are counting on the Attendents to “fix” it.

As a passenger I have seen it all.  I have seen passengers & Flight attendents act rudely.  I have actually been a bit offended by many flight attendants reactions to passengers.  But as in any other profession, it is always that one person that stands out in the crowd and truely does his best.  On Continental flight #1867 from Newark to LA there was a serious issue with a passenger that was irrupting quickly.  Flight attendant Carlos went above and beyond what training could have ever taught him.  He resolved the issue without making the passenger angrier and actually calmed him down.  There were other incidences on the plane that were verging on volitile and he handled with grace and strength.

I do appreciate that in stressful situations (and most people are stressed when they fly) it is important to have people like Carlos in charge.  I would like to say Thank You to Carlos.  I only hope that on my future flights, Carlos is waiting to greet me when I board my next Continental flight!

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Azamara Club Cruises

“You’ll Love Where They take
You” is the Azamara Motto…. and I say “You’ll Love How They Take
You There”!

Okay, so I was
having way too much fun to write every day for 12 days! I
admit it, I procrastinated! But here I am, 6 days home from
my Azamara Journey cruise and I am still wishing I was back on the
ship! I have already written about my first impressions of
the Journey, now I will write about my “lasting impressions” of the
Journey. And there were plenty! It is so often that you
travel, whether on a ship or at a resort, and something happens
that disappoints you. The sad thing is that often, it can
ruin what would otherwise be a great trip. Of course, at the
end of the vacation you can always put your comments in the box,
and although satisfying, it still leaves a bad taste about the
experience. I must admit, that did happen to us on the
Journey. What is amazing is how my disappointment actually
became the best thing about the Journey! The first 2 mornings, the
breakfast service was not so good. Coffee was consistently
unlabeled (caf – decaf), dirty plates stood in front of guests for
up to half hour (yet plenty of waiters around)…I would basically
say that it seemed as though there was NO service. And that
is not what we expected from such a luxury cruise. It seemed
so unusual since every other point of service was excellent!
But those mornings could definitely spoil everyones
experience. What happened on the 3rd day was truly amazing,
and something I have NEVER seen before! Each guest was given
a comment card and asked to complete it that day. The letter
said that it was the Journey’s way of addressing any issues early
in the 12 day cruise. I thought this was a fabulous idea!
So I wrote down how pleased I was with everything except that
morning breakfast service. What a GREAT opportunity for the
Azamara Journey to say “We care and we want to make this a
fantastic experience”! After handing in my card, breakfast
service was impeccable! Yes, the lax service issue was
addressed and resolved! I was so impressed with the results
that it made those first 2 mornings a past memory! Hey,
everyone makes mistakes, but to make the effort to correct it WHILE
on the vacation is truly great service! SO KUDOS to the
AZAMARA Journey Staff for that! There were many things that we were
truly impressed with on the Azamara Journey. One was the
cleanliness of
the ship. It was cleaner then a Disney Cruise! And that
says alot! Again, I will use the word “impeccable”.
Cabin
service
was “on spot”!
Dany was always there when we needed him
and always with a smile! The Main
dining room
“Discoveries” was wonderful. Food selection and quality was
excellent. Service was wonderful (Chris was a
favorite!
). The
Aqualina” dining
experience was perfection. “Prime
C
” was a disappointment only because the
steak that I had the night before in the main dining was
better…but again, service was excellent. The
Fitness center
was well equipped and had a wide variety
of classes. The pool
deck
was pristine and very clean.
The poolside BBQ
events
were spectacular. Great
atmosphere and food selection. The
entertainment was
awesome. I truly appreciate the effort they put into a
special Christmas play. It had me laughing and left me
tingling with emotion. It was
excellent. Captain Tysse
was actually a Captain that we had on a previous Sea Dream Yacht
Club cruise and I must say, his humor, warmth and connection with
the passengers was inspiring. He runs a tight ship and it
shows. Azamara should be proud to have him on the Journey!
Acupuncturist was super knowledgable. Internet Cafe was
very well run. Little things that stood out…refreshment
table on the jogging deck for morning walkers. Very nice
touch! My final and only disapointment was actually the most
exciting moment for me! I WON THE JACKPOT BINGO! I was
so excited and happy! Everyone was waiting to see how much I won!
I was shaking with anticipation! Would it be $ 2,000 ?
$ 1,000 ? even $ 500 would be thrilling! NOPE. It
was $ 85! YES! $ 85 dollars! Heck, it cost me $ 40 to
play! If I knew that it would be $ 85 I never would have
wasted that precious hour of sunshine!! (Everyone was
complaining to the Bingo staff on the way out that it was actually
tacky to give a Jackpot Bingo prize of $85 dollars!) It was
actually embarrassing for them to do that. In the end…Take an
“Azamara Journey”. You will LOVE HOW they take you
away. (Just don’t bother wasting time playing Bingo!)
Thank You to the Azamara Journey Crew for making us feel so
welcome! The video below is my THANK YOU…so the Crew can
say “Hi” to their families back home!

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Does the TSA really want to “Touch His Junk”?!

 

Fly Safe...

POP QUIZ…

Question :

Where was John Tyner when he said “If you touch my junk, I will have you arrested”!

A. – At the Collingswood Flea Market

B. – At the Jones’ yard sale in my neighborhood.

C. – At the Airports’ TSA security line.

If you guessed “C” then you guessed right (and that means you aren’t living under a rock!).

OMG!  This is all I have heard about today!  Like this is something new?  Just last month my husband got the “Pat Down”  at the Airport & I have seen hundreds of other people experience this…yet today, this is the hottest news to talk about?!  I thought this was old news!

So here is what happened:

This John Tyner was at the Airport, going through TSA security checkpoints and he refused to go through the new body scanner that they are using.  As protocol has it, if you refuse to go through the scanner, your option is to get a “pat down” (as seen on cop shows since the Dragnet days!).  Well, this John Tyner wasn’t happy about that! So as the TSA agent was giving an explanation of how he would be “Patting him down” he said “If you touch my junk I will have you arrested”.  The TSA Agent informed him that he needed to call a supervisor since he made that statement (OF COURSE!  that statements says “I am going to sue you and have your job”, so he had to protect himself!).

Long story short…John Tyner never went on his trip. TSA is pretty straight forward – If you don’t go through security, you don’t get on the plane!  I personally like that rule.  But apparently there are many people who disagree with me.  Here is my case…

I fly often and have been very inconvenienced at the TSA security.  I too have bitched & moaned about the time delay (it’s just human nature to complain). And through it all…I am so happy that they are there doing their jobs.  I gladly take my shoes, belt, sweater &  bracelets off.  I gladly pull out my laptop, ziploc filled with liquid items & electronics.  I gladly step aside to be searched more thoroughly when it is requested of me.  I actually get excited, because to me it means that they are doing their jobs!

They are not there to get their “Jollys”.  TSA is there to protect the people, the planes & America from another tragedy.  I say “Thank You” and I gladly oblige.  The day I stop believing this, is the day I stop flying.

John Tyners’ first problem is that he didnt want to go through the Body Scanner.  Me?  I kinda agree with that.  Not because I am worried about someone seeing an image of my body…but because I am not convinced that the radiation is safe.  (Although, I think people wearing burkas or other large garments that could hide so much should HAVE TO be scanned.  That is just common sense!  Cut the “I don’t want to profile and hurt anyones feelings” crap, because this is about safety, and safety supersedes political correctness!)

So I would agree to be patted down.  I have nothing to hide.  I sacrifice a little inconvenience for the safety of all.  I am getting on a plane with many other people, and that is a privilege, not a right.  And everyone else on that plane deserves to have the comfort that I am not hiding anything.  I personally don’t want to get on a plane & worry about someone having circumvented TSA!

John Tyner needs to get over himself and start thinking about the collective good for Airline travel and that is preventing terrorists from attacking us again!  Does he really think that TSA agent wanted to touch his junk?!

I remember when everyone was freaking out that their pocketbooks and carry-ons were being scanned.  I remember when everyone was freaking out about having to take off their shoes!  I remember when people were freaking out about not bringing liquid or sharp instruments through security…and now this is the new thing.  TSA security keeps evolving & changing due to threats and concerns that we (the general public are not even aware of.  As Americans, we need to kinda “go with the flow” as it is a learning process for all of us, and totally for our own good!

Sure, could the process be improved?  Yes.  Is it flawless? No. Are there always a few bad eggs in ANY job place, that abuse authority and should be fired? YES. But I believe that the TSA is doing the best they can to keep America & Americans safe.

So if the TSA agent accidentally touched this guys junk, I say “Who freaking cares!”

It is simple to me…If you want to fly, you have to follow the rules…or don’t get on my plane!

Just my opinion…..What’s yours?

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Airlines – New “Cuddle Class”?

"Cuddle up and Fly"

Cuddle up in Coach Class"

The biggest complaint that Airline passengers have is “Lack of space”.  I feel that it is almost inhumane to expect people to travel in such extremely tight quarters for flights over 3 hours.  I sometimes wonder how the airlines can get away with it!  What would it really cost for them to take 2 rows out and give everyone a bit more leg room?

For those who have flown cross country, it can be torture!  Now, Air New Zealand  has come up with a great idea that they will be including on their new 777’s…”The Sky Couch”.  The “Sky Couch” will turn a row of 3 seats into a bed by raising a footrest that becomes a platform extension, creating a lengthwise bed.  I think that is a GREAT idea!!!

If you are willing to buy the extra seat in the middle (still much cheaper than first class), you have the ability to transform the basic economy seat, into something you can cozy up on.   You still don’t have all the bells and whistles of First Class…but at least you can “cuddle” up and sleep through your long flight! Continental Airlines …”Are you LISTENING!!”?

I hope that other airlines follow suit and make arrangements for more comfortable, humane ways for people to travel in flight.  I give Air New Zealand a big “Thumbs Up”!

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The New Carnival Dream!

Frank and I were honored to be part of the Carnival Dream Inaugural. It was exciting to be part of it! When a ship arrives in Manhattan, it arrives with the glamour and prestige it deserves, and the Carnival Dream deserves it! A perfect option for families and adults. A Cruise Ship that caters to everyone!

Oscar-wining actress Marcia Gay Harden christened Carnival Cruise Line’s largest ship by swinging a specially made New York Yankees baseball bat, signed by Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, at a human-sized plastic replica of a Moet & Chandon champagne bottle. At the same time, an actual bottle of champagne was smashed into the vessel’s hull.

The 3,646-passenger Dream is Carnival’s largest ship and the first in a new class of Carnival vessel. It is a ship perfect for families and adults. Innovative, traditional and FUN!

The Dream boasts 19,000 square feet dedicated to children’s facilities, including the four-slide Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, with the longest slide at sea. The space dedicated to children is fantastic! Impressive! Even those “water park” fans will be impressed by the water park on the Dream! But the fun for kids doesn’t stop there! The Kids clubs are inviting and exciting

The Ocean Plaza, an indoor/outdoor cafe and entertainment area that is home to the FunHub, where the line’s new, onboard social networking system can be accessed. Sporadic FunHubs (computers for online networking) are for all to hop on the internet and get in touch with friends.

The ship also introduces the Lanai, a half-mile, open-air promenade on Deck 5 that has lounge areas and whirlpools that cantilever over the ship’s side. Very refreshing. It is actually an addition to the pool decks of a ship, with the feeling of the “promenade”. Clever addition. Added sun space with an adult feeling. The Casino and Crimson dining room also impress. Classy, fun and enchanting. A perfect mix!

Speaking of Adult…the spa sun deck is a very exclusive refuge for adults only. Very “south beach” and luxurious, it offers everything a top notch spa in Miami has. Definitely completes the Spa feeling

We stayed in a Balcony Stateroom and were very pleased. Colors were toned down, room was spacious and the balcony was a breathe of fresh air (literally!). Bed was comfortable, storage was plentiful and the blow dryer was strong. Nothing more to say!!! We were happy.

This ship is a dream. If you are going to sail Carnival, do it…Dream it!!!

Click here for my CruiseOne website for the best deals on this amazing Carnival Dream!

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