When you're planning a vacation, there are so many different kinds of trips you can choose from. Sometimes the choice out there is overwhelming! In this post, I'll share with you seven reasons why you should consider taking a river or ocean cruise for your next trip. No matter what your next destination is, there's a cruise that is ideal!
1. The exceptionally high level of service. From the moment you step aboard the ship, you can expect to be treated very well by every crew member you encounter. It's rare to experience poor service on a cruise! It's such a nice experience to be greeted with a smile or friendly nod everywhere you go. If you eat in the main dining room at a fixed time most nights, you'll get to know your dining room servers, who will usually take care of you at meal times throughout your vacation.
2. The variety of amenities and activities available. There is absolutely no reason to expect you'll be bored on a cruise. There are so many amenities and activities on board that are planned to keep you just as busy and entertained as you'd like to be. A few examples of activities you can participate in, depending on the ship you've chosen: karaoke, ice skating, dance lessons, cooking classes, wine tasting, swimming, spa treatments, bingo, working out, yoga, go carts, sky diving simulators, chef's demonstrations, musical performances, gambling, shopping, trivia contests...do I really need to go on?
3. Comfort & pampering. During your time on board the ship, you won't need to lift a finger to cook or clean. Your stateroom attendant will visit your room to tidy up, remove garbage and make your bed. You can even have your laundry done on board, usually for an additional fee. You can visit the salon or spa, relax in the adults-only section of the pool deck, enjoy the ocean breeze with a cocktail in your hand, or simply read on your balcony. You'll enjoy delicious meals, sometimes prepared using local, fresh ingredients. You can help yourself at a buffet, or luxuriate in the experience of being waited on at the table. The point is, someone will be taking care of you the entire trip!
4. Value for your dollar. There is so much included in the cost of a cruise! All of your food and beverages are included, and sometimes your alcoholic beverages are included, too, depending on the cruise line and itinerary you've chosen. Entertainment is also included. Most river cruises include all of your port excursions, as well. There are few travel options that provide you with the opportunity to see multiple destinations in one trip, with as much value as you will get on a cruise. Certainly, the cost to book hotels, meals and transportation individually, would be much more expensive.
5. Destinations! A river or ocean cruise can take you almost anywhere in the world! No matter what continent you'd like to explore, there's a cruise for that. Many first-time cruisers choose to visit the Caribbean, while more experienced cruisers move on to enjoy European, Asian and even African destinations from a river or ocean cruise ship. Cruisers like knowing that there won't be a language barrier on board, and they'll only have to unpack their suitcase once!
6. Pricing for any budget. No matter what you'd like to spend on a cruise vacation, there will be an itinerary to suit your needs. When it comes to cruising, there is a huge range of pricing available. And the best part is, 80% of the expenses relating to your cruise are included in the up-front price, which means you can pay for your cruise entirely before you set foot on board. You won't be confronted with a huge credit card bill after your vacation is over. Some of the expenses that may not be included in the cruise fare are ground transportation, a pre-cruise hotel stay, airfare, beverage packages and excursions. The good news is that your travel agent can help you book all of these ahead of time, so you can budget and pay for these expenses in the months leading up to your trip, as well.
7. Sheer number of options. River or ocean cruise? Europe or Asia? Small ship or mega-ship? Balcony or ocean view? There are so many options when you're planning a cruise, it's no wonder many travelers take advantage of the services offered by a travel agent to get their holiday booked. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the options, a travel agent can help you narrow down all of these choices to a cruise that is ideal for YOU. And if you travel with friends or family members, you can choose to spend your days together, or simply meet up for dinner! You can be rigid in your schedule, or go with the flow.
Still wondering if a cruise vacation is right for you? Please feel welcome to ask any questions you have in the comments section, below!
Today I find myself sitting at an airport terminal wine bar enjoying a beet salad and a glass of Riesling and marvelling at Philadelphia International Airport. This is a family-friendly and business traveler-friendly airport with lots of dining options and a shuttle that will take passengers between terminals.
I’ve never been to Philadelphia before. The city looked pretty cool from the air. I’m too nervous about missing my connecting flight to San Francisco in a few hours, so I’m spending my layover wandering around, adding some steps to my FitBit, enjoying some lunch, and taking in some of the features of the airport terminals.
At Philadelphia International Airport, you can eat sushi, burritos, burgers and of course, the traditional Philly Cheesesteak sandwich if you’ve got time to wait in front of the busy snack bar/restaurant, Chickie & Pete’s on Concourse B.
In addition to the dining selection, I noticed a few other fun, quirky and unique features at this airport. In no particular order, here are a few of them I though worth sharing.
1. There are places for your dog to poop. Service Animal & Pet Relief Areas are located throughout the concourse. Faux grass and a decorative, canine-inspired fire hydrant await your furry friends’ squatting. Instructions indicate all animals should remain on a leash, pets must be cleaned up after, and oh, this isn’t a play area for children.
2. There are charging stations all over the place. There are cubbies for sitting and charging your devices. There are countertops with outlets for charging, and other spots throughout the concourse for stopping to charge your device. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many free options for charging devices at an airport.
3. There’s a playground on Concourse A for little kids to play. Older children will likely be bored here, but if you’ve got toddlers you want to run ragged prior to your flight, this spot is for you.
4. There’s a garden and book exchange for passengers to enjoy. This spot would be an especially nice place to sit in the winter when the view outside is gloomy and grey. If you forgot to bring a book to read or get stuck on a layover, you can just take a book to read!
Next time I’m in Philly, I hope to have time to leave the airport. In the meantime, I’m totally impressed by what’s here!
Still have questions about Philadelphia International Airport?
Follow @PHLAirport on Twitter or visit www.phl.org.
While I was visiting Cayo Coco earlier this month, I shared photos of the resort where I was staying and the others I toured. Throughout the trip, I used hotel wifi to stay in touch with my clients, and to post photos and comments on my Facebook page. As I posted, my page followers would ask questions about the places I was sharing. One of the questions I was asked was, “Is there wifi?”
Fortunately, now that I’ve been through the process of using the wifi in Cuba, I can answer this question in a little more detail.
How does wifi in Cayo Coco work?
When you stay at a hotel in Cayo Coco, you can purchase a wifi card in the hotel's phone office. You can also inquire at your resort's front desk. These cards remind me of the old-school long distance phone cards you used to have to buy to make long distance international calls. The cards cost just 1 Cuban peso (CUC) for 1 hour’s worth of wifi. You'll have to pay using Cuban pesos. You will not be able to use a credit card or American or Canadian currency. If you don't have the appropriate currency on hand, you'll be able to exchange it at the hotel's currency exchange counter very easily. At Memories Flamenco Beach, I was able to exchange American currency without any hassle at all.
Once you've purchased your wifi card, either you or the hotel personnel will scratch the password off the back of the card. You'll go to your phone or table'ts wifi settings, and when you select the resort’s wireless network, you’ll be prompted to log in with the username and password that appears on the back of the wifi card you’ve purchased.
You’ll enter the username and password as provided, and then the clock starts ticking! The log-in screen will tell you how many minutes have elapsed and how many you have remaining on the card. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing online when you’re logged into the wifi network. You can stream music or video or check e-mail or your social media accounts. It doesn’t matter. It is the time that is elapsing that matters. When you turn off your wifi connection, the clock will stop running. It will start up again the next time you join the network with the username and password from the card. You can very easily make several hours worth of wifi last throughout your vacation!
A couple of things to note:
For a few pesos, you can stay connected with your loved ones at home, and share photos of your vacation in Cayo Coco along the way!
Got questions about the wifi for your vacation in Cayo Coco? Please feel free to post your question in the comments section below!
On a recent trip to Cayo Coco, Cuba, I traveled with Sunwing for my flight down to stay at Memories Flamenco Beach Resort. (Full disclosure, this was a familiarization trip for travel agents, however I paid to attend and was not compensated for writing this post. All opinions expressed are my own.)
I found several aspects of the flight to Cuba impressive and I wanted to share those with my fellow Canadian travelers who might be considering traveling on a vacation package with Sunwing. My last flight with Sunwing was a simple trip down to Orlando in 2015, and I don’t recall these options and feature being offered at that time.
Here are four reasons you’ll enjoy traveling south on a Sunwing package.
If you've always wanted to learn more about seeing the world from a cruise ship, October is the perfect month to do so.
This October, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is hosting "Plan a Cruise Month," an annual month-long event designed to help travelers understand more about the cruising industry and support its member cruise lines.
This month, there are several #ChooseCruise CLIA Twitter events planned to help spread the word about cruising. You'll also want to keep your ear out for some awesome cruise deals the cruise lines are offering this month. I'll also be blogging about cruising all month long!
You can follow along with weekly #ChooseCruise Twitter chats on:
To kick off Plan a Cruise Month, here are five reasons you should consider booking a cruise for your next vacation.
1. High Level of Service--When you travel on a cruise ship, you can expect the highest levels of service in the travel & hospitality industry! Crew members live and work on board to serve you. Often cruise passengers find themselves returning again and again to the same bar or dining venue on board, simply because of the way they are treated by the bartender or wait staff at that location. While you're on board, your cabin steward will likely greet you each morning in the hallway outside your door, and ensure your stateroom is clean and tidy when you return! If you are the kind of traveler who enjoys being treated like royalty while on vacation, a cruise will likely fit the bill.
2. High Value for Your Vacation Dollar--When you plan a cruise, all of your food and entertainment is included in the price you'll pay. While some travelers have the impression that cruising is super expensive, if you do the math, cruising often costs less per day than planning your own vacation with hotel stays, food and entertainment. Your cruise is also completely paid for before you board the ship, which means there are no surprise expenses on board. While you may choose to purchase souvenirs and splurge for specialty services on board, most expenses can be managed before you lock your front door to head to the airport! Cruise travelers love coming home from vacation and NOT having a huge bill to pay. Booking your cruise in advance gives you that much more time to spread your payments out over the intervening months. Some cruise lines will even arrange pre-authorized payments for you! Carnival Cruise Line, for example, has a "set it and forget it" monthly payment option that my clients absolutely love. Even if your cruise line does not offer this service, your travel agent can make periodic payments on your behalf if you arrange this with them.
3. Comfort and Pampering on Board--How would you like someone to turn down the sheets for you every night before bed? Present you with a pillow menu when you get on board, so you can choose the exact comfort you prefer to lay your head on each night? Provide plush robes and slippers for you to use throughout your vacation? These are just some of the ways you may be pampered on your cruise vacation. Additional options, such as 24-hour room service, custom-blended bath products, specialty spa staterooms and in-cabin dining are some of the opportunities you're presented with when planning a cruise. Being overwhelmed by all of the ways you can be pampered and provided with comfort on your cruise is a good problem to have! Your travel agent can help you prioritize.
4. The Amenities and Activities on Board (and on Shore)--One of the greatest misconceptions out there when it comes to cruising is that there is nothing to do on board. Nothing could be further from the truth! Cruise ships are busy places, with plenty of activities for cruisers to choose from. Each evening, you'll be provided with a newsletter that details the next day's schedule on board. This is usually also posted in the Guest Services area of the ship. Cruise ships feature live game shows, poolside contests, full-equipped gyms, theatres, karaoke bars, pubs, bingo, trivia contests, dance lessons, cooking classes and demonstrations...the list goes on and on. The good news is, these activities are all optional so you can stay as busy or relaxed from day to day as you like! On port days, you can stay on board, join a shore excursion, or head off to explore on your own. The options are endless.
5. Destinations--On a cruise, you'll unpack your bags once, yet experience multiple destinations in one trip! I love going to sleep in the same comfy bed each night, and waking up in a new port every day or two. There is nothing like waking up and heading over to your balcony to step outside and take in your new surroundings. Cruises depart from and visit ports all over the world. Explore the Hawaiian islands, the Southern Caribbean, Mediterranean or even travel up the Mekong River on a river cruise. Whatever part of the world you want to explore, there's a cruise for that.
If you still have questions about cruising, let's have a discussion! Join in on the #ChooseCruise CLIA Twitter chats this month, or leave a comment, below.