Friday, December 21, 2007

And we're off ............

Last week I mentioned that it was an anniversary of sorts of our cruise history - going back on the beautiful newly refurbished Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas - with today being 10 years to the day of our first cruise experience which was on this ship.

The bags are packed and everyone is excited. Should be great weather all weekend according to the reports so we are expecting smooth seas and blue skies. We know the grandkids will be excited seeing this ship. In fact, they will actually see the Carnival Fascination in Miami port which was the ship they went on last year with us - their first experience on a cruise.

I hope I can figure it out and if I can, I am actually going to post both the Welcome Aboard picture from 1997 and the Welcome Aboard picture from today when we get back on Monday.

Well have to do the last minute checks of things.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Christmas Cruise Poem

This was sent to me by a friend and since it was a cruise related poem, I could not resist sharing it here. My compliments to Alan Fox for his creativity. Can you figure out what ship(s) it refers to? Post your comments and there might even be a prize.

Happy Holidays to everyone

'Twas the night before Christmas, and far out at sea,
Our vessel was sailing, as smooth as could be

The stockings were hung from the balcony chairs
With hope that St. Nicholas would find them out there

The children were nestled all snug in their uppers
Having just settled down from a Christmas Eve supper

And ma and myself, we were covered in aloe
A bit too much sun, in a pool, warm and shallow

When up in the sky, there arose such a clatter
I leapt from my bed to see what was the matter

To the sliding glass door, I flew like a flash
Well, more like a saunter, and less like a dash

And what to my skeptical eyes should appear
But a great shiny sleigh, and eight flying reindeer

They circled our ship, from starboard to port
As the moon lit the driver, a jolly old sort

Who called to his team, in a happy retort
"Now Dasher, now Dancer," so on and so forth

We raced through our cabin and into the hall
To the very top deck, in time for us all

To be awed by the sight of Old Santa's sleigh
As he lightly touched down, by the midnight buffet

With a bundle of goodies thrown over his back
He rose in the air and dropped down the smokestack

Santa went straight to work, and later we learned
He found every child's cabin, from the bow to the stern

Insides and oceanviews, balconies and suites
Santa filled every stocking, with toys and with treats

Until all his deliveries had been handled with care
Then he noted he still had a minute to spare

So he surfed the wave rider, with nary a fall
While Dasher and Dancer scaled the rock-climbing wall

And Prancer, who had always been fond of the cold
Tried the ice-skating rink, a sight to behold

And then with a whistle, Santa summoned his team
And he bade us farewell, silent nights and sweet dreams

And I heard him exclaim, as he flew out of view
Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good cruise.

By Alan Fox, with appreciation and apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, author of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Holidays

Things are a little quiet right now so no "hot" topic to comment on about cruising. Instead, let me wish everyone who might read this a very safe and joyous Holiday Season and prosperous New Year.

We are personally looking forward to next Friday for a special reunion (special for Helen and I anyway). On Dec 21, 1997, we went on our very first cruise (about 35 cruises ago ) on the Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas doing a Western Caribbean itinerary.

On Dec 21, 2007 - 10 years to the day - we are going back on her once again. We have been on her several other times, in fact twice in 2007 already but this is the "historic" date for us. Of course now it does an alternating 3 and 4 night cruise to Coco Cay (their private Bahama Island) and Nassau and Key West on the 4 night cruise.

The fun part of the trip this time is having a couple of the Grand Kids with us who live in New Mexico who will be visiting. Last year we took them on a Carnival ship for their first cruise and this year, not only will they be on a new ship (for them), but will actually see the other ship in port that day.

The Majesty of the Seas was refurbished earlier this year and she is very, very nice now and almost like brand new (bult in 1992). OK, the 122 sq ft rooms are still 122 sq ft but the ship is in great shape and a great short cruise experience.

When we went on her in '97, we never thought that 4 years later we would be a part of this industry as Personal Cruise Specialists and a few years later I would actually be handling the recruiting of new agents for our company. Do we love cruising? You bet - we are having the best time of our life now and have been for the past 6 years and hopefully for many more in the future.

Again, Happy Holidays and best of the New Year to everyone.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Would you give yourself an appendectomy?

There is an interesting commercial running on TV about a guy talking to a Dr. who is giving instructions for the guy to perform surgery on himself. The commercial is by a stock broker company and makes a good point in a humorous way. What are you trained to do?

This relates to the booking of travel also. With the cruise industry growing by leaps and bounds, new ships and destinations and choices for the consumer, booking cruises is much more than just booking one.

New online companies are popping up constantly and are charging monthly fees for people to become their own agent. "Book like a pro" one press release recently said. No training necessary. Lately the cruise lines have been taking a stand against these card mills, multi-level companies and other sites which appear to give the consumer the opportunity to become an agent and book themselves (for a fee).

Professional agents take their time and expense to learn not only about the different products out there but how to service the consumer, before, during, and after the booking is made. When situations arise after a booking is made what do you do? Who do you contact? How do you get it resolved? The cruise lines pay commissions to agents to be the consumers advocate and help the consumer before, during and after the process of booking and even sailing. And the consumer does not need to pay extra for this service beng provided to them.

Since the cruise line sets the price for their product and pay us, the professional agent, from that price they charge, you as the consumer actually get MORE for your money booking through an agent who is a trained professional than even booking direct with the cruise line. And we will not even go into group block space which may give you added value to your booking which you can not get directly from the cruise line.

So I ask you, "would you give yourself an appendectomy?" Don't be fooled! If it sounds too good to be know the rest.