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Posts Tagged ‘cruises’

 

Happy New Year to everyone!  My goal is to write more on this blog in 2011.

So it is Day 5 of being snowed in (more like iced in).   While the family time has been wonderful – great crock pot meals, watching movies, playing games – the gray days have not been so nice.    But there is sunshine today which brightens my day and we are going out later today. 

But during this time I’ve had time to get organized for the year and begin to think about adventures that are to come for 2011.    A big birthday on the horizon, some summer time fun, maybe a trip to see the leaves change.

What’s on your horizon?  There are some wonderful new cruise ships on the seas now, great resorts opening in the Caribbean and beyond and some fabulous new shows in Las Vegas.  You name it, there is a travel destination in mind!

So dream big in 2011!  Make this the year to enjoy travel with friends and family.   Start checking off items on your Bucket List.  Simply travel.

Happy 2011 and here is to happy travels!

Oh sunshine, it is so nice to see you today!

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Business has been steady this time of year and there have been a lot of questions lately on documentation for travel – particularly for cruises.  So I thought I would share a few tips and requirements for taking a cruise. 

 This is the kind of information that is not always clear to even the most experienced cruisers, who may have sailed with different documents in the past.  So as a quick reminder – all U.S. citizens must bring one of the following WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) compliant documents in order to sail on a cruise that departs and ends from the same U.S. port:

  • Valid U.S. Passport
  • Passport Card
  • Original or legible copy of a Birth Certificate (issued by the Department of Vital Statistics)
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Trusted Traveler Program Membership Card (i.e. Nexus Card, Sentri Card or Fast Card)
  • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad

Copies of the following will NOT be allowed by a cruise line:

  • US Passports
  • Naturalization Papers

Originals, or copies will NOT be allowed by a cruise line:

  • Baptismal Certificates
  • Hospital issued “Certificate of Birth”

It is always recommended that all guests travel with a passport (valid for at least six months beyond completion of travel). Although a passport is not required for U.S. citizens taking cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port, traveling with a passport facilitates your disembarkation experience. It also makes it easier for you to fly from the U.S. to a foreign port should you miss your scheduled embarkation or need to fly back to the U.S. for an emergency.

By taking the time to familiarize yourself with these requirements and asking your travel planner questions, your overall cruise experience will be that much more enjoyable!

Happy Travels!

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There are so many factors that can influence how well your vacation goes like weather, delayed flights, lost baggage and medical emergencies.  While these are not things we like to think about when trying to get away and relax, there are measures we can take to help alleviate the stress of these issues should any occur including purchasing travel insurance.  I always recommend and quote travel insurance for my clients and can attest to the validity of such a purchase as we have had to use it several times.

On our recent cruise the end of April, we had such an experience happen to us.   Our young son one day was rushed to the ship’s doctor in the middle of the afternoon.   While everything was fine quickly – thank goodness – the fees for such a service were expensive (although we would have paid whatever it took!)

By having travel insurance we are able to claim these expenses with the proper documentation provided by the cruise line.    With our insurance provider we filed the claim electronically as soon as we returned from our trip and we simply mailed in the documentation.  We could have claimed it on our health insurance but the amount would have been applied to our deductible.  Some health care policies do not cover you when you travel internationally.

Travel insurance is something you need that you hope you never have to use.    Some good advice – always get a quote for travel insurance, check with your health care plan to see if you are covered while traveling internationally, and be prepared for the unexpected challenges that change a vacation. 

Our vacation turned out to be a wonderful (and learning) experience – thankfully we had a happy ending! 

Have you encountered such a challenge when traveling?

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Outstanding deals on Celebrity Cruises for August, September and October with rates starting at $799 per person plus taxes for an outside cabin.   Upgrade to an Aqua Spa Suite for total pampering!

It’s the perfect time to plan your Fall getaway today!

For more details visit our Travel Tuesday Deals Tab.

Happy Travels

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Just a quick (and late) note today but new deals are posted now under our Travel Tuesday Deals tab.

Check out incredible savings on the luxurious Azamara Club Cruises ships!  

Have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

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Check out our latest summer cruise specials on Carnival Cruise Lines under the Travel Tuesday Deals tab.

Sail on a “Fun Ship” starting at $739 per person for a 7-night cruise this summer!   MANY more specials out there – simply ask us!

Contact us toll-free at 1-866-532-7526 or www.OurCruisePlanner.com

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Our ship the Norwegian Spirit in Costa Maya, Mexico

This past week brought back some wonderful travel memories!   My husband Jerry and I have been on over 25 cruises in the many years we’ve been married. None could have prepared us for the adventure of cruising for the first time last year with our seven and half month old son on the Norwegian Spirit out of New Orleans!

Our first concern was what to pack.  To say that we packed all but the kitchen sink for our son was an understatement. But we just weren’t sure if he would need something and worried that it would be the one thing we forgot. He didn’t wear half of what we packed but that was okay. My advice – make sure to pack a few small, portable toys like the rings that hook onto the stroller and extra diapers. Diapers and other baby sundries are very hard to find onboard. In port, you may be able to find a few supplies but it is best to plan ahead especially if you need specific brands or styles.

I packed a separate duffel bag with baby food, toys and books as well as an extra blanket. One of us sat in the back seat with him to keep him entertained and make sure he was doing okay in his car seat.  This was his first big trip in his new car seat too! A few stops to stretch our legs and eat and we were in Mississippi by mid afternoon to pick up my mother-in-law and her sister.  Our son did manage to sleep well in the car so that was great! He found it quite entertaining to be able to see out the windows and was quite amused every time a large truck went by!

The next day we headed for the pier in New Orleans. Even with a baby in tow, it was a breeze getting to the pier and everything was very well-organized.  Because we were returning passengers with Norwegian Cruise Lines, we didn’t have to wait long to check in. By mid-afternoon we were checked-in and settled into our balcony, connecting cabins and ready to set sail.   

During the week we visited Costa Maya, Cozumel and Belize.  When in Cozumel we took our son off the ship for a little while and it was his first adventure on international soil!   Most of the time we alternated staying onboard with him as it was too hot and he was too young for a shore excursion.  He loved riding in the glass elevators onboard the ship!

Needless to say, I could go on and on about how wonderful the trip was and what great memories we have.  I was so glad that our son loves to travel as much as we do.   The vacation more than exceeded our expectations – both as new parents and as vacationers.

Traveling with an infant when you plan ahead was easier than we had anticipated. Since this cruise we have been on two other cruises with our son, including a Disney Cruise for his first birthday, and he is quite the traveler!  We look forward to our next adventure this Spring!  

What adventures have you experienced with your family when traveling?  Any travel tips?

Happy Travels!

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