Among the ships celebrating years of service this year is both Princess Cruise Line for 50 years and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for 45 years. Both lines cater to the mass market vacationer with features on every ship that boggle your imagination. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has been sailing the Caribbean for 45 years. They currently have 5 ships sailing year around; 10 ships are in operation during the summer months.
The Travel Factory Blog
The Travel Factory employs 4 full time agents with 100 years total experience in the travel industry. Our agents specialize in cruise, tour and resort vacations as well as corporate incentive and school groups. Our mission is to provide the best, most courteous, most detailed, most informative service. Our slogan, "Building vacations to your specifications" says it all.
It’s so much fun helping families plan for their vacation….just knowing how much fun they are going to have and the new experiences they will enjoy and the memories they will be making.
In my estimation, some of the best vacation options for families are the all-inclusive vacations. That means all costs are considered and paid for before you travel. And a lot of the time, the tour operators will throw in a promotion where the land package for the children under 12 is free.
An article in this weeks Travel Weekly by the cruise editor, Tom Stieghorst, poses the interesting conundrum of the necessity of swimming pools on cruise ships.
A reason for this question to come up was his experience on the new ocean-going ship, the Viking Star. As I have mentioned before the Viking River Cruises position on their 40+ river ships is a no-swimming pool policy. Of course, one of the reasons for this policy is that they do not cater to families, but to the over 55 market. The new ocean-going Viking Star does have 3 pools; main pool midship, an infinity pool aft, and a counter-current pool in the spa area.
We do a lot of talking about the visitor count in Las Vegas, and how they drew record visitors in 2014, but their count of around 40-41 million visitors pales in comparison to the visitor count in Orlando.
There was a report out this week that Orlando becomes the first destination to surpass 60 million visitors, an all-time record for the U. S. travel industry. They reported that there were 32 million room nights sold in 2014, resulting in bed tax collections topping $200 million for the first time in Orange County.
Wave season for 2015 has just completed, and the cruise lines all seem relatively upbeat regarding present and future bookings. Carnival reported that their prospects for the year look so good that they will not have to resort to close-in pricing discounts later in the year to get their ships filled. The world’s largest cruise company reported a net income of $49 million on revenue of $3.5 billion, and they reported that the upcoming Alaska season as “super strong”.
We participated last week with Business Expo, and we had a good many folks to stop by our booth and talk a little travel. Three or four of them wanted to tell me about the trip they took, but of course, they did not make the reservations with anyone at The Travel Factory. Don’t they know that we could give them the same price they paid, and we could keep some of the money circulating in the Abilene economy?
A big thanks for all those folks who stopped by our booth yesterday at the Abilene Expo. The Travel Factory and Supertravel have had a presence at this business extravaganza for 30 of it’s 31 years, and we enjoy visiting with other businesses in town and many of our clients and friends who have allowed us the pleasure of helping with their travel arrangements.
We have just returned from Israel, traveling there with a small group of Big Country pilgrims, who, without a doubt, had the time of their lives!! This was my third time to travel to this Holy Land, and I can assure you that we had no fear whatsoever touring that land from the Sea of Galilee on the north to Masada on the south.
The above slogan is a favorite from Cruise Lines International Association. They say that in terms of value, variety and satisfaction…..”You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Cruised!!”
Every day more people discover the inclusive pleasures of a cruise vacation. More and more singles, families, couples, honeymooners, second honeymooners and groups of friends are sailing away on the vacation of their lives. This year, over 18 million people will enjoy a cruise vacation. It’s easy to see why.
We talked a little last week about the airlines and their relationship with travel agents. . .how they ceased recognizing us for selling and promoting their product, still expecting us to do that and service their/our clients, but for nothing. Their intent was that the consumer would readily go to their web sites and purchase their tickets.
Last week we talked about being relational. If we are honest with ourselves, as travel agents, our most valuable assets are our clients(friends) who after we have helped them with their travel plans, continue that relationship with additional bookings throughout the years.
Did you read about the lady who, when she called what she thought was a particular airline to inquire about an air itinerary, was told by the agent that he needed her credit card in order to get a price? WHOA!!!! That’s a warning sign!!!...and one of my tips for the day. Do not give your credit card to anyone unless you are ready to purchase a ticket, tour, or cruise at the amount agreed upon.
The above title is one of the questions we most often get, especially from folks who have never been on a cruise before. Getting to the best answer is very complicated, because it depends on several factors, not the least of which is the expectation of the client.
Properly booking a cruise is complicated. Once you decide where you want to go, you have to decide what ship to take and then which cabin to choose. For the persons who have never cruised, shopping on-line or with brochures where some ships, especially the larger ones, have more than 30 price categories. Well, why is Category BC better than Category BF? How large are the rooms and which floor is the best one to be on?
It is that time of the year when folks are thinking of summer vacations, and many are considering traveling somewhere internationally…..to Europe, Mexico, South America, Canada…you name it. Well, where do you go to find out about what is allowed to go into those countries, what can you bring back, plus a myriad of other questions. You can always contact your travel agent, but you can also go on-line and find all those answers and more.
It is really amazing in this day and time to hear of someone who hasn’t ever been on an airplane. The same goes for those who haven’t been on a cruise. In fact, I’ve seen the statistic that only about 8% of the U. S. public has been on a cruise.
I remember back in 1977, I rode with my mother and father on their first airplane flight. They were 63 at the time, and really didn’t have a clue about airline travel….but discovered that they liked it. In contrast, their grandson, my son, left yesterday from Nashville to New York to Los Angeles, to Houston, and then back home to Nashville on next Sunday. For sure, the quickest way to get from point A to B and beyond.
It’s been almost 5 months since I’ve mentioned one of the most visited cities in the United States……Las Vegas!! Something different is going on almost every week, and I presume other than the gambling attraction, that is the reason many folks return for a brief visit. Mostly,Las Vegas is a 3-4 night escape from reality.
We talked to some folks the other day about going with us to Alaska next July, and mentioned that they would need to get a passport to make the trip. They questioned why since we would be cruising in the United States. I reminded them that one of the current rules of the sea is that if you depart from a port in the United States, you have to visit one foreign port before you return to the states.
In the past 4-5 years, river cruising has become the cruise of choice for many of our more mature vacationers. One of the reasons for that is that the owner of one of the more popular river cruise lines, Viking River Cruises, has openly declared that the demographics of his ships is the 55+ passenger, and please, no children.
As the new year rolls in, the cruise lines have been busy in bringing on new attractions that will entice not only the first time cruiser, but also engender interest from the experienced cruise passenger. For example:
On Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship coming out in 2015, the Norwegian Escape, they plan on offering the delights of Margaritaville on that ship. One of the complimentary dining venues will feature the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar which will host live nightly performances, a separate music venue, and an outdoor bar on The Waterfront. There is no word yet on which other ships will receive the new venues, but you can be sure it is coming to other ships in 2015-16.
It’s that time of the year when our thoughts turn toward what we should give our loved one(s) for Christmas. Our favorite Christmas gift, or birthday gift, or anniversary gift, or pick-a-reason gift is the gift of travel. One of the reasons is that a travel gift never grows old. . .oh, the immediate experience of travel might grow old, but the memory will live on as long as you have a memory. Not so with many other gifts given at Christmas…the sweater will wear out, the toy will get broken, the game will be forgotten in a year or two, or the shower head will get corroded. That shower head illustration is a true one; a friend of mine confessed he gave a shower head to his wife for Christmas!!