The Travel Factory Blog

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October Is "Plan A Cruise Month"

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I realize I painted a pretty bleak picture of cruising last week describing the devastation in parts of the Caribbean because of Harvey, Irma, and Maria, but by the time most of you want to go, most of those ports will be up and running. They know how valuable that tourist dollar is to their economy, so you can be sure it's 24-7 to get recovered . And, October is the month to plan to go!!!

The Cruise Lines International Association over the past several years has encouraged cruise lines to consider offering discounts for the next year in October, and promoted to the general public the opportunity to purchase that vacation at discounted prices along with some attractive amenities.

We have heard from all the cruise line as to their particular promotions, but I'll only mention the ones that we sell the most at The Travel Factory.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is offering 50% off of the second traveler in the room, 25% off for the second and third person in the room, and kids under 12 go free!!! This promotion ends on Oct 31.

Carnival Cruise Lines promotion also goes to Oct. 31, and they have discounted their basic rates on all categories plus they are offering $50 per cabin of on-board-credit.

Princess Cruise Line has a 3-For-Free promotion going until Oct. 31. That means you get a category upgrade, free gratuities, and on-board-credit for balcony rooms at $75 a person. Deposits are only $100 a person....and if you are a current or retired military, with your DD214, they will award you $100 on-board-credit. Heck of a deal....for your sacrificial service to our country.

Remember too that The Travel Factory is promoting their 24th annual trip to Alaska next year from July 2-14 and we already have 38 signed up, and a 10-day Canada/New England trip Oct. 16-26 with 34 signed and deposited. Those discounts can be realized on these bookings, so rattle our cage the next two weeks and get a deposit down. Call at 698-1421 or come by at 4150 Southwest Drive.

Princess is the only carrier that does not have a presence out of a Texas port, but the other two have 7-day cruises, 4 and 5 day cruises, all out of Galveston. The Galveston port reported that in 2016 they welcomed 869,923 passengers which was a 35% increase over the 2014 count. They generate $1.42 billion in direct spending and over 25,000 jobs paying $1.62 billion in total income. That puts them the fourth busiest port in the United States.

In 2017, Royal Caribbean will start their 4 and 5 night itinerary in Galveston with the Vision of the Seas. Carnival will homeport its newest ship for the 7-night cruises, the Carnival Vista, starting in September.

The port director indicated that they are “committed to remaining in the top 5 cruise home-ports in North America”. He also reported that they were investigating the possibility of planning a third cruise terminal that will enable them to handle even larger ships and the related significant increase in cruise passenger volume.

Counting passengers and crew, over 1.28 million visited Texas during 2016, so that is a major boost to the Galveston economy. A majority of the cruisers drive in, so there is a need for parking, and many go there a night or two before to enjoy the beach, dining and entertainment options that are available in Galveston. Too bad we can't have some cruise business here in Abilene!!! We're trying!!!

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