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New Mississippi Riverboat Passes Sea Trials

The newest riverboat for the Mississippi River passed sea trials late last week and is on its way to New Orleans for an on-time start to its inaugural season on the Mighty Mississippi. American Cruise Lines announced that it has accepted delivery of the American Symphony from Chesapeake Shipbuilding as...
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Volcano erupts near Reykjavik and Keflavik International Airport

According to the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, a small volcanic eruption occurred in southwest Iceland, approximately 20 miles from Reykjavik and 10 miles from Keflavik International Airport. A YouTube livestream of the eruption showed lava pouring from a fissure reported by the Iceland Monitor. According to the Icelandic Ministry...
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DOT’s proposed rule potentially requires travel advisors to make refunds

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed new rules and asked for comments from the public regarding the refunding of airline tickets when flights are canceled or "significantly changed." However, the definition of "ticket agents" is potentially troubling to the travel agency community. The request for comment contains language which...
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Representatives back Cash Refunds for Flight Cancellations Act

    Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.). have introduced a bill requiring airlines to give consumers  cash refunds for significantly delayed or canceled flights. Reps. Steve Cohen (Tenn.), Jesús García (Ill.) and Jamie Raskin (Md.) intend to introduce a companion...
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CroisiEurope Opens Sale on All 2023 Cruise Itineraries, Reports Promising Numbers

CroisiEurope Cruises announced its entire 2023 river, ocean, and canal program, and the sailings are now available to book online. When clients are booked by August 31, 2022, they can enjoy a 15 percent early booking discount, which drops to 10 percent until October 15; a 5 percent discount applies...
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Promoting Winter Travel to Europe Could Help Manage Demand, Says Avanti Destinations

As Europe clocks one of the busiest summers it’s seen in years, clients looking to avoid crowds, travel delays, and baggage hassles on their vacation might want to reconsider the season. Independent travel retailer Avanti Destinations believes their “Go365” campaign will aid travel advisors in warming clients to the idea...
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New Laws and Fees Aim to Avoid Overtourism—Or At Least Make It Pay

Airfares are crazy, baggage handlers are on strike, and it’s 100 degrees outside. And this month, a tide of regulations, taxes, fees and protestors is asking people to please just stay away. But nothing, it seems, will stem the tide of tourists this summer. Still, the world’s top destinations are...
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Carnival Cruise Line adjusts Covid testing protocols

Following on the heels of Royal Caribbean’s decision yesterday to no longer require Covid testing for passengers on short cruises, Carnival today followed suit. A press release issued Friday afternoon said Carnival Cruise Line is “adjusting certain protocols to reflect the lifting of CDC requirements for the U.S. cruise industry.”...
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Good bartenders are almost a breed apart.  Alternating between multiple clients, these professionals have developed a skill set useful to travel consultants.  The most accomplished bartenders deftly manage their many clients while effectively multitasking their way through the evening. Let’s look at the characteristics the most proficient resourcefully exhibit. Read the rest of this entry »

Add another caveat to “managing clients’ expectations” this summer. Travel advisors are reporting that the record heat in Europe is affecting river cruises on the Rhine and the Danube. It also caused the closure of the locks in the North Sea Canal, forcing Holland America Line to change the embarkation ports of the July sailings of its newest cruise ship, MS Rotterdam, from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, 90 minutes away. But properly preparing clients for what may come, combined with experienced suppliers who know the ropes and some travel insurance, can put a life preserver on your clients’ vacation plans.

At The Travel Nook in Queens, NY, Ria Maratheftis is “crossing my fingers and toes, locking myself in my room and praying like I never have before (to the mother dragons, breaker of chains, old Gods and the new) that my Ama family (three French balcony rooms, with air, pre & post and insurance and private transfers from PHl to JFK) does not cancel.”

Many travel advisors are experiencing the shifts first-hand—and reminding everyone that now is the time for up-front communications to keep clients informed.

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Journeys Connect: Success is Based on Relationship

For Marc Kavanagh, the founder of Journeys Connect, success in the travel industry is all about relationship.

“That’s how we built this business,” he told me earlier this week. “That’s the cornerstone. It’s built on relationships based on trust, and on making sure we deliver with integrity and trust. It’s different with B2B. The goal is long-term relationships.”

The 34-year veteran of the travel industry learned his trade through stints with a veritable hall of fame of travel providers in the Ireland travel industry. His career history includes years spent working for Ryanair, Brendan Vacations, Celtic Tours and Sceptre Tours, before founding Journeys Connect.

Kavanagh founded Journeys Connect in 2013 after building a group travel business called GCS Groups under DH Enterprise, the parent company of Sceptre Tours and operator of the Aer Lingus Vacation Store. Journeys Connect is all about custom group travel, creating itineraries and packages to order for groups as small as six or as large as thousands.

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Travel trade insurance company Trawick International provided a useful snapshot of each major cruise line’s pre-trip health and safety requirements in a TRO webinar last week.  The webinar provided information current as of last week, though fast-moving protocols may potentially change tomorrow. The webinar will be posted on TRO’s Webinar Page on Monday afternoon, August 8th. Read the rest of this entry »

American Queen Voyages announced a free roundtrip air promotion on select voyages from 30 gateways in 2023 when booked by Aug. 31, 2022. Guests taking advantage of this offer can sail on any vessel in the cruise line’s fleet, with itineraries sailing February through December 2023.

In addition, the cruise line has also launched a new full-service air desk to provide consumer and agent support beginning with select 2022 and 2023 voyages. Overseen by Director of Call Center Operations Dana Horton and a team of cruise industry veterans led by Director Tonya Meyer and Manager Kevin White, who have a combined 35 years of experience enabling them to provide a seamless voyage experience for guests.

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Going With The Flow

This marketing practice has many analogies or anecdotes to explain its logic. Going with the flow; swimming with the tide; sailing with the wind to your back; picking the low-hanging fruit. I am sure you have a few analogies of your own to remind you that it doesn’t make sense to spit into the wind or pull on Superman’s Cape.

As logical as these reminders are, you don’t have to travel far to see people banging their heads against a wall in an attempt to get things done. It is still true, that in many instances, less is more.

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3 Ways To Keep Clients Coming Back

Isn’t it amazing how one little thing that happens at the wrong time can torpedo what was once a very solid relationship?  There are three businesses in town that I will need to think long and hard before I choose to support them once again.  No business is immune. It can strike anyone at any time. Each of the businesses failed at three very basic tasks, and none of them made a move to make it better. And it lost them my business. As I thought about it, I realized that this can (and likely does) happen to travel professionals across the nation. So here’s a cautionary tale for you to consider. Read the rest of this entry »

If a potential client asks you to recommend a cruise, the worst thing you can do is start rattling off cruise lines and destinations. Unless you know them very well, before you jump in with suggestions, engage them in a conversation in which you weave in the following questions. These will help qualify them as potential cruisers and help you to guide them to the best choices.

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American Jazz Cruise Ship

Sail beyond the coast of sunny California with American Cruise Lines’ 8-day “San Francisco Bay” itinerary, its first California cruise. Operating round trip from San Francisco, the 190-passenger American Jazz —launched in 2020 —will carry guests along the Napa, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Rivers for a truly unique week spent sailing the Golden State. Cruise into the heart of wine country with a stop in Napa, joined by calls in Vallejo, Stockton, and Sacramento. Read the rest of this entry »

I had to admit to myself that I was a bit nervous about interviewing Laurie King. As the accomplished writer of An Elephant Ate My Arm: More True Stories from a Curious Traveler, published last year, she’s seen a rise in popularity. This book has won first place in the Paris Book Festival, with individual stories in the collection winning multiple other awards. Her writing voice is clearly her own, a daunting task most writers struggle with on a daily basis. So, yeah, I was clearly nervous that my questions wouldn’t grab her attention. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

From the starting conversation about our video backgrounds, there was a curiosity radiating from the image on the computer. Three minutes in, she’d asked more questions than me. When it naturally came around to a starting point, I launched in with the biggest question first: did you start this collection of stories during the primary part of the pandemic?

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American Cruise Lines vessel

The newest riverboat for the Mississippi River passed sea trials late last week and is on its way to New Orleans for an on-time start to its inaugural season on the Mighty Mississippi. American Cruise Lines announced that it has accepted delivery of the American Symphony from Chesapeake Shipbuilding as scheduled. American Symphony is the 5th riverboat in the Line’s ground-breaking new series and the 15thsmall ship built by Chesapeake for American. The 175-passenger new boat will immediately join the company’s expanding Mississippi River fleet. American Symphony’s first cruise is set to depart on August 27th from New Orleans, and American Cruise Lines plans to christen the riverboat during its inaugural cruise on August 30th in Natchez, Mississippi.

American Symphony is part of our ongoing commitment to leading the U.S. River Cruise market by introducing innovative small ships every year,” said Charles B. Robertson, President & CEO of American Cruise Lines. “Smaller is better on the rivers. We look forward to American Symphony’s first season on the Mississippi, as well as the introduction of sister ship American Serenade early next year.”

American Cruise Line Ship

The American Symphony is a sister ship to American Melody, the company’s acclaimed 2021 riverboat. Accommodating 175 guests, American Symphony features 5 decks and offers 100% private balcony staterooms, including suites and single rooms. The new riverboat has an elegant design with stunning use of glass, allowing for unparalleled views throughout the ship. American Symphony also showcases American’s patented opening bow and retractable gangway, as well as the gorgeous 5th deck skywalk with an ellipse that cantilevers dramatically over the café below. American Symphony also offers spacious lounges inside and out, a grand dining room, a fitness center, and a wellness-yoga studio.

A virtual 360-degree tour of American’s new riverboats is available here: American Cruise Lines Virtual Riverboat Tour. Ship photos and tours are available at all times on the company’s main website under the “ships” tab.

American’s small ship fleet has continued to expand year after year as the company continues to introduce ground-breaking small ship designs with exceptional accommodations that enhance guests’ experiences on the Mississippi River, the Columbia & Snake Rivers, and across the U.S.A. Since 2017, American Cruise Lines has debuted 2 small cruise ships and 5 new American riverboats, including brand new American Symphony. In 2023, the company plans to introduce 3 more new small ships; another modern riverboat, American Serenade, as well as two 109-passenger catamaran-hybrid ships, American Eagle and American Glory.

Dr. Carol Dimopoulos has a unique background that bridges the educational tourism sector and academia. In her industry role she serves as CEO and founder of Learning Journeys, a company focused on global transformational journeys which encourages participants to immerse in their interests and passions. The organization focuses on incorporating education into the global travel platform as well as creating social exchanges which initiate economic opportunities for developing societies. Through her global exposure, she discovered what drives human empowerment at a core level. She is a well-respected assistant professor of entrepreneurship, speaker, published researcher and scholar on the subjects of DEI, social entrepreneurship, and responsible tourism. She also holds an MBA in strategic management from Sage Graduate School and a doctorate from The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in Global Education and Leadership and earned a SUNY Fellowship in DEI-teaching and learning certification.

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Luxury Views in NYC and Beyond

New York City has its share of experiences for all manner of travelers. It is a city of many cultures showcased in the food, culture, architecture, art, and the heartbeat that thrives throughout NYC. This makes it a versatile city, able to provide a spectrum of travelers with tours and new memories of wonder at how so many people have called it home and evolved the rhythm and sites of this iconic city. With all there is to do, Beyond Times Square has curated a few luxury tours to show the traveler how it’s done in the most multicultural city in the United States.

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JetBlue Airways Corporation and Spirit Airlines, Inc. today announced a merger agreement had been approved by their boards of directors. Under the agreement, JetBlue will acquire Spirit for $33.50 per share in cash for an aggregate fully diluted equity value of $3.8 billion. Yesterday, Spirit terminated its proposed merger with Frontier Airlines. Read the rest of this entry »

CroisiEurope Cruise Ship

CroisiEurope Cruises announced its entire 2023 river, ocean, and canal program, and the sailings are now available to book online. When clients are booked by August 31, 2022, they can enjoy a 15 percent early booking discount, which drops to 10 percent until October 15; a 5 percent discount applies for select 2023 CroisiEurope cruises booked between October 16 and November 30, 2022. Read the rest of this entry »