Leaving home for the holidays can be a hard. For some it feels like you are leaving behind tradition, family and friends, all of which seems unthinkable. I was one of those people – until I did my first Christmas Markets cruise.
The year was 2010, and I was a mere 14 years old. I had done only one other river cruise, and that was on the Mekong. So not only was this my first Christmas Markets cruise, but also my first river cruise in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Ex Fida Bona
Over the past few weeks, we have seen some exciting announcements from Europe about travel regulations for international travelers. Greece was the first European nation to announce that it would allow international travelers to visit, if they can show proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus. Then, Italy announced that it would be opening immediately to international travelers, who also can show evidence of immunization. The announcement by Italy and Greece marks a huge milestone for international travelers who want to frequent Europe.
On the domestic side, New York has announced that it hit its COVID-19 vaccination milestone, which allows it to end all restrictions put in place during the pandemic. You can now travel to New York City and enjoy all of the activities the great city has to offer, without any restriction. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Departures
Western Hungary has its share of travel-worthy sites, like monuments, castles, countrysides and, of course, Lake Balaton. But, also in the western parts of the country is a hilly region with volcanic formations and small villages. A place where the rolling of the hills and paths leading to a monastery are a journey into yet another wine region in Hungary. Just north of Lake Balaton, the Balaton Uplands await the traveler. Read the rest of this entry »
When a client says to you, “Find me a cruise that’s safe and affordable,” it’s easy to do—if you know where to look.
The factors I look for are the following:
- The quality of the ships and the service your clients are likely to receive.
- The vax status of the nations they will visit.
- The lowest nightly price of available balcony staterooms.
Use these data after seeing the answers to a brief Five-Minute Profile submitted by each client. You will suggest cruises that will be better choices than other travel advisors, or ones cruise line reps can provide, and will likely generate deposits within a few days.
Let’s do this for two seniors whose Five-Minute Profile says they have cruised on Carnival, Holland America, and Celebrity before Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Outposts
There are many nicknames for the city of San Francisco, including “The City.” There is “415” – the area code, “San Fran” – (don’t use this one), “Fog City” – self-explanatory, “Golden Gate City” – for the bridge, and even “Baghdad by the Bay” – with reference to the cosmopolitan nature of the population, much like that of pre-war Baghdad. The City remains high on my list of great places to visit, and one of my favorite activities in the Bay Area is exploring some of the surrounding nature and vicinities.
Posted In: Mike's Monday Cup of Mo-Joe
The idea for this week’s article came to me while filling out the morning USA Today Crossword Puzzle. In and of itself there is no connection, so I don’t want you to spend any time trying to connect the dots. I suppose my point is that ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.
The truth is that your clients and future clients are out there dancing to the beat of their own drum. The chances are very good they are not doing the fox trot to the same rhythms. They are all focused on their own set of circumstances, and worrying about whatever it is they worry about. For you to enter their world thinking, or believing, that you can soon have them focusing on your agenda is nothing short of delusional. But there is a way. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
They say every preacher really has only one sermon. Here’s mine: success in the travel industry has everything to do with relationship selling. Too much of the agency population continues to act as though it is in the business of selling travel and is trapped in a transactional, retail mentality. The travel advisorys and agencies doing really well have long ago left the retail model behind and have replaced it with relationship sales. It is an easy point to understand, but apparently difficult to implement for many travel agents.
The money collectively spent on travel has an astronomical ring to its tally. Reflect on the fact all travel agencies, including the largest online agencies, handle $240 billion dollars, or about 31% of all travel booked. The number is admittedly an estimate, but one thing is certain. There is a tremendous volume of travel being booked other than by travel agencies. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
Things change! Did 2020 prove that or what? And the travel industry is about to undergo a significant shift in 2021 and beyond in the way it works. There will be challenges. There will be wins, and losses. I was having dinner with an agency owner the other week and we were discussing (and maybe arguing) how the industry must adapt to a changing travel world that is yet to be defined. Here’s what we came up with! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Soundings
Lake Tahoe is a destination perfect for a getaway, provided you appreciate skiing or hiking or nature, golf, shopping, gambling, fishing, boating, or dozens of other outdoor activities. Straddling the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe often exceeds the expectations of first-time visitors. Its natural beauty, crystal clear waters, towering Jeffrey pine trees, and mountains are stunning during any season.
But there is more. Lake Tahoe surprises with its casinos and city life. It is by no means a bustling metropolis, but part of it is in Nevada. The state is well-known for its casinos and gambling opportunities, so there is a subtle hint of this lifestyle infused into the otherwise tranquil destination. Places like Harrah’s and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino have a home here. These establishments have slot machines, table games, nightclubs, entertainment, and fine dining to accommodate guests. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: The Rosen Report
It’s all in the hands of the gods, the Vikings say. So perhaps the goddess Freya, using her powers to alter fortunes, determined that there be three cases of COVID among the passengers on Viking’s first four sailings in Iceland this month—and that I be onboard Viking Sky to tell the tale of our star-crossed voyage.
It’s hardly a story of doom and gloom, though. On the eight-day Iceland’s Natural Beauty cruise we saw a unique piece of the world that’s been on our bucket list for some time.
We sailed the Norwegian Sea and crossed the Arctic Circle; watched the sun set at midnight; saw waterfalls and fjords, the crack in the earth where America meets Europe, geothermal fields and lava fields, and an erupting volcano. We felt like Vikings as we jumped from the sauna to the snow room in the Thermal Suite; I got a blueberry hair rinse and a honey facial that left me smelling like a fruit salad. We ate steak and lobster, and sushi fresh from the untouched waters at the top of the world.
Per Viking protocols, we all wore masks in public places even though we were fully vaccinated Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Agent Perspectives
If the UK is on your radar for 2022, cast your imagination towards the warm summer months of June and July for some bright ideas in the sleepy, honey-coloured limestone villages and sheep-clad hillsides of the Cotswolds, followed by a few days in London. Oxford is the gateway city to this lovely corner of England, and it takes just over one hour to get there from London Heathrow. These ideas also work well before, or after, cruising in or out of Southampton, Dover or Harwich.
Danube River Cruise Prices 2022 is part of a continuing series of comparison charts and articles featuring European River Cruises offered by world class river cruise lines. Our goal is to provide a True Per Diem for each cruise, or the daily cost breakdown of the trip once all extra fees are added to the cruise fare.
Comparison charts serve as a guide and attempt to answer the most frequently asked questions from our readers:
- What is a Danube river cruise going to cost me?
- How does the cruise I am looking at compare to Danube river cruises offered by other companies?
- What is the price for an entry-level cabin?
- What’s the price for an upgrade?
- What’s included in a 2022 Danube River cruise?
- What Danube river cruise incentives are there for 2022?
Our goal is to provide a True Per Diem for each cruise, or the daily cost breakdown of the trip once all extra fees are added to the cruise fare. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: TRO SMITH
Do you find that as the recovery of travel ramps up, that some social marketing tactics seem old and out of touch with the times?
Over the last year, so much has changed in the ways that people consume marketing that savvy travel pros are turning to new ways to stand out in the noisy social marketing space.
Let’s explore 3 creative ways to get noticed, so that fans and clients are excited in this new era. We’ll dive into the 3-A’s to amplify your brand: Ads, Audiences, and Audio.
“Facebook, which has said it wants to make audio a “first-class medium” on its platforms, joins Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and messaging platform Discord which have already launched their own live audio offerings. Spotify debuted its own version, “Greenroom,” last Wednesday. Slack, Microsoft Corp-owned (MSFT.O) LinkedIn and Reddit are also working on similar products.” Source
Last week, the CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, warned in May that the U.S. was entering a “pandemic of the unvaxed.” She didn’t say this lightly. Here are the COVID-19 infection rates in the United States, where the Delta Variant is responsible for about half the cases and is just gaining strength; and from the United Kingdom (U.K.), where the Delta Variant arrived a few months earlier and now accounts for nearly all of the cases. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Mike's Monday Cup of Mo-Joe
For years, I gave credit to Voltaire for sharing this sage advice. I later attributed this key reminder to the rightful author, Louis Pasteur. Regardless of who first came up with this “beauty,” it remains one of my favorite quotes.
In our current (soon-to-be post Covid-19) environment, I am hearing many agents say they are experiencing the debilitating phenomenon known as “overwhelm.” My fear is that these very same agents may resort to the age-old strategy known as WHP… which stands for “wishing, hoping and praying.”
Let me be quick to mention that I have nothing against making wishes when blowing out birthday candles, hoping for sunny 4th of July weekends, and praying for guidance from above when confronted with a life-changing decision. All three situations get a “thumbs-up” from me. But, when it comes to building and sustaining a business, I am afraid it takes a little more effort on your part, and not so much enticement from your local soothsayer. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
COVID is like that Whack-A-Mole game at Chuck E. Cheese. You know the one, the rodents pop up and you whack them back into their hole and then another one pops up in a faraway corner. No matter how focused you are on the matrix of holes, one rodent will always pop up. And as we exit the pandemic and travel begins to return, a rodent at the US Department of State has popped up. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: The Rosen Report
For customers looking for a unique destination they have not yet visited, AmaWaterways might just have the answer. Last week, it announced a new ship sailing a new river in a new continent to the Ama repertoire.
Colombia’s Magdalena River will host a partnership between Ama and Metropolitan Touring, known and well-respected by many travel advisors for its Galapagos and South America tours, aboard the brand-new AmaMagdalena in time for the holidays in December 2023.
On a press conference via webinar today, the two companies shared their excitement at having found one another, and in bringing the first luxury river cruises to the region. Just “two or three hours” from Florida, the Magdalena River offers beautiful scenery, diverse nature, and the second-largest Carnival in the world. (Also, the world’s best chocolate and best coffee, “and some really good rum,” says Metropolitan Touring’s Francisco Dousdebes.)
“It is the prime river in Latin America,” asserted Ama’s ever-cautious new destination seeker, co-founder and president Rudi Schreiner, who has been scouting “the whole area from Argentina to Read the rest of this entry »
With summer underway and France officially re-opening to North American travelers in early June, CroisiEurope is marking the 2021 summer season with the resumption of the company’s diverse itineraries throughout France. CroisiEurope’s first river itinerary set sail at the end of June, with the canal and river itineraries to follow this month.
Posted In: The Incessant Traveler
Richard Branson, still cutting a charismatic figure at 70, flew to space and made it safely back again with his space tourism company Virgin Galactic. It was another milestone for Branson, who first made his fortune in the record business with Virgin Records in the early 1970s.
It’s been a long time since Branson embarked on his space enterprise, founding Virgin Galactic in 2004. In February 2007 I attended a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., at which 45 Virtuoso travel agents were certified as Accredited Space Agents, after completing Virgin Galactic’s training regimen.
Anything to do with Branson is going to be done with top notch PR, and holding the event at Cape Canaveral was a brilliant stroke. Having dinner under a giant Saturn 5 Rocket created a heady atmosphere for travel agents tasked with introducing space flight to the public.
It gave the event a great boost to connect with the US space program Read the rest of this entry »
For at least the last decade, most cruise lines have devoted themselves to nurturing a younger clientele. The dream has been to capture cruisers in midlife and hold on to them for the next 30-40 years. Now, COVID-19 is turning this strategy on its head.
Most international ports are on the verge of welcoming Americans warmly, if everyone on the ships (crew members and guests alike) are vaccinated and eager to spend money on meals, excursions and hotels. As an essential plus, most seniors are already vaxed and—according to several recent surveys—want to sail on ships on which everyone is vaxed. The following statistics were based on data reported last week by The New York Times. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
From movies to shows, novels to photos, New York City is an iconic setting known around the world. Being the most populous city in the US, and considered to be the cultural capital of the world, it can seem chaotic to those unfamiliar with the rhythm of such a diverse city. For the luxury traveler, though, NYC is a playground ready to be explored—one that offers up the best of the best in luxury enjoyment. And now, with this metropolis fully opening up (as of July 1), the opportunities are endless. Read the rest of this entry »