We who work in the travel industry are doubly blessed. First, we get to see the world and meet amazing people in places that take our breath away. Then, we get to bring home stories to enthrall and amaze our friends and families.
I think that’s what Silversea Cruises’ SVP Katina Athanasiou was getting at with the advice she offered at the annual conference aboard the Norwegian Encore. These days, “people don’t care about what you do or where you live,” she said. “They want to know where you’ve been and how it’s changed you.”Read the rest of this entry »
One of my favorite river cruise vessels will soon be back in service, the m/s Mozart. I first cruised on the storied ship in 2008, when she was operated by Peter Deilmann. Aside from being awed by Mozart’s impressive width, nearly double that of a typical river cruise ship, I’d never been on a river cruiser with an indoor pool.Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s face it. Cruises are now commodity products. Everyone sells the same ships and itineraries for similar prices. So how do you stand out from all the others selling the same cruise—maybe for a few dollars less?
Try focusing on things you can add to the cruise package.Read the rest of this entry »
I know you are good. I know you are smart. I know you have accomplished a lot. But I also know you can get better. I know you have a lot more to learn. I know you must get better.
Being receptive to constructive “coaching” is a sign of an intelligent person, regardless of age and/or experience. It is important to understand the difference between “criticism” and “coaching.” They are not the same. Criticism has no apparent benefit. It is a verbal attempt at headlining one’s shortcomings, usually for the enjoyment of the person doing the criticizing.Read the rest of this entry »
Even as the first Prima-class ship rolled out, with five more in production behind it, NCL Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio asked his staff what they could do to upgrade the existing fleet—and anted up a $1.5-billion budget, NCL CEO Harry Sommer told the crowd at the Dream Vacations/CruiseOne annual conference onboard Encore last week.
The new Prima class, whose first ship just rolled out, shows NCL’s direction moving forward: elevating the product with upgraded menus, new entertainment, and more staff—and 10,000 travel advisors invited aboard so far to spread the message.Read the rest of this entry »
Award-winning luxury river cruise line, AmaWaterways, tells us that travelers can now book unforgettable river cruise vacations on all 2024 itineraries on the iconic rivers of Europe, Africa, Egypt and Asia. With an added reward for early bookings and extended seasons on the Rhine, Danube and Douro rivers, guests have the opportunity to save now when reserving their much-anticipated journeys. Whether celebrating a milestone anniversary, a special birthday or a reunion with friends and family, river cruising with AmaWaterways offers the perfect variety of included tours and culinary experiences to please all ages and types of travelers searching for a more personalized way to reconnect with the world around them.Read the rest of this entry »
Japan is known for its sprawling metropolises, cities that bask in the light of every color from signs and advertisements. Yet, outside these massive cities is an island country with natural beauty that shines bright on the pale petals of the cherry blossom—on the delightful purple of the wisteria tree. Adored by Japanese poets and painters is a sight that soars above them all, the UNESCO World Heritage Mt. Fuji.Read the rest of this entry »
In order for people to feel glad they know you, you must appear to be interested in them, their lives, their stories, their experiences, and their opinions. As you leave the safe confines of your familiar environment, you are going to meet hundreds of people in the months ahead.
Not every one of these new acquaintances will become a client. You would not want this to be the case. You do need to know, however, that when you meet people for the first time, only three things can result from this introduction.Read the rest of this entry »
That rumor you may have heard is true. Disney Cruise Line has confirmed it is buying a partially complete mega cruise ship, Global Dream, that has been sitting in the Meyer Werft shipyard since Genting Hong Kong ceased operations early this year.
The purchase, at an undisclosed “favorable price,” finally ended speculation that the ship might have to be scrapped, despite the estimated 1.6 billion euros spent on it so far.
About 75% complete, the 208,000-gross-ton ship was being designed to sail under the Dream Cruises flag, in the Asian market. It holds 6,000 passengers and 2,800 crew, and is the first in the industry to be fueled by green methanol, one of the lowest-emission fuels available.
Some features of the ship will be reimagined by Disney before it sails in 2025. The company said, but the plan is definitely to launch it abroad, and the speculation is that it will remain in Asia, where Disney Cruise Line does not yet sail. Disney recently announced its first cruises for the Australia and New Zealand markets beginning in late 2023, and The Walt Disney Company has expressed interest in finding a home port closer to guests in Japan and China.
No matter where, travel advisors love the idea of selling—and sailing—a new Disney ship.
Homeporting a giant new ship in Asia “would be a big step for Disney” but a smart one, Dream Vacations franchise owner Shane Smartt told TRO. Even here in the United States, he believes he can sell it. “Disney has such a high following, I’m sure some US-based clients want to experience the ship in Asia; we had that happen with Royal Caribbean,” he noted. “There will be Disney fanatics that will want to go over there.”
“Hell, we’ll probably sail it,” added his partner Trapper Martin, noting the duo has “done the Disney parks over there,” and found the Shanghai park in particular to be a unique experience “totally different from Disney parks here.”
For the time being though, Disney Parks Experiences and Products chairman Josh D’Amaro seems focused on the international, if not the Asian, market. “Our cruise ships give us the unique opportunity to bring Disney magic to fans no matter where they are, and the addition of this ship will make a Disney Cruise Line vacation accessible to more families than ever before,” he said.
Onboard the Disney Fantasy, Erin Elliott Stennett of Majestic Memories Travel & Vacations in Paoli, Indiana, is “so excited to hear there is yet another new Disney ship coming. Disney Cruise Lines’ attention to detail is unsurpassed! From the carpeting, to fixtures, to the children’s areas, theaters, and all the very small details such as picture theming in the stairways, there is just nothing like a Disney cruise. I’m sure the new partially built ship will be like a floating palace. In general, I am not a huge fan of mega ships as they just seem so overwhelming and not as intimate, but I am positive this large ship will still feel intimate and inviting as it will have the special Disney touches. I cannot wait to sail on her!”
“This is such encouraging news for the future of travel and specifically cruising,” agreed Lainey Melnick, owner of a Dream Vacations franchise in Austin. “Disney consistently delivers the highest quality entertainment, dining and service for families looking for that magical touch. Capping passengers at 6,000 in this huge build means that public venues and cabins have the potential to be massive without feeling like you are in a crowd. While this opens up a new option for the Asian market, it follows Disney Parks global expansion which will continue to draw the attention of worldwide travel to a new audience. It’s exciting.”
When it rains it pours—and it’s hurricane season in the travel advisor channel. The trickle of business that kept advisors going through Covid has turned into a torrent of demand, not only for the usual FITs and cruises, but also for the land vacations to which customers turned when there was no other option.
So it’s no surprise that travel advisors suddenly find themselves being courted more than ever. On the one hand, there’s the new hotels and resorts—and on the other are the traditional partners in the cruise industry, fighting off this new competition.Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve done a number of articles featuring our best river cruise tips. Search our site and you’ll find posts such as Our Top Three Tips For Choosing Your River Cruise, Three Tips For Cruisers Going To Europe, Five Tips For Choosing Your Stateroom, Airfare Hacks: Cheap Business Class Tickets For Your River Cruise, and many more articles designed to provide you with a better (and often, cheaper) river cruise experience.
This week, we turned to Emma Cakmak, owner of A Passport To Travel. Emma just returned from a river cruise in Bordeaux. That’s her in the photo above doing what we often love to do on our river cruises: exploring by bicycle.Read the rest of this entry »
The Election is over. Hallelujah!
Election years are well known to be bad for markets, because they introduce an element of uncertainty, and markets don’t like uncertainty.
The midterm of a president’s first term is particularly troublesome. According to Jeff Sommer, in the New York Times, “Numbers going back more than a century show that the second year has generally been the weakest for the stock market in a president’s term.”Read the rest of this entry »
I like it here. Now. Today.
Although I haven’t seen it (yet), I am sure heaven is everything it is cracked up to be. In fact, I hope to find out firsthand someday. Just not now or hopefully not in the near future.
What I am suggesting, and I say this with all sincerity and respect, is that perhaps you are now in a place worth being in. It is only human to seek more at the expense of taking what we already have for granted. Maybe, just maybe, your current existence isn’t quite as bad as it sometimes seems. What I do know is what I get to see, experience, and enjoy on a daily basis. And from my viewpoint, after “bopping” around my section of the world for a number of years, this place called America still isn’t too shabby.Read the rest of this entry »
It sure has been a busy summer, and our travels are far from over. We’ve all been trying to lighten the load we take on the road, carefully choosing our favorite things as we try to fit our stuff into carry-on bags. So now, with the holiday season approaching, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites as ideas for stocking stuffers and gifts with a travel theme.Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I sailed along the Moselle and Rhine Rivers with Riviera aboard Geoffrey Chaucer. I was invited by Riviera to experience one of the line’s unique Solo Departures. As someone who often travels solo, I was curious to see what was different about traveling with other solos, as well as what Riviera does differently from the other cruise companies I have sailed with. This trip was definitely one for the books, so much so that I am having a hard time finding a way to capture the impact of my journey. Let’s start off with a few first impressions.Read the rest of this entry »
Though the world has taken on appearances that closely resemble the pre-Covid world, I am often reminded by events that the world has changed a lot more during the Covid period than we yet realize. It will take some time to sort out the changes, and the effects both good and bad. On the good side, travel is back. But like everything else, it’s changed.
The constraints imposed by Covid accelerated many trends: the trend toward remote working and meetings, toward more concern by consumers about sustainability, and toward making airports safer from disease. Many other trends were also accelerated.Read the rest of this entry »
When the feds removed COVID testing before embarkation regulations a few months ago, most travel advisors and cruise execs cheered. Bookings exploded—in some cases exceeding pre-pandemic levels—and some stock analysts saw relief from the vast debt the Big Three has amassed.
On September 22, Jack Stebbins reported on CNBC that total debt was 35 billion for Carnival, 25 billion for Royal Caribbean, and 14 billion for Norwegian. This is much less than their stock values that day, which were $11.01 billion, 11.18 billion, and 5.61 billion, respectively—less than half of what the companies owed. The article said that the cruise lines’ best hope is the luxury cruise market, which is not as sensitive to economic downturns. This luxury market is centered on “small ships,” with fewer than 1300 guests.Read the rest of this entry »
There are travelers always on the lookout for a warm and sandy destination. Though plenty of destinations exist for lounging at sunset while the sea swells onto a beach, there is only one Madeira. An island often voted in the top ranks of island destinations, it has been dubbed the Pearl of the Atlantic.Read the rest of this entry »
There is not a day gone by that I do not stop to think how lucky I am to have “stumbled” into a career that has allowed me to stay at five-star hotels, get paid to visit over 19 countries, meet many hundreds of nice people, take numerous cruises on both sea and river, and do it all by verbally sharing my experiences along the way.
Of course, there were more than a few downsides along the way. I remember one night in particular, sitting in my hotel room in Kansas City thinking to myself, “It is 7pm on a Tuesday and I am about to take the elevator down to the ballroom to talk to a room full of strangers. I’d rather be home with my wife. What am I doing here?”Read the rest of this entry »
Carnival Cruise Lines did a study several years ago indicating 80% of cruisers booked their second cruise with someone other than the travel professional with whom they booked their first. However, the clients must have been satisfied with the cruise experience, because they took a second cruise.
So how to explain this rather startling statistic?
A new proposed rule from the US Department of Labor is taking another look at the status of independent contractors—and making some in the travel agency channel nervous.
It’s the second time in two years the Department of Labor has revisited the way companies define “independent contractor.” Their goal, they say, is to put an end to the misclassification of workers—”a serious issue that denies workers’ rights and protections under federal labor standards, promotes wage theft, allows certain employers to gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding businesses, and hurts the economy at-large. Misclassification denies basic worker protections such as minimum wage and overtime pay and affects a wide range of workers in the home care, janitorial services, trucking, delivery, construction, personal services, and hospitality and restaurant industries, among others.”Read the rest of this entry »