Are You Afraid A Cruise Vacation Might Be Boring?

11.33 million Americans took a cruise last year. If you weren’t one of them, could the reason be that you think you might be bored on a cruise vacation?

Check out this new “Come Seek” television commercial from Royal Caribbean to get a quick feel for just a few of the exciting, unique adventures you can have on a Caribbean cruise.

The only way to be bored on a cruise is if you choose to be (some people enjoy the ability to disconnect from the world and sleep soundly to the gently-rocking lull of the sea.)

Most people love the adventures to be had both on the ship, — i.e. rock-climbing, flow-riding, ice skating, — and on shore, exploring new countries each day. Would you Zip-line in Haiti? How about snorkeling in Jamaica?  Or para-sailing in Cozumel, Mexico?

Best of all, Royal Caribbean if currently offering a 30% Off Every Ship, Every Sailing” promotion, so it’s a fabulous time to book your adventure.

Call us today at 1-800-957-1066 to book your Royal Caribbean adventure.

Princess Cruises Raises Gratuities Beginning January 1, 2016

Princess Cruises to raise gratuities. Pictured: Star Princess in Long Beach.) Princess Cruises announced today that it will increase its daily gratuity charge on all voyages departing on or after January 1, case 2016.

The new daily gratuity amounts for Princess cruise guests will be as follows:
• US$12.95 per guest per day for regular staterooms (interior, oceanview and balcony) — an increase of $1.45.
• US$13.95 per guest per day for mini-suites and suites — an increase of $1.95.

Guests who are currently booked for a Princess cruise that sails on January 1, 2016 or later can avoid the increase by prepaying their daily gratuities at the current gratuity amount through October 31, 2015.

The gratuity rate increase is comparable to cruise industry standards and is Princess Cruises’ first increase since May 2011,” writes John Chernesky, Princess Cruises Vice President for North Sales.

Princess Cruises is following increases in gratuities by other cruise lines this year. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises increased gratuities on their ships effective July 1, 2015.

Earlier this year, Norwegian Cruise Line raised its daily service charge effective March 1, 2015. (Norwegian notably calls its gratuities a “Daily Service Charge,” and makes it difficult for guests to remove the charges even if they do not feel the service is appropriate.



Can You Have an Authentic Travel Experience on a Cruise Ship?

Can you have an authentic travel experience on a cruise?I recently read an interview on authentic travel experiences on Skift with Jonathan Mildenhall, the chief marketing officer of Airbnb.

Just as home-sharing site Airbnb built itself on the promise of delivering authentic, local experiences in hosts’ homes, many travel brands are trying to promise guests an “authentic” experience during their stay.

Reading the article made me ponder two questions:

  • So what makes a travel experience “authentic“?
  • Can you ever get an “authentic” travel experience on a cruise vacation?

There’s really no broad stroke definition for what an authentic travel experience is. It means different things in different places…” writes Skift reporter Den Peltier.

So the definition of what makes a travel experience “authentic” might be better answered by what makes a travel experience inauthentic, or not real, accurate, or sincere?

  • Does staying at a standardized big-brand hotel make your travel inauthentic?
  • Is visiting Starbucks in far-flung locations authentic?
  • Could anyone have an authentic travel experience on a cruise ship?

In my travels, I do all three of these things, but I still manage to have what I consider “authentic” travel experiences as my husband and I explore the world.

We stay in many Marriott and Hilton-branded hotels, because road warrior hotel points allow us to stay in spectacular places around the world for free. We know that staying at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is not an authentic “live like the locals” Maldivian experience.  Instead, it’s like staying in a mythical paradise with an underwater restaurant, friendly baby whale sharks, and a wine bar six feet below sea level.

There’s a comfort in knowing where ever you travel, there will be hot water, Wi-Fi and crisp, cool cotton sheets.

We seek out Starbucks, not necessarily for caffeine but to add to our mug collection and to get a sense of the local culture. What unique sandwiches is Starbucks selling in Edinburgh? Mumbai? Istanbul?  Checking out the menu at McDonald’s also offers local insights, just the Big Mac index in the Economist magazine. What’s different on the menu?

We like to explore the world via a cruise ship. While some might consider a cruise vacation to be about eating at the lido buffet, rock-climbing walls, and having to take shore excursions via a bus and a guide with a microphone, we tend to see cruise ships as an easier way to explore many of the world’s far-flung destinations.

-Cruising lets us visit a lot of places within a short period of time. For example, on our recent 7-Day Canada & New England cruise, we visited five Canadian locations and two U.S. coastal destinations in seven days. We like the concept of unpacking once and being transported from place to place while we sleep.

-We seek out authentic experiences in port. Examples include renting a car to explore Haines, Alaska or Canada’s Prince Edward Island away from the crowds. Taking a local food tour, such as with Paulina of Spoon Food Tours in San Juan, Puerto Rico or experiencing the best food of Penang, Malaysia with Heritage on a Plate. We’ve conducted searches in port for the Cuban coffee in Key West, and the best lobster roll in Canada and New England. We also find local walking tours – like during this day in Quebec City, or create one of our own such this walk in Bar Harbor, Maine.

– When in far-flung destinations, we try to get to know a local. Sometimes that’s our tour guide – such as in Sochi, Russia; Saranda, Albania; and Yangon, Myanmar.

Yes, I think you can have an authentic travel experience via a cruise ship. 

Would you allow me to help you plan your authentic travel experience via a cruise ship?

Give me a call at 1-800-957-1066.


Get the Best Value on Your Cruise During “National Plan A Cruise Month”

national-plan-a-cruise-month- October is National Plan a Cruise Month, order created by the cruise industry to help new cruise customers Fall in Love with Cruising and also reward those who already love to cruise with unprecedented  the best cruise deals and promotions of the year.

“Today, stomach cruises have so much to offer our clients, online from amazing dining experiences, Broadway-caliber entertainment and waterparks to the ability to visit multiple destinations in a single trip without having to unpack and pack your belongings more than once,” said Janis Jones, president of VentureTime Travel.  “We have found once our clients take a cruise for the first time, they fall in love with cruise vacations. We want to share the love of cruising through incredible offers and deals from our cruise partners throughout the month of October.”


National Plan A Cruise Month Promotions

Cruise lines are offering special promotions and pricing on popular cruises to encourage consumers to plan their next cruise vacation now.  Contact VentureTime Travel today at 1-800-957-1066 to take advantage of these promotions along with many others:

  • Holland America Line Promotion:  Travelers looking to plan a cruise for next year and beyond can book now with the popular “Explore 4” promotion and take advantage of four exceptional offers on select January 2016 through April 2017 sailings, also including 2015 holiday cruise dates.

    • The “Explore 4” benefits for guests booking any category stateroom include:
      • A Free Signature Beverage Package valued at up to US$1,400 per stateroom (US$700 per person). See below for full beverage package description
      • Free Pinnacle Grill dinner for two
      • Reduced cruise fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom
      • 50 percent reduced deposits Suite Travelers Receive Added Perks:
      • Guests who book a cruise in a suite category stateroom will receive: The above four offers, Plus
      • An additional US$300 onboard spending credit per stateroom (US$150 per person)
      • Free Canaletto dinner for two
    • Bookings by October 31, 2015
  • Princess Cruises Promotion: 3 for FREE (cruises 6 days and longer sailing Summer 2016 – Spring 2017)

    • 3 for FREE Benefits include:
    •  Free Stateroom Location Upgrade +
    • Free Gratuities paid on your behalf (up to a $12 value) for first 2 guests in stateroom++
    • Free Specialty Dining for two +++
    • Plus, a Free Bottle of Wine when booking a Mini-Suite or Suite*
    • Special low deposit of only $100 to secure the offer
  • Booking Period: August 25, 2015 to October 29, 2015

Score the best deals by booking your cruise now.

Call 1-800-957-1066 today.