Top 10 Reasons to Cruise

 By Jim Antista  “The Cruiseman”

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  1. Choose to cruise for VALUE. One price buys your cabin, dining, entertainment and more.
  2. Choose to cruise for ROMANCE. Secluded beaches, en suite dining on a balcony overlooking the ocean and spa services for two are just some of the romantic pursuits available.
  3. Choose to cruise for CUISINE. Tantalize your taste buds with gourmet fare that showcases exotic ingredients, old standbys like pizza and ice cream or spa cuisine for a healthy alternative. Depending on your mood, dine in a traditional ballroom setting, a small bistro or a casual eatery.
  4. Choose to cruise for VARIETY. With over 150 distinctive ships, 1800 ports-of-call and an unbelievable array of places to see and things to do, there is a perfect cruise for you. For even more choice, consider a pre- or post-land tour.
  5. Choose to cruise for ACTIVITIES. Fill your days with sightseeing, sports activities, cultural lectures, educational tours led by naturalists and historians or simply lounge by the pool and relax. At night, enjoy dance extravaganzas, musical revues, gaming or a quiet evening gazing at the stars.
  6. Choose to cruise for SIMPLICITY. Don’t come back from your vacation needing a vacation. Planning a cruise is simple; The Cruiseman can handle all of the details. Once you’re on board, nearly all expenses are pre-paid… talk about hassle-free.
  7. Choose to cruise for NEW HORIZONS. Fall asleep in one destination and awake to a new horizon… and you only have to pack and unpack once!
  8. Choose to cruise for FAMILY. Families love cruising. Children’s programs, kid-friendly menus and tours of the ship will keep your children happy, while affording you some time alone.
  9. Choose to cruise for PAMPERING. Regardless of your budget, all cruise lines pamper their guests with first-class service around the clock.
  10. Choose to cruise for SATISFACTION. It’s a fact that cruises have a higher percentage of satisfied customers than any other vacation experience

5 Myths About Cruise Travel Agents

By Jim Antista  “The Cruiseman”

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Myth #1. All Travel Agents Are Alike

Fact: All Travel Agents are not alike! Some Travel Agents specialize in Airline tickets. Some specialize in European Vacations. Some specialize in booking hotels. Some specialize in Bus Trips. Some Travel Agents specialize in Cruise Vacations. The Cruiseman has been in the “Cruise Only” business for 20 years. If you contact a Travel Agent that is not experienced booking cruises, all kinds of mistakes can happen!

Myth #2. I can book directly with the cruise line

Fact: Anne Campbell (Recognized Cruise Expert) Says: “ Any experienced cruiser will tell you that planning a seagoing vacation is far different from booking a simple hotel room or an airline seat. If you’ve cruised more than once, you know that the person most critical to making sure you have a problem-free vacation is your travel agent. They won’t cost you anything for cruise planning – they make their income on a commission paid by the cruise line.”

If you book directly with the cruise line, try calling back and asking for the same agent! 
They are order takers and they are not paid to spend time with you answering your questions. If something goes wrong, you’re pretty much on your own.

Myth #3. I can get a better price by booking on-line.

Fact:  That is not true.   All the major cruise lines now have “level playing field” policies. That means that all agencies have access to the same rates.   They did this because a cruise vacation is much more than a commodity and they don’t want the subject at dinner to be “how much did you pay”?

The cruise lines set the rates.  However I have seen as many as 12 different fare codes for a single cruise! I have to wade through all the fare codes and find the one that gives my client not only the best deal, but terms and restrictions they can live with.

The “level playing field” is good for you because you don’t have to waste time calling 10 different places price shopping.   It’s bad for the big flashy on-line agencies, because they have to try to convince you their rates are better, when they are not.

Beware!  Most have “service charges” or “booking fees” hidden in the fine print. Wait till something goes wrong, or you need to make a correction!  One well known on-line agency will charge you a service charge for any changes you make.

Myth #4. I can save money by skipping the Travel Agent

Fact: Not if you have the right Travel Agent!

  • I don’t charge for my professional services.
  • I work for you for free.  (The Cruise Line pays me a commission after your cruise)
  • I do all the work for you, at no charge to you.
  • So, not only do you not save any money by skipping the Travel Agent, you end up doing more work yourself … for nothing!

Myth #5. I saw an ad that says they can save me 50 – 75%  on a cruise!

Fact: These ads are all over the internet. They are pulling your leg. This is the ultimate gimmick to try to trick you!

Here’s how it works:  For every cruise there is a “brochure rate” (like a hotel rack rate) and the “real world” rate, which is driven by demand, and can change daily.

What they do is compare today’s rate to the “brochure rate”, and then tell you how much they are saving you.

For instance, if the brochure price for a cruise is $999, but the current “real world” price is $499 they will claim that they are saving you 50%.  Get it?  They are trying to take credit for the current market driven price.

It’s not uncommon for the current rate to be way below the brochure rate. It happens all the time.   By the way …. Nobody pays the brochure rate!

I don’t try to trick you or fool you.

There is so much more to planning your next vacation than the price.

I’ll help you find the:

  • right cruise line for you
  • right ship
  • the right itinerary
  • the right type of cabins
  • the right dining for you
  • at the right price
  • without the games, tricks or gimmicks

That’s how I’ve operated for 20 years.

 

 

Top 10 Myths About Cruising

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By Jim Antista  “The Cruiseman

Although 15 million people will cruise next year, many travelers are confused because they heard one of these myths. Cruising is a wonderful vacation option. Don’t let myths, rumors or miss-information keep you from having your very best vacation ever!

10.  I will get seasick.

Only sissies get seasick!  Today’s cruise ships are very stable and seasickness is a rarity. For those prone to seasickness, there are many remedies available, including “sea bands”, tablets, and a little patch that you wear behind your ear. However if people see your patch they may think you belong to a cult!

9.  I will catch a Noroviruses.

Noroviruses can be found almost anyplace with lots of people in close proximity, not just cruise ships. The CDC requires cruise ships to report outbreaks. It does not require schools, universities, hotels or businesses to report. So, you can see how unfair that is! Your best protection is to wash your hands frequently between trips to the buffet!

8.  I’ll have to spend a lot of money onboard the ship.

In an effort to keep the basic price low, most mainstream cruise lines charge for things that could be considered “extra”.   However your cruise fare includes your cabin, 8 meals a day, and the traditional cruise ship amenities such as a swimming pool and excellent entertainment. You can cruise and only pay for tips and drinks if you choose. It all depends on how tight you are!

7.  I have to dine at assigned times and with people I might not like.

We once were assigned to a table with a couple from Croatia that didn’t speak any English!  That was fun! We asked the head waiter to move us, and he did. Problem solved!   So, you can move to another table, or you can sign up for open seating, or you can graze at the buffet until your belly pops!

6.  Cruise ships are crowded.

I have never been on a cruise ship where I could not find a quiet corner to read a book or be alone with my wife. Although a cruise ship with over 3000 passengers can seem crowded at times, it is no more so than most hotels, restaurants, or resorts.  The most crowded places are around the pool on a sunny day, and the buffet at feeding time!

5. I don’t like beaches so I won’t like cruising.

Since most cruises go to the Caribbean, many people associate cruising with this beautiful part of the world. However, a cruise is more than sitting in the sun by the pool, sandy beaches, or sparkling blue waters.  If you don’t want to go to a beach, take a “city tour”, a sightseeing trip, or go shopping.  And don’t forget … cruise ships visit every continent, and anyone who loves to travel should be able to find a cruise destination that appeals to them.

4.  Cruise ships are packed with old people.

People of all ages love to cruise!  Multigenerational family groups are huge now. Every cruise ship has a special program for the children.  Cruising is for people of all ages.

3.  Cruise ships are packed with party people.

Maybe in the bars late at night!  The one thing all cruisers have in common is a love of travel and having fun, which doesn’t necessarily equal wild partying. Cruising is actually very family friendly.

2.  Cruise ships are dangerous.

Cruise ships are very safe.  In over 20 years of cruising I have never felt that I was not safe. And, remember in times of bad weather, a cruise ship can change itineraries, and move to safer waters. Land based resorts can’t move!

1.Cruise ships are boring.

Only if you’re boring!  Seriously, you can be as active (or inactive) as you like. Cruise ship activities range from working out in a high-tech gym, rock wall climbing, zip-lines, going down the water slide, swimming in the pool, to sitting on the deck and reading a book. You can learn computer skills, a foreign language, how to play bridge, or how to dance. Cruise ships spend all day in port, so you can explore all the fascinating parts of the world.