How It Works

Booking a cruise vacation is not at all like booking a hotel room. Below I will reveal to you “How it Works” so you will understand the difference.

Hotel Bookings

With glowing sunset as backdrop, downtown Orlando, Florida is reflected in mirror smooth Lake Eola.

Hotels have a minimum or “net fare” that is made available to all those different web sites that you see on the internet. Each of those web sites then adds their own mark up (commission) to that net fare, resulting in the price that they are willing to sell the hotel room to you for.

For instance; The Red Star Hotel has a “net fare” of $100 per night.  Web Site A adds a $25 mark up, making their price $125 per night. Web Site B adds a $30 mark up, making their price $130 per night, while Web Site C decides to add a $35 mark up, making their price $135 per night.  That is the simple explanation of why you get all sorts of prices when searching Hotel prices.

Booking A Cruise

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Booking a cruise works completely different from a Hotel room.  The Cruise Lines publish “gross fares” meaning that the price they make public is the price the cruise cabin will be sold for, no matter which agency you work with.

To make things more complicated, however, most cruise lines have several various promotions going at the same time, meaning various prices are available.  These might include special rates for past passengers, Early Savers, “guarantee” rates where you get a discounted price but the cruise line gets to pick your cabin, military rates, senior citizens rates, and more.

The point is this; No matter what promotion price you qualify for that price is available to every travel agency in the country, and no agency is allowed to change the price. Cruise lines work from a “level playing field” so that every agency has the same prices. So, no matter what you may have read on the internet, the correct price will be the same no matter which agency you call. (We hope you call The Cruiseman, of course).  Look Out! Some online agencies add a “booking fee” or “service charge” to the booking, so you actually end up paying more than the published fare.  We’ll never do that to you.

WARNING:  Because of the “level playing field” policy of every major cruise line, many online agencies will try to fool you with deceptive advertising and come-on’s to make it appear that they have some kind of a special deal that other agencies do not have.  This is, of course, unethical & nonsense. Please don’t be fooled by the “70% off” ads, etc. And be aware of the word “from”, such as “7 night Caribbean Cruises from $399pp”.  That means that the $399 price is available at least once in the next two years, and most certainly not when you want to cruise.

The one exception to all of this is Group Rates. If you form a group, or join an already formed group you will received a discounted rate, or a special amenity, or both.

I hope this will clear up some of the confusion and help you understand “How it Works”. At The Cruiseman we never try to fool you, and we give you the honest facts with no tricks of any kind. That’s been our policy for 23 years …. And counting.

25 Free Things to Do in New Orleans

Thomas Jefferson paid $15 million for the entire Louisiana Territory, or about four cents an acre. That means New Orleans went for about seven bucks. More than 200 years later, New Orleans is still a great deal.

1. Get jazzed.
Stroll along Bourbon, Frenchmen and Fulton, where jazz pours out onto the street, or duck into a club for the full experience. Many clubs don’t even charge a cover.

2. Dive deeper into our musical heritage.
Explore New Orleans neighborhoods and their connection to jazz with six self-guided Jazz HistoryWalking Tours provided by the National Park Service.

3. Browse art throughout the city.
It seems like you can find art in every corner of New Orleans – and you can. Check out the galleries on Julia and Royal, Jackson Square vendors and the Mid-City and Bywater art markets.

4. Experience our parks.
Walk among the centuries-old oaks of City Park, picnic in picturesque Audubon Park or enjoy views of the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park.

5. Attend a free festival.
There’s almost always a festival going on in New Orleans, and many of them are free – French Quarter Fest, Satchmo SummerFest, Po-Boy Preservation Festival, Wednesdays at the Square and, of course, Mardi Gras.

6. Immerse yourself in New Orleans history.
Stop by the Historic New Orleans Collection at 533 Royal Street for a crash course on the city’s history, which spans almost 300 years.

7. Spend a day at the track.
Experience the thrill of live thoroughbred racing at the New Orleans Fair Grounds from early November to late March. Grand stand admission is free.

8. Bike along the levee.
Bring your bike (or rent one) and go for a ride along the levee while taking in the sights and sounds of the mighty Mississippi River.

9. Eat for free.
Oysters, gumbo, crawfish boils – many of these feasts are free at local music clubs for those who are there buying a few drinks.

10. Shop for mansions on St. Charles Avenue.
Come on! You don’t have to be in the market to appreciate these jewels on the Avenue.

11. View the architecture of the French Quarter.
I spy wrought-iron balconies, a cornstalk fence, a hidden courtyard…

12. Tour the oldest restaurant in the French Quarter.
Ask for a tour of the historic Antoine’s that has hosted dignitaries, presidents and notable historic figures in its 160 years. Make sure to peek into the endless wine cellar.

13. Catch a free summer show at Tipitina’s.
This uptown venue pays homage to the jazz legend Professor Longhair with free shows on Fridays during the summer months.

14. Eat some pralines.
This gooey, nutty treat is a New Orleans snack staple. Candy shops throughout the city offer enough free samples to fill you up – and tempt you to bring some home.

15. See haute art.
The fashionable Warehouse District also doubles as the art district. The first Saturday of every month, walk down Julia Street and peruse local artwork in the diverse galleries.

16. Look for ghosts.
Experience paranormal activity and visit haunted sites such as the Bourbon Orleans, one of the most spirited locations in the French Quarter.

17. Spend Saturday morning at the farmers’ market.
Learn a bit about the famous New Orleans cuisine with free cooking demonstrations at the Crescent City Farmers Market.

18. Watch a Cigar Rolling Demonstration.
The New Orleans Cigar Factory is one of just a handful of U.S.-based cigar rolling outfits. Located right in the French Quarter, the store is a walk-in factory with a half-dozen experts rolling tobacco at any given time.

19. Haunt our “Cities of the Dead.”
Take a guided tour of our famous aboveground tombs at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District or St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on Basin Street, believed to be the final resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Knock three times on her crypt and make a wish. Please note that tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 are only available with a guide.

20. Take a self-guided literary tour.
See where Tennessee Williams (722 Toulouse), William Faulkner (624 Pirate’s Alley), Truman Capote (711 Royal), Thornton Wilder (623 Bourbon), Walker Percy (1820 Milan) and Anne Rice (1239 First) lived.

21. Jam at the Square.
During the spring, the Young Leadership Council sponsors free concerts Wednesdays in Lafayette Square.

22. Stroll the French Market
Nearly three centuries of history and six blocks of uniquearts and crafts, souvenirs, and local food stalls to discover. Whatever it isyou’re looking for, you’ll find it at the French Market!www.frenchmarket.org

23. Be moved by our spectacular churches.
The large Catholic population of New Orleans gave rise to breathtaking churches such as St. Louis Cathedral, St. Augustine and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

24. Discover the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
Located amid the beauty of City Park, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden features one of the most impressive collections of contemporary sculpture in America.

25. Go window shopping on Magazine Street.
While this might start out a free activity, you may find yourself with the uncontrollable urge to throw your money at any one of the unique shops that line Magazine Street so that you can bring a little bit of New Orleans home with you.

 

Source: New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau   http://www.neworleanscvb.com/

10 Reasons We Travel

by Cheryl Rosen  and  Jessica Montevago

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1. To get a new perspective
There’s nothing like travel to help you see that what you think is “the way people do things” is really just the way YOU do things. From our families to our work to our food to our homes, humankind is alive with differences you cannot imagine—until you see them for yourself.

2. To see the world through new eyes
“We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what,” wrote philosopher George Santayana in “The Philosophy of Travel.”

3. To gain appreciation for what you have
There’s no place like home—but that’s so easy to forget. Leaving the comforts behind gives you a renewed appreciation for them when you return.

4. To get some distance from work
Americans have a reputation the world over have for being unable to leave their jobs behind. But taking a step away from the job is good for your physical and mental health. It’s good for your work, too— it gives you the space to see the big picture in a new way, and builds a stronger team by forcing you to delegate and let someone else have your back.

5. To settle grievances through shared experiences
There’s nothing like a glass of wine by the cruise-ship pool to open a discussion that helps you see another person’s side of things. Family grudges and hurt feelings that rumble beneath the surface of the annual Thanksgiving dinner look different when you’re making memories and sharing pleasurable experiences—and seeing each other, literally, in a new light.

6. To get you out of your comfort zone
Whether you’re stuck in a rut or looking to gain a little independence, traveling can teach you things you never knew about yourself. Discover your resourcefulness while mingling with the locals. Realize your capabilities while navigating your way through a foreign city. You’ll never learn more about yourself than when you travel.

7. To admire Mother Nature
Travel gives us the gift of seeing how small we really are in comparison to the beauty of Mother Nature. From crystal blue waters to pink sands to lush greenery, the real world is full of colors and sounds, sights and sites, that no computer screen can duplicate.

8. To learn about other cultures
Every destination has its own unique history and style. A passionate local tour guide will immerse you in a world that’s completely different from the one in which you live.

9. To strengthen relationships
There’s something about the shared experience of travel that can bring people together. Family vacations, a trip with a significant other, or a girls’ weekend will build a lifelong bond.

10. To unplug
We’re constantly checking in on our phones, living life through other’s status updates or posts. Traveling allows you to disconnect from emails and social media. Sit back, relax, and take in the moment without the screen of your phone blocking the view.

This article was provided by Travel Market Report 3/3/2016

Discover The Caribbean’s Best Kept Secrets

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THE ONE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

When you’re in San Juan, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the pinnacle of natural beauty by exploring Puerto Rico’s El Yunque Rain Forest. It features more than 240 species of trees, hundreds of miniature orchids, and what was once believed to be the Fountain of Youth.

OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO

  • See Baño Grande, a natural swimming pool. Then take a walk on Camitillo Trail and look for the artificial nest of the Puerto Rican parrot and the flora and fauna of the Palo Colorado forest.
  • Explore Old San Juan, the second-oldest European settlement in the New World. Ride to San Felipe El Morro, the most dramatic of all the city’s military fortifications. Visit the Casa Blanca Museum & Gardens, the Ballaja Barracks, Quincentennial Square, San Jose Church, San Juan Cathedral, and Cristo Chapel.
  • Bike through the gorgeous scenery of the Piñones Reserve, home to the island’s most spectacular views.SPORTING ADVENTURES

GET A TASTE OF LOCAL FLAVOR

Puerto Rico is a great place to enjoy authentic Spanish-style sangria and taste a wide array of delicious tapas.

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THE ONE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

Visit one of Grenada’s extinct volcanoes in the Grand Etang Forest Reserve and Lake. The lake is actually a natural water-filled crater and the surrounding vegetation is simply amazing, filled with tropical birds and rare flowers.

OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO

  • Visit Bay Gardens, located on the site of an old sugar mill and home to more than 3,000 species of plants.
  • Take a guided tour of one of the local rum distilleries or spice estates.
  • Learn more about Grenada’s culture and history at the Grenada National Museum.

SPORTING ADVENTURES

Snorkeling and scuba diving in Grenada are some of the best in the Caribbean. The west coast of the island has an offshore reef with a 600-foot shipwreck from 1961.

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THE ONE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

Explore Hato Caves and their mystical underground lake. After crossing the lake, you’ll enter two large caverns with ancient Indian pteroglyphs. This surreal underground world is an amazing, memorable experience.

Other Fun Things to Do

  • Take part in an exciting dolphin encounter at Curacao’s Sea Aquarium Park.  Step onto a shallow platform in the water, where you’ll be able to touch and interact with the dolphins while learning about their behaviors.
  • Learn about the local flora and fauna while biking the unspoiled 4,500-acre Christoffel National Park.
  • Visit one of Curacao’s top natural attractions and take a guided walk in Willemstad’s historic center. Discover Dutch heritage and multicultural influences in the colorful capital as you stroll past sights like markets, the colonial-era fort that is the government seat, fanciful mansions, and the pontoon bridge.

SPORTING ADVENTURES

Set out on a safari in a two-person canoe. Explore the small caves, beautiful rugged coastline and spectacular cliffs of Curaçao.
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THE ONE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

See the beautiful coastline of St. Lucia from the deck of a catamaran. You’ll have an unbeatable view of the scenery and get an exhilarating ride, too.

OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO

  • Take a tour of St. Lucia’s green mountains, banana valleys, rain forests, fishing villages and the town of Soufrière. Drive by bus through Castries, Cul de Sac, the Roseau banana plantations, and the fishing villages of Anse-La-Raye and Canaries. Then board a boat for a relaxing ride back down the scenic coastline to Anse Cochon for swimming in beautiful crystal-clear waters.
  • Hike Soufrière, home of St. Lucia’s most famous landmark, the towering Pitons, a set of primeval twin peaks topping 2,000 feet. Then take a relaxing dip in one of the warm sulfuric pools full of special nutrients.

SPORTING ADVENTURES

Troll for blue marlin and other big game fish on a challenging deep-sea fishing adventure.

SHOPPING FOR BARGAINS

The best duty-free shopping in this port is near the harbor in Castries at the Spanish-style complex of Pointe Seraphine. Fine china, crystal, perfume and leather goods are found there.  Designer jewelry and watch brands are available at great savings, including Caribbean Hook, Honora, John Atencio, John Hardy, Kabana, Roberto Coin, Starnight, Alfex, Cartier, Concord, Gucci, Maurice LaCroix, Michele, Movado, Wenger and more. The outdoor market on Jeremie Street offers a wide array of straw goods. The best known products are the hand-silk-screened and hand-printed fabrics and fashions created by local craftsmen.

dominica

THE ONE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

Go snorkeling at Champagne Beach. These actual effervescent waters produce a “fizzing effect” due to the sub-aquatic surroundings. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim alongside parrot fish in bubbly waters.

OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO

  • Soak the day away with a beauty bath in the rejuvenating Sulphur Springs.
  • See if you can spot the 150 species of plants and rare Dominica parrots at the Botanical Gardens.
  • Get a good dose of vitamin D on the island’s beautiful black-sand beaches.
  • Come river tube down a beautiful river in combination with the exotic Jaco falls.

SPORTING ADVENTURES

Serious hikers won’t be disappointed! Take a guided trek to Boiling Lake and the Valley of Desolation at Dominica’s Morne Trios Pitons National Park, a World Heritage site.

SHOPPING FOR BARGAINS

You can shop for hand-crafted souvenirs at the Old Market Plaza and nearby boutiques.

For information about cruising to these beautiful destinations visit The Cruiseman Web Site

Content & Images provided by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

10 things you’ll love about Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas

Published on November 20, 2015

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Royal Caribbean’s thoroughly modern, 4,200-passenger Anthem of the Seas is now officially cruising from its new homeport of Bayonne, N.J., after a summer cruising from the UK. The state-of-the-art, $1 billion “smart ship” is a knockout from stern to bow.

The line made some very minor tweaks in moving the six-month-old ship from a British-focused audience to the New York market – no more teakettles in the staterooms, for instance. But the ship’s robot bartenders and such experiences as simulated skydiving deserve wows on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here are our favorite things to do on Anthem of the Seas.

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Try indoor skydiving: If you’ve always wanted to fly but have been afraid to jump out of a plane, RipCord by IFLY is your chance to experience the wind-in-your-face exhilaration on a cruise ship. You put on a flak suit and get in a clear, vertical wind tunnel where your cheeks wobble as you follow your instructor’s directions and float in the air. For those who demure, there’s nearby stadium seating where you can watch the skydivers — as well as other brave passengers attempting to stand on surfboards at the FlowRider wave pool.

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Go high on the North Star ride: They couldn’t quite fit a Ferris wheel, but Royal Caribbean simulates the at-the-top experience with this big, glass capsule, which holds 12 and gets lifted by a giant mechanical arm high above the pool deck and sea. Get your camera ready for photos that will amaze your friends.

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Smash on bumper cars/go roller-skating: The SeaPlex is one of the most amazing spaces we’ve encountered at sea, an indoor sports center with a rink where at alternative times you can smash into fellow passengers on bumper cars, play basketball or volleyball and go roller-skating to tunes played by a DJ in a floating booth. There’s also opportunity to climb a very tall ladder for a real flying trapeze experience (with substantial padding on the ground assuring a bouncy landing). Bonus: There’s a stand where you can get a complimentary hot dog with the works.

Order drinks from robot bartenders: Have B1-O or N1-C fix you a drink. They staff the Bionic Bar, and while they aren’t the best bartenders in the world (no creative mixology here) they do happen to be robots. You order your drink on a tablet, and your vodka tonic or fruity rum drink gets delivered in a plastic cup via a conveyor belt. These headless, mechanical arms aren’t particularly good at listening to your woes, but they do occasionally dance, eliciting squeals of delight from onlookers.

Headbang at the Music Hall: Pretend you’re seeing the real thing as you scream along with first-rate tribute bands — Bon Jovi, Journey, Led Zeppelin – and classic rock cover bands, such as the excellent Vegas act Phoenix, in this two-deck live music venue. The scene is loud and energetic and even a tad sexy, thanks to the sultry red decor. The huge dance floor assures a lively party scene.

Rock out at We Will Rock You: The songs of the legendary rock group Queen, and a storyline that has to do with a future age where rock music is banned, form the basis for this award-winning West End show. Warning: After seeing the full-length production you’ll spend the rest of your cruise with tunes such as Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Bohemian Rhapsody stuck in your head.

Do bites and beer at Michael’s Genuine: Some of the best eats we had on the ship were the for-a-fee nibbles at this gastrobpub, created by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz. Try the polenta fries and the chicken liver crostini ($4 each). The accompanying craft beer menu includes British beers from such brewers as Brewdog and Brooklyn Lager and Michael’s Genuine Home Brewon draught.

See Spectra’s CabaretThis avant-garde show will dazzle those who like a great spectacle. Aerialists, singers and dancers interact with digital screens – both wraparound and controlled by robotic arms. It’s a visual stunner.

Surf the net: Royal Caribbean has made much of its VOOM Internet – with speeds that match broadband on shore. On our preview cruise (with fewer passengers onboard than usual) it worked great – you could send and stream video without watching your laptop spin.

Get interactive with the artwork: The ship’s 3,000-piece contemporary art collection is anything but staid. There are works with light and videos and that move, and there are pieces you can touch – such as Rafael Lozano Hemmer’s smart pad-operated Pulse Spiral, which reflects your heartbeat in twinkling lights.

For more information contact The Cruiseman (800) 889-7683
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