Blog

Explore the Galapagos like a Celebrity
8 AUGUST 2019  |  Melissa O’Keefe
FEver been on a ship designed and built for a specific destination? Allow me to introduce you to the NEW Celebrity Flora. Readers, meet Flora, Flora meet all of our readers. Now that you’re better acquainted… Celebrity Flora was designed specifically for the Galapagos Islands. Every stateroom is a SUITE aboard this luxury mega yacht, featuring Celebrity’s innovative outward-facing concept, so the destination is the center of attention at every turn. Culinary menus have been designed by a Michelin-starred chef. And did I mention you have a Personal Suite Attendant who can help you unpack? Sit back and enjoy extraordinary creature comforts on this All-Inclusive vacation.

But wait, there’s more! Your round-trip airfare is included on select sailings aboard Celebrity Flora when you book with Ambassador Tours by October 31st. Plus, enjoy half off your second guest’s cruise fare when you book a 10, 11, or 16-night Galapagos vacation.

Explore the islands like a celebrity - enjoying wild destinations and exceptional onboard comfort. Your adventure awaits!
The Caribbean, Roundtrip Air, and YOU
5 AUGUST 2019  |  Melissa O’Keefe
Feeling tropical? Caribbean voyages with Oceania Cruises offer a chance to discover lesser-known destinations and some off-the-beaten-path gorgeousness. These tropical getaways are just the thing to combat the back-to-school blues. Is your goal to see with your own eyes every single shade of blue water? No problem. Looking for some serious adrenaline-pumping adventures in the rainforest? Check. Are you a foodie looking for your next great bite of culinary drool-worthiness? We have some open air markets that’ll satisfy those taste buds. Want to just decompress and find your bliss on the most stunning beaches known to man? Yep, we’ve got that covered too.

I haven’t even gotten to the FREE airfare part yet… So let’s do that.

Book your Oceania cruise with Ambassador Tours, and you can enjoy:
- Roundtrip Airfare Included
- FREE Internet

plus

Your choice of FREE shore excursions, FREE beverage package, or up to $800 FREE shipboard credit. And MORE!

I know, you’re wondering if it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. We don’t think so.

The Monkey On My Back
26 juLY 2019  |  Gary Pollard
Usually the goal is to get the money OFF your back, as the saying goes. A few weeks back, my wife, Chris, and I had the opportunity to sail aboard Crystal Serenity from Barcelona to London. In my 38 years of being in the travel business, I have had the good fortunate to visit over 90 countries. Aside from the well-known cities of Barcelona, Lisbon, Porto etc…, we stopped at Gibraltar – yes, as in The Rock of Gibraltar! Are you aware that there are monkeys who inhabit said rock? After a tour of the town, we took a cable car ride to the top of the Rock. Once we arrived at the top, what did we see? Looking south was the continent of Africa – to the east was Costa del Sol and at our feet? MONKEYS! So cute and yet, scary, as they come from seemingly nowhere. As we headed back to our ship, a monkey chose to jump on my back and for a split second I was scared (only a split second!) and then it jumped off and on to someone else. I guess I DID get the money off my back…

Adventures in Group Travel
25 juLY 2019  |  Gary Pollard
Great. Another blog from Gary about another cruise to somewhere I may not have been. But wait! There is more to the story than you might believe. Once upon a time… It was a clear day outside. The sun was shining and not a cloud in sight. We got to the airport early, easy walk thru TSA and at our gate with plenty of time to sit and wait. We were on board, seated, and the plane was backing out – then bump! What, did we hit a parked car? A bird? A plane?!? Nope. The “tug” pushing the plane back hit hard and caused some damage to the front landing gear. Almost 7 hours later… we were in the air and on our way to Vancouver to board the ship. (Footnote: The ship left when we landed. Oops.) Have no fear. Gary is here!! Our group was set-up with a hotel in Vancouver and flights the next day to Ketchikan with a lodge booked and ready for us. We had two days to explore on our own until the ship caught up with US in Ketchikan. Oh yeah – cruise to Alaska was great and no matter how many times I have been up north it’s always a treat to see such vast land and beautiful scenery. And we all lived happily ever after.

The Big Easy to the Caribbean
24 juLY 2019  |  Melissa O’Keefe
One of my all-time favorite destinations in the U.S. is The Big Easy: New Orleans. I’m a big foodie and a HUGE jazz fan, so this not-so-far away destination is my happy place. And when Norwegian Cruise Line combines NOLA with the gorgeous clear blue waters of the Caribbean…I’m all aflutter! Right now, when you book with Ambassador Tours, you can sail roundtrip from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean from just $349 per person! Yes, that math is right. AND you can get up to 5 FREE OFFERS, which include amenities like Free Unlimited open Bar, Free Shore Excursion credits, Free Specialty Dining, Free Wifi, and more! Book your 5 or 7-day Norwegian Cruise Line voyage with Ambassador Tours for one of the best values in cruising! Laissez les boys temps rouler!

OLife Choice
23 juLY 2019  |  Melissa O’Keefe
If you haven’t yet heard of Oceania’s “OLife Choice” program, I’m about to make your day. OLife is all about offering you the flexibility to personalize your vacation in the best possible way. Want Roundtrip Airfare included? Done. Free Internet? All yours. Free shore excursions, beverage package, or shipboard credit up to $800? The choice is YOURS.

Whether you want to cruise to Alaska, the tropics, the French Riviera, Northern Europe…or about a hundred other parts of the globe, when you book your Oceania cruise with Ambassador Tours, you can enjoy:

- 2-FOR-1 Cruise Fares
- Roundtrip Airfare Included
- FREE Internet
plus

Your choice of FREE shore excursions, FREE beverage package, or up to $800 FREE shipboard credit. And MORE!

Yes, you want to call us TODAY!

Picture Yourself HERE
22 juLY 2019  |  Melissa O’Keefe
Book Your Galapagos Getaway with Ambassador Tours by July 31st and Enjoy Exclusive Bonus Offers! Your Dream Vacation Delivered. Discover your inner explorer with these unique itineraries to the extraordinary Galapagos Islands. 15 islands - each of them with something different and exciting to offer. White sand beaches, clear blue waters, Red-billed Tropic birds, black lava rocks - this colorful destination has something for everyone and is not to be missed!

PLUS, with select 7, 10, 11, and 16-night Galapagos packages aboard Celebrity Flora, receive:

· FREE ROUNDTRIP AIRFARE
· 1/2 OFF Second Guest
· Up to $1,000 Shipboard Credit
· FREE WiFi
· and MORE!!!

This is an incredible offer to a destination that should absolutely be on your bucket list. And did we mention your roundtrip airfare is included?!?! Don’t over think it. This offer ends soon, and we want to give you something truly extraordinary to look forward to, at an exceptional deal.

Call your favorite Travel Advisor at Ambassador Tours TODAY and get this amazing vacation deal for yourself. You deserve it!

Going for GOLD
17 juLY 2019  |  GARY Pollard
Proud moment: I first earned the professional designation of Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) from The Travel Institute in 1989. (Which is crazy, of course, because I’m clearly not old enough to go that far back.) This month I am celebrating my 38th year as a travel counselor and have been awarded a shiny new GOLD certificate to commemorate this milestone. I am so honored and proud.

I feel incredibly lucky to have a job that I truly love. I love all things travel. I love helping people find the perfect vacation spot to fit their unique needs and wants. I love getting to travel all across the globe – meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, curating the kind of experience I can’t wait to share and pass along to my clients and friends. I’m in the business of creating lasting memories, and I can’t think of a better job.

The experience I’ve gained over the years is one of my proudest virtues I bring to this job. But I’m also always a student – constantly learning something new, always striving to stay one step ahead, so that I can better serve my clients and my amazing travel community, which is what I have done since 1981. 38 years and counting… Let’s get traveling!

Ambassador Tours
6 june 2019  |  GARY Pollard
We have seen all kinds of changes in the travel industry over the years – from where people want to go and how they want to vacation, to advances in technology, the role of the travel agent (more modernly dubbed “travel advisor”), and so much more. It’s been an exciting ride, and we’ve been there every step of the way, looking toward the future of travel without losing sight of the service, insight, and knowledge that comes from being in business this long. Our role is an important one, and we embrace the technological changes that have developed.

That being said, we also know that there will always be a need for the knowledgeable travel advisor in your life. Yes, friends, we’re here to stay! Technology and the Internet are fantastic tools (and they make OUR lives easier too!), but they can’t do everything.

In order to remain competitive in today’s age of do-it-yourself-via-the-Internet mindset and technology, travel advisors are more and more becoming not only a resource to simply help you find a flight or book a cruise, but something much more. We can leverage our relationships with hotels and cruise lines to arrange for amenities that you wouldn’t be able to get if you book on your own. We can save you valuable time by taking the planning of your next trip off your already-overflowing plate. We can save you money (seriously!). We are here to support you, give you expert advice, troubleshoot any travel snafu’s that may arise, and ensure that you have the best vacation experience possible. Some call us superheroes (blush); we just like to think of ourselves as a trusted friend and expert in the field of travel, ready to help you make lots of little travel moments – which result in a great adventure.

With this added level of service, your travel advisor opens up a world of adventure for every taste and comfort level. Destination savvy with unrivaled access and special connections, often your travel advisor can make the difference between a pleasant trip and a smoothly orchestrated, extraordinary journey. Leaving all the details to your travel advisor means less hassle and more time for you to just sit back, relax and ENJOY! We provide unique opportunities for a more intimate view, so that you can vacation as a traveler, not a tourist.

We at Ambassador Tours value the personal relationships we have with our clients and work hard to ensure you get the best prices, best service, and the best possible vacation for every travel interest. Our travel advisors are known for offering unique and affordable vacation packages and itineraries, as well as their exemplary customer service. Whether it’s remembering that you prefer a window seat, king-size bed, or that you have a birthday coming up, we make it our mission to take care of all your travel needs and ensure that your vacation experience is personalized and special to you, our valued travel enthusiast.

Disabled Travelers Discounts
10 august 2015  |  GARY Pollard
Princess Cruises, Holland America and Carnival Cruise Line agree to increase features for disabled travelers in 3% of their accommodations.

The US called it a 'landmark' agreement.

This is the first time the Justice Department has required a cruise company to provide a minimum number of accessible cabins, to conduct a survey of its ships and to develop a remediation plan to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Besides adding accessibility features in more accommodations, cruise lines are to ensure individuals with disabilities are able to reserve accessible cabins and suites with specific available options and amenities, and to guarantee reservations for accessible cabins.

Celebrity Steps Up Yet Again!
7 july 2015  |  GARY Pollard
Ever since I took my two YOUNG sons on their first cruise, it was aboard a Celebrity ship called Zenith. That was almost 20 years ago and boy o’ boy have the times changed! Back then I was convinced that this new cruise line, known on the east coast as Chandris, could make their new name, CELEBRITY, a household name nationwide. Service, food and style of ship was fast becoming a premium option travelers desired. Celebrity excelled from the get-go! Shortly after they then started constructing a new brand of ships that kept raising the bar even higher until 2009 - when they introduced Solstice class ships. Solstice class has everything, and MORE while fitting the needs of every client – young or old.

Now, Celebrity is stepping up once again! Starting July 6, Celebrity Cruises is set to roll out a permanent change to its pricing structure. The pricing structure, to be called Go!Big, Go!Better, Go!Best. Guests can choose among four perquisites: a Classic beverage package, free gratuities, unlimited internet or a $150-per-person spending credit. All oceanview, balcony and suite accommodations will be priced at minimum with the choice of one perquisite built in. In effect, cruise-only pricing at Celebrity will be eliminated, except for inside cabins. The structure will be applied to nearly all inventory from Oct. 1, 2015, through April 2017, the most distant announced deployments.

CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, said “the team was aligned” on a pricing strategy. “We wanted to raise the bar.” Well, without surprise, Celebrity has yet again raised the bar. Kudos to a job well done!

Virgin Cruises
29 JUNE 2015  |  Marcus Pollard
Big news has been revealed out of the cruising community earlier this month. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson announced the innovative company will launch Virgin Cruise line in the near future.

Virgin Cruise line plans to launch three ships, each capable of carrying more than 4,000 passengers and staff by 2020. The new cruise line plans to tap into a market in which they feel is under-utilized.

“We know how to create something which will, hopefully, bring millions of people who don’t currently go on cruise ships, who would never dream of going on cruise ships, to give it a try,” Branson said in an interview after the announcement.

By offering 7-day cruises to the Caribbean, Virgin Cruises wants the millennial generation at the forefront of their new product. Virgin’s powerful brand identity is well known amongst the millennial generation and they plan to keep the congruity with the cruise line.

This is an exciting time for cruise fans, so get ready to enjoy cruising an entirely new way!



Selecting a Shore Excursion
15 JUNE 2015  |  Marcus Pollard
Cruising provides great relaxation along with superb service while sailing the open waters. However, one of the most important aspects of your cruise vacation is visiting the remarkable sights along your journey. It is important to wonder off the ship and explore the wonderful attractions each destination provides. You may be asking yourself an important question. How do I choose which shore excursion (if any) to partake in? This may seem like a simple answer, but depending on certain variables, each traveler has different needs. To begin, every cruise line offers shore excursions at every port of call. Here are the pros and cons of selecting a shore excursion via the cruise line:

Pros:
• Lower rates
• Tons of options to choose from
• Guaranteed on-time return to ship
• Feel safe from buying directly from cruise line

Cons:
• Large tour groups
• Don’t get to see everything you want
• Sell out quickly

The other option you have is to let your travel agent guide you through the process of selecting private tours or excursions. These private tours may cost a tad bit more money, but in the grand scheme of things – you’ll have a great experience. With a private tour you also have a lot more freedom to roam around and explore the magnificent city you are visiting. If large crowds aren’t your cup-of-tea, then especially consider making it worth your while and select a private tour.

“My family and I booked a private tour with the help of Ambassador Tours on our cruise to the Mediterranean. Not only was the cruise phenomenal, but the private tour gave us an experience we will never forget. It was personalized just the way we wanted, and I couldn’t imagine touring around any other way!” – Carl Lewis, Ambassador Tours client since 1992. In the end, the most important aspect is satisfying whatever needs and wants you have. And remember, Ambassador Tours is always here to help make that decision easier for you!



Sound of Music!
31 March 2015  |  Gary M Pollard
Princess Cruises & Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will bring to screen the biggest movie musical of all time, 'The Sound of Music.' Princess will also feature sing-a-longs, trivia games and other movie-themed experiences throughout the year.

Help celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both Princess and the musical, which are part of a year-long campaign to honor the classic film.

A phenomenon upon its debut in 1965, 'The Sound of Music' won five Academy Awards, including 'Best Picture' and continues to draw audiences around the world with songs like 'Do-Re-Mi,' 'My Favorite Things,' 'Climb Every Mountain' and 'The Sound of Music.' The movie stars Oscar winners Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

'The Sound of Music' will be shown once on every sailing throughout 2015 on Princess ships' giant Movies Under the Stars top deck screens, with the sing-a-long version featured in the Princess Theater.



Cooking on the Seven Seas!
7 March 2015  |  Gary M Pollard
Regent Seven Seas’ NEW ship - Seven Seas Explorer will debut the first culinary instruction center, the Culinary Arts Kitchen, and a new social venue, the Meridian Lounge.

The Culinary Arts Kitchen will have a setting for you to expand your culinary skills in an environment reminiscent of prestigious cooking schools in France. A select number of guests will have use of eighteen individual cooking stations sit atop three long curved rows with white quartzite countertops and stainless steel accents.

For those attending class, they will receive highly-individualized instruction, and will cook at their own personal workstation. The workstations are equipped with top-of-the-line induction cooktops, stainless steel sinks other cooking essentials.

Instruction topics include healthy cooking, fish and shellfish preparation, food and wine pairings, mini-desserts, high-heat grilling and classes inspired by the destinations visited by the Seven Seas Explorer.



LEARN – TRAVEL & SHARE!
21 january 2015  |  Gary M Pollard
Today Regent Seven Seas Cruises® and the Smithsonian Institution announce an extraordinary onboard experience to complement your time ashore.

The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys is an engaging enrichment program led by a wide range of specialists, from noted art historians to leading authors to former diplomats, who are eager to share their first-hand knowledge and expertise. More than a lecture series, this program is completely interactive, encouraging you to participate in insightful discussions with informative Q & A sessions, exchange ideas on a personal level in a social setting, and fully immerse yourself in the destination through select excursions.

learn... Delve deeper into magnificent cities, quaint coastal towns and island paradises, as you learn from one of the many specialists from The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys.

travel... Travel is the best way to expand your intellectual capacity, whether you are sampling a traditional dish for the first time in Hanoi or revisiting Rome’s Colosseum under the guidance of a regional expert.

share... Aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, you have the opportunity to share these moments with like-minded travelers as you delight in an ambiance of camaraderie unlike anywhere else.



Announcing 2017 Crystal Cruises itineraries are now open!
10 january 2015  |  Gary M Pollard
New fares announced on cruises through 2017. There is never a better time to start planning a vacation on the World's Best cruise line – CRYSTAL CRUISES! Fares from just $2,255 per person! Ask about an Air Allowance and enjoy additional savings up to $800 per person on select sailings. You can experience the decadent and inviting rhythms of the Caribbean to the Discoveries and mysteries of the Far East Now is the perfect time to discover the world in all-inclusive luxury aboard Crystal Cruises!

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts are worldwide…

FREE WI FI? IS IT TRUE?
24 december 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Yes! Hyatt Hotels will begin offering free WiFi at its hotels to clients, starting next February. The best part for me and hopefully you - no limit on how many devices can connect to the Internet from your hotel room or public spaces.

“Giving free Wi-Fi without a catch will enable us to continue innovating the guest experience to help people be more productive and stay better connected to colleagues, friends and family,” said Kristine Rose, Hyatt’s vice president of brands.

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts are worldwide…

How many UNESCO Sites have you seen?
23 september 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Seabourn has developed partnership with UNESCO. Luxury cruise line – Seabourn, is hosting prominent world heritage experts for its 'Seabourn Conversations' enrichment and special guest entertainment program. Topics will include the importance of sustainable tourism in preserving World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

UNESCO speakers are scheduled to take part in Seabourn Conversations on voyages through fall and the year ahead.

Visit www.whc.unesco.org/en/lst and start counting today! Just for kicks – my travels have taken me to over 50 UNESCO sites…

Simple is better! “I think?”
23 september 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Starting December 21, Crystal Cruises’ will debut a simpler evening dress code. The newly announced (suggested) attire simplifies the current options to just two preferences: 'Crystal casual' and 'black-tie optional.'

'Crystal casual' is defined as a dressed-up version of casual attire and includes dresses, skirts, dressy slacks and blouses or sweaters for women, and dress shirts and sport coats (no tie required), open-collar or collared polo shirt and dress pants/smart trousers for men. On more formal evenings, 'black-tie optional' calls for dark suits with ties or tuxedos for men and formal cocktail or evening dresses, or formal evening separates for women.

With the new evening dress code, cruisers can expect one black-tie optional during seven- to 10-day cruises, and two on 11- to 13-day cruises.

The new guidelines do not apply to daytime hours.

I guess the “Age of Aquarius.... I mean Cruising is here!”
22 april 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Royal Caribbean’s newest ship – “Quantum of the Seas” will have unprecedented bandwidth to enable photo sharing and ship-to-shore video streaming, nifty systems to speed check-in and radio-frequency identification (RFID) to replace room keys and enable travelers to track their luggage.

Starting with check-in, Royal Caribbean will enable passengers to upload their own identification photo and receive digital boarding credentials, so by the time they arrive at the pier, they can go from sidewalk to ship in 10 minutes with no check-in counter, no forms to fill out and no lines.

How many times have you handed your luggage over to someone at the pier and wondered when will it make it to my stateroom – now you can in real time track you r luggage on your smartphones. RCCL is using RFID technology when you drop-off your bags – you can then monitor progress en route to the stateroom. At departure, the process is reversed!

With new RFID 'WOWband' wristbands, you only need to simply tap to quickly navigate the ship, make on-board purchases, serve as the room key—by the way – it will never demagnetizes.

Another FIRST by RCC - The new Bionic Bar you can place a drink order using a tablet then watch robot bartenders mixing your cocktails.

I will personally see the ship and sail for two nights this coming November so I can test this all out. What will Royal Caribbean think of next!

Top Sunsets From Around the Globe
21 may 2014  |  Gary M Pollard

 
Credit: adventureinhawaii.com

Sunset from a cruise ship.

While cruising the open waters, there might not be a more beautiful sight than that of the sun setting in the west. If you have never experienced this phenomenon before, I suggest you do so ASAP. The way the sun sparkles against the clear blue sky and how it reflects off the emerald water is absolutely breathtaking. You can experience the beauty of our sun with loved ones from just about anywhere onboard; the balcony of your suite, the promenade level, and even on the pool deck with all the other sun gazers. Taking in the sunset from onboard is the ultimate way to unwind from an exciting day at sea and a perfect welcome into nightlife!

 



Credit: njcharters.com

Temple of Poseidon  -- Sounion, Greece.

Sitting atop of a hill just outside of Athens and overlooking the Aegean Sea, the Temple of Poseidon is by far one of the most fascinating sunset destinations you will ever see! This past year, my wife and I witnessed this sunset first hand. I was in awe of what actually was in front of my eyes. Never had I seen a sunset that pulled me in and brought me back to the days of ancient Greece. I could only imagine how much more gorgeous this place once was. The Temple of Poseidon sunset is perfect for a romantic get-away, a family trip, or just to get out and see what else this beautiful world has to offer.  

 

 


Credit: visitfinland.com

Midnight Sun -- Arctic Circle

That’s correct, it’s not a typo. The Midnight Sun is just north of the Arctic Circle where the sun remains visible for almost 24 hours a day during a few summer months! What can be better than that? Nothing! Seeing the light beam down on you during the late hours of the night is remarkable. Not many people can say they have seen the sun at midnight! You can observe this amazing feat in numerous countries including, Norway, Canada, United States (Alaska), Russia, Iceland, and Greenland. Luckily for you, our business can help you chose the perfect place that can accommodate to any need you may have!

 

 


Credit: Jharisonphoto.com

Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco

The Bay Area holds a special place in my heart. Not only has it been my home my entire life, the Bay Area is home to many iconic landmarks, most famously the Golden Gate Bridge. The name itself derived from the way the sun would shine on the bridge and generate a “Golden” look. You can stare off into the pacific, gaze into the distant rolling hills, or take a stroll down the path taking in everything this wonderful view has to offer.

 

 

 


Credit: calixbe.com

Maasai Mara – Africa

Lions, tigers, bears, OH MY! Okay, maybe not bears, but lions and tigers are only a couple of animals you will see while visiting Maasai Mara, Africa. Oh yeah, the sunset is incredible as well. While on an exciting safari, not only will you see animals galore, you will also catch an astonishing sunset that is unlike any other. The sun sets against the vast desert land contrasting with a burnt orange sky. During my personal journey to Maasai Mara, I had never felt more peace and serenity than while watching this epic sunset.

 



Queen Mary 2's 10th Anniversary
22 april 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Queen Mary 2 is celebrating her 10th anniversary this year. Canyon Ranch Spa– the onboard provider is introducing some new spa and beauty treatments during the 2014 Trasnsatlantic crossings.

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub – which includes the spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness amenities – has been in operation since QM2 maiden sailing in 2004 and was the first outpost of the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea division.

Ten unique spa services from the last decade have also been bundled together to create the 10th Anniversary Spa Package, which includes any four listed treatments for a special price and includes a complimentary fifth service.

At 20,000sq ft, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub aboard QM2 is located on two decks, and features 24 massage, body and skincare treatment rooms, including two rooms for couples treatments, a weight-training and cardio centre, a relaxation lounge and a full-service salon with wraparound ocean views. SpaClub also includes an Aqua Therapy Center with a full range of aquathermal facilities.

HOW CAN MY INVESTMENT PAY OFF?
3 march 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Simple rule to get the most bang for your buck, not just spending smarter on board ship, but taking advantage of extra ship board credit by investing in the cruise companies..

Carnival Corporation, owners of Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America, Seabourn and Carnival, or Royal Caribbean International owners of Azamara, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity offers ship board credit up to $250 if you have at least 100 or more shares of their stock.

IT’S YOURS, YOU EARNED IT, NOW TAKE IT…
27 february 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
You can help the economy by taking more time away from work.

Over 40% of American workers, who receive paid time-off, finish the year without using up all their earned vacation time. Per the U.S. Travel Association study.

Workers who are given paid time off had an average of 3.2 days of unused vacation time in 2013, according to the study by the research firm Oxford Economics.

The study concluded that if Americans spent all of their allotted vacation time, the economy would gain an additional $160 billion in vacation spending and $21 billion in tax revenues, supporting 1.2 million jobs.

So what are you waiting for?

HELP IS ON THE WAY…
25 february 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Belts off, coats off, shoes off and placed in the bin. Every traveler is familiar with the process at TSA security check-points, and just maybe help is on the way!

The Department of Homeland Security wants to make airport security move quicker for travelers. TSA recently posted what amounts to a "help wanted" ad on the website Fedbizopps.gov. They are seeking advice and information from technology companies who would develop a newer, more efficient wave of airport security scanners.

DHS would want scanners that could add speed to the security process, allowing 250 passengers through per hour without having to remove their shoes and outer garments. Wouldn’t that be a NCIE PLAN!

"TSA is always looking for new technology and procedures that will enhance security and increase efficiency," the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement.

Travelers shouldn't expect fast moving TSA security lines just yet. The government's call to tech companies is just the first step in what could be a multiyear process.

RENTING A CAR IN EUROPE? THAN READ THIS FIRST!
24 february 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
DO – Pick-up and Drop-off the car at the airport if you can – why? Almost always open and easy to drive from!

DO – Take a picture of the car at Pick-up and Drop-off so you have a record of any damage that might have been there at the start or at the conclusion of your rental!

DO – Pay with a credit card that carries primary collision-damage coverage with no deductible.

DON’T – Pick-up or Drop-off the car in town or city center location because they are hard to locate and usually are closed at lunch and on weekends!

DON’T – Drop-off the car after hours. If there is no one available to inspect the car and hand you a written receipt, you could be responsible for damage to the car that you did not cause!

STRESS-LESS TRAVEL TIPS
20 february 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Flight Bites: Don’t load up on sugary carbohydrates that make you hungry and grumpy. Pack your own snacks and you’re good to go! Unsalted nuts and dark chocolate (my favorite) make for healthy eats on air travel.

Rehydrate: Air travel can dry you out, so purchase a bottle before boarding your flight - it will energize you more than a second cup of coffee!

USA TODAY PHOTO TOUR
NEW CRUISE SHIPS FOR 2014
10 february 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Carnival and Royal Caribbean may be the world's largest cruise lines, but this year it'll be rivals Norwegian and Princess that steal the spotlight in the industry. Both of the companies are rolling out major

USA Today New ships for 2014 - Photo-Tour

CELEBRITY CRUISES' INTRODUCES
CANYON RANCH SPA CLUB ABOARD SHIPS
6 february 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch unveiled their new partnership to feature Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea facilities on board 10 ships, which will create the largest and most comprehensive SpaClub at Sea offering. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub on Celebrity ships will include spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness amenities presenting signature Canyon Ranch offerings. The new spa menu features popular Canyon Ranch treatments, such as facials and facial enhancements, massage, thermal, Asian touch and Reiki healing energy therapies. A selection of salon offerings, including hair care, nail, and makeup services, will also be available.

Fitness offerings will range from private consultations to group classes, including yoga, Pilates, cycling, Mind/Body Connection and relaxation, all led by Canyon Ranch-trained fitness experts. Wellness programs such as personal exercise prescription, private nutritional consults, acupuncture, Chiropractic therapy and Canyon Ranch Healthy Feet centers will be offered on select ships.

CRYSTAL CRUISES ADDS FREE WI-FI
30 january 2014  |  Gary M Pollard
Crystal Cruises announces the newest perk to its All Inclusive luxury cruise experience: Free Wi-Fi for Crystal Society members, the line’s “club” of repeat guests, beginning Fall 2014.

Effective with Crystal Serenity’s September 19 New England/Canada sailing and Crystal Symphony’s October 15 Panama Canal cruise, each Crystal Society guest will receive 60 minutes of complimentary internet access for every day of the cruise

Society members can use the new complimentary access time wirelessly via iPad, iPhone, laptop or other wireless device or on Crystal’s own Computer University@Sea 27” dual-compatible iMac computers. A multi-million dollar Wi-Fi upgrade rolled out in recent months helps guests enjoy maximum onboard connectivity

All full revenue guests who have completed their first Crystal cruise automatically become Crystal Society members, and, thusly, can take advantage of this perk on all subsequent Crystal voyages. Guests wishing to purchase additional minutes for $.75 per minute can do so without an activation fee. Internet packages that reduce the per minute charge are also available.

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