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star clippers

 

Croatian Coast exploration for only $2,835 with Air Included on Royal Clipper

 

Sailing roundtrip from one of the Mediterranean's most exciting cities, Star Clipper's beautiful tall ship makes its way throughout the Adriatic, calling at lesser-known destinations ideal for every port collector.  The medieval city of Kotor continues to be a favorite call among Star Clipper's well-traveled guests for its stunning views and unspoiled charm.  Your clients can explore picturesque ports throughout Croatia, including Dubrovnik where a walk along the walled city is a must.  Back in Venice, they can take in St. Mark's Basilica and tour the Grand Canal on a vaporetto.  With special rates and airfare included on this sailing, a Star Clippers dream vacation is more affordable than ever.


Royal Clipper 

September 20, 2014
Category 3 - $2,835

Category 2 - $2967

Owner's - $5,137

Airfare and taxes included in these rates.  Port charges and gratuities are extra. 

 


   

Holland America Line returns  

to Bermuda

 

Holland America Line is returning to the pink sands and pastel-colored skyline of Bermuda on seven-day cruises aboard ms Veendam in 2015. Sailing roundtrip from Boston, Massachusetts, six departures will sail in May, June and July.

 

Carrying just 1,350 guests, Veendam offers an ideal mid-size ship experience in Bermuda that enables the vessel to dock at Hamilton in the center of town. With three days in port, guests will have multiple opportunities to experience Hamilton's British charm, cultural heritage sites, golf courses, and world-renowned beaches on a variety of shore excursions.

 

Cruise fares begin at $799 for the seven-day cruises, per person, double occupancy.





HAWAII SAYS IT’S BACK TO NORMAL FOR TOURISM

8/12/2014, 8:48 AM (ET)

The Hawaiian Tourism Authority said hurricanes Iselle and Julio caused no major damage to the islands’ main resort areas and did not have a significant impact on Hawaii’s visitor industry. As of Monday evening, Hawaii’s airports were open, airlines had resumed all flight operations, and most visitor activities and attractions were operating normally, according to the tourism authority. Travelers were still advised to contact their airlines to confirm flights, but other than that “travelers scheduled to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands this week and beyond need not make any adjustments to their vacation plans,” said John Monahan, president and CEO of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Hawaii’s tourism industry and residents feared the worst when two tropical storm systems were headed for the state last week. Fortunately, Hurricane Iselle weakened to a tropical storm before making landfall, and Hurricane Julio passed to the north. The rural area of Puna on the Big Island suffered the worst damage, including road closures and power outages.

 









     
 
 
 




For more information please call our travel experts at (850) 681-9074.


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For Luxury Cruise Sellers, Times Are Good

FOR LUXURY CRUISers, TIMES ARE GOOD

by Andrew Sheivachman
August 06, 2014


As the consumer market for luxury cruises matures – and the cruise lines’ diversify their product and pricing models to meet demand – times are good for luxury cruise sellers.

Agents report brisk sales of luxury cruises. They also note an ever-lengthening booking window, as clients look to secure a space in the face of tight supply.

Luxury cruising, and especially luxury river cruising, is becoming more attractive for vacationers who have more time and money to spend on a trip, regardless of their demographic, agents told Travel Market Report.

Clients are booking far into 2016, agents said. And they’re taking advantage of the greater choice offered by today’s luxury lines – ocean and river cruise alike.

“The luxury market is maturing,” said Eric Goldring, owner of Goldring Travel in Colts Neck, N.J. “The market is 20 years old, and that’s about a generation; people now in their 60s and 70s have done the traditional luxury cruise, and they are looking for something new.”

In search of variety
“Many of my clients are those who have ‘been there and done that,’” said Mike Brill, a CruiseOne agent from Palm Springs, Calif. “They’re looking for something more intimate and unique.” 

Luxury vacationers have already been to Europe, long the go-to destination for luxury cruises, and now they want something more exotic – and that’s benefitting travel agents.

“Our business has really been driven by what is new and different. Luxury is moving toward new destinations,” said Scott Caddow, owner of Legendary World. 

At the same time, Caddow said, “most of our clients are pretty brand-loyal, so they want the same cruise experience” – to new parts of the world.

Mediterranean always strong
Michael Consoli, a Cruise Planners agent in Roswell, Ga., said that for him “Mediterranean cruises always seem to be the biggest draw for the luxury market.” Certainly for clients new to luxury cruising, Europe remains a solid bet.

But Consoli said he is also seeing “big interest in the Galapagos because of the environmental regulations and changes coming to that area of the world in the next few years.”

Agents also mentioned Antarctica, the Arctic Circle, Africa and South America as attractive new destinations for the more-experienced luxury cruiser.

Multiple deposits
The booking window for luxury cruises remains long due to strong demand coupled with limited product. 

Some luxury clients are so concerned they’ll miss out on their preferred cruise that they’re making deposits on multiple cruises, and deciding later which of the trips they’ll actually take.

“My clients will book two or three cruises and end up taking one or two cruises in the end,” said Caddow. “Cruisers are getting smarter about itineraries they book.”

In response, some cruise lines are tightening their policies on refundable deposits to try and rein in this type of shopping.

“Cruise lines are now trying to combat people who have a history of cancelling,” said Goldring. “Lines like Regent and Oceania have increased the cancellation penalties, even right from the start. 

“But I’m still seeing lots of bookings made far in advance,” Goldring added.

All-inclusive craze
While pricing is slightly up, luxury lines are also driving revenue by offering cruise passengers more opportunities to pre-book add-on packages and excursions.

“The lines are trying to make the more-upscale product all-inclusive, by making you buy before you get onboard,” said Mary Ann Strasheim, ACC, owner of Custom Cruises & Travel, an Ensemble agency, in Omaha.. 

By adding value to their cruises with new initiatives, the lines are doing an effective job of attracting demand. And the adds-on are usually commissionable.  

“Regent is one of the better all-inclusive values,” said Caddow. 

The all-inclusive packaging appeals especially to those who like to integrate land tours with their luxury cruise experience, as well as to customers who are used to paying for everything upfront.

“We have clients who move to a cruise from land vacations, and they would rather just have everything paid for” instead of paying as they go, Caddow said.

Itinerary changes
Some luxury lines are adapting their itineraries to include longer port stays in a response to travelers’ desire for more in-depth experiences of destinations during a cruise.

“Most luxury travelers don’t want to move from place to place on land, but they do want to get a taste of the culture and say they’ve been to a destination,” said Goldring. 

“Cruise lines are also doing more over-nighting because it is a cost-savings for them, since they’re not moving the ship,” Goldring said.

Pricing remains solid
Today’s luxury cruise clients are willing to spend more, according to agents, and the lines are rolling out longer, and more expensive, itineraries to take advantage. This means higher commissions for agents.  

“More lines are beginning to offer world cruises,” said Strasheim. “Retirees have more time on their hands, and they are asking why they should buy a winter home when they can travel the world instead.”

To entice would-be cruisers looking for a deal, the luxury lines are throwing in value-adds, rather than lowering prices, agents noted.

“The luxury lines are masters at adding value to this product without degrading their pricing model,” said Consoli.  “So they are offering air incentives, free hotel nights, Internet packages and onboard credits to encourage early bookings.”