It’s CLIA’s National Cruise Vacation Week!
For all of you who like good deals, whether it’s reduced deposits, onboard credits, reduced fares, cash back, upgrades, or onboard savings booklets…..an event is coming up that you really ought to know about! This is an incredible week for booking the best cruise vacation deals ever! When? October 21 – October 27, 2012. Why? It’s CLIA’s National Cruise Vacation Week. CLIA is Cruise Lines International Association, and it is the world’s largest cruise association (of which I am a member).
How about signing up for my free weekly newsletter which is an eSaver, and then you’ll be one step ahead of being apprised of all the latest deals. To sign up simply send me an email to email@example.com , and write Subscribe in the subject line. I’ll be happy to sign you up, or you can sign up at my website at http://www.likecruises.com by inputting your email and zipcode in the green box on the right hand side that is titled “Sign Up for Exclusive Offers and Discounts”, then don’t forget to press Join.
First to clarify what some of the terms above are in plain English:
Reduced deposits – who wants to pay the full deposit, when you could pay half only? You may only have to pay $100 or $200 per cabin. Remember, the ability to pay a deposit instead of paying in full can only occur if you book way before your cruise – at least 60 days before or more. If you book within 60 days of the cruise, you will have to make full payment. It’s better to book early, and to have reserved your cabin with a deposit than it is to book too close to the cruise date (your desired cabin may not be available). Paying reduced deposits is a DEAL!
Onboard credits (OBC) – this is free spending money that you can use to pay for your mandatory gratuities, telephone calls, internet charges, specialty restaurant charges, alcohol and/or other bar purchases, etc. These onboard credits will vary depending on what type of cabin you book. You will get more of a higher OBC for booking a balcony cabin or a suite than you will for booking an interior cabin. You could get an OBC from $50 to $300 per cabin (perhaps less or maybe even more) – this is a DEAL!
Reduced fares – this is your week to get special savings, as fares could be significantly discounted – this is a DEAL!
Cash back – this could be in the form of an OBC or cash back to your credit card, not sure on this, but if you call me – I will find out for you – this is a DEAL!
Upgrades – normally, you only get upgraded within the type of cabin type you book. So booking an interior does not give you an upgrade to an ocean view, but to a better category interior. However, this week is your lucky week where you can get upgraded from interior to ocean view or ocean view to balcony (based upon cruise line availability and cruise line specific offering of this promotion) – this is a DEAL!
Onboard saving booklets – these will come in handy when you wish to save on internet fees, or get a discount in the gift shop (you just might find a coupon in the booklet) or if you are interested in purchasing one of the professional pictures taken by the cruise line photographers – this is a DEAL!
Sorry for using the word “deal” so much, but it really is a great DEAL! So, please visit my website now at http://www.likecruises.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know where you want to go to, how many people per cabin, what type of cabin (interior, ocean view or balcony), and it would be helpful if you could let me know if you have ever cruised before. Please also tell me if you have a preference for a particular cruise line. I am registered with all the cruise lines, and can book you on any cruise line that you choose.
Which cruise line you choose, and which particular ship within that cruise line’s offerings, will depend on which itinerary appeals to you, and whether you have a particular affinity to one cruise line over another. These are just some of the ones you can choose from (I have personally been on all these ships):
Carnival Cruise Lines
Oceania Cruise Lines
MSC Cruise Lines
Princess Cruise Lines
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Cunard Cruise Lines
These are some of my ship inspection videos or a video that I made to help you see what it’s like on a cruise ship, this may help you decide which cruise line you wish to pick:
My ship inspection of the Carnival Splendor:
My ship inspection of the Oceania Marina:
My ship inspection of the Golden Princess:
My ship inspection of the Oasis Of The Seas:
My ship inspection of the Carnival Spirit:
My ship inspection of the Queen Victoria:
My cruise video of the Radiance Of The Seas:
My cruise video of the Enchantment Of The Seas:
Unfortunately, I did not make a video of the MSC Musica, I took that cruise way before I became a travel agent in late 2010, early 2011, and really got into video taping my holidays. I’ve always enjoyed photography, but videography is something I really just got into in the last few years.
These links might also help you to make an informed choice on cruising, as this is definitely one of the best ways to travel:
Top 10 Reasons To Cruise and Frequently Asked Questions About Cruising
If you have any other questions…….please don’t hesitate to call me. I’d be happy to hear from you!
Don’t forget, it’s better for you to book with a travel agent, because you know who to go back to each time you have questions, and you won’t get a different person answering the phone each time you call. There are various other reasons as to why you should book with a travel agent. So, please pick up the phone and call 858-427-4972 now……..I really want to hear my phone ringing off the hook during the National Cruise Vacation Week, and even before then. Thank you, and I look forward to booking you on your best vacation ever!
Cruisetour – Alaska (Part 2)
This is a continuation of Part 1 of the Cruisetour in Alaska, which was posted yesterday. In this video, you will see more of Hotel Alyeska, as well as the other three hotels that I stayed in: Talkeetna Lodge, McKinley Village Lodge, and Pikes Waterfront Lodge. Here you will see Mount McKinley in all it’s glory – did you know that I am part of the 30% club? That means only 30% of the people who visit Mount McKinley get to see it, as often it is shrouded in clouds or fog – yet on this occasion, Mount McKinley was clearly visible. Also, you will see Denali Park, and footage of the Grizzly Bear sighting.
Now, I will add further comments about Day 2 through Day 4 of the cruisetour right here, instead of listing all the days out one by one. As you know, I stayed at the Alyeska Resort & Hotel on Day 1, and when I awoke the next morning, I went on the tram to take a look at where the skiing takes place in this wonderful resort. I already showed you the pictures in a previous post, and many more are included on the videos than what I can enclose here in this post. Therefore, I will start with what happened when we left Alyeska. We went to the Conservation Center, which is where I saw the Black Bear, and other animals. From there, we went to Anchorage, and the most notable thing about Anchorage from what I remembered was that it is a city with a lot more choices of shopping and restaurants than you will find in other places such as Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Talkeetna, etc. There was a market that had really good salmon quesadillas, and I would highly recommend trying one of these if you ever get chance to visit. Here are some of my pictures of Anchorage:
We then left Anchorage after about three hours or so, and headed for Talkeetna Lodge which overlooks Mount McKinley.
I am pretty sure that the tour guides or someone told us that Mount McKinley is the tallest mountain from base to the top (the peak) – so it is pretty spectacular. However, it was sad to hear that just before the day we were there, someone had a fatal fall from it. Something so spectacular can also be so dangerous, unfortunately.
I took the photo below with my I-Phone, and at times it is really hard to distinguish which is Mount McKinley, but it looks as though it’s where the third bump is (more towards the right of the picture). With my regular camera, I took the other pictures below of sunset in the vicinity, but they weren’t directly over Mount McKinley, but sunset is sunset I guess, and it doesn’t really matter where it is as long as it’s enjoyed. What is notable to mention is that sunset started at about 11:30 pm, and lasted until 2 am or so. It stays light until very late in certain parts of Alaska, and this seemed to vary as we traveled from place to place. Also, it was light very early in the morning too, so there were very few hours of darkness, especially at Talkeetna Lodge. It was so unusual to see sunset so late at night, and who can go to sleep when you can stay up until 2 am just appreciating the sunset over Mount McKinley?
You can take a flightseeing excursion over Mount McKinley, and you can actually even land on it. We saw so many flightseeing tours, and here are some pictures of planes flying close by:
Leaving Talkeetna, I took this picture:
We arrived at our next stop, where we would spend the night prior to visiting Denali National Park
That’s me (Davinder) at McKinley Village Lodge
Then we set off in the morning really early at 5:30 am or so for Denali National Park. This meant that I had to wake up at approximately 4am – another early morning! I barely had time to grab something from the coffee shop in the lobby. They gave us lunch boxes on the bus as there are no cafes or restaurants in Denali, and you have to be very careful with food. You even have to make sure that you don’t put anything in the trash cans that has any trace of food, this is for the benefit of the animals – so that they don’t associate food with humans. All food has to be consumed on the bus, and disposed of in special trash containers within the bus, and then the bus personnel see to the proper disposal of it. I think our sandwiches were reindeer meat, and there was some type of crackers and raisins, and a bottle of water.
Our tour of Denali, which was a 7 hour tour because it was the upgraded Denali Park Tour, cost an additional $58.25. The included Denali Park Tour does not go deep into Denali, and I believe it only lasts about two and a half hours. However, it was highly recommended to get the upgraded tour, and I’m glad that I did.
Here are some pictures, I’m not going to show too many as again, you can see them in my video or a previous post. The first picture shows you the bus that takes you into Denali National Park. My most personal prized picture of Denali is that of the Grizzly Bear, and I also got it on video.
This is some of the landscape within Denali:
Now, I should give you a little background on Denali. This park was put into place after much lobbying to Congress from the efforts of early conservationists such as Charles Sheldon, who fought to preserve Denali. Did you know that some people refer to Mount McKinley as Denali, while others just wish to call it Mount McKinley? The native name for it is Denali. In fact, the park was first named Mount McKinley National Park, but it was renamed Denali National Park and Preserve. Did you know that cars cannot go deep into the park? I believe only a certain number are given a permit to enter the park, but they are only allowed to go up to a certain point. By riding the tour bus, we are all helping to protect Denali’s wilderness ecosystem. Denali is an important park, because the animals within it are respected, and have a safe area to roam around. I like bears and appreciate the idea that there is a place for them where they are protected, and won’t be hunted or slaughtered, but I guess the same goes for all the other animals there who are all important to one another’s existence. Anyway, I didn’t mean to go off into talking about something that I don’t know a lot about, but I do appreciate what they are doing in Denali.
After we finished our tour of Denali, we headed to Fairbanks, and the Pikes Waterfront Lodge. This was to be our last stop and our last night in Alaska.
I have finally finished the posts and videos on Alaska. Well, until next time……I wish you a very pleasant week ahead, and a happy summer!
Cruisetour – Alaska
Join Davinder on her 4 day cruisetour of Alaska, which started in Seward at the end of the 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Alaska.
Day 1 of the Cruisetour was busy and very memorable with visits to the SeaLife Center, a Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise (where Davinder saw a whale, at least a glimpse of a whale), and a wonderful trip on the Wilderness Express train where she saw a Bald Eagle. The day finished with a stay overnight at the beautiful Alyeska Resort and Hotel, which is one of the best ski resorts in Alaska.
How is a cruisetour different to a shore excursion?
A cruisetour is different to a shore excursion, because the latter is available as an optional trip during a cruise ship’s port visit, while a cruisetour, is a trip you can make either prior to your cruise or after. You can take cruisetours virtually everywhere you embark on your cruise, or disembark, so next time you think of a cruise whether it’s from Venice, Rome, London, Miami, Vancouver, or any other port at all – think about a cruisetour, and you will get to see more of that particular place. A cruisetour allows you to visit different places, and to see them in greater depth. Transportation is included, as well as accommodation, and some meals. Most cruisetours are run by cruise lines, so it makes sense to book them along with your cruise. You should always book your cruisetours prior to taking your cruise.
I took a post-cruise tour, which started from Seward, which was where the Vancouver to Alaska cruise finished. Also, just something to note…..I would never have seen bears during my cruise – even on the shore excursions that I took (however, there are some excursions where there is a chance to see bears), and since I love bears, this cruisetour made it worthwhile to me, especially when I saw the Grizzly Bear in Denali Park. The Black Bear that I saw even though it was in a Conservation Center, was also another highlight of my cruisetour, as was the Wilderness Express train, and my stay at the Hotel Alyeska. I also enjoyed seeing Mount McKinley. Therefore, as you can see – you would not be able to experience Denali Park, Mount McKinley, the Wilderness Express train, Mount McKinley, or Hotel Alyeska without going on a cruisetour, unless you fly to Alaska just specifically to experience these places. I hope this explanation has made it a little clearer to you as to what a cruisetour is, and sometimes it is more difficult to write about it than to show it in a video, so I’ve attempted to explain it in a video that I made – please see the next post, and I will also put a link here: Cruisetour – Alaska
Anyway, to continue my recount of the cruisetour, I have included some pictures below. The bus was right outside the cruise ship, waiting to take us on the next adventure.
We then went to the SeaLife Center (I showed you some pictures of the sea lions and seals in a previous post), here are some pictures of the actual Center
We then went back by bus to near where the cruise ship was docked to catch a Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise. This is where I caught a glimpse of a whale, you can see that in my video that I will post at the bottom of this page. Here are pictures of the port of Seward:
Now, for the highlight of the cruisetour, or at least my favorite part – the Wilderness Express train – you just have to experience this train. It has two levels, and has a glass dome, which makes for excellent viewing. You can see the wildlife of Alaska as you zoom on by, we saw caribou, and bald eagles (you will see the bald eagle on my video, didn’t get a picture of it, just video footage).
That’s me – Davinder – both outside the train, and on level two of the train in the glass dome portion of it. Everybody else had gone downstairs to eat.
Here I am with a fellow CruiseOne franchise owner and his wife, and another travel agent.
Have you ever delved into your food, and then realized you should have taken a picture first? Well, this halibut was so good, that I could not resist, and I took the picture too late. I probably should not even include this picture here, but I promise this was just about the best dish of food I had during the whole trip to Alaska – it was delicious!
I’m not sure if I showed you this picture of the caribou, but we saw these from the train.
Well, if they could make a song and sing it to the tune of “Welcome to the Hotel California”, they should do it for the Hotel Alyeska. Welcome to the Hotel Alyseska, it’s a lovely place. We arrived at this beautiful hotel way too late, it must have been at about 9pm. The next day we had to leave at around 11 am, and that certainly was not fair. I just loved this hotel. It is simply beautiful, and I could easily stay here for three or four days at least, a visit of one night is not worth it. It has so much atmosphere, and words cannot describe it – both inside and outside of the hotel, it is exquisite.
It was snowing when we arrived there, and this was on Friday, May 18th. The Hotel Alyeska is one of the best ski resorts in Alaska. It is a very popular place, and rightly so.
The next morning, we took a tram up to where all the skiing takes place, and there was so much snow.
Out of the four hotels that I stayed in during the four day cruisetour of Alaska, the Alyeska Resort was undoubtedly the best. It is just magical.
Goodbye, Hotel Alyeska and the Wilderness Express train. I wish I’d had more time with both of you – you were both part of my most incredible experiences of the cruisetour, and both occurred on Day One of the four days. I’m glad that I captured you in photographs and video, as now I will always remember you.
Have You Ever Wondered About The Entertainment On A Cruise?
The entertainment on a cruise ship just has to be experienced, and is one of the reasons that cruises have so much intrinsic value……not just for the journey, or the destination, but for the experience onboard the ship. On the Radiance Of The Seas, the entertainment was absolutely terrific. The Aurora Theatre was the venue each night of some highly entertaining acts, and in this video that I made, I tried to capture a few seconds of most acts. There is so much that I could not include as I like to keep my videos down to 10 minutes or less. I also felt it was important to show you the Cascades staff, who were also highly entertaining, as were the Cruise Director’s Staff who entertained us from the Centrum (the lobby) to the swimming pool. If you go on a cruise, you won’t be bored!
Hope you all have an even more entertaining evening with watching this video. Thanks for viewing it.
Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Of The Seas, Vancouver to Alaska – Part 2
On this video, I have more video footage than photographs. I captured a sighting of a porcupine – I’ve never seen one before, therefore, I was so happy to get that on video! I also show the specialty restaurants, and a little of the entertainment. Also, you get to see the Solarium, and my favorite breakfast place on the ship – the Park Cafe.
Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Of The Seas, Vancouver to Alaska – Part 1
This video will show my photos and video footage of the cruise, and the port visits, including pictures of Mendenhall Glacier and Hubbard Glacier. Part 2 will have more cruise coverage.
Some people go on a cruise ship for the destination, and some go for the experience on the ship. I liked both aspects, because I just love cruises, and love traveling. My other favorite parts of the actual cruise were the entertainment (got a little bit of Bollywood), the Park Cafe food, and the Indian food in the Windjammer Cafe, where I also got Indian tea. It’s important to have some of those home comforts!
Last look at the Radiance Of The Seas
It is now day 8, and it is check-out day, goodbye day, and time to leave the Radiance Of The Seas. It is Friday, May 18, 2012. The ship had arrived at Seward, our arrival dock at 4am. We had got our numbers to put on our luggage the night before, the numbers are really important. The following picture of the ever helpful Cruise Compass will give you an idea of what I mean. You could get a number such as 5, 6, 20 and 21 that had a departure time of 6am, or be slightly more lucky if you are booked on a cruise tour like us – our number was 82, and our departure time was 9am. This of course, gave us more time in the morning. The last numbers were scheduled to be called at approximately 9:30 am.
The last few pictures I took of the ship were these:
Excuse this picture as it is not the best, I used my camcorder again, and it was major clean-up day for the Radiance Of The Seas staff, so I had to take the picture while they were in the midst of their cleaning.
The games room – Seven Hearts – I never even got the chance to sit in this room.
This is the centre of the mid-area that overlooks the Centrum and can be seen from all the floors just about. Quite a design!
I snuck a look at an ocean-view cabin on my way out.
It is bitter-sweet leaving a ship when it’s the end of the cruise. However, the nice part of this journey is that even though one adventure is over, the other one is just about to begin, as now it is time for the cruise tour. Our bus will take us from Seward today to the Sea Life Centre, and then drop us off so that we can take a boat tour on Kenai Fjords Explorer, and have a chance to view whales, otters and sea lions, etc. Later, we will take the Wilderness Express train to Girdwood, where we will stop the night at Hotel Alyeska. I will write up on that part of the journey soon. Thank you for reading.
There’s a great reason to visit Hubbard Glacier, and that is to see it before it melts away. Yes, sadly when you visit such an incredible place, it really hits home that you are indeed lucky to see it. Who knows how many more will see it before it disappears or diminishes? The evidence of the melting is right there in the ocean, with chunks of ice all around.
This is Day 7 of the Vancouver to Alaska seven day cruise (Thursday, May 17, 2012), and sadly the last day of the cruise. Most people think that a seven day cruise finishes on the 7th day, but in reality it actually finishes on the 8th day in the early hours of the morning. We will be disembarking tomorrow morning at around 8am.
So today is a Day At Sea – this is a day to enjoy the ship, and it is as necessary to have these days as it is to have port visits. You don’t just want to be rushing around visiting ports all the time, because when will you find the time to enjoy the ship? The ship itself is a very important factor in your cruise enjoyment, and believe it or not, some people enjoy this part of the experience so much more – that they don’t want to get out at the ports to walk around.
Today is the very important viewing from the ship of Hubbard Glacier. This was to be my second experience of seeing glaciers – the first one was of course, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. As I was eating breakfast in the Park Cafe, I couldn’t help but be struck in awe at what I saw through the windows of the Solarium, where the Park Cafe was. I saw lots of ice, pieces of ice all over the ocean floor – it was just as though we were floating on ice. It was an amazing sight, and I wish I had taken more pictures of the ice at it’s thickest – but my camera was charging, so this is the picture that I got through the window, and it was taken with my Iphone at approximately 8am. The other pictures were taken with my camcorder, and not my regular camera, so may not be as nice and clear as they should have been.
Then after breakfast, I went outside at approximately 9am, and took pictures from the side of the ship.
Wow, we are surrounded by ice!
Now for a view of Hubbard Glacier itself. It was hard getting a good spot to take pictures, as there were so many people out braving the cold to see the awesome and breathtaking Hubbard Glacier.
We got really close to the Glacier!
More people looking at the Glacier:
Enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee, and trying to stay warm
The Radiance Of The Seas against the backdrop of Alaska, near Hubbard Glacier
Bye Hubbard Glacier, I hope you will be around for many more years to come! Don’t melt away.
We left Hubbard Glacier at around 10:30 am, and the rest of the day was spent taking pictures, attending a brief CruiseOne seminar, and enjoying the ship (as well as packing). Next, I’ll tell you about the four day post cruise tour that I took once I disembarked the cruise ship. The cruise tour was hosted by Royal Caribbean, and involved going on a bus around Alaska – deep into the wilds of this very mysterious place. Thank you for reading.