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Blog2020-08-05T18:26:33-07:00

U.S. Passport Office still accepting applications with limits

Contrary to several news articles, the U.S. Passport office is still accepting passport applications by mail. Late last month the Passport Office issued a statement which caused a lot of confusion. In-person & expedited applications limited For now, the Passport Office has limited in person applications and expedited applications to those with a "qualified life-or death emergency" or who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours, new applications and renewals can ......

By |April 13th, 2020|Categories: Passports|0 Comments

Are cruises for you?

​THERE IS A CRUISE FOR YOU! So what is fascinating about sailing on top of the waters of the world? No doubt you have met well-traveled individuals who sing the praises of cruising. For the uninitiated, the fascination with sailing on a floating city with hundreds, even thousands, of strangers may seem…well… strange. But cruising has some merit you may not have considered and you may find yourself appreciating aspects of the experience well ......

By |April 13th, 2020|Categories: Cruises|Comments Off on Are cruises for you?

TSA REAL ID deadline pushed back to October 2021

You'll be denied boarding on a plane without a REAL ID or a passport Updated: March 27, 2020 ​The federal requirements to have a “Real ID” compliant drivers license in order to board a plane or enter a federal building that requires an ID has been pushed back to October 1, 2021. The implementation date was delayed one year in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. After October 1, 2021, anyone who doesn’t have a ......

By |March 27th, 2020|Categories: Real ID|0 Comments

Coronavirus – my perspective

​Not surprisingly, I’ve been getting calls over the past few weeks about the coronavirus. It is an issue of concern that we should all take seriously, but not panic over. I am not a doctor and not giving medical advice. After reading many articles by health experts, the cruise line industry, and public health experts, here is my take on coronavirus: How Does the Coronavirus Affect My Cruise Plans 1) THE SITUATION IS CHANGING ......

By |March 7th, 2020|Categories: Cruises, Health, Travel - International|0 Comments

These passport problems will ruin your vacation

Many travelers mistakenly believe once they have a valid passport they are good to travel the world. They aren't aware of a variety of foreign requirements and assume if there are any the airline, cruise line or a travel agent will notify them. All too many people learn the hard way that it is their responsibility to learn the rules. Here are the TOP FIVE Reasons Your Passport May Be Rejected 1) Your Passport ......

By |March 1st, 2020|Categories: Passports|0 Comments

New financing program lets you travel now and pay later

"Uplift" Vacation Financing Offered by Sophisticated Cruising Have you ever found that dream cruise that you've always wanted, but you didn't have all the funds right now to pay for it? Or maybe you wanted to try the "suite life" and didn't think you could afford it? Well, with our new financing program by Uplift, you can finance your vacation over 12 months at a very competitive rate - usually much better rates than ......

By |February 13th, 2020|Categories: Money|0 Comments

New European entry authorization requirement starts January 1, 2021

Europe is one of the top tourist destinations for American travelers in part because of our historical and heritage ties, but also because of the easy of travel. There are no complicated and time consuming visa requirements for U.S. citizen to visit Europe. However, starting January 1, 2021, things will change just a bit. ETIAS - Travel Authorization Requirement ETIAS, the new travel authorization is not a visa as it has incorrectly been reported ......

By |February 8th, 2020|Categories: Visas|0 Comments

What are cruise line “automatic gratuity” charges?

Why am I charged for gratuities? (Updated: 1/7/2020) First time cruisers may be surprised when they get their shipboard final statement the last evening of their cruise. Along with charges for specialty restaurants, onboard purchases, and cocktails, they'll discover a few hundred dollar charge for "gratuities" (some cruise lines are now calling it a "service charge" or "hotel service charge"). While gratuity charges are technically optional on most cruise lines, they are automatically added ......

By |January 7th, 2020|Categories: Cruises|0 Comments

Travel insurance & Medicare – what’s covered?

Most seniors traveling abroad have health coverage through Medicare. Here are some important considerations when considering which travel insurance plans work best for you. UNDERSTANDING TRAVEL INSURANCE & MEDICARE Medicare Doesn’t Cover Foreign Travel ​With very few narrow exceptions, Medicare does not cover medical care outside the United States. Standard Medigap or Supplemental plans C, D, F, G, M, and N provide foreign travel emergency health care coverage when you travel outside the U.S. ......

By |January 2nd, 2020|Categories: Medicare, Travel Insurance|0 Comments

Minimize your luggage weight

As the airlines make it more and more expensive to take a bag with you on a trip, it is becoming increasingly more important to pack your bags efficiently. Here are some tips: ​1) Select your clothes, then edit down what you take – Most people take too much and over pack. Choose a unified color scheme so that shirts, blouses, pants and/or dresses all work together. Then pull out all the clothes you ......

By |December 31st, 2019|Categories: Luggage|0 Comments

Wave Season is starting – savings are now

Each year January is the start of "Wave Season" in the cruise industry. Why does that matter to you? It is when the cruise lines offer some of their best deals of the year. Typically you'll get the best deals on cruises over a year in advance. Interested in saving? Give us a call and we can give you more information. Our January issue of "Cruise Insights" will have more information. However, some cruise ......

By |December 10th, 2019|Categories: Cruises|0 Comments

The haunting ruins of Pompeii

During an Azamara Cruise we had a port stop in Sorrento, Italy, and while Sorrento is a charming old city perched on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, we wanted to visit the once thriving ancient city of Pompeii. As you’ll soon learn, it is a visit that everyone should take. Steep cliffs in Sorrento, Italy ​I should note that the drive from Sorrento to Pompeii is not for the faint of heart. The ......

By |December 8th, 2019|Categories: Destinations, Italy|0 Comments

Paul Gauguin Cruises orders two new ships

Picture courtesy Paul Gauguin CruisesPaul Gauguin Cruises announced it has ordered two new luxury expedition ships. They will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri with delivery planned for 2022. The deal includes an option for a third ship. The order is worth around $332 million.These 230 passenger ships will be more environmentally friendly with the ability to run smokeless for up to 10 hours a day in port or while in environmentally sensitive areas by ......

By |November 25th, 2019|Categories: Cruises, Paul Gaugin Cruises|0 Comments

30 essential things to do before you leave on vacation

If you are like most of us, the closer you get to your vacation, the more frantic things become. There is so much to do and the time seems to vanish. Start your planning early as some items can take time. To help you properly prepare for your vacation, here is our list of 30 Essential Things to do before you leave on your vacation: [ ] Verify if you will need a visa – Visa & ......

By |October 27th, 2019|Categories: Travel - International|0 Comments

Celebrity increases cruise fare on beverage packages

NOTE: On December 17, 2019, Celebrity Cruises dropped the surcharge on the "Classic Beverage" perk.   The option to get a free Classic Beverage Package included as a perk with your cruise fare has been popular with many Celebrity Cruise passengers. But starting October 10, 2019, Celebrity will add a $14.00/day per person surcharge to your cruise fare, adding an extra $196 to your seven night cruise for two passengers choosing the "Classic Beverage" ......

By |October 10th, 2019|Categories: Celebrity Cruises, Cruises|0 Comments

Killarney Ireland – a must see excursion

Muckross House, Killarney National Park ​Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because of its luscious green landscapes and rugged coastline. Several cruise lines offer multi-day pre- or post-cruise land vacations that include a day or two in Killarney Ireland or you can easily visit on your own. Visiting the Killarney area it is a great way to experience authentic old Ireland and explore its beautiful geography. TOWN OF KILLARNEY The first settlements in ......

By |October 10th, 2019|Categories: Ireland|0 Comments

Ritz-Carlton yacht launch delayed

DELAY OF SHIP BUILD The launch of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's first ship has been delayed four months from February 2020 to June 2020 due to cost and ship building issues at the Spanish Hijos De J. Barreras shipyard. All cruises between February 5, 2020 and June 13, 2020 have been cancelled.   "With additional challenges around the former shipyard management, both the new board of Hijos de J. Barreras and the board of ......

By |October 2nd, 2019|Categories: Cruises, Ritz-Carlton|0 Comments

What are cruise line automatic gratuities and do I have to pay them?

Most non-luxury cruise lines add a charge to your onboard account for gratuities. Typically the charge is added to your account the night before your cruise ends. This charge can range from $14 - $25 per person per day.  The charge is used to compensate crew members for the services they provide during your trip. This includes waiters, bartenders, stateroom attendants, the culinary team and those providing behind the scene services related to your ......

By |September 25th, 2019|Categories: Cruises|0 Comments

Mississippi riverboat cruises are taking off – This book tells you why!

Courtesy: American Queen Steamboat Company About two weeks ago I was asked by Sunny Lockwood to read and review her new book “Cruising the Mississippi.” The book was written with her husband Al and will be released in October 1, 2019 (it is available for order on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble). I received the pre-publication copy Friday and began reading it immediately. ​For those who have wondered whether a Mississippi river ......

By |September 11th, 2019|Categories: River Cruises|0 Comments

Six reasons why you should take a fall foliage cruise

SIX REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE A FALL FOLIAGE CRUISE 1) There are cruises available for every budget ​With summer winding to a close, its time to consider a fall foliage cruise along the New England and Canadian coast. If you live in an area that doesn’t experience the annual beauty of the changing of the foliage colors, it is truly an experience you shouldn’t miss. 2) Follow the transition of the colors You ......

By |September 5th, 2019|Categories: Cruises, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ponant Buys Paul Gauguin Cruises

Courtesy: Paul Gauguin Cruises The French luxury cruise line Ponant has confirmed its planned purchase of the Tahiti-based Paul Gauguin Cruises, which will continue to operate as a separate brand. Paul Gauguin Cruises has been sailing the South Pacific since 1997. Ponant currently has a fleet of 9 ships with plans to expand to 14 ships by 2021. Paul Gauguin has one ship which holds 332 passengers with itineraries in French Polynesia, Fiji and ......

By |August 13th, 2019|Categories: Paul Gaugin Cruises, Ponant|0 Comments

Venice redirects large cruise ships

What it means for you Italian officials announced this week that they will start redirecting large cruise ships away from the historic center of the city. These ships will no longer be able to cruise through the Giudecca Canal. As you can see from the picture above, these huge ships are so massive they obliterate the view of this charming city. Locals worry that the wake caused by these massive ships undermines the wooden ......

By |August 10th, 2019|Categories: Italy, Venice|0 Comments
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