Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my clients, friends and family members! I thought I'd try something new this year and put my Christmas/Year-end letter on my Blog so it can easily be accessed for anyone who wants to read it! The photo to the left was taken on my most recent trip. I just returned from an incredible trip to the Galapagos and to Machu Picchu. I sell a lot of these two destinations but have so much more knowledge about Ecuador and Peru now that I have been there! Both are remarkable places!
2015 in Review. This was a year filled with many "firsts" and some incredible travel experiences. Here are a few of the highlights:
My Business. I am so grateful to my incredible clients as 2015 was the second best year in the history of findacruisedeal.com, my travel agency. In 2016 my agency will celebrate its 20th birthday!!
Upcoming Trips. There are a lot of trips planned for the next two years. Here are some of the upcoming trips I hope to escort:
Other Highlights. There are too many personal highlights to mention in this update. Some are listed in the photos shown. I had SO many great moments with life-long and brand new friends. I can't mention all by name or I'll leave someone out! I spent time with my wonderful family. I enjoyed RUHS and USC athletic events. I traveled the world and I viewed many sunsets. I'm grateful for BB7, my Wednesday Men's Bible Study and so much more!
Counting My Blessings. When it comes to family, friends and clients, I am the luckiest man alive! I'm so grateful for each of the people in my life. Wishing each of you many blessings during this Christmas and much joy in 2016.
How could I summarize any year without mentioning USC football. Some day USC will be back to its National Championship status. This was not the year. However, we were undefeated in the PAC-12 South and beat UCLA!! I had the pleasure this year of meeting Mike Rae who was quarterback of the National Championship team in 1972, my freshman year, touted by many (including me) as the best college football team of all time.
Earlier this summer I returned from my tenth trip to Alaska. This time I had about 20 findacruisedeal.com clients with me. As a result of my frequent trips to Alaska and my 20 years in the cruise business I've gained a great deal of knowledge about this destination.
I'm hoping this Alaska tip on my blog will help our current and future clients as they plan their own first, second or multiple trip to this great state! I always tell people that if they can only go on one cruise in their lifetime, Alaska is the place to go. I never get tired of this destination.
I remind our readers in this and every tip... You do NOT save money by booking your Alaska cruise direct with the cruise line. Please call us to let us help you plan the Alaska cruise that is best for your situation. We always try to find the best possible deal for our clients...and you will likely receive added benefits you would NOT get booking direct!
What are the itinerary options for an Alaska cruise? While there are cruise lines that offer unique itineraries, more than 90% of Alaska cruises are either:
a) Round trip from Seattle
b) One way between Vancouver and Anchorage (Northbound or Southbound)
And, more than 90% of Alaska cruises are 7 nights in duration. (Again, there are other options.) For example, one cruise line offers 10-night cruises from San Francisco.
So many people choose the round trip Seattle option because of the convenience of a round trip flight within the Continental USA. But should you choose the itinerary strictly because of the convenience of the flights? I much prefer the northbound or southbound cruises to the round trip cruises.
Add-on Land Packages: For those sailing round trip from Seattle or Vancouver we can add on a pre or post-cruise land package to Whistler, Jasper and/or Banff, Canada! For those doing a one-way cruise between Anchorage and Vancouver, we can add a 3-7 night pre or post-cruise land package with such destinations as Denali National Park, the Yukon, Fairbanks and many other stops in the interior of Alaska.
Cruise Line Options: There are many different cruise line companies that sail to Alaska...from the most budget of lines to the top-of-the-line luxury lines. One of the benefits of working with an agency like findacruisedeal.com is that we help you select the correct cruise line for your situation and budget.
For a complete list of Alaska cruise itinerary options contact our office. We already have a record number of clients booked for 2016!
Most of our business is that of helping people plan their own private land-based or cruise-based vacations. But we also lead several groups per year to various places in the world...both cruise AND land-based trips!
So that you don't have to go through all of our blog entries to find all of the upcoming trips we hope to escort, here is a summary of them...we've also included a link to a blog entry with the specifics about each trip.
At the bottom of most of these blog entries you will see a link to a PDF document...click on this link to view and/or download a flyer with more specifics about that particular trip.
If you have a few friends or family members who want to go to a specific part of the world, let us know and we will put a custom trip together for you!
Here is the summary of our upcoming escorted trips:
We hope to escort a group of our clients on this luxury voyage aboard the Regent Seven Seas Navigator. The ship departs Lisbon on October 23, 2016 and sails for 24 nights down the west coast of Africa to the port of Cape Town...one of our favorite world cities.
Regent Seven Seas is an all-inclusive cruise line so your spirits, gratuities, shore excursions, air and transfers are all included!
For pricing and the itinerary, click on the PDF file below.
We hope to escort this cruise that will depart Dubai and cruise through the Suez Canal before we visit the Holy Land and continue on to Monte Carlo. This is a great cruise for those who have been to most parts of the world but have yet to say they've cruised the Suez Canal. It is also a great trip for those who have not seen the Holy Land or, perhaps, have always wanted to go to Dubai.
This 20-night voyage, departing May 5, 2016, is aboard the luxurious Seabourn Sojourn...in our opinion, the perfect-size ship with just 450 passengers. This is an all-suite vessel where wine, spirits and gratuities are all included in the cruise fare!
For further information, please click on the PDF flyer below. Current prices and a day-by-day itinerary are shown here. We hope you'll join us on this incredible voyage!
Our agency sells quite a few Regent Seven Seas (RSSC) cruises every year. RSSC is the ideal cruise line for the upscale traveler who does not like to get "nickel and dimed" on a cruise.
Let's say that you normally cruise on a "premium" (middle level) cruise line but that you usually get a mini-suite or suite on that cruise line. Once you are on board the premium cruise line, you are charged for shore excursions, transfers to and from the ship, wine with dinner, gratuities and even bottles of water. Often the onboard bill for some of our clients approaches the cost of the trip itself. Wouldn't it be nice to get off a cruise ship and have that final bill have a $00.00 balance due? That is very possible when you sail with RSSC!
Believe it or not, the entry level cabin on two of the three RSSC ships is nicer than the mini-suite on most of the premium cruise lines' ships.
The "Veranda Suite" features a walk-in closet with a safe, a spacious bathroom with separate shower and bathtub, your own private balcony and a sitting area adjacent to the comfortable bed.
Our voyage to Antarctica on the Seabourn Quest was not only spectacular with regard to service, staff and scenery...it was also a very educational trip. Before I left home, I didn't know one penguin from another. And, while there were many penguin species we did not see, we became very familiar with several species. Below are some photos of the penguins we visited. To view our entire Antarctica Album Click Here
The Gentoo Penguin is recognizable by its bright orange beak.
This is the Adelie Penguin...very common along the Antarctic Coastline.
The Chinstrap Penguin got his name for obvious reasons.
Our agency was one of the few travel agencies that has been booking clients with Oceania Cruises since the day they opened their doors. It is one of the cruise lines we sell the most. Our owner has sailed on all five of Oceania's ships and has been present for the christenings of three of the five vessels, including the Riviera celebration shown above.
While we can help our valuable clients with ANY Oceania sailing, on the 2016 voyages mentioned below our agency offers added benefits...these are in addition to any benefits and promotions offered by Oceania at the time you sign up for your cruise. (All benefits shown below are subject to availability and can be withdrawn at any time. In most cases the added benefits are for those booked in a balcony cabin or higher.)
Here are some of the sailings we are offering with ADDED bonus amenities!
Since returning from Antarctica earlier this year, we have posted hundreds of photos of our spectacular trip. If you missed them, Click Here ... they can be viewed right here on our website.
Most ships that go to Antarctica are older "explorer" vessels. But with this trip, you get the expedition experience but will cruise in luxury aboard the Seabourn Quest, known by many as the best service at sea! It is truly the best of both worlds.
Because these trips sell out very early, we recommend that you hold the best cabins as soon as possible. The deposit is fully refundable. For more information about this cruise, the itinerary and the pricing, click on the icon below. It will open up a flyer that you can view and/or print out.