Thursday, January 19, 2012

River Cruising

River cruise ships are smaller than ocean-going cruise ships, typically holding 90-240 passengers. Due to their smaller size and low draft, river cruise ships can go where ocean cruise ships cannot, and sometimes to where no other transport is practical: rivers are an excellent way to reach some attractions, for example in Russia, China, Egypt and Europe.

During river cruises the countryside is usually in view, which makes the sailing part very interesting and relaxing. River cruises typically last from 7 to 15 days.  Most river ships are equivalent to 5-star hotels, with sun decks, dining rooms, lounges, fitness facilities, swimming pools, casinos and other entertainment. Accommodation, meals onboard, entertainment and special events (holidays, festivals, contests, concerts, etc.) are usually included in the cruise price, as well as many guided shore excursions headed by a host that is very familiar with the area. Bar expenses, spa, laundry and cleaning, internet and phone calls are not.

A river cruise provides travelers a unique way to travel. There are many opportunites to explore river side towns and the towns close by. The pace is very calm, which is very refreshing in today’s world. You can see multiple destinations, great views, and only have to unpack once!

So, if you are thinking of traveling to Europe or the surrounding areas, perhaps you should consider a river cruise. There are many fantastic itineraries, ranging from Tulip Time, Danube, Treasures of the Rhine, Paris, Vineyards to name a few. Perhaps Asia is a place on your bucket list? A river cruise is perfect! Sail the Yangtze or the Mekong and be amazed. There are also amazing itineraries through Egypt as well.

If taking a land tour, checking in and out of different hotels and waking up at the crack of dawn is not quite what you call a vacation, consider that river cruise. You will find luxury, convenience and great guides with knowledge to enhance your journey.

Give us a call and let us help you plan your trip, 888-882-5793! Visit our River Cruising section of our website to see the variety of operators and itineraries.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Safety on Cruise Ships

This blog is a repost of mine. In light of what has happened with the Costa Concordia in Italy, I really thought it was important to put the word out there again about safety on board cruise ships. Unfortunately, accidents do happen in areas of transportation. I certainly am not making any judgements until all investigations are released. We are not sure how the ship hit a rock, but we are sure that the Captain did get the ship as close as possible to land, which I am sure is a major factor as to why there are not more injuries or fatalities. While any injury or fatality is too many, I do keep that in mind. This was an unfortunate situation, and my heart goes out to all of the passengers, the crew, and their families. I cannot imagine going through that. Let's not make any judgements until the investigations are complete.

Cruising is still a fantastic vacation, a great value for your money, and it is still extremely safe.

As an important reminder, most major cruise lines are members of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association). The nonprofit Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is North America's largest cruise industry organization in terms of cruise line, industry suppliers, and travel agency membership. ClIA represents the interests of member cruise lines, 100 Executive Partners and more than 15,000 Travel agencies. CLIA participates in the regulatory and policy development process while supporting measures that foster a safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environment. CLIA's Executive Partner program includes strategic relationships between key cruise industry supplier organizations, cruise lines, ports and shipyards and provides interaction with governmental agencies such as Homeland Security, EOA CBP, US Coast Guard, and the FBI. When you do decide to cruise, make sure you are sailing on a line that is a member of CLIA.

There has been a lot of negative press lately regarding cruise ships (fire at sea, broken rudder, bad weather). As unfortunate as these events have been, we don’t seem to hear anything about the safety at sea for some reason. Approximately 19 million passengers cruise each year, and there are over 350 cruise ships sailing the waters today. For arguments sake, let’s just say that each of the 350 ships departs once a week (some depart 2 – 3 times a week, and some once a month on a long sailing). That is over 18,200 departures a year. Now think of the past year … what negative press have we been faced with? Just a handful. Not a whole lot when you think of the numbers. And, accidents do happen. Instead of focusing on all of the negative things that happen, we should focus on the positive.

The cruise industry maintains an excellent safety record. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, cruising today is one of the safest modes of transportation, and the industry is constantly striving to improve its safety procedures. Over the past two decades, an estimated 90 million passengers safely enjoyed a cruise vacation. In 1996, the U.S. Coast Guard conducted a comprehensive safety study that concluded the cruise industry is the safest form of commercial transportation and that international safety initiatives being undertaken should further improve its safety record.

As a travel agent, we hear things that most people do not. Being in Florida, one of my number one questions is “is it safe to cruise during hurricane season?” I answer yes. Now, there is the potential that your cruise itinerary may be impacted by a storm, but there is not much of a chance you’ll be put in harm’s way. Today’s modern ships come equipped with state-of-the-art satellite equipment to follow the paths of storms and head away from the storm track. Captains are masters at avoiding the storms. And, you can usually get a good deal sailing the Caribbean during Hurricane Season!

I guess the point I am trying to make is that will all of the departures, all of the passengers sailing … there really hasn’t been many issues. Even when there is no power due to fire, the cruise lines do a wonderful job at trying to keep passengers safe and happy. And while situations do happen and are unfortunate, a full reimbursement of cruise fare, free future cruises, on board credit, discounts and more is quite a nice gesture.

The cruise industry is the most exciting growth category in the entire leisure market. Since 1990, the industry has had an average annual passenger growth rate of 7.2% per annum.

The cruise market potential is strong. Over the next three years, over 50 million North Americans indicate intent to cruise. To date, approximately 20% of the U.S. population has ever cruised. By maintaining historical occupancy levels, the cruise industry will welcome 14.43 million guests in 2010.

The cruise product is incredibly diversified with literally a cruise vacation for everyone. Over the past 10 years, the industry has responded to extensive market and consumer research that has guided the addition of new destinations, new ship design concepts, new on-board/on-shore activities, new themes and new cruise lengths to reflect the changing vacation patterns of today’s market.

The cruise industry’s product delivers unparalleled customer satisfaction. Whether a frequent or first-time cruiser, the cruise experience consistently exceeds expectations on a wide range of important vacation attributes. On a comparative basis versus other vacation categories, cruising consistently receives top marks. The on-going challenge for our industry is to convert cruise prospects into new cruisers.

Cruising is an important vehicle for sampling destination areas to which passengers may return. 80% of cruise passengers agree that a cruise vacation is good way to sample destinations that they may wish to visit again on a land-based vacation. Nearly 40% of cruise vacationers state that they returned to vacation at a destination first visited by cruise.. Cruisers are not exclusively cruisers; rather they are frequent vacationers who cruise as part of their vacation mix.

So, what are you waiting for? Let us help you find your perfect cruise! Where else can you visit multiple destinations, unpack only once and have all of your meals and entertainment included? Give us a call today!

We offer cruise and land vacations at the best price, guaranteed. We help provide you with a vacation & memories that will last a lifetime! We have volume purchasing power, industry expertise & commitment to providing the best possible experience.

CruiseOne Freer & Associates, or call us toll free 888-882-5793. We look forward to helping you plan your dream vacation! And if cruising is not for you, we handle land vacations as well!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Alaska - Golden Princes ... Great Rates!

Thinking of sailing to Alaska this summer? We have some great rates on the Golden Pricess, August 25, 2012, doing a 7 night sailing round trip from Seattle, Washington with the following itinerary:

Sat 08/25/12 Seattle, Washington - Embark- Time subject to change 04:00 PM
Sun 08/26/12 At Sea
Mon 08/27/12 Juneau, Alaska 12:00 PM 10:00 PM
Tue 08/28/12 Skagway, Alaska 06:00 AM 08:15 PM
Wed 08/29/12 Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska - Scenic Crusing 08:00 AM 01:00 PM
Thu 08/30/12 Ketchikan, Alaska 06:00 AM 12:30 PM
Fri 08/31/12 Victoria, British Columbia 07:00 PM 11:59 PM
Sat 09/01/12 Seattle, Washington - Disembark - Times subject to change 07:00 AM

This gives a great sample of Alaska with air to a US port (which saves some money!). The ports visited allow for some fantastic shore excursions such as a rail ride in Skagway, panning for gold, salmon fishing, great wildlife viewing, plus so much more.

Currently I also have a $50.00 on board credit for each stateroom, so a great little amenity to help with your on board spending.

Ready to book?? Give me a call! Interior rates are starting at $875.57 per person and ocean view and balcony rates are starting at $1,361.57 per person (these rates include cruise fare, port charges and taxes).

You can reach me anytime via email at, toll free at 888-882-5793 or visit me on the web at

I look forward to helping you plan your vacation!