Thursday, March 26, 2009

America's Most Popular Tourist Attractions

According to Forbes Traveler and USA Today, these were America's most popular tourist attractions in 2008.

Times Square, New York, NY
Most people who visit the U.S. make sure to visit the Big Apple, and most visitors in NYC make sure to visit Times Square, making it the most popular tourist attraction.

Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, NV
Last year alone, more than 30 million people visited the Las Vegas strip, and either stayed overnight or gambled on the strip.

National Mall & Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.
Many of the nation's iconic public landmarks are found in the 1,000-plus acres of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, including the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Memorials, and the Korean and Vietnam War Veterans Memorials.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MA
The cultural significance of this marketplace makes this a cultural attraction, and a very popular one!

Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL
This park is the most popular of any of the Disney Florida attractions, and includes the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Country Bear Jamboree.

Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
The original Disney Park in California has been a huge American attraction every since it's opening in 1955.

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA
The estimated visitors to Fisherman's Wharf last year alone was between 12-15 million.

Niagra Falls, NY
The falls can be viewed from observation towers, by boat, from an antique cable car, or from hiking trails on the Canadian side.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee, North Carolina
This park draws more visitors than the Grand Canyon or Yosemite. Most visitors come to the park to see bears, as there are more than 1,500 bears that live in the park.

Lake Mead national Recreation Area, Arizona, Nevada
Lake Mead is the U.S.'s largest man-made lake and is a recreational mecca for boaters, swimmers and fisherman.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to get started planning your next vacation!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Curbside to Shipboard in 15 Minutes?

The bigger the ship, the more hassles there are embarking and disembarking at the beginning and end of a voyage, typically. But officials at Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades say the much-ballyhooed, 5,400-passenger Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship ever built, will be an exception to the rule when it debuts at the port later this year.

Industry watcher Johanna Jainchill of Travel Weekly today quotes port director Phillip Allen as saying the port plans on moving passengers from "curbside to shipboard in 15 minutes." In anticipation of the arrival of the Royal Caribbean vessel, which debuts in November, the port has done extensive renovations to one of its terminals to allow passengers to flow quickly on and off the ship. The port boasts that the terminal is now the largest single-ship cruise terminal in the world.

The Oasis of the Seas has 28 ultra-modern loft suites and 2,700 spacious staterooms, and 16-decks featuring 4 pools and 10 whirlpools, 4 different venues offering nightly entertainment, Casino Royale, day spa and fitness club and six different dining options.

To get started booking your next cruise, contact a Professional Travel Agent today!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Random Screenings at Airport Gates to Resume

The Transportation Security Administration announced on Wednesday that they are going to be doing more random gate checks at airports from now on. They actually started doing them a few months ago.

The Spokeswoman for TSA, Laura Uselding said "this is not because of any specific threat", but additional measures to help prevent "weapons or other contraband from being passed from an employee to passenger before boarding". "Gate screening is particularly effective at addressing insider threats and serves as a random and unpredictable security layer that, like all TSA's security measures, was developed using a risk-based approach," Uselding said.

The TSA sent letters out to airports last week informing them of the changes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Holland America Introduces "Showroom at Sea"

Holland America Cruise Line will introduce a new concept in shipboard entertainment with its first "Showroom at Sea" in May, 2009.

An innovative musical repertory company consisting of seasoned Broadway performers will be the centerpiece of the new entertainment lineup. Created in partnership with Stiletto Entertainment, producers of Emmy award winning TV shows and concert tours, the new programming debuts on the Veendam in May as part of Holland America Line's Signature of Excellence enhancements.

The Showroom at Sea, a modern-day take on the classic nightclub, will feature state of the art technology and a different show and themed environment nightly. Comprised of cast members with credits such as Les Miserables and Rent on Broadway, National Tours of Mamma Mia and performances with the Tokyo Philharmonic, the shows include "Street Singin'," "Encore," "Live from the Stardust Lounge," and "Bob Mackie's Broadway."

The Showroom at Sea is a completely redesigned main stage, with all new seating and an enlarged dance floor enabling guests to combine cocktails, dancing and a show. A new sound system, enhanced lighting, and state of the art video projections transport guests into diverse environments as scenery and decor leap off the stage and into the seats.

Each evening features unique drink menus and table settings. From four vocalists singing pop/rock on the street corner, to two classical vocalists backed by a lavish 14-piece orchestra, to an evening at a fictitious Vegas nightclub hosted by the resident comedian, each night reveals an exciting new production.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next Cruise!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Travel Deals Abound!

Trying to figure out how to fit a vacation into the budget this year? There are some great travel deals to be found right now! Discounted airfares and packages are being offered to just about any part of the globe, but especially to the South Pacific & Hawaii!

Some of the unbelievably great specials that we are offering right now include;

Roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Sydney or Melbourne, Australia starting at $475.00 plus tax, non-stop!

Roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand as low as $598.00 plus tax!

Roundtrip fares to Hawaii from San Francisco starting at $298.00 plus tax!

Also, we have some great package deals right now, such as a 7 day air & land package to the beautiful Fiji Islands, for just $1750.00 plus taxes, per person!

These are some of the lowest prices that have been offered in years!
To find out about our other great specials, or to get started booking your next vacation, contact a Professional Travel Agent today!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Airport Security Rules Require More Personal Information

The TSA is getting ready to institute new rules in regards to booking airline reservations. In the near future passengers will be required to give their birth date, sex, and their full name. The name on the ticket MUST match exactly the name on the photo ID you will be using. So you will need to be very careful when booking an airline reservation.

The new program is called Secure Flight and takes responsibility for checking passenger names against "watch lists" from the airlines to the TSA. Only passengers who are cleared by the TSA will be given boarding passes. The TSA says the program will improve the quality of the watch lists and will reduce the misidentification of innocent travelers who are mistakenly placed on the "no-fly" list.

The new rules are set to begin first on domestic flights early this year and on international flights late in the year. The TSA says the information will be held for no more than seven days. It will cost the airlines an additional $630 million to reprogram their reservations systems.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

U.S. Dept of State Issues Travel Warning for Mexico

On February 20, the U.S. Department of State issued the following Travel Alert:

While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including thousands who cross the land border every day for study, tourism or business), violence in the country has increased recently. It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and whom to contact if one becomes a crime victim. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.

The greatest increase in violence has occurred near the U.S. border. However, U.S. citizens traveling throughout Mexico should exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Mexican and foreign bystanders have been injured or killed in violent attacks in cities across the country, demonstrating the heightened risk of violence in public places. In recent years, dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped across Mexico. Many of these cases remain unresolved. U.S. citizens who believe they are being targeted for kidnapping or other crimes should notify Mexican officials and the nearest American consulate or the Embassy as soon as possible, and should consider returning to the United States.

U.S. citizens should make every attempt to travel on main roads during daylight hours, particularly the toll ("cuota") roads, which generally are more secure. Occasionally, the U.S. Embassy and consulates advise their employees as well as private U.S. citizens to avoid certain areas, abstain from driving on certain roads because of dangerous conditions or criminal activity, or recommend driving during daylight hours only. When warranted, U.S. government employees are restricted from traveling to or within parts of Mexico without prior approval from their supervisors.

When this happens, the Embassy or the affected consulate will alert the local U.S. citizen Warden network and post the information on their respective websites, indicating the nature of the concern and the expected time period for which the restriction will remain in place. U.S. citizen visitors are encouraged to stay in the well-known tourist areas of the cities. Travelers should leave their itinerary with a friend or family member not traveling with them, avoid traveling alone, and should check with their cellular provider prior to departure to confirm that their cell phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G international networks. Do not display expensive-looking jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items.

For more information, check the U.S. Dept of State Website.
To get started booking your next trip to Mexico, or anywhere else, contact a Professional Travel Agent today!