Thursday, June 30, 2011

Travel to Cuba Now an Option for Americans

Now available for Americans; small group tours to Cuba, where participants take part in people-to-people educational programs. The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has approved tours to take Americans to Cuba.

The program operated from 2000 to 2003, when it was discontinued because of new travel regulations. The programs will now be allowed to resume as those regulations have been revised.

Now anyone can reserve a spot on one of the company's six programs with more than 130 departures through September. Each trip will be limited to 16 participants and led by a host/escort. Prices, starting around $1,700 USD will cover all meals, accommodations in four and five-star hotels (double occupancy), ground transportation, domestic flights within Cuba if required, all entry fees, guide services, travel insurance and U.S. Treasury Department license and letter of authorization.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent for more information!

World's Longest Bridge Opens in China

China has opened the world's longest cross-sea bridge, which stretches five miles further than the distance between Dover and Calais.

The Jiaozhou Bay bridge is 26.4 miles long and 110 ft wide, and links China's eastern port city of Qingdao to the offshore island Huangdao. Chinese TV reports said the bridge passed construction appraisals on Monday and it, along with an undersea tunnel, would be opened for traffic today.

It took four years to build the massive bridge, which is supported by more than 5,000 pillars across the bay. It is almost three miles longer than the previous record-holder; the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. At a cost of 1 billion pounds, two separate groups of workers have been building it from different ends of the structure since 2006.

Contact a Travel Agent to book your next trip to China!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Airline Bans Infants from Cabin

Malaysia Airlines has banned babies in the first-class sections of its Boeing 747-400 jets. It also plans to do the same in its soon-to-be-delivered Airbus A380 superjumbo jets, according to the Australian Business Traveler.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Tengku Azmil says the carrier is responding to its many complaints from first-class passengers about crying infants. When asked to clarify if this meant the "no babies in first class policy – so no bassinets in 1st on MAS A380?" Azmil replied "Yup!".

Earlier this month Azmil used Twitter to defend MAS' decision not to install bassinets in the first class cabin of its Boeing 747-400 fleet, as a result of which parents with infants are not permitted to travel in first class, and will have to book in the bassinet-equipped business or economy sections instead.

Azmil said that the airline has received several complaints about crying infants from first class passengers that they "spend money on 1st class yet can't sleep due to crying infants", following this with the admission that it was possible for MAS to fit bassinets to the pointy end of its 747-400s "but many people complain about it."

These 747-400s fly between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, KL and London, and KL and Amsterdam, with the Airbus A380s due to take over those routes next year.

Sydney and Melbourne are on the shortlist for the MAS Airbus A380 once the first flights from KL to London and Amsterdam are bedded down and MAS builds up what will eventually be a six-strong superjumbo fleet.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent to book your next international flight!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Spend Less on International Travel

Many of us are working with reduced budgets in today’s economy. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t still travel internationally. These simple tips can help make your travel dollars go further.

Travel During Off Season.

This is pretty simple and often the biggest money saver. Do a little research as to when the off season is where you are traveling to before making travel plans. Summer and holiday travel will almost always be the most expensive, while travel during Spring or Fall will often be substantially lower.

Book Your Ticket Early.

If you want to get the best deal on airfare, make sure to purchase your ticket at least a few months in advance. If you have to travel over the holidays, book 3-5 months prior to travel to get the best rates. Last minute tickets often come with hefty price tags.

Use Public Transportation.

Forgo renting a car or booking private transfers. If you are traveling to a big city, most offer various public transportation options and can save you lots in the long run.

Consider Spending some Time in a Hostel.

Hostels aren’t for everyone, but many people do opt to stay in them, especially in Europe. Hostels aren’t just for college students anymore. These days’ people of all ages can be found staying in them, and many offer private or semi-private rooms. Since they cost substantially less then hotels, sometimes spending just a few nights in a hostel and out of the hotel can make your trip more affordable.

Eat Cheap.

The amount of money you spend on food can vary greatly, and can ultimately end up costing you a small fortune if you’re eating at restaurants three times a day. Instead, consider eating just one meal a day at a restaurant, like breakfast or lunch, which is always cheaper than dinner prices. Order the soup from the menu, which is almost always inexpensive, yet healthy and filling. Consider buying some meals from a local supermarket. Often, the deli at a local market can provide you with sandwiches, salads, chips, and beverages for half of what you'd pay if you bought the same meal at a restaurant.

Check on Your Cell Phone Plan.
Many people are not aware that all cellular plans are domestic, and using them internationally can rack up thousands of dollars in fees unknowingly! Make sure to check with your cell phone carrier prior to traveling abroad if you plan on bringing your phone, and find out what kind of international plans they offer.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to get started booking your next International Vacation!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Civil War Theme Cruises

American Cruise Lines will offer Civil War theme cruises aboard its new sternwheeler, Queen of the Mississippi, which is currently under construction in Salisbury.

The ship will enter service next summer. Passengers will be invited to retrace the steps of the Civil War, discovering famous museums, such as Vicksburg's National Military Park and New Orleans' Civil War Museum, the oldest museum in Louisiana. Memorial monuments such as the 60 foot-tall statue of Robert E. Lee, also in New Orleans can be seen, and famous historic battle fields, including those of Vicksburg and Nashville.

On board, passengers will enjoy era-inspired cuisine, music and entertainment, while sharing war theories along the way with onboard Civil War historians. Dependent on the itinerary, each theme cruise will feature elements specific to each destination, making for a truly remarkable experience.

Details about these and other theme cruise will be available later this summer. Contact a Cruise Specialist today for more information, or to book your next cruise!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lahaina Noon

Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. where the sun stands directly overhead at high noon, but only twice each year.

This astonomical phenomenon is known as the "Lahaina Noon". For that brief moment, you have no shadow. The next occurence will be between July 11-24, depending on the location within the state.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Princess Cruises Now Offering Zumba Classes

Zumba Fitness classes, the exhilarating dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music and contagious choreography, is rolling out to the entire Princess Cruise fleet.

Since December, passengers on many Princess ships have been joining in the hip-shaking fun with complimentary classes taught by licensed Zumba instructors. The classes quickly became among the most popular activities on board, and now additional staff members will complete the official training to become licensed Zumba instructors as the program expands fleetwide.

On land, there are more than 110,000 Zumba classes held in gyms, fitness studios and even nightclubs, attracting millions of enthusiasts around the world. At sea, Princess ships offer the complimentary workouts once or twice per cruise, transforming venues such as Club Fusion, the Piazza or the outside decks adjacent to Movies Under the Stars into a high-energy Zumba fitness party.

Contact a Cruise Specialist today to book your next Cruise Vacation!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

New Lounge for Venice Cruise Passengers

Venice is opening a new lounge for passengers coming and going from cruise ships. The new lounge will be available beginning July 2 at Venice Cruise Terminal for those passengers waiting for transfers to the airport.

It is located on the first floor in Terminal 103 and will be open from 8 am to 5 pm during the peak days of July, August, September and October. Called the Comfort Lounge, it will feature a bar serving food and beverages, have air conditioning, comfortable seats, shatzu massaging armchairs, screens broadcasting news, tourist information, and information on flight departures, a reading room with international papers, free internet points and a printer for web check-in, a free Wi-Fi area and hostesses offering general assistance and information.

Also a special room for kids will be fitted with a colorful playground suitable from toddlers to pre-teens, with games, table and seats, blackboards and pencils. The admittance ticket is €6 including a free soft drink. Accompanied children under the age of 12 will have free access. This is a good deal if you have a couple of hours or more to wait.

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