Our quarterly magazine featuring articles on the Emerald Buddha, Solo Woman Travelers, London's Underground, St Lucia's healing baths and Ireland off-season.
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 to your bill, and if you want to have them adjusted or removed, that will take some extra effort on your part. Usually the reception or guest services desk can take care of it for you.
Most seniors traveling abroad have health coverage through Medicare. Here are some important considerations when considering which travel insurance plans work best for you.
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:
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 lines have announced and offered "Wave Season" deals in December. Here are some:
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.
I should note that the drive from Sorrento to Pompeii is not for the faint of heart. The road hugs the mountain cliffs with steep vertical drops.
Just over 20 years ago, we took our first cruise. As we entered the ship’s atrium on our very first voyage, we were awestruck by the glamour and size of the ship. Our balcony stateroom was crisp, clean, and inviting, but it was our cabin steward who truly wowed us. Anytime we left the stateroom, she’d scurry in and completely refresh it. The ice bucket was always filled, towels replaced with fresh, and the bathroom left sparkling and clean again. She pampered us, and we felt like kings. We had never experienced that level of care and attention, even at some of the finest hotels in the world in which we had previously lodged. We thought, “We can get used to this lifestyle!”
And so we did.
Paul 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 using advanced battery technology.
Paul Gauguin Cruises was purchased by French cruise line Ponant in August. The ships will be built based on the design of Ponant's current Explorer-class ships.
"We are delighted to continue our historic collaboration with Fincantieri,” said Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of Ponant. “This agreement for two additional ships allows us to develop the Paul Gaugin brand we acquired a few weeks ago and consolidates our position as the world leader of luxury expedition cruise.”
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: