Posted by Christy Jourdan on Jan 29, 2013 in Destinations
, Specialist Experience
There’s nothing like hitting the beach for some sun, fun and relaxation. For a revitalizing getaway it’s hard to beat and what better place for it than Mexico and the Caribbean? They’re easy to get to and ready to welcome you with all the facilities you need for the perfect sun drenched getaway!
Click HERE for a list of the World’s Best Beaches…
Posted by Christy Jourdan on Dec 26, 2012 in Destinations
TRAVEL STYLE: AFRICAN GAME VIEWING
Observing rhino on a game drive in South Africa. Photo: South African Tourism
Seeing the majestic animals of Africa in their natural environment is the number one reason travelers visit this amazing continent. National Parks, private game reserves, conservation areas and game outlook lodges all provide excellent opportunities for you to view the animals safely and at close range. This is one of the most thrilling travel adventures you’ll encounter! Take a look at some of the game viewing options offered by our partners in Africa.
Read more about African Game Viewing HERE
Posted by Christy Jourdan on Aug 12, 2012 in Destinations
, Specialist Experience
Ships and Trips Travel Advisor Paula Schroeder and her family went to Costa Rica for their family vacation this year. Here are her thoughts on their trip….and then, his thoughts.
We have two daughters, ages 10 and 13 years. One loves animals and the other loves adventure, so we chose Costa Rica for our family vacation this summer.
I went to my favorite source for vacations in Costa Rica, Way to Go Tours, and worked with them to put our dream itinerary together. My family and I flew into San Jose Costa Rica and over a ten day period traveled North to the Arenal Volcano, then West to the Cloud Forest and eventually South to the Pacific Coast Beaches before completing the circuit to fly out of San Jose.
Posted by Christy Jourdan on Aug 7, 2012 in Cruises
New England and the Canadian Atlantic make up the most northeast portion of North America, bordered on the north by the Arctic ocean. New England refers to the area covered by six of the United States of America: Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. The Canadian Atlantic consists of the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia – as well as Canada’s easternmost province, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Lobster Fishing Boats in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Northeastern Atlantic areas can be great places to experience good-natured entertainment and outdoor fun. Places like Boston, Prince Edward Island, Halifax, and Cape Cod all offer numerous activities, particularly outdoors. One should also consider a visit to the renowned universities of Yale, Harvard and MIT in New England. Hockey is also an extremely popular spectator sport in Canada, which can be fun attending.
Autumn in New England (Maine)
All of these areas long relied on fishing as a primary source of revenue, and the classic culinary scene reflects this. Lobster, clam, cod, potatoes and corn all figure heavily into the classic New England and Canadian Atlantic menu. More adventurous eaters might search out seal-flipper pie in Canadian Atlantic, specifically Newfoundland and Labrador.
Providence, Rhode Island Skyline
These areas’ location on the coast of the Atlantic, roughly across from much of Europe, meant that they were some of the first in the Americas to be settled and colonized. New England, as the name implies, was one of the first areas to be settled by English colonists sailing on behalf of the crown, and the culture of the area, at least historically, has represented this origin. Politically and culturally the region was the first to push for slavery abolition, a sentiment which continued throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The Canadian Atlantic first played host to early Norse settlers, then a diverse group of Italian, English and French settlements.
A popular saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes,” hints towards the climate goings and comings of the regions. Winters in these areas can get extremely cold, and summers very humid. Many tourists travel to New England and the Canadian Atlantic in the fall, when the region’s trees famously display a plethora of classic fall colorings.
Thank you to ShoreTrips for this guest post. For information on cruises and vacation packages to Canada and New England, contact your favorite Ships and Trips Travel Advisor, or visit our cruise center.
Posted by Christy Jourdan on Aug 1, 2012 in FAQ
, Specialist Experience
The current edition of the APEX (Airline Passengers Experience Association) Editor’s Blog is titled “Ten Things that Premium Airline Passengers Really Want.” Their list includes seats that are comfortable for sleeping, dining and premium beverages that are culturally representative of the region being visited, more storage, better in-seat power, etc. You can read their whole list here.
First Class on Lufthansa - nice!
This list got me thinking of my personal travels. My personal brushes with first class greatness have been few – using credit card points to upgrade into the front cabin, taking advantage of one of our wholesalers or air consolidators discounted contract rates on business or first class, receiving the exceedingly rare but coveted comp’d upgrade (for the win!).
I’m a vacation traveler, and a bargain shopper. I want my airline ticket to be as close to free as I can get it, so I can spend more on my vacation. I like nice hotel rooms with great views, I like my cruise ship stateroom to have a balcony, I like to try all the great local restaurants and visit all the museums…I want to spend my money at my destination, not getting to my destination. So splurging for a business or first class airline ticket isn’t a regular thing for me.
So when I read things like “pleasant and efficient “premium-feeling” terminal experiences at both ends of the flight,” I couldn’t help but chuckle. When was the last time I felt anything about air travel was ‘pleasant and efficient?’
And then I got to thinking…what are the things I want out of coach travel? I don’t need the airlines to provide me with in-flight entertainment – we all have gadgets full of music and movies; I don’t need pillows and blankets (kind of gross to think about reusing someone’s pillow). I don’t even need them to provide meals – we can pack our own snacks, as long as they keep offering us beverages. So – what do I really need from them?
- Seat assignments. That are free. And honored. I used to pride myself on using sites like seat guru to help me find the best seating for my clients. I’d grab those seat assignments the moment I booked their trip, and if there was a schedule change or an equipment change I’d go back into the record to get good seats again. And if there were no good seats left to assign, I’d get on the horn to the super-secret-travel-agent-line (yes, they do still exist!) and get someone from the airline to GET me the good seats. Now most airlines offer advance seat assignments to very early bookers, or premium frequent flyers, or people to who either pay for it. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked hard to have a special seating request confirmed by the airline, only to have it revoked at the airport. And I’ve HEARD airline employees say things like “your travel agent didn’t get you seats,” which I KNOW isn’t true. (Another reason why I sell and fly Southwest Airlines when it works!)
- No fees for changes. Sure, make the ticket non-refundable. I get it. But charging $75, $100, even $150 just to change an itinerary? It is so unfair. Why not just let us take the value of the ticket and apply it to the new reservation, and pay the difference? Seems like a steep penalty for a person that has to change their plans.
- A few extra inches. I want an extra inch for my knees, an extra inch for my carry-on, an extra inch for my butt, an extra inch to recline. I don’t want to do dental work on the passenger in front of me, and I don’t want to nap in the lap of the person behind me.
- Power. Lots of power outlets to plug in our gadgets. My family travels with tablets and laptops and iPods and Nintendo hand-held games. We need to be able to recharge at will, from every seat, on every flight. It keeps us entertained, thus happy, thus quietly buckled in our seats.
- One free checked bags. Charge away for lots of bags, oversized bags, extra-heavy cartons. But why not let us check a single bag for nothing? I was on a flight from San Francisco to New York on United Airlines, and I was one of the passengers boarding with a carry-on bag. The flight was full. By the time half of the passengers had boarded the overhead compartments were almost full. So each passenger took forever to get to their seats because they had to spend time looking for a place to stow their luggage. And the last 20 to 30 passengers to board were required to check their bags at the gate, which United did gratis. And everyone was grumbling, and it took forever, and by the time that plane took off – 10 minutes late – it was full of disgruntled passengers. Is this what they’re trying to achieve? And, another reason to love Southwest, by the way.
I love Southwest's baggage and ticket changing policies!
S0 – what do you want when flying coach?
Posted by Christy Jourdan on Jul 21, 2012 in Destinations
Traveling with three generations can be amazing – I know because my own family does it often! While it can be challenging to create an itinerary that appeals to all age groups and activity levels, it is so rewarding. Our extended family has taken several vacations together, and experiencing the world with grandparents and grand kids is very special.
In June 2011, Grandma Linda, adult daughter Jen, and teen grandsons Jackson and Jefferson asked me to help with their vacation to Europe. They had a limited travel window – after school got out but before summer camps began, and they had one wish – to see Germany and surrounding areas that were part of WWII history. Thanks to Jen for sharing photos and this review of their trip! – Christy Jourdan
Looking back, as I make iphoto books for my sons, I still can not believe what an amazing adventure we had on our vacation to Germany, Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, and Austria!
I knew that anything that Christy planned for us would be great, but I had no idea that we would have such a great adventure together (My mom, my boys, and I). Thank you so much for recommending the Cosmos tour.
The Generations dining in Frankfurt, Germany
We knew we didn’t want to be totally on our own, but we were hesitant to be a part of a tour. I thought we’d be herded from place to place without much free time. NOT AT ALL! I highly recommend Cosmos! Their tour was a great way to have someone else get us where we wanted to get and have our hotels and many meals all arranged, but still have many choices of adventures or free exploration time. Our tour guide Anna was a hoot! Her knowledge was impressive and her suggestions were very helpful when we chose to do go off on our own. And we met so many great people from all over the world on our coach. I still facebook with many of the people from our trip!
At the Berlin Wall
I am a picky eater and so are my boys, and we expected to just eat for survival. But we were constantly impressed with the delicious foods we were offered in the mornings at our hotels and the included dinners. We ate like kings and queens. When we were out with our group during the day we had so many delicious selections to eat in the cities we visited. Unfortunately, I might have gained a pound or two. Maybe we walked most of it off in one of my favorite optional tours…The Salt Mine in Poland. Jefferson (my 13-year-old) and I went on this tour together. I would hardly call it a mine. More like an enormous work of art deep in the earth. It was so beautiful and just amazing.
I can not leave out one of the adrenaline rushes of our trip. Jackson (my 16 year old) and I climbed to the top of the Bell Tower in a small town in a crater in Germany! It was a quick stop and we had to move quickly (which was good because there was no time to freak out). The view was breathtaking!
As I write this I am tearing up because my sons, my mom and I made so many memories. We laughed and learned and were constantly in awe by the sights and history. The reason we choose this tour was the WWII history involved, which was interesting, and sometimes sad. But, my boys, my mom and I experienced part of the world’s sad history together. Thanks to Christy for recommending this tour to us. We’ll never forget it!
Exploring Europe with the family!
And to other families with grandparents and teenage kids thinking about embarking on this sort of adventure – DO IT! CALL CHRISTY! You will cherish the memories forever as will we!
Biergarten in Munich - yum!
Snack shopping in Poland
At Starbucks to use the free wi-fi!
On the way to Vienna
Memories the whole family will cherish
The whole family on the coach
Posted by Christy Jourdan on May 23, 2012 in Destinations
, Specialist Experience
NOTE: On June 14, Disney California Adventure Park will be closed to accommodate a media preview and to make final preparations for its reopening. And Christy from Ships and Trips Travel will be there for the grand opening events! Be sure to follow us on facebook, twitter and youtube to see our live reports from the grand opening events from June 13 to June 15, 2012!
Posted by Christy Jourdan on Apr 28, 2012 in Specialist Experience
Don’t miss our SPRING TRAVEL SHOW!
At the Scottish Rite Center in Sacramento, located at 6151 H Street in Sacramento (near CSUS).
It’s the BIGGEST Travel Show in Town! From safaris to scuba diving, wind surfing to wine tours, archeology excursions to relaxing on a pristine beach, here’s where you’ll discover amazing travel destinations, attractions, activities, resorts, products, luxury goods and services and so much more!
- Meet with representatives from Cruise Lines, Resorts, Hotels, and Vacation Companies representing destinations around the world
- Find a great deal on your dream destination then book your trip right at the show. Your Ships and Trips Travel Professionals will be available to help you plan your next big adventure
- Bring your credit card and come prepared to book to take advantage of show-only specials, booking incentives and giveaways
- Enter to win one of our door prizes, including an IPAD!
For more information, contact your Ships and Trips Travel Specialist, or our main office, today!
Some of our participating travel companies include:
- Walt Disney Travel Company – Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruise lines
- MLT Vacations – United Vacations, Delta Vacations
- Uniworld River Cruises
- AM Resorts – Dreams Resorts, Secrets Resorts, Zoetry Resorts, Now Resorts, Sunscapes Resorts
- Fiji Visitors Bureau
- G Adventures
- Viking River Cruises
- AMA Waterways
- Classic Vacations/Aston Resorts
- Club Med
- Carnival Cruise Lines
- Princess Cruises
- Holland America Cruises
- Sandals and Beaches Ultra-Inclusive Resorts
- Paul Gauguin Cruises
- Big 5 Tours and Expeditions
- Way to go Costa Rica
- Homeric Tours
- Qantas Vacations
- Oceania Cruises
- Insight Vacations
- Seabourn Cruises
- Collette Vacations
- Royal Caribbean
- Celebrity Cruises
- Azamara Club Cruises
- Avalon River Cruises
Posted by Christy Jourdan on Mar 23, 2012 in FAQ
, Specialist Experience
The Urban Dictionary defines it as “When you, usually consciously, try to get away with bragging about yourself by couching it in a phony show of humility.” Like “Oh, I just hate being so tall and so thin,” or something like that.
On twitter, it’s usually listed as a #humblebrag. And that’s what I’m about to do. But I just had the coolest interactions with a client and I want to share it.
Posted by Christy Jourdan on Mar 8, 2012 in Destinations
, Specialist Experience
Thanks to the Hawaiian Visitors Bureau for sharing this great story about Mele Mei!
Mele Mei is a month-long celebration of the unique music of Hawaii. Started in May 2011, Mele Mei 2012 represents anchor Hawaiian music and hula events throughout the entire month of May. Events in Mele Mei are held throughout Waikiki and will take place at various hotels, venues and the beach.
Beginning on May 1st, and every weekend leading up to the Festival, partner events are scheduled including Lei of Stars dinner concert (Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame); Hawaii Book and Music Festival; International Hula Conference (Waikiki Improvement Association); Ka Leo Kiekie Contest, Hula Palua Competition, and Legends of Steel luncheon concert (Maiki Aiu Foundation); Slack Key All Stars Concert (East Hawaii Cultural Center); cultural walking/music tours of Waikiki; and several Hawaiian concerts for Mother’s Day.
On April 27th a media brunch will kick off Mele Mei to welcome participants, government officials, music educators from around the state, media and special guests. The brunch will feature music and comments from keynote speakers and provide media information on the events occurring in the four weeks to follow.
Additionally, there will be two concert events that weekend to kick-off Mele Mei on Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28, 2012. Both concerts will feature Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning artists.
Reprinted from HVB Travel Agents’ Newsletter