Category: Travel Enlightenment (Page 1 of 3)

Photo Tips for Shutterbugs

By Ray Pearson

It’s summertime in America, and the open road beckons. Whether you prefer wandering quaint country roads, rushing down interstates, or tracing Route 66, one thing is certain – the trusty camera is a wonderful co-pilot on such adventures.

Fast forward a bit, to when travel season is but a fond memory, and those friendly (but in all honesty—frightening) invitations to “C’MON OVER AND LOOK AT OUR VACATION PICTURES!” start filling up the voicemail box. Really, why didn’t they just buy post cards? I don’t care how cute your kid is eating a drippy ice cream cone; 12 pictures of the experience is excessive.

Here are ten suggestions to make your photos the most sought-after show in the neighborhood:

  1. Photograph in less-than-ideal weather – oncoming storms are awesome

 

 

2.) Photograph at dawn and at night – immediately “something different”

 

 

3.) Include people you encounter – especially if they are doing something exciting

 

 

4.) Photograph especially colorful food or restaurants 

 

 

5.) Photograph from different perspectives – get down to kid level

 

 

6.) Be willing to pull over when something unusual pops up – road trips are great for this

 

 

7.) Include an interesting foreground – this leads the eye to the main subject

 

Interesting foreground gives the picture depth of personality

 

Uninteresting foreground

 

8.) Photos do not have to be tack sharp to be interesting – blurring conveys action

 

 

9.) Include special activities from your vacation – it’s an exciting world

 

 

10.) Include details from unusual accommodations – rustic B&Bs are great for this

 

 

About Ray

Ray is a nationally recognized single malt Scotch expert. He recently retired after 16 years within the spirits industry, including four as Glenfiddich U.S. Ambassador. Ray currently presents educational whisky seminars and tastings for corporate events, destination management companies, and national whisky shows. He is a photographer and member of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association.

For more articles from Ray, you can visit his blog:

whiskymeister.wordpress.com

And of course check out all of his Whisky 101 articles right here at intotheSoup.com.

Culinary Adventures in India: Sharpura bargh

by Peggy Markel

I traveled by car again, to the sweet haven of Sharpura Bargh, a private boutique guesthouse halfway between Udaipur and Jaipur. Shaturgeet and Maya Singh, the owners, greeted me like an old friend.

Sharpura bargh

Maya’s warm welcome was lovely and personal (royal butlers can be a bit much after a while). A warm embrace in the simple countryside goes a long way. Though my visit to the palace “god-realm,” had been fun for a while, I felt at home in this 120-year-old country residence on 45 acres, surrounded by gardens and lakes. It provided me with the magical combination of elegance, simplicity, genuine hospitality and good home cooking from an organic vegetable garden.

Sat, the Prince and photographer, took us on a jeep safari of his grandfather’s land, the late Rajadhiraj Nahar Singh of Sharpura. Sat’s grandfather mortgaged the family’s private property and jewels to bring water to his people. In the end, he created 250 acres of wetlands, defying all odds that he would be able to build the right dams.

We rode through the town slowly as everyone bowed respectfully to Sat; he waved back kindly. The children were so polite! We did not encounter the usual out-stretched hands asking for candy or money. Instead they were genuinely smiling and happy. I asked him how that was possible– what was different about this town? He replied that they take good care to empower the rural children with books and educational grants.

He seemed well-loved by the villagers, and he told me, ‘I love to walk down the street with my camera and take photos, but some of the village men say, ‘Your highness, the King, your grandfather would not approve sir. You can drive in your car and get out to take a photo, but you mustn’t just walk down the street, sir.’ Sat said he realizes that they still live with that respect and he, with all humbleness, obeys. It said something about honoring an old system that still seems to be intact, rather than elitism.

It was a narrow, yet busy street with shop-owners hard at work selling dry goods and sweets being cooked right on the spot. There was a huge metal bowl where milk and sugar were being cooked to the delight of a small boy dancing around waiting for what would come of it. There were women at the well, women selling vegetables and fruits on the ground, men with various colored turbans pushing fruit carts and giving their children rides on the handlebars of their bicycles. It was a happy place.

Sat drove us through Gypsy villages and viewed a few of the lakes with dry beds. The villagers were harvesting wheat and looked like dots of moving color from across the vast plains. We also visited a stable gypsy village. Gypsies are nomadic people who originated from Rajasthan. Here they had been granted some land and they were quite settled and happy, although he did caution us, “I can’t leave my jeep for very long. Something is always sure to be missing.”

We bird watched in the 100-year-old mango and guava orchards. A daylight owl was sleeping in a 300-year-old Banyan tree. We enjoyed tea in the orchard and Sat gave us all muslin to keep close.

“Throw this over you if you don’t want to get stung,” he cautioned. The bees were swarming that time of year. We left soon after. It added a bit of adventure to the safari.

Back at Sharpura, we sauntered into the kitchen where the family cook was preparing a local dish of Gatta ki Sabzi, chick pea flour gnocchi cooked in a spicy sauce. It was fashioned into a rope-like form, and then cut into small bite sizes like gnocchi. The display of the spice tray common in all Indian kitchens becomes comforting after a while. It’s a distinct reminder of the importance of Indian cultural identity.

I looked around at the cabinetry. It was charming, useful, and old. Something we Americans never see. Two young helpers were present and quiet as mice. One was filling water pitchers from the terracotta jug. All homes, even Royal ones keep the water fresh, contained in terracotta on a stand in the kitchen.

 

A beautiful young girl dressed in a peacock-blue saree washed the dishes. She stood by silently with a shy smile as we dined with the uncle, brother to the king and a force in his own right, and Sat’s mother. Next time around she’ll give us a tea tasting.

Check out more of Peggy’s Travel Journals Click Here

About Peggy Markel

Peggy Markel is the Owner and Operator of Peggy Markel’s Culinary Adventures. In 1993, she started The Ligurian School of Poetic Cooking (1993–2000), with Angelo Cabani, master chef and proprietor of Locanda Miranda in Tellaro, a small village on the Italian Riviera. For the past 17 years Peggy has traversed the Mediterranean and North Africa, from Elban fishing villages and Moroccan markets to the homes of Tuscan artisans and chefs, furthering her own exploration of culture and cuisine. “For me, a connection to real food is a connection to life.” Peggy’s journeys help people explore the cuisines of Tuscany, Sicily, Morocco, Almafi, and India.

Cruisin’ Together: Staying Slim at Sea

by Chris Owen

After a 12-day Alaskan tour on the Coral Princess, followed by a two-day ride on the Norwegian Epic, the thought occurred to me:

“There has GOT to be some way to go on one of these things and NOT gain weight.”

I have tried all the normal suggestions; use the stairs instead of the elevators, stay away from the buffets, and continue exercising at sea as you would on land. That was all fine and dandy when the cruise first started, but after the first day or so, lazy feet wanted the elevator, a demanding belly wanted more desserts, and those bars were too conveniently located.

I thought long and hard about a truly effective plan of action, and came up with the following suggestions to spare you a few hours at the gym shedding that cruise-bulge.

1)       Weigh yourself every day. It keeps you body-conscious and has the added benefit of forcing you to make the trek to the fitness center where the scales are. The short walk to the gym alone won’t help you, so make sure that you track what you eat. Keep a notebook and write down everything you consume. iPhone users can keep track of this  easily with the “Lose It” app. Begin tracking your healthy habits before you depart, and resolve to stick with them as closely as you can on your cruise.

2.)     Try not to stray from your normal routine. Don’t forget that you are on vacation, so by all means, indulge a bit. It’s not often that such culinary variety and quality are right at your fingertips, but limit your indulgences in portion and frequency. Pick dining times closest to when you eat at home (the Open Seating dining option is good for this). Get up early to see the sun rise over the ocean, stay up late to dance the night away (exercise) or see an unspoiled view of the stars. You can always nap in the middle of the day, maybe even on deck as the waves and breeze lull you to sleep. Do whatever you must to make sure you aren’t too tired to take those stairs!

3.)     Eat 5 or 6 meals a day, 3 is not enough. Many nutritionists and medical professionals agree that eating many small meals a day is better than eating three big ones. The metabolism boost that new food gives your body is substantial. What better place to test that theory? With 24-hour buffets and room service, you don’t even have to lift a finger to do so. Keep the meals nutrient rich (veggies, lean meat, fruit, whole grains, etc) and between 200 and 300 calories depending on your required daily caloric intake.

             (You can calculate this information at http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm)

4.)     Begin good eating habits now. If you haven’t established good eating habits off-ship, you probably won’t have good eating habits on the ship. Hopefully you planned your cruise far in advance and have time to determine what diet and exercise plan is best for maintaining a healthy body. It also gives you time to scour the Internet for previous dining menus so that you have an idea of what to expect. There are plenty of opportunities for exercise and activity on and off-ship. Opt for a walking tour of a port town versus a bus tour. Plan your day around activities that require movement.

Staying trim on a cruise takes a little planning, but it can be done. After all, vacations are supposed to leave you feeling rejuvenated and energetic—not bloated and regretful. Imagine looking back at those vacation pictures; will you be overcome with fond memories, or will you curse yourself for repeatedly over-indulging in the bread basket at dinner?

You can have your cake and eat it too, just remember to stop after a few bites.

 

About Chris Owen

Chris Owen is a travel writer, blogger and agent from Orlando Florida charged with sharing frank, inside information on cruise vacations with travelers.  A graduate of Washburn University in Topeka Kansas, Chris moved to Florida after successful careers in the restaurant and newspaper business to focus singly on travel with a concentration on cruise vacations.  Certified a Master Cruise Counselor by the Cruise Lines International Association, Chris can be found via his popular cruise vacations column on Examiner.com, through his blog, ChrisCruises.net and on his long-running cruise information website, YourCruiseDream.com. 

Email Chris: Chris@YourCruiseDream.com

 

 

 

 

Islands R Moi

by Peggy Markel

My mother had a poster on the back of the bathroom door when I was young, of a woman foraging through a brass market. “Majorca” (the Americanized spelling) was written on it. Although the name confused me, I remember letting it roll around my tongue. I loved the sound of it. Some years later, I learned of its origin in the Balearic Sea. Now, I was headed there, at the invitation of a friend. Mediterranean islands float my boat, but these islands are not off the coast of Italy; instead they lie off of the coast of Spain in a neighboring sea.

Pleasantly surprised, the food on Mallorca is super. I won’t say superb, as it would give the wrong impression. There is an attention to the food that is most definitely “Mallorquin” and distinguishes itself from mainland Spain.  Everything is most definitely local. When they say “lechona”, they mean the suckling pig from the farmer down the road. Tender, juicy, and dripping with crackling fat, the tradition is to dip it in aioli, a garlicky, olive oil-based mayonnaise. I knew I was in trouble. 5 days on this island would be all I could take.

The covered marketplace near our neighborhood of Santa Catalina in Palma, offered an array of local fare. There were three stalls that stood out and grabbed me instantly. The first was the corner café for ‘caffé con leche’. It was a long, narrow bar that barely left room for the barista, yet small wooden tables were still crowded inside. It strikes me how we love to be in the thick of things. Men were already drinking at 9 in the morning. A couple was exchanging intimate stories while stirring spoonfuls of sugar into their coffee, while my friend and I, bellied up to the bar. Old bars tell stories and bartenders know exactly what you want if you come a second time. They place things in front of you without asking. You don’t challenge their intuition, you gesture thanks with a nod.  Old men inevitably stand around with a cane, a hat and a dangling cigarette. Their clothes are still from the 50’s.

The other stalls are no less intriguing. One couple sells dried local figs, soaked in anise liquor, wild fennel, and honey from the shop owner’s bees. We ate our weight in them, before coming face to face with a lady in a sweet apron making doughnuts. If I told you that I don’t make a habit of eating such things, you wouldn’t believe me. I don’t. But here, it’s a must. It’s what they eat and have eaten for ages. We are privileged to visit the other side of the world and be in their cities and homes. And it’s a good excuse to eat succulent and fattening food. We all know that when we travel, calories don’t compute the same. 

October rain came and fall descended on the sunny island. Three sweaters and a scarf sufficed to take a drive to the Santa Maria del Cami for the open-air Sunday market. The market and the Cathedral with the blue dome draw an impressive Sunday crowd. Festive red pepper ristras decorated a house along the road between the two. I bought natural sponges and dark beeswax candles. We didn’t buy Jamon or cheese–or bread for that matter. We had been eating ‘pombolly’ (bread with garlic and tomato rubbed into it), jamon, and cheese at every meal. Besides, we were driving to the hills to eat wood-fired oven-roasted lamb at Es Verger, a family-run farmhouse restaurant.

A soft, terraced hill of gnarled olive trees and brush came alive with a bit of moisture. The road made switchbacks almost to the top. The smell of sheep permeated the air. We could even hear the bells. A crowd of people were gathered around the door of what looked like an old general store; sheep

looked on from a neighboring stall. Inside, a 10 year old boy was working the cash register for a bustling room that looked like an old barn. Plates of food were being served from pots being pulled in and out of an old wood-fired oven. A grey haired woman the height of my shoulders was in charge, minding a lower oven of coals that kept a bowl of roasted potatoes warm.  At least 200 people were sitting at long tables in various rooms of the barn. We sat up in what must have been the old thrashing room.

Bottles of homemade red wine came to the table along with hand-cured olives with herbs and alli-oli. It was the best and most garlicky aioli to date. I had been avoiding eating too much of the stuff, but this rustic scene inspired me to forget and I got caught up in swathing my bread into it, scooping large heaps onto my bread just like the Mallorquin, with the same passion of screaming for dabloons at Mardi Gras. We were hungry for the roasted lamb and it was taking a while.

When we finally got our plates, we dove in. The wine already has us singing but now, we were full of gusto. Our friend and driver, Tomas, showed us how it was really done. Afterwards, bones were piled high and just like the olden days, we fell onto our stretched-out arms on the table in a veritable food coma. We sobered up with a walk on the “comino del Castillo”. We needed fresh air and the ride down was zig-zaggy and tight.

Paella was no small thing at Club Nautico in Porixol; it was a bit pallid, but tasty enough. Eating it in the sunshine is a must, especially with some nice vino tinto. A strong traditional dish, everyone has their way of preparing it. I find restaurants heavy handed. I prefer to have it in someone’s home. That being said, saffron rice cooked in a seafood broth, topped with shrimp, mussels, clams, and savory chorizo must not be dismissed.

A walk on the beach was in order and it wasn’t just around the bend. Tomas drove us to the southeast of the island to the Solobrar of Campos, where the salt mines are. These salt mines come from 130 reservoirs of saline water that provide a home to a wealth of vegetation, birds and wildlife. The “flor de Sol” delicious and sun-dried, has a particular flavor, no doubt something special from the Balearic Sea.

Further down a small winding road, we arrived at the beach. I couldn’t wait to take off my shoes and take a walk on the cool sand. Summer must be wonderful here in Mallorca.  We drank local beer while the sun went down. A sailboat passed in front of the sinking sun. Our days in Mallorca had come to a bright red ‘round’ end.

Check out more of Peggy’s Travel Journals Click Here

About Peggy Markel

Peggy Markel is the Owner and Operator of Peggy Markel’s Culinary Adventures. In 1993, she started The Ligurian School of Poetic Cooking (1993–2000), with Angelo Cabani, master chef and proprietor of Locanda Miranda in Tellaro, a small village on the Italian Riviera. For the past 17 years Peggy has traversed the Mediterranean and North Africa, from Elban fishing villages and Moroccan markets to the homes of Tuscan artisans and chefs, furthering her own exploration of culture and cuisine. “For me, a connection to real food is a connection to life.” Peggy’s journeys help people explore the cuisines of Tuscany, Sicily, Morocco, Almafi, and India.

Cruisin’ Together: Successfully Budgeting Your Cruise

by Chris Owen

At some point, most of us have made the ultimate faux pas of accidentally leaving the wallet at home. There is nothing quite like the sinking feeling that you get as you reach into your back-pocket (or purse) and realize that all those groceries in your cart will have to be returned to their shelves by the miserable-looking teen-aged bag-boy.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but you will have that same “sinking feeling” if you don’t properly budget for a cruise. Although cruise packages are a great deal, people tend to forget about all the things that go along with vacationing like cocktails, souvenirs, tours, etc. This is why I’m going to help you evaluate your vacation-spending habits and figure out just how fat your wallet should be when you board the ship.

While your cruise vacation is semi-all-inclusive (about 70% is covered in your cruise fare), off-the-ship activities, souvenirs, spa treatments, cocktails, and gambling are expenses you’ll want to plan for. You can go on a cruise and spend absolutely nothing extra on yourself; however, I strongly encourage you to have few bucks handy to tip the crew at the end.

So let’s begin the break-down:

An adult who drinks moderately, will want to go on a shore excursion, gambles a little bit, and wants to take advantage of some of the other premium services onboard should budget about $100 per day. Heavy drinkers, spa fanatics, obsessive internet users, and compulsive shoppers should budget a bit (or quite a bit) more.

Non-drinkers who like to spend the day relaxing on deck or on a beach within walking distance of the ship while it is in port and don’t have a lot of need for commemorative refrigerator magnets could get away with about $50 per day.

How did I figure this out? Let’s take a look at a typical day at sea/no port of call:

Begin by assuming $10 per day for gratuities. These will automatically be added to your account. You decide to have a beer while sun-bathing on deck ($5.00/drink). Before you know it, that one beer has turned into three and you’re out $15 (plus those gratuity charges, so $25). You check your email and make your Facebook friends jealous for a few minutes, and 20 minutes later, you’ve spent $7 more (35 cents/minute). A spa treatment seems like the logical next step on a lazy day! You decide to get your nails done–$20. On the way back to your room to change for dinner, you nab a  souvenir from the gift shop for the neighbor who’s watering your plants– $10. Gambling seems like a good night-cap, so you play some slots before turning in for the night–$20. But wait–all that gambling made you hungry again! You give room service a call and tip your attendant $2 for the delivery of your midnight snack. This fun-filled day leaves an $84 dent in your cash-supply. 

To be safe, it’s a good idea to leave “wiggle-room” for an extra souvenir or a pedicure to go with that manicure, so I think it’s fair to say $100 per person per day is a good estimate if your vacation routine is anything like the one I have depicted.

My point is that your on-board wad is really going to depend on what you do. If you’re content with a very low-key vacation, you could get away with just paying the tips at the end of the cruise. I wouldn’t though; it’s your vacation! It’s the small indulgences that make it memorable.

For some (me included), it’s easy to accrue a large shipboard account bill. I forget that the “all-inclusive” idea of a cruise package does not in fact include everything I desire on a vacation—and it’s a good thing! This focuses the cost-burden of the extra services only on those who use them, keeping packages reasonably priced for everyone.

If you’re still having a difficult time determining your personal budget, enlist the help of a travel agent or professional like myself. I can help you make a better estimate just by asking a few questions. It’s fun to find out how close (or not) I was when people return from their vacations.

Finally, I’ll leave you with one quick tip regarding onboard souvenir purchases: Go to the gift shop on the first day of your cruise and buy anything and everything you intend to purchase while on the ship. This will ensure that you get what you want in the correct sizes and colors. There are no FedEx deliveries via Coast Guard after that ship sets sail. When it’s out of an item, it’s out for the rest of the trip.

About Chris Owen

Chris Owen is a travel writer, blogger and agent from Orlando Florida charged with sharing frank, inside information on cruise vacations with travelers.  A graduate of Washburn University in Topeka Kansas, Chris moved to Florida after successful careers in the restaurant and newspaper business to focus singly on travel with a concentration on cruise vacations.  Certified a Master Cruise Counselor by the Cruise Lines International Association, Chris can be found via his popular cruise vacations column on Examiner.com, through his blog, ChrisCruises.net and on his long-running cruise information website, YourCruiseDream.com. 

Email Chris: Chris@YourCruiseDream.com

 

 

 

Cruisin’ Together: Real Deals and Discounts

by Chris Owen

I wish I could sit here and tell you that the cruise lines give discounts because they love certain groups of people and want to be nice to them, but that would be a lie. You may not like what I have to say about the reality of specials and discounts, but let’s face it—you want answers to your cruise queries and I think you can handle the truth!

 

So here it is folks: Cruise lines discount for one reason and one reason only, and that is to fill up the ships. 

While safety will always be at the top of a cruise line’s agenda, occupancy is the second most important goal.  They must sail with full ships to make the money necessary to provide all of the activities and services that their cruisers expect and desire.  Empty berths simply don’t generate money. If you take off the rose-colored glasses for a moment and look at cruising from a business perspective, you’ll see that discounts and specials are strategically planned marketing ploys.

The big-name lines have done a great deal of research pertaining to cruise-demand patterns and have a pretty good idea of how any given cruise will sell.  They know that for the most part, these demand patterns depend on a ship’s itinerary and the season during which the ship will be sailing. Of course, economic events, world-news, and other unpredictable factors can influence booking patterns.   

Smart businesses are prepared for uncertain times, and cruise lines are no different. They understand that at the end of the day, everyone wants a good value. As your trusty cruise expert, it is my responsibility to remind you that “good value” and “cheap price” are not necessarily interchangeable terms. A cruise for $199 may sound like a steal, but a glance over the fine print will reveal that there are several hundred dollars in port charges, taxes and fees.

Many people (maybe even you) have fallen into the jaws of a menace to the cruise world: Discount internet cruise brokers. Lack of service, hidden costs and junk fees, bankruptcy, and unethical business practices were commonplace among these brokers who had truly become the shady used car salesman of the travel industry.  Luckily, the tide changed in favor of the honest, hardworking travel agents when Royal Caribbean, a leader among cruise lines, announced that they were going to refuse to sell packages to organizations that they viewed as “card mills.”

Suddenly, travel agents were busy and back in the game as saavy cruisers realized that there was more to planning a successful cruise than just finding the rock-bottom price.  A skilled travel professional has the ability and the resources to find and apply all discounts available to his or her clients without compromising their comfort or specific preferences. Still not impressed by the worth of a good travel agent?  Get this: the discount internet cruise brokers watched for prices and discounts too, but they often pocketed any savings for themselves.  Even customers who contacted the brokers requesting new, lower fares advertised on a cruise-line website were denied or ignored. How’s that for customer service?

In other words, smart travelers find and use a good travel agent, and one that specializes in cruises is preferable for those looking to jump ship.

The following discounts are the kind that a good travel agent will seek out to ensure that his or her client has the best experience possible:

Resident Discounts

Cruise lines do their homework and pin-point the states from which they are not drawing many passengers.  People love to talk about their experiences and a cruise-vacation is quite an experience. Whether it’s around the office water cooler or in line at the grocery store, cruise-lines depend on cruisers to give mini-testimonials to further their reach. This is why cruise lines will often offer discounts to residents of states where the popularity of cruise-travel is lacking. They figure that if they can get people talking about their great experiences, more people are likely to literally “get on board.”

Royal Caribbean is the king of Resident Discounts while Princess comes in second with “regional discounts”.  If you’re a Florida resident, who enjoys cruising, you’re in luck! The state that receives the most resident discounts is Florida. It really isn’t hard to see why: There are many ships, many people, and many opportunities for cruising.

Senior Discounts

The basic rule of thumb is that at least one guest in a cabin must be 55 or older to get a senior discount, but be aware that cruises are not like movie theatres; not every cruise line gives senior discounts. Even those that do, don’t give them all the time. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity are best known for giving senior discounts, but it’s often because they foresee problems with filling up the ship for a particular cruise. Don’t get me wrong though—senior discounts are not always last minute. These lines will sell senior-discounted packages in the beginning stages of booking as well.

Last Minute Deals

Don’t count on them.  They exist for those who can sail with as little as 30 days notice.  As recent as several years ago, you could rely on the existence of last minute deals to the point where you could book airfare for a particular cruise without actually buying the cruise until 30 days before sailing. Some risk-takers enjoyed this method of bargain vacationing, but these days, it’s likely that those risk-takers would be stuck with a suitcase full of Bermuda shorts and airfare to nowhere. Ships tend to sell-out early these days, but if you come across a last-minute deal—more power to you and enjoy your vacation!

 Military Discounts

Like many major businesses, cruise-lines are sensitive to the importance of military service. If they can fill up ships while offering reduced rates to those who may have risked their lives for their country, they’re happy to do it.  Carnival is most generous with this discount, but other lines do as well. Again, none of the cruise lines offers this discount all the time, on all sailings, but it never hurts to ask your travel agent if you qualify.  Active or retired members can get this discount for their entire cabin and sometimes even an additional cabin with proper military ID.

Past Guest discounts

This is a very popular, common and appropriate discount.  The cruise lines want to keep you coming back and will often make it worth your while to sail again and again with them.  Perks, amenities and even different pricing are afforded to repeat guests.  After you’ve sailed a line, you become a “past guest.”  Record your past guest numbers and be sure they are entered into your bookings.  Your good travel agent will keep these on file and use them to your advantage. 

How to find out about the deals?

I know it can be a hassle, but sign up for everyone’s mailing list.  Get an email address other than the one you use for your regular daily email.  Go to every cruise line website and sign up for their mailing lists. You will be the first to know of specials, discounts and extra-value sailings being offered, but be aware that you will also receive a great deal of spam as cruise lines sell your email address to other companies.

About Chris Owen

Chris Owen is a travel writer, blogger and agent from Orlando Florida charged with sharing frank, inside information on cruise vacations with travelers.  A graduate of Washburn University in Topeka Kansas, Chris moved to Florida after successful careers in the restaurant and newspaper business to focus singly on travel with a concentration on cruise vacations.  Certified a Master Cruise Counselor by the Cruise Lines International Association, Chris can be found via his popular cruise vacations column on Examiner.com, through his blog, ChrisCruises.net and on his long-running cruise information website, YourCruiseDream.com. 

Email Chris: Chris@YourCruiseDream.com

 

 

 

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