Monday, March 28, 2011

Join Us On The Celebrity Silhouette Southern Caribbean Cruise from New York!

Join Promal Vacations on our 2012 group cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette from New York on January 17, 2012. This brand new ship, a first in the New York area, will be sailing from Cape Liberty in New Jersey for 12 days to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Maarten. Each cabin will receive a $50 onboard credit.

The Celebrity Silhouette is a sister ship to the beautiful Solstice, Equinox and the Eclipse with some exiting new changes. Gone is the Glass Blowing Studio and in is an enhancement to the Lawn Club - the new cabana style haven called The Alcoves. Plus the new Lawn Club Grill will offer dining on the lawn. Qsine will offer the ability to order food and wine via an I Pad.

Prices start at $1429 per person plus tax based on double occupancy. A deposit of $200 per person holds your cabin, with a second payment of $700 due August 1 and final payment due Oct. 28.

Call us to book - 516-608-0568.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How We Compete With Online Companies

Why is booking a vacation with us better than booking with an online company?

We have a one word answer - SERVICE. Many online agencies are all about price but not service. The value in the service you receive from us far outweighs anything you can find online. Here are a few reasons why:

- You have an advocate if something goes wrong

You can pick up the phone and call us if there is a problem with your vacation, either before or after. Flights canceled? Make sure the OLA has your e-mail address, because in many cases you may only receive an e-mail advising you of the cancellation or change and you are on your own to deal with the airline to rebook. We contact the airlines for you and rebook.

Did you arrive at the resort and find you didn't get the right room category? Or the room is not what you expected? Good luck contacting the supplier. We, on the other hand, will work immediately with the supplier to resolve the issue.

Need to file an insurance claim? You'll receive no help from an OLA. We assist with paperwork and act as a liason between you and the insurance company.

-You usually do not need to pay in full at the time of booking when you book with us

Unless you are booking after the final payment date or are booking a restricted rate that requires payment in full, you only need to pay a deposit when booking with us, with a final payment date closer to your actual travel date. That allows you to book before you may have the full payment. When booking with an online agency, you will have to pay in full at the time of booking.

- We provide expert advice about your cruise, resort or tour before you book.

We'll give you unbiased information on the resort, ship or tour you are booking, to help determine if it is the right supplier for you. We'll help find the right room or cabin category for you. We have information on your resort or ship that you won't find on your own and have many tips for booking. We know passport and visa requirements. We may have actual pictures of the resort or ship because we've been there.

Need to book a connecting flight? We know how much time there should be in between your flights to ensure you don't miss the second flight. (We've had people contact us after booking with an OLA after realizing that their connecting flights had an 18 hour layover that they didn't notice when they booked - too late for us to help).

- We have suppliers that do price matching!

Yes, in many cases we can get the price you see online. For cruises, we provide an onboard credit for each booking. We are specialists with many resorts and have a surprise welcome gift sent, or we may be able to obtain a free upgrade for you.

- We provide destination information for each booking

You won't book with us and never hear from us until final payment. We send you information on your destination, from weather to excursion information, to restaurant recommendations.

These value added items can't be found online - only by booking with us. So please keep us in mind when you want to travel!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why Let Us Plan Your Destination Wedding?

A wedding is a masterpiece of planning. Planning begins from the day the engagement ring goes on your finger.When you plan your wedding, you work with a number of people who are experts in their field to plan one of the most important days of your life. From the bridal gown store to the catering hall to the florist, church, band - you rely on professionals who are experts in their field.

So why think you can plan a destination wedding without a travel agent who specializes in this type of travel? Your agent is an expert at listening to your wants and finding the right resort for you based on your budget. Your agent can advise you the best way to book the number of rooms you will need - either individual bookings, where he or she can keep and eye on pricing and try and obtain lower prices if pricing drops, or a group contract if you need to guarantee the resort holds a large block of rooms for your group.

Once you book the right resort, the bride will work with the on site wedding co-ordinator to plan the details of the wedding and the agent will deal with your guests to ensure their bookings are properly done. And if there are any issues, your agent acts as the liaison between you and your wedding co-ordinator to iron out problems. In addition, your agent may be able to pull some strings to obtain "value added" items for you.

Our average wedding clients are couples between the ages of 22 and 40. Most choose a Caribbean beach wedding at an all inclusive resort. From Sandals, to Almond, to El Dorado, Secrets, Dreams, Couples and more - we've helped many couples plan their ideal wedding.

If you are thinking of a destination wedding, give us a call - we'd be happy to discuss what your dream wedding entails and tell you how we can help making that dram come true! 516-608-0568

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beanies for Baghdad

Do you have a load of Beanie Babies, Webkinz, stuffed animals, Matchbox cars and other small toys that you'd like to find a new home for? We recently found a wonderful organization called Beanies for Baghdad that you can donate these items to.

They will provide you with the name of a soldier in Iraq, Kosovo, Pakistan, Africa, and Afghanistan. You'll mail your items to the service men and women who give them out to children as they work in the communities these children live in as a measure of good will to build better relationships. Many of these children as very poor and have never had toys or any type of luxury item.

This organization is in it's 8th year. To date, Beanies for Baghdad has received and distributed over 2 MILLION TOYS and tons of school supplies to the children of War Torn Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and humanitarian missions in Africa and Pakistan. They accept not only toys, but school suppliers, warm children's clothing, treats and anything your kids would enjoy.

We packed two boxes of items leftover from a recent garage sale, e-mailed Donna Ward at the organization and received the name and address of a soldier overseas to mail the items to. Because the items are light weight, we mailed them in two fairly large boxes via priority mail (rather than the smaller flat rate shipping boxes) for less than $14.00 for both boxes. That is all it cost to ship over 50 toys to be distributed by our "soldier". It was very easy. You will also receive a tax deductible receipt for your donation.

This is a great fundraising opportunity for a school classroom, a military organization.

Read all about this great organization on their website:

How To Avoid Seasickness On A Cruise

While most people never suffer from it, there are many people who fear getting seasick on a cruise. That can make a vacation miserable, but there are things you can do to try and reduce or eliminate the symptoms.

Scientists believe that motion sickness is caused by visual disorientation from being on a moving ship that competes against the bodies balance stores. Studies have shown that some people can become seasick by suggestion - if they think they may get sick, they might.

Cabin location is the first step you should take to try and avoid feeling much movement on the ship. Look for a cabin with at least a window or better, a balcony toward the middle of the ship. The lower the deck, the less movement you will feel as well. Booking larger ships also can reduce the chance of feeling much movement on the ship as the newer and larger ships have stabilizers that can be used to provide the smoothest ride. We've sailed on the largest ships at sea, the Allure and Oasis of the Seas, and found that if we were on the inside decks, many times we didn't know the ship was moving.

As far as drug remedies, the most popular is the Transderm Scop - a patch put behind your ear at least eight hours before sailing that delivers scopolamine for up to three days. You will need a prescription for it and it is meant as a preventative measure, so you need to apply it as prescribed before sailing. There are some side effects, so you will need to weigh the pros and cons before determining this is the right route for you. There are other prescription medications you can talk to your physician about as well - make sure you get these before sailing as a trip to the ships doctor is not an inexpensive proposition.

Non-prescription remedies include Bonine, Dramamine and Benadryl. These can make you sleepy and should never be used with alcohol. Most drug stores sell Sea Bands, a non drug remedy that consists of a bracelet with a bead that applies pressure to the inside of your wrist, an acupressure point that can reduce nausea.

Others recommend ginger, which comes in various forms from root to powder.

So if you think (or know) you suffer from sea sickness, try one of these remedies and stay on deck as much as possible - it is thought that using the horizon as a focal point helps maintain your equilibrium.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Purchasing Travel Insurance - Timing is Everything

Travel insurance is an important benefit anyone who travels should consider when booking a vacation. Did you know that coverage can differ for the same policy depending on when you purchase insurance?

Many people have the misconception that insurance is only for old people or those in poor health. That couldn't be further from the truth. Insurance should be considered for anyone who can't afford to lose the full price they paid for their trip if they cannot travel. If you are one of the few that can afford to lose all you have paid for your vacation - you don't need to read any further.

We had clients who had a car accident on the way to the airport for their vacation. Travel insurance reimbursed them for all of the trip. We've had clients who have injured themselves while on their trip in the Caribbean and were hospitalized. Travel insurance reimbursed them up to the coverage they purchased for whatever their own health insurance didn't cover (their insurance did not have any coverage for hospitalization outside the U.S.). We've had clients reimbursed for their costs to get to their cruise when their flights were canceled due to snowstorms and they had to meet the ship at their first port once flights began again. And we've had clients who were reimbursed for their trip when a serious illness prevented them from traveling after they made their final payments.

Most insurance will cover your cancellation fees if you have to cancel your trip prior to leaving for a covered medical reason. Some policies offer "Cancel For Any Reason" coverage where you will receive your cancellation fees back in part or in full if you cancel for a non-covered medical reason. (Some will give you back a future travel credit for the penalty amounts, not cash).

WHEN you buy insurance is also important. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you must purchase insurance at the time you make a deposit if you are using suppliers insurance, or within a certain time frame (usually within 14 days of making your deposit) if you are using a third party insurance company. If you are considering purchasing insurance because you have an elderly immediately family member, or an immediate family member who may have a pre-existing illness, and want to be able to cancel your trip if their condition worsens after your final payment - you must also purchase insurance at the time of booking. Most insurance companies that offer coverage for cancellation due to the illness or death of an immediate family member may consider the family members condition pre-existing as well and require the policy be purchased at the time of booking the trip.

If you do not opt to purchase insurance at booking or within the third parties guidelines, any new medical condition that comes up after the guideline dates become a pre-existing condition and insurance you purchase at a later date usually will not cover those conditions.

If you are buying a Cancel for Any Reason policy (which is always more expensive), in almost every case you must buy at the time of making your deposit.

Another thing to keep in mind when looking at insurance is where you are traveling to. Nearly all travel insurance policies exclude war and civil war, declared or undeclared. This means that if your trip is delayed or you must cancel it entirely because of war or civil unrest, you insurer will not provide reimbursement. Some Cancel for Any Reason polices may provide some reimbursement, usually not 100%.

Keep this in mind when booking your next trip. Some policies can be purchased up until final payment date, but you won't have coverage for pre-exisiting conditions if you don't purchase at time of booking or within two weeks. If you want Cancel for Any Reason, you need to purchase at the time of booking in nearly all cases. You should ask your agent or the insurance supplier for copies of their policies before purchasing so you understand what is and isn't covered.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Concrete Countertops - Best Thing We Ever Did

I've decided to talk about something other than travel today! It is coming upon one year since we installed a concrete counter top in our refurbished bathroom. When we originally decided to try it, we weren't so sure about whether it was the right thing to do. Well, after a year I can say it has been one of the best decisions we've ever made.

Our contractor came and measured, took the copper sink we purchased and two of the bathroom wall tiles to mix the color to match those tiles. Well, he did a perfect job! The counter color was the exact shade that matched the tile and the marbling matched the copper sink color to a tee. Our countertop is definitely one of a kind - no one has this same pattern and color.

The surface is highly polished with bees wax and is maintenance free. We see nothing on this countertop - water drops are invisible, it doesn't stain, and wipes clean.

If you are considering remodeling a bathroom or kitchen, consider concrete countertops. We are very pleased with ours. If you live on Long Island, you can call Mike, our contractor, at 631-757-3015.