Monday, April 11, 2011

Is Cruising Recession Proof?

Over the last few years, many of our cruise clients commented that they were getting tired of what they saw as "nickle and dime-ing" by the cruise lines, with extra fees for better restaurants, better coffee, ice cream on some lines, the seemingly increasing costs of liquor on ships and the high cost of excursions.

Last year, many of our cruise clients dipped their toes into the all inclusive travel market. Because we carefully listened to their likes and dislikes, we were able to recommend resorts that met their requirements and every one of them came back with positive comments. They enjoyed the fact that they knew in advance what the entire cost of their vacation was before they left and didn't come home with a credit card bill for hundreds of dollars in extra charges,

However, this year we are seeing a resurgence in Caribbean cruise travel and in particular, cruising from our home port of New York. The high cost of air is making traveling out of the U.S. to an all inclusive resort prohibitive to many clients.

There is some great pricing for European cruising, yet when clients see prices of $800 and up per air ticket to get to these cruises, they are changing their minds and booking cruises from the U.S.

Celebrity has some new itineraries this November through April of 2012 from Cape Liberty in New Jersey on a brand new ship, the Celebrity Silhouette. They are offering 12 night cruises going as far south as St. Lucia, opening new doors for many of our regular clients to save hundreds of dollars in air, since they would normally have to fly to San Juan or Ft. Lauderdale for a similar itinerary. We have a group traveling with us Jan. 17, 2012 and have had a tremendous amount of interest when clients start pricing air to other destinations. The timing for Celebrity couldn't have been better.

Our recommendations:

If you are planning to travel and need to fly, we recommend booking now - air pricing continues to go up. There are very rarely any last minute deals - particularly on air.

If you are considering cruising this summer from the tri-state area, book NOW. There are fewer cabins that can accommodate four or even five people on ships and these book early. Many cruises have sold out their family cabins for summer sailings. You may need to book two cabins if you have three or more people traveling.

If you are considering booking a cruise out of the New York area next year when school is out - now is the time to book! Those are prime travel times and family cabins sell out first. Remember, unless you are booking a restricted rate, deposits are fully refundable until the final payment date. And if you book through Promal Vacations - we monitor prices of every cruise and if a price drop occurs that you are entitled to, we will obtain it for you.

Promal Vacations

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Disney Magic To Sail from New York in 2012

Today, Disney announced that the Disney Magic will be sailing round trip from New York, Galveston and Seattle in 2012! For our main customers in the tri-state are this is a terrific opportunity to experience a Disney cruise without having to fly to Florida, saving hundreds of dollars in airfare.

There will be three round trip itineraries from New York - 8 Night Bahamian Cruises, 5 Night Canada/New England Cruises and 2 Night Weekend Getaways.

The eight night cruises will leave New York and sail to Nassau, Disney's Castaway Cay and Port Canaveral and prices include a one day Park Hopper pass. Sailing dates are 5/25, 6/2, 6/22, 6/30, 7/20, 7/28, 8/17 and 8/25 2012.

The five night cruises will leave New York and sail to Halifax - Nova Scotia and Saint John- New Brunswick/ Sailing dates are 6/10,6/17,7/8, 7/15, 8/5, 8/12, 9/2, 9/7 and 9/12, 2012.

The two night Weekend Getaway cruises to nowhere leave 6/15, 7/13, and 8/10 2012.

These cruises will book fast - don't wait to book, especially if you need a family suite, as those sell out quickly. Your deposit is fully refundable until final payment date. We offer a booking incentive - contact us for information. Check our website for more details:

Call to book - 516-608-0568.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oceania Marina Ship Inspection

We were lucky enough to be invited to see Oceania Cruise Line's newest ship, the M/S Marina while she was in New York City this weekend. This ship is the epitome of elegance yet not stuffy or formal. In fact, the cruise line's dress guidelines are "Country Club Casual" - meaning no gowns or tuxedos required.

One feature that stood out on this ship is Oceanias partnership with Lalique Crystal. The grand staircase when embarking had beautiful Lalique crystal accents and a Lalique Crystal Cactus table at the bottom of the steps. You'll see Lalique displayed throughout the ship.

The cabin decor was tasteful and elegant, regardless of the cabin category. There is ample storage space. With the exception of interior cabins, all bathrooms have a separate tub and shower. Deluxe oceanview cabins had a floor to ceiling window, not just a small window or porthole. Deluxe Oceanview Cabin

Suites were exquisite. The Vista and Oceania Suites were designed by Dakota Jackson and were stunning. The bathrooms and outside deck areas were huge. The Owners suite was 2,000 square feet of luxury. All of these suites come with their own private gym next to the bedrooms!

There are six restaurants onboard with excellent food. Each guest has the option of making reservations in these restaurants, which are included at no extra charge. We had a luncheon consisting of several courses from several of the restuarants and if our lunch was indicative of the food quality, you won't go wrong here. Caviar as an appetizer, a wonderful risotto, Lobster and the best chocolate mousse dessert I've ever tasted.

There is a moderate sized pool with several beds around it as well as very comfortable lounge chairs. Since the ship only carried 1,260 passengers, there was only one pool.

There are two unique features on this ship. One is an Artists Studio, where various art lessons are given (at no extra fee) throughout the cruise by an Artist in Residence. Another is a Culinary Center, where guests can take cooking classes (extra fee). The only draw back to the Culinary Center - it was located on Deck 12 and guests in suites near the Center can clearly smell the cooking as it is going on!

This ship is brand new and would be a wonderful choice for clients who want to cruise in relaxed elegance. Great option for retiree's, or a couple who have two weeks or more to travel.

Oceania currently is offering some 2 for 1 Cruise Fares in Europe with Free Airfare! One current special is a 12 day Rome to Venice itinerary on the Marina on August 26, 2011 from Rome to Monte Carlo, Cannes, Portofino, Florence (Livorno), Sorrento, Amalfi, Taormina, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Kotor, and back to Venice. Prices start at $4599. (Offers expire 8/31 and are subject to availability,free air is from certain airports).