Celebrations International Travel Blog

Posts Tagged ‘travel

Here is another “cruise tip” I wanted to tell you more about:

Topic Statement: Before booking, check deck plans online to confirm your cabin isn’t beneath a well-traveled area. Many ships have a lido deck buffet, where diners eat poolside. When they drag around chairs, it can make quite the ruckus in rooms right below.

My Viewpoint: This statement is somewhat erroneous, and there are a number of ways to avoid an unpleasant experience like this:

1) It isn’t possible to confirm the location of your cabin (stateroom) before you book it because you won’t even know what is or isn’t available until you ask.  Cabin choices are made while you’re booking.

2)  Work with a travel agent.  Any good travel agent who’s working to make your cruise experience the best it can be shouldn’t choose a stateroom for you that isn’t as ideally located as possible.

In my mind, “ideally located” could mean any or all of the following, (just to name a few) depending on the travelers’ particular needs or desires:

– Avoiding staterooms near potentially noisy, high-traffic areas;

– Avoiding staterooms with obstructed or partially obstructed views;

– Avoiding staterooms on the promenade deck (where walkers or joggers might be able to see in);

– Advising travelers who may be sensitive to motion to opt for staterooms located as mid-ship as possible;

– Reminding travelers that the “cheapest” available staterooms may not be ideally located and why; and

– Being mindful of any other specific needs or requests the travelers may have.  The difference is often in the details, and can make a big difference in your overall vacation experience.

At Celebrations International Travel, we pride ourselves on the personalized service we provide to each client.   Contact us for help in planning your next cruise or other travel experience.  Until my next post, cruise on!

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This is the first in a new series of posts I would like to write about tips for savvy cruisers.  I frequently come across articles, ideas, questions, and advice by and for cruisers.

As both a travel professional specializing in cruises and as a family of avid cruisers, I’d like to begin sharing tidbits of my findings with you, along with my own take on them, whether I agree or disagree.  And I’d like to hear what your thoughts are on each subject.

Topic Statement: “You are almost always charged extra for soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails at meals.  But if you stick to juice, you can drink for free (on most ships).”

My Viewpoint: I completely disagree with this statement.  While the speaker makes a correct statement regarding soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails, I don’t agree that “if you stick to juice, you can drink for free.  No, in most cases, unless you have purchased a soft drink and/or juice package, juices are only free during breakfast and at self-service beverage stations, if the cruise line offers them.

To further clarify, I would suggest that savvy cruisers keep the following tips in mind with regard to beverages:

1) The idea that you “almost” always have to pay for certain beverages most likely stems from the fact that some cruise lines offer complimentary house cocktails (i.e. one or two specific types) to passengers on formal nights.  At all other times, when you are asked to sign a slip when presented with your drink, it gets added to your stateroom account.

2) If you are ever caught off-guard by a crew member asking you to sign for a beverage charge, but you were unaware that there was a charge for the item, remember that if you haven’t sipped the drink, you can decline the charge and let them know you do not wish to authorize the charge.  This knowledge could come in handy if you’re suddenly ambushed by crew members offering a “Welcome Aboard” drink that they don’t openly state carries a charge.

3) Every cruise line has their own rules as to which beverages are complimentary and which are not.  For example, some cruise lines count lemonade as a soda, while on other lines, it flows freely.  Ask your travel agent for specifics and commit them to memory.  If you decide you can’t do without juice, soda, or specialty coffee, consider buying a beverage package that’s good for the duration of your cruise.  This could help save you time and money.

4) For wine connoisseurs, wine packages are also available, giving you the opportunity to select different wines to enjoy during your cruise and enjoy significant savings compared to purchasing each bottle individually.

5)  If you’re ever in doubt about whether something costs extra, always ask before you consume.  Better that than an unpleasant surprise on your stateroom bill at the end of the cruise!

Celebrations International Travel offers a wide variety of oceanliner cruises and river cruisesContact us with any questions.  Until my next post, cruise on!

As a follow-up to my post on the use of professional travel agents, I’d like to talk about an innovation that my agency, Celebrations International Travel,  introduced last year.  I should stress that I think this, or any other online travel site, is best used when travelers have a good idea of what they want and are familiar with the destination and type of travel involved.  For all other trips, I highly recommend contacting a full-service, professional travel agency directly.

The Internet has become an indispensable tool for the majority of us, and I think it’s fair to say there’s no turning back now!  But a pet peeve I’ve always had about booking travel on the Internet is the lack of human interaction and contact.

Buying travel isn’t like buying a book or CD.  You can always return or have an item replaced, but if something happens to cause your hard-earned vacation plans to go sour, what then?  If it was booked through an online mega-agency, chances are you’ll have to call the customer service number on the Web site and speak to a rep who doesn’t know you or your travel plans, and could very well be reciting to you from a manual.

In an effort to improve the travel booking experience, Celebrations International Travel introduced Celebrations Travel Online, an automated booking site that allows travelers the flexibility and convenience of booking travel via the Internet, but with the added convenience and peace-of-mind that comes with the personalized service of a professional travel agent.

Agents are on hand to answer any questions prior to booking, and all bookings made via Celebrations Travel Online are serviced by an agent of Celebrations International Travel, our full-service agency.  We always contact the traveler to answer any questions, and to make sure they’ve received and understand their travel documents, procedures, and who to call if they need anything.  We think this combined automated booking and personal service gives travelers the best of both worlds:  modern technology and dedicated, personal service.

Celebrations International Travel...Celebrating Life Through Travel

With the advent of the Internet, travelers have greater access and more options than ever when it comes to booking trips.  I’ll be the first to admit that using the Internet is indeed a convenient way to book travel.  But I don’t think it’s always the best option, especially if you’re considering an extensive or detailed trip, or if the trip involves a destination or type of travel that you’re not familiar with.

In these cases, why not consider using a professional travel agent?  A good, knowledgeable travel agent is trained to ask the right questions, make suitable recommendations based on your needs, wants, and travel budget, and make your arrangements in a way that best ensures a smooth and hassle-free trip.

At many agencies, including Celebrations International Travel, it does not cost you extra to use our services.  Then how do we get paid, you ask?  The travel suppliers we work with pay us.  So there is no extra cost to you, our clients; and it is in our best interest to find you the best deal possible on travel experiences you’ll thoroughly enjoy.

The next time you have the urge to get away, to enjoy some much-needed time off, why not leave the planning to the pro’s?  Celebrations International Travel’s agents would be more than happy to help you plan the perfect vacation.  Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

Celebrations International Travel...Celebrating Life Through Travel

I came across this very interesting and well-written article from Newsweek:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/236064

I especially like the introduction. Browse through the article, and take a look at the detailed captions in the photo gallery. This goes to show what an amazing, yet fragile world we live in….all the more reason to get out and explore as much of the world as we can, and all the more reason we should all work to protect it.

Happy reading, and happy travels!

I hear Alaska referred to in many ways as a destination:  Alaska is a great place for families.  Alaska is great for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.   People travel to Alaska to see the “Last Frontier,” the unspoiled natural beauty that isn’t found in most places anymore.

These might all sound like cliches, but the fact of the matter is that while no destination can be all things to all people, Alaska truly does offer something for just about everyone.

Here are a few of my personal favorites, listed by the type(s) of travelers to whom they are mostly geared:

For Those Who Prefer Sightseeing and/or Less Physically Demanding Activities:

Ketchikan by Horse-Drawn Trolley  Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

Motorcoach Tour of Ketchikan + Visit to Totem Bight State Park

Mendenhall Glacier Tour + Salmon Bake (Juneau)

Mount Roberts Tramway (Juneau)

Klondike Summit & Suspension Bridge (Skagway)

Klondike Highway Drive & Caribou Crossing Lunch (Skagway)

Skagway’s Original Streetcar

White Pass Summit Train Ride (Skagway)

Double-Decker Bus Tour in Victoria, B.C.

For Culinary Enthusiasts:

View of Skagway

Creek Street in Ketchikan

Victoria Pub Tour

City Lights, Wine & Chocolate (Victoria)

Grand Victoria & High Tea at the Empress Hotel

Alaskan Chef’s Table (Ketchikan)

Wilderness Exploration & Crab Feast (Ketchikan)

Salmon Bake (most commonly experienced in Juneau, although available in other ports)

Alaska Cooking School + Beer Tastings (Juneau)

Alaska Garden Gourmet Culinary Tour (Skagway)

Delectable Jewell Gardens (Skagway)

Taste of Skagway

Nature Lovers & Photographers:

See and photograph bears and other wildlife in Alaska

See and photograph bears and other wildlife in Alaska

Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary (Ketchikan)

Coastal Wildlife Cruise (Ketchikan)

Bear Watch (Ketchikan)

Dog Sled Summer Camp (Juneau)

Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest or Evening Whale Quest (Juneau)

Photo Safari by Land & Sea (Juneau)

Alaska Nature & Wildlife Expedition – Scenic Cruise + Wildlife Search (Skagway)

Long-Horned Sheep

Long-Horned Sheep

Eagle Preserve Wildlife River Adventure – Scenic Cruise to Haines + Jet Boat Cruise & Meal at the Preserve (Skagway)

For Families with Children:

Totems & Lumberjack Combo (Ketchikan)

Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour (Ketchikan)

Menhall Glacier & Salmon Hatchery Tour (Juneau)

Gold Panning (commonly in Juneau or Skagway)

Jewell Gardens – Take a walk through the gardens.  The kids will especially enjoy seeing the model railroad on display. (Skagway)

Enchanting Buchart Gardens (Victoria)

For Active Travelers:

Rainforest Canopy Ropes & Zipline Park (Ketchikan); similar excursions also available in Skagway

Back Country Jeep & Canoe Safari (Ketchikan)

Sled Dogs in  Yukon

Sled Dogs in Yukon

Alpine Zip & Glacier Adventure (Juneau)

Bike & Tram Elevation Sensation (Juneau)

Horseback Riding in Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park (Skagway)

Klondike Rock Climbing & Rappelling (Skagway)

There are also numerous opportunities to enjoy dog sledding, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, snorkeling, biking, fishing and other active pursuits in Alaska.  The sky’s the limit, literally!

For Culture Enthusiasts:

Saxman Native Village (Ketchikan)

Totem Poles

Authentic Totem Poles

Potlatch Park & Heritage Tour (Ketchikan)

Liarsville Experience (Skagway)

Glassblowing Experience at Jewell Gardens (Skagway)

Skagway’s Custom Classic Cars

Waterfront Walking Tour (Victoria)



These are just a few ideas for the many ways you might enjoy spending your time in port on your Alaskan cruise.  While many cruise lines offer similar shore excursions, some experiences may be unique to the individual cruise lines.  Contact us for more information or to book your own Alaskan cruise vacation!


Many thanks to Joy at Gourmeted.com for her blog post yesterday profiling Celebrations International Travel as a sponsor and highlighting our Culinary Tours.

Gourmeted.com

I had the pleasure of speaking with Joy recently after a couple of months of e-mailing.  Not surprisingly, we share a common love of great food and world travel.  Joy enlightened me with the notion that there are many other “people like us” out there who take their love of food and cooking seriously, and want to travel the world to delight in this passion.

It is my hope that in collaboration with Joy, I can impart my knowledge and love of both travel and culinary excellence, helping food and wine enthusiasts enjoy custom culinary experiences around the world.

Celebrations International Travel - Custom Culinary Tours


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This is blog based on the experiences and interests of travel agency owners Adrienne and Agni Mitra. Through our blog entries, we will share our travel experience and expertise. We will also have other entries of interest to inspire your travels.

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