Archive for August, 2011

Captain’s Circle Member Benefits

Each cruise line, much like grocery stores, hotels and airlines, has a loyalty program and Princess is no different.  Once you have completed your first cruise, you are considered a Captain’s Circle member.  The Captain’s Circle is a great loyalty program from what I’ve learned about it.  I thought I would share the different levels and benefits for each with you.

After one sailing, you are a Gold Level member.  At the Gold Level, you are entitled to Special Launch savings and preferential pricing offers.  The Circle Center online is available to you which has a standby program, referral rewards and Circle Savings Account.  You will receive the Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle Magazine and eNewsletter.  You can also enter Princess Cruises Cruise Photo Contest.  Onboard your future sailings, you will have access to a Circle Host onboard and members-only onboard events.  Finally, you will get a member benefits card, a Princess Passport and a Gold Member pin.

Once you have completed five cruises or 51 days on the cruise through your 15th cruise or 150 cruise days, you will be considered a Platinum Level member.  At this level, you will receive all of the Gold Member benefits plus additional benefits.  When checking in at the port, you will get preferred check-in.  Onboard, you will get credit towards an Internet Cafe package based on the length of the cruise (up to 7 days – 150 minutes, 8-20 days – 250 minutes, 21+ days – 500 minutes).  When you purchase the standard vacation protection, you will be upgraded to the Platinum Vacation Protection for no additional cost.  You will have a preferred phone line to call on shore for all your cruise needs.  When disembarking the ship, you will have access to the Platinum Disembarkation Lounge.  All members at this level will receive a Cruise Atlas and a Platinum Member pin.

The final level with the Captain’s Circle is the Elite Level.  This starts after you have completed 15 cruises or 150 cruise days onboard.  In additional to all of the above benefits, the Elite members will receive the Preferred Services Package, Elite Discount Package and Preferred Amenities Package on each sailing.

In the Preferred Services Package, members receive complementary professional cleaning, laundry services and shoe polishing, priority ship to shore tender embarkation and priority disembarkation.  In the Elite Discount Package, members are given a 10% discount in the boutique plus complimentary Grapevine wine tasting.  Finally, the Preferred Amenities Package will give guests a complimentary mini-bar set up (customized to their liking), deluxe canapes on formal nights (upon request), upgraded stateroom amenities, traditional afternoon tea in your stateroom (upon request) and an Elite member pin.

Princess Cruises offers training for travel agents.  The top level you can reach is the Commodore level.  Once an agent has reached and maintained this level, they are given the Elite Level membership benefits when onboard the sailings.  Since I have reached the Commodore level, I will be able to report back to you as to how the Elite Level benefit work onboard.

2012 Adventures by Disney Itineraries Announced

Family Vacations to Greece and France are the highlights for the new 2012 Adventures by Disney itineraries.

The Greece Family Vacation will take you to Athens, Santorini and Crete on your 10 days/9 nights adventure.  In Santorini, guests will be sailing, swimming and exploring the volcano.  While in Crete, guests will join a village mountain shepherd and make cheese.  Private guides will be offered to visit Athens, Acropolis and Olympic Stadium, where the youngest adventurers may even get to participate in their own “Olympics”.  There will be sea kayaking in Spinalonga and wine tasting & Stomping at the Volcan Winery.  Prices for this adventure start at $4,699 for adults and $4,459 for children.  This includes all transfers during the adventure, but not airfare to and from Greece.

The France Family Vacation adventurers will travel to Versailles, Normandy, Loire Valley & Paris.  In Giverny, you will visit the home of Claude Monet.  Visit the magnificent Mont Saint-Michel and explore this medieval monastery high atop an island.  Visit Omaha Beach to see where the US 1st Division landed on D-Day.  Guests will enjoy a bike ride and wine tasting in a chateaux in Loire Valley.  Next this adventure will take you to Paris where you can tour over 60 museums and attractions before ending your vacation with a private farewell dinner inside the Louvre museum!  This 8 days/7 nights adventure starts at $4,799 for adults and $4,559 for children.

Both of these adventures also offer adult exclusive departures.

The Egypt Family Vacation will resume in 2012.  There will also still be a couple signature trips including Italy and Costa Rica.  Last year, Adventures by Disney started Gateway itineraries, which allowed you to have more free time, a little less structure.  They are removing those itineraries for 2012.

From Asia, Africa & Australia and Europe to North America, Central & South America, Adventures by Disney has the vacation for you!  Experience the Disney Difference!  Contact Travel On A Dream today for your quote.

Hurricane Irene

It seems like all the talk in the last week has been about Hurricane Irene.  How did this storm affect you?  For me, we had an unusually beautiful weekend as the high pressure system stalled to our east  and kept the weather nice.  Those on the East Coast though weren’t as lucky.

We have heard from many friends that lost power (some still don’t have it back), had flooded yards and basements and downed trees (even on their houses).  Leaves wallpapering the house was a very creative way that another friend described the storm.

We had clients who had a difficult time getting home, worried about trip interruption, worried about change in schedules and a couple that were out of the area just long enough to miss it all!  I heard from people who booked their travel through Expedia and other sites like it because “they are cheaper” only to find out that paying a little more for better service can be worth it.

We take travel delays and changes very seriously.  We had some changes for our clients due to the weather.  Some changed plans to arrive at their destination before the storms hit while others changed plans out of necessity when the airlines canceled their flights earlier than anticipated.  Was this something the client could have rescheduled on her own?  Probably, but it’s much nicer having someone, who isn’t involved in the circumstances concerning the delay, to take a clearer look at what needs to be done and just do it.

We hope that all of our friends who continue to be affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Irene recover quickly.  How did you fare in the storm?

Change in Dates for Free Dining Promotion

Disney has changed the dates available for the free dining promotion this fall and early next year.  The big change is the addition of some Saturday nights.  Here are the new dates.

Valid for arrivals most nights:

  • Oct. 1-6, 2011
  • Oct. 22 – Nov. 3, 2011
  • Nov. 12-17, 2011
  • Nov. 26 – Dec. 1, 2011
  • Dec. 10-15, 2011
  • Jan. 8-12, 2012
  • Jan. 21- Feb. 2, 2012
  • Feb. 11-16, 2012
  • March 3-8, 2012
  • March 24-29, 2012

Contact Travel On A Dream today to book your Free Dining Promotion at Walt Disney World!

Youth and Teen Programs on Cruise Ships

The majority of the cruise lines allow children to cruise, some as early as 12 weeks old.  For me, I think this is too young.  There are things to do, however, where it’s offered you have to pay for child care until they are old enough for the children’s programming.  Additionally children are not allowed to be in the pools in diapers, even swimmer diapers, so it’s difficult on the parents to have the children around and not allow them in the pools.  Many ships have introduced “splash zones” for the kids so it’s not as much of an issue, but something to consider as far as when to take your kids on a cruise.

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Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

From September 30 through November 13, 2011, the 16th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be the place to be in Central Florida!  We are going to find a little time to get to this event before it ends since we couldn’t make it last year.  While I was reviewing the festival booklet, it occurred to me that this would be a good topic for a blog.  Not everyone has been there before or knows some tips to making it a more enjoyable experience (not that food or wine is not enjoyable, just to enjoy more!).

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Princess Cruises Cruise Personalizer & Options

When we booked our Caribbean Princess sailing we had a GTY room and have been waiting for a room assignment.  Saturday morning, on my daily check of this, I found out our room had been assigned.  We did not get an upgrade, but we did get a better location for the room than we could have.  We are in a category BC balcony.  I was worried about having the buffet above our room.  Instead we were assigned a room on the Aloha Deck, midship.  Now is the perfect time to go over our documents, special requests, prebookings, etc.

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