Archive for the ‘travel insurance’ Category

Plans Change – Your Travel Agent Will Help

You’ve been planning a cruise for more than a year.  Everything is perfect.  You have the stateroom you wanted, made all prebooked plans onboard, and all the pre and post cruise plans.  Work has been notified and you are ready to go.  You get the call no one ever wants to get.  “I’m sorry, but we have to cancel your cruise.”

At first you are stunned.  Please tell me this is a joke.  Please wake me and say it was just a bad dream.  But no, it is really happening.  It’s time to make some changes to plans.

If you are like me, you don’t take vacation lightly.  We work hard all year to go on vacation.  The last thing you want is for that to change.

Illness, storms, damage/malfunction of the ship can happen anytime.  This past year we saw the Grandeur of the Seas cancel sailings due to a fire and Celebrity Millennium cancel due to propulsion problems.  There were many disappointed travelers.

This is one of those times that you really wish you had a travel agent working for you, sitting on hold for hours to reschedule your vacation and work out the best option for you.  We are in a better position to take care of this as well.  Your emotions are running higher, you are sad, upset, frantic, you name it.  It’s hard to figure out what is happening much less what you want to do instead.

Last week, we rescheduled guests to other sailings of the Disney Magic, other ships in the Disney fleet and even other cruise lines and Walt Disney World instead of the Disney Magic sailing.

You never know when trouble could happen on a cruise.  Having travel insurance and a great travel counselor on your side makes these situations a bit easier to handle.

On My Insurance Soapbox Again…

With Hurricane Isaac hitting Louisiana and the 7 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I thought it was a good opportunity to bring up travel insurance once again.

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Onboard Booking on Disney Cruise Line

Recently we have been hearing of changes to the onboard booking offer at Disney Cruise Line.  I had verified that a change took place, but what the new policy was exactly was not clear.  While onboard the Disney Fantasy this weekend, I went straight to the future cruise sales agents and got the scoop.

The onboard booking offer is still a 10% discount off prevailing rates, a stateroom credit based on the itinerary and reduced deposit of only 10%.  The offer is valid only on categories 4 – 11.  It is not valid for concierge categories, two night cruises, restricted categories or Disney Fantasy maiden voyages.  The reservation must be booked and deposit paid while onboard.  These restrictions have not changed.

Here is where the changes are.  Each household can book one date in the future, up to two cabins to receive the onboard booking offer.  In the past you could book the same number of rooms as the number of people in your cabin (if you had four in your room, you could book up to four rooms per date booked in the future).  Additionally, you can only book one future date to receive the onboard booking offer.  If you do want to book more cabins on the one date, you can do so and receive only the onboard credit offer (no discounts).

The only exception to the one date rule is for those booking back to back reservations.  If you want to book back to back, you can book more than one date and receive a discount on both dates.  Now don’t think this is a way around the rule.  If you ever change those reservations to no longer be a back to back reservation, you will lose the onboard offer on the second date.

I understand why there was a rule change.  Too many people were booking too many dates from many other people.  It’s disappointing when changes happen due to others abusing the system.  I just hope this doesn’t backfire though.  Many experienced cruisers like to have a “dummy date” or two available to get a discount on a Disney cruise in the future.  If you go onboard and have a future date that you want to book, you won’t also be able to book a “dummy date” for a future release.  Cruise lines want us to book early to guarantee the lowest prices.  Without having an extra “dummy date” available, I’m afraid people will wait longer to book their cruises until pricing comes down.

On the new form, you will be required to select a sail date, include your email address, category and dining preference.  You’ll also need to check if you want to use a travel agent (and include their name), vacation insurance, transfers and airfare.  Your onboard booking can be combined with Travel On A Dream’s loyalty program so be sure to check the box and add our name to your reservation request.

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?

To Insure or Not To Insure

This should be a fairly easy question, but for so many people it is not.  My answer in general is yes, but sometimes it is a maybe.

According to Dictionary.com, to insure is “to guarantee against loss or harm”.  Life can be a craps shoot.  Because of this insurance companies came to be.  They are gambling that something won’t happen.  Life, home owners, health, auto, body parts, you name it, there is an insurance policy available for this.  You can take all the precautions you want but bad things can still happen and you just never know when it will.  For me, it seems to happen at the most inappropriate time!  So we buy insurance — at least for the important things or the required things.  I can’t skip insurance on my home as my mortgage company would not approve of that or my car because that would be violating the law in my state.  Health insurance isn’t required, but I certainly wouldn’t go without it.

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Cruising 101, Part 1

Many people are choosing to cruise as their choice of vacations these days.  It can be intimidating both for the new cruiser and the experienced cruiser however to book a cruise and then actually go on the cruise as there can be many differences between cruise lines and their policies/procedures.  I ran into this twice this year cruising on Celebrity and Norwegian cruise lines because I have cruised with Disney so many times, I just wasn’t sure about some things.

This blog will address many of the questions you may have regarding choosing a cruise, planning for the cruise, once onboard the cruise and disembarkation after the cruise.  The blog will be continued over a few days as there is so much information I don’t want to overwhelm you.  Once the topic has been covered, I will be including a link to our website with all the information there.  This will allow you to search for particular topics and allow us to update the information as necessary.  Please post questions that you may have so that we can answer them as well. Continue reading

What a Way To Spend Vacation Time

Vacation time is important to people.  It’s a chance to relax, do something fun that you don’t normally do, or just get away from the routine that is life.  Some people save for a long time to be able to take that dream vacation.  The last thing you want is for something to go wrong.

The most recent example is the Carnival Splendor.  A fire in the engine room on the first day of a seven night cruise rendered the ship disabled and dead in the water, with nearly 4500 people onboard.  When this first happened, I immediately thought about the toilets.  They operate on a vacuum line so they wouldn’t be working now.  There was also lack of water and food, since refrigeration was out as well.  Today we expect the ship to arrive in San Diego after three days of unfavorable conditions.

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