Welcome to the TBS Travel trip review page. Here we will post information on cruises we experience with direct and straight forward information on our experience. This information is intended to provide an additional resource to help you plan your vacation. At any time we welcome feedback and comments on these reviews. You can send these to . Please put in the subject line Travel Blog.
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The Rhine & Mosell
April 20 - May 2, 2019
In April we boarded the Avalon Artistry II in Basel, Switzerland. This was to be a familarization cruise to enable us to learn about the lower Rhine and Mosell Rivers. The thirteen night cruise visited Germany, France, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. What an amazing itinerary.
The Rhine River Gorge was our favorite cruising day as the shore lines are filled with small quaint German villages as-well-as castles that seemed to touch the sky. Along the way we passed the famous Lorelei statue that reportedly is located where sailors of old were summoned by the songs of the Lorelei to the rocks which destyroyed their boats.
Along the Mosell River were hill side vineyards and many quaint villages. Almost fairytal in design this was a part of Germany that we definitley will visit again.
As for the Avalon experience it is top notch. The ship is spotless, crew totally customer focused and the dining one of the best we have experienced. If river cruising is in your travel plans take a close look at Avalon for they deliver high value for your travel budegt.
March 16 - 23, 2019
This was our first personal experience with MSC though we had booked a client previeously. The Seaside is based in Miami and we sailed her on an Eastern Caribbean 7 night sailing. Ports of call included San Juan, St. Thomas USVI, St. Maarten, and Nassau. The weather throughout the cruise was spectacular and the seas equally wonderful.
The Seaside is a modern ship with a contemporary look and feel. It is kept in a prestine condition throughout with crew constantly cleaning and polishing. If a misplaced piece of paper or other item is has falling onto the deck it is immediately picked up by any crew member who comes across it. Equally impressive is the maintenance in the staterooms. Our stateroom attendent took pride in maintaining the impeccible condition of the stateroom and was constantly asking if we had any needs or issues. An AAA+ rating for these hard working crew members.
Another area of the cruise which took AAA+ rating were the shows. Though only 30 minutes in length they are some of the best experienced on any cruise. Costuming, set design and delivery were all most impressive. The four lead singers were outstanding going for contemporary numbers to full blown opera doing Madam Butterfly.
Now for a coule of areas needing improvement. The bar service was lacking in quality of service and consfusion in drink package/ordering. Staff members seemed more interested in talking amonst themselves then attending to guests. As for the drink package ours didn't allow us to order a martini HOWEVER you could order a Beefeters with olives. Same is true for a Rum Punch...not orderable but you could order a fruit juoce with rum. What gives??
The second area needed work is in the main Dining Room (Impenema). Our server was a big disappoinment. At one point when asked to enure that the steak was properly prepare after it not being done the previous night repsonded with : I take the orer, they cook it". Only after bringing the issue to the head waiters attention was the situation resolved by having a nw server asigned to our table. From that point on we felt like we mattered as guest. One special dining experience rated a AAA+ both in food, and service.
MSC pricing is very attractive to many quests however I recommend that you know what you are getting before booking it. They have come a long way from early days where many guests chose to sail them once....now they need to resolve these last areas and they will have a great product.
August 24 - September 3, 2018
This was our first experience with Oceania and it definitely will not be our last. The cruise line is rated 6 star and we experienced that first hand. From the moment you step onboard you feel the difference. Each and every member of staff greet you with a smile and present an attitude of "we are here to serve" and they mean that by their actions.
The food is surpurb in presentation, quality, taste and quantity. The main dining experience is wonderful with open seating and its country club casual atmoshere. The two alternative dining experiences at Toscana and Polo Club are just amazing.
The Insignia was first the R1 under Rennesance Cruises. Now sailing under Oceania the glamour of the ship has not diminished. The 30,000 gross tonnage ship allows for an intimate experience with other guests crew. Each day you see and interact with guests you have come to know during the cruise because of the ships small size. Though now 20 years old the ship is in remarkable shape. Scheduled to be refurbished I can only imagine how beautiful it will be to start it's next 20 years.
If you are looking for a luxury cruise experience at a premium brand price take a serious look at Oceania!
On May 6, 2018 we had the pleaseure of hosting clients on an 7 night river cruise along the Rhine River. The cruise was aboard the beautiful Avalon Affinity sailing from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland.
Beautiful weather helped set the stage for this incredible cruise. Sailing to historic cities like Cologne, Germany & Stousbourg, France and seeing castles lining the river sky ranked this as one of the best tours in river cruising.
Our clients were all new to this new and exciting way of seeing historic Europe close up and personal. All said this would not be their last river cruise and felt Avalon was an amazing choice for ship, food and service.
Special Moment in Paris
A very special occassion was arranged for one of our clients in Paris. Here is the moment captured by a local photographer to commenerate the occassion.
Pandaw River Cruise Mandalay to Bagan
September 30 to October 7, 2017
Are you looking for an adventure. Something different fom the everyday Caribbean or Meditteranean cruise than a Pandaw cruise in Myanmar (Burma) is just the one you will fall in love with. The adventure starts from the moment you arrive at the port or should I say boarding area. Myanmar is still developing as a country so everywhere the ships stops is at a sand or mud sided beach. In fact most stops place us at the front yards of the locals along the Irrawaddy River.
If you are intrigued by experiencing the new and the unknown your journey down the Irriwaddy River is going to be an eye opener. The countryside is full of temples and pagods once more beautiful then the other. Golden tops glitter in every direction.
The most intriguing part of this trip is meeting the Mynamar people. They are friendly from the youngest to the oldest. Many times they would come up and ask to have their picture taken with us westerners for many Myanmar peole have never seen or met people outside thier country. We are clearly taller and our skin is white compared to their physical structure. So the intrigue goes both ways with us wanting to meet and better understand them.
Here are some pictures from our journey. Take time in your travels to explore new lands and you will be surprised at the wonderful things you learn and the people you meet. Come and visit this wonderful country!
August 19 - 26, 2016
Ensemble Hosted Cruise to Alaska
This was the 8th cruise we have hosted with Ensemble. If you have not experienced a hosted cruise you are missing out on some really fabulous amenities. For this sailing we hosted a private cocktail party for the guests in the Ensemble group plus took them on an complimentary excursion in Skagway. The excursions included a motorcoach tour into Canada, panning for gold, a lunch including beer tasting and a tour in the old cemetary in Skagway where they learned about the notorious people that once made Skagway home.
The Solstice is Celbrity Cruise Lines premiere ship with modern decor and loads of character. It looks and feels wonderful. The staff were surperb and the food the best I have encountered in any main dining experience.
Alternative dining is offered with serveral options - Silk Harvest, an Aisian Fusion Cuisine, Tuscan Grill, an Italian Steak House and Murano's, in my estimation a 6 star dining experience. Celebrity offered onboard a 3-dining experience package for $99.00 per person so you can do all three resturants.
As for the staterooms they are very well appointed and the bed is supurb. The bathrooms remain on the smaller side but very adequate.
If Alaska is on your bucket list give Celebrity a top pick. They know how to do Alska in style.
Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Allure of the Seas
January 16 - 23 and January 31 - February 7, 2016
With a hosting opportunity on the Oasis and then a private group on the Allure I had the opportunity to experience both of these behemoths within a three week period.
These ships are destinations unto themselves. With some much to do onboard if is impossible to be board. I had the opportunity to see all major shows while onboard both ships and each was more impressive from the other. I did find the Momma Mia performance onboard the Allure as my favorite.
The ships are in great shape both having completed their 5 year refurbshment over the past two years. The staff were very friendly and helpfull when needed.
The food is where I felt was lacking. It seemed Royal Caribbean has deminished the quality of their food service. Both taste and service personal could be better. Numerous times we had to look for personal to assist with getting coffee or to clear tables so people could sit.
Staterooms are roomy and clean. One issue however is the height of the sinks. At 6'1" I found I was bending over just to keep water in the wisk while cleaning up.
Overall I give the experience 4 stars. Improve the quantity of food staff and bring back better selections of food in the Windjammer and dining room and the experience would be a solid 5 stars.
December 22, 2015 - January 5, 2016
Ensemble Onboard host
Hosting aboard a luxury ship is an amazing opportunity to experience the brand as-well-as having the chance to meet some exciting and interesting people. The ship board experience was one of the finest ever experienced by me. Staff is attentive to all your needs without hesitation. The food is second to none. In fact, if there is something you wish to have the staff is willing to have it prepared for you.
The ship is the largest in the Crystal fleet yet it is small and intimate. This intimacy enables you to meet and interact with many of the guests which only number 1080. With ease you can get around the ship without wading through hugh crowds.
This being a holiday sailing enabled me to see how Crystal showcased their holiday decorations and celebrations. Both were done very tasteful. For Christmas and New Years Crystal staff prepared an amazing lunch buffet served in the centrium area of the ship. From lobster tails and shrimp, to a steamboat roundand all the fixings inbetween each and every guest had more then enough to eat.
The staerooms are exceptionally appointed with granite double sinks, upgraded supior bedding and enough room to have fellow guest over to enjoy a wine either in the stateroom or on the balcony.
This experience has shown me why Chrystal is rated as a 6 star experience.
Quantum of the Seas
The Quantum of the Seas is an absolutely amazing ship. Slightly larger than the Freedom Class at 162,000 gross tonage the ship felt comfortable and roomy. At the core of this new class of ship lies its extensive use of technology. Your daily schedule is available on your mobile device while onboard plus the use of new beam satellite technology provide internet access that will rival anything you have at home.
The new Dynamic Dining was a refreshing change to the more traditional dining room. Selecting from 4 different themed dining venues you simply made a reservation and showed up at the selected time and enjoyed a delicious meal served in a ambiance based upon the theme of the restaurant.
The many new amenities from bumper cars, iFly and the Northstar enthrilled all who tried them. Lines were long but worth the wait.
The most amazing difference onboard took place in the theater. Here a full production of Mama Mia was presented presented. The audiencewas rocking with all the great songs and the level of acting. This is a must see while onboard.
Staterooms were large and very comfortable with upgraded bedding. Storage seemed ample and the bathrooms felt roomy.
All in all the experience was worth the trip to New Jersey. With the Quantum of the Seas leaving in spring of 2015 it will be replaced woth the Anthem of the Seas in the fall. The Anthem is the second ship in the Quantum Class and I expect to be equally great in all aspects to its older sister the Quantum of the Seas.
If your looking for a totally new experience cruising give the Quantum or Anthem a try.
Alaska May, 2014
Radiance of the Seas
Alaska is America's last true frontier
A cruise tour is a wonderful way to see Alaska. Ours consisted of 5 days land and 7 nights cruise. Our land journey included traveling around Alaska to Telkeetna, Denali and Alyeska. All three stops were amazing. During our trip we qualified for the 30% club which means we were the 30% of visitors that get to see all of Mt. Denali. We lucked out with not one but three crystal clear days.
Traveling from Anchorage via the domed train we were treated to many beautiful sites in the inner territory of Alaska. We even enjoyed a great breakfast onboard that was hot and very tasty. The best part after the views was the level of customer service provided by the team onboard.
The hotels we stayed at ranged from good (Denali Lodge) to outstanding (Alyeska Hotel). As expected food costs more than back home and because we were the first tours of the year not all of the menu choices were available.
On day 6 we boarded the beautiful Radiance of the Seas in Seward. The ship was clean, fresh and delightful. The Captain was very personable and the staff warm and helpful.
We had a balcony stateroom (first time in all our trips to Alaska) and it was most useful as the temperatures throughout our trip were in the mid to upper 50's. This was quite unusual for mid May. So we spent quite a bit of time on the balcony in Hubbard Bay and all the ports of call.
Alaska is going to be the itinerary of choice in 2015 and 2016. Airfares, troubles overseas and just fare pricing will result in many cruisers to visit Alaska for the first time or the upteen time. Either way if Alaska is on your bucket list book early to get the best fares and staterooms. If we may be of service we have several groups planned in Alaska in 2015. Give us a call on 877-492-1201 and let us help plan this amazing trip for you.
On December 3, 2012 I had the pleasure of boarding the Reflection for a two-night sailing from Miami. Being 1 of 2800 invited guests to preview this glorious ship was a special highlight of my tenure in the travel industry. It as almost like a coming of age experience being recognized by your travel partners for the work you have done in selling their product.
The Reflection is an unbelievable ship, the fifth and final ship, in the Solstice class. Like its four sister ships (Solstice, Eclipse, Equinox, and Silhouette) the Reflection brings its beauty and charm to the Premium Class of cruise ships. At 126,000 gross tonnage the ship welcomes 3030 passengers to a very roomy and comfortable setting. From its' interior staterooms to the spectacular Reflection Suite guests enjoy all the amenities of a premium class experience at a fair and reasonable fare.
The Opus dining room is the main venue welcoming evening diners to enjoy a savory four course dining experience. Complimented with an excellent selection of fine wines the evening dining experience is but one special touch on the Reflection.
If you are looking for additional dining choices there are a number of them aboard. From the inexpensive Bistro at Five to the luxurious Maranosyou can literally have a uniquely different dining experience each and every night.
For those who look forward to an evening of fun the chocies are far and wide. From the smoke free casino, to the magnificent theather one can find many things to spoil themselves during their cruise.
If you are looking for a more pleasurable way to spend your time then the AquaSpa or Persian Gardens and Relaxation room is for you. Keep in mind many of these treats come with an extra charge. That said they are all worth the price you will pay to indulge yourself.
Celebrity has done a wonderful job over the past several years differentialting themselves from the rest of the Premium Cruise segment. Reflection is the latest in their arsenal to put them at the top of this class of cuising.
Now is the time for you to go ahead and trat yourselves to the Celebrity experience. Start with the Reflection. You wont be sorry!
Seranade of the Seas - Sailing Roundtrip Barcelona to Eastern Meditteranean
The Serenade of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's last classic built liners. Built in 2003 it will celebrate 10 years of excellent service in 2013.The Serenade was the last ship in the Radiance class for me to sail on. Like its' sister ships (the Radiance, Brilliance and Jewel) it has that user friendly feel and touch making one feel right at home from the moment you step onboard.
The itinerary for this cruise was Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Ravinna and Split, Croata. This is one of the best European itineraries and I highly recommend it. Unlike cruises in the Caribbean when you sail the Med you are seeing history at its finest. From the architecture, to the Cathedrals, to Museums, to its people. Europe is in a class all its own.
As for life aboard the Serenade, Royal Caribbean again meets and exceeds the "new normal" average quality given by many of its competitors. Food quality was excellent along with the top level service.
Embarkation and disembarkation was done with excellence so that you as the guest never felt burden by the process. I was especially impressed with how efficient disembarkation was in Barcelona. As soon as guest arrived outside the terminal there was various forms of local transportation available to take them to their next destinaion whether the airport or hotel.
The ports of call were amazing. It was my first stop in Cannes and we were there during the film festival. Also a firs,t were stops in Ravinna and Split. Though I didn't tour Ravinna feedback from those who did remark how nice it was and how inexpensive everything was from food, to drinks to shopping as compared to Venice.
The one port that totally surpirsed me was Split, Croatia. It was a city full of life and music. The locals were visibly seen dancing in the street as there was a car show along the waterfront with live music. Lots of little cafes enabled one to sit, listen to the music while enjoying their favorite local drink.
European cruises were soft in 2012 and it looks like they will continue to be so in 2013. The issue appears to be the high cost of air travel. Though fares for air were ranging from Orlando to Barcelona in the $1,400 to $1,600 per person roundtrip in economy class we did hit paydirt with a $793 per person round trip in economy on Delta. Lucky, no. This is what is possible when you work with a travel agent who monitors air fares on a daily basis.
I strongly recommend sailing in Europe. Find a way to cover your air and you will have a cruise of a lifetime.
A Meditteranean sunset from our balcony
If you have looked for airfare recently you have probably had major sticker shock. Going to Europe fares are in the $1100 to 1800 per person range depending upon travel dates and citiy pairs. This is just the tip of the iceburg too. These fares are for economy class. Most airlines now offer economy plus style seating which means if you want more leg and hip room get set to pay more.
Alas, don;t be dismayed as the are some positives. Recently I booked travel round trip from Orlando to Barcelona and was surprised to get a fare of $793 per person round trip. I have seen similar fares to England however before the start of the Olympics.
This is a nother great reason to work with an experienced travel agent. They have the tools to monitor fares and to help you maximize your travel dollar.
In closing consider taking the airline travel insurance. Should you have to cancel your flight or change dates, times or flights it could come in handy.
I just returned from 7 days aboard the magnificent Solstice. Sailing into the Western Caribbean we mad ports of calls in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Roatan and Casa Maya. The seas were calm and the weather wonderful....warm but low humidity.
The Solstice is now going on 4 years old but looks like it juct came off the showroom floor. All public areas were immaculate, the food was quite good and service, well service was what you would expect from a premium cruise line....excellent. Where ever you went aboard a crew member would stop and welcome you with a time of day greeting and a smile.
The ship sailed full but never did it feel that way. With loads of public space you always felt comfortable moving about the ship. Loads of elevators move you quickly from deck to deck and you can very efficiently travel from stem to stern wothout barriers blocking you anywhere.
The ports of call are the typical Western Caribbean ports that many lines visit.
This was probably my 25th cruise into the Caribbean and I experienced a first with my visit to Hondurus. While shopping at a store named Dufry's I waited in line to make a $4.95 purchase in cash. While in line I observed the person in front of me also making a cash purchase. They were required to present their ships ID and tell the cashier their stateroom number. The cashier then swiped the ID in the register capturing the data that was on the magnetic strip. When the purcahse was rung up they then had to sign the receipt like they were making a credit card purchase.
I questioned the cashier and he simply pointed to a sign on the wall saying all ships passengers had to present their ID. Seeing this I put my purchase back and walked out of the store.
I share this with my readers and suggest you make your own decision whether to make a purchase from Dufry's....I however have never seen this practice anywhere else in the Caribbean, Europe, Central America, South America, the nited Kingdom or the US. The questions is what is Dufry's doing with the data they are capturing?
Other then this unusual practice my experience in all other ports was quite good. One note of appreciatiob goes to a sales person in Casa Maya. After making a purchase we inadvertantly forgot our credit card. As we headed back to the ship he came running up and said he searched throughout the port shopping area to return our card. A big "thank you" goes out the him and the people of Casa Maya for great customer service.
Touring March 29, 2012
Today we had an oportunity to tou the brand new Disney Fantasy before it sailed on its maiden voyage. As its sister ship the Disney Dream it is a magnificent ship that passengers are going to love. In the Disney tradition it brings all the Disney magic to cruising.
Here are some pictures to help you see what a magnificent ship this is.
Secrets to Beating High Cost of Parking at Ports in Florida
If you have cruised in 2011 from a Florida port you know the high (unreasonable) cost of parking at the port. Here are current 2011 rates for the ports for a personal (standard sized) vehicle. You will pay more for oversized vehicles.
Wow for a 7 night cruise from Miami and you will pay $140.00 just to park.
Want to know a better way to go? A number of hotels now offer a special "cruise and park" program where you stay one night and you can park your car for free for up to 14 nights. The longer your cruise the better the deal is against the cost of parking at the port.
We have done this a number of times and found the program works very well. The hotels have arrangements with local transport services and the run shuttles to to the port frequently for drop-off and pick-up.
The benefits of doing this is you get a good nights sleep before day of embarkation, you usually get breakfast as part of the hotel stay, you know you are near the port and not rushing by plane, train or car to the port the morning of the cruise...there is nothing like missing your cruise because of traffic or flight delays. Why put all that stress on you when there are better alternatives.
If we can help you plan your cruise and book a hotel with "cruise and park" service please give us a call at 877-492-1201.
Azamara Club Cruise
At the boarding process you could feel there was a difference over the mass market ship product. The boarding process was very easy with staff greeting all guests with a "welcome home". Next since there were only 694 passengers there never was a crowd. Azamara also managed the check-in process with a call-up number so it seemed very simple and never crowded.
Once onboard you could feel the difference. The ship was quite elegant and the staff greeted you with a glass of champagne. Again all staff you came in contact with greeted you.
Once onboard we were immediately directed to proceed to deck 9 for lunch. The food presentation was very good and only out done by its taste. Staff were readily available to assist in carrying food to the table along with taking your order for drinks. Wine was served complimentary each day.
Around we were permitted to go to our stateroom. We chose an Oceanview for this voyage so as to see what the size and comfort ability of it was throughout the sailing. We found it very roomy and the amenities quite upscale. The only issue I had with the stateroom was the shower. Since the ship was build in 2000 it was designed with the old shower curtain and as you would expect you always were challenged with keeping it in place.
Since the Quest is “country club casual” there were no formal nights. Most guests were well dressed for dinner with no one allowed in the dining room in jeans or shorts. The food overall was very good. Service ranged from outstanding to average depending upon the table you were sat at each evening. Since it was open seating you could manage where you sat with a request for a specific table.
The itinerary we sailed was from Civitaveccia (
As this was our first small ship experience we were very attentive to the things that make it different from the big ship experience. Here is our analysis:
1. Azamara’s approach is to give it’s guests an up lose and longer visit in port. This is great if you are onshore. If you choose to return to the ship early there is little to nothing open on board. Having said this it is still a worthwhile experience.
2. Being a smaller ship you see your fellow guests more frequently. This is great if you have made new friends
3. Attention to detail and service is markedly highly on the smaller ship. The ration of ship staff to guests is just over 1.2 – 1.
4. Being a smaller ship allows us to get into ports other ships are not able to go to because the docking facility cannot handle them or they could not service their guests in a timely manner tendering. This is a big plus.
5. You never spend more then 10 minutes getting from one end of the ship to the other because of its size. This is refreshing having just gotten off of the Oasis of the Seas a month earlier.
6. Tendering (when required) was a breeze. Because of the number of guests and each tender handling up to 150 passengers you never waited long.
7. Your gratuities are included in the fare
Overall I would rate the experience with 6 stars. It is refreshing and delightful to again be made to feel special, dine with great food, have staff that appreciate you and go out of their way to provide you with excellent service.
The Quest at anchor off Sorrento, Italy
Valletta, Malta Syracusa, Sicily
Oasis of the Seas
September 3 - 10, 2011
Wow what a ship! I just returned from a 7-night western Caribbean cruise and it was amazing. I was in an interior balcony stateroom over Central Park. The staerrom was very well apointed but lack sufficient closet space. The bathroom however was very spacious and even with the door closed you felt the roominess.
One point of information even though Central Park is quiet you can hear the bands paying on the pool deck so be ready for some nopise.
For dinner I reserved "My Time" and it was very good. I was able to sit at the same table with my friends 3 out of 4 times. Service was excellent and food quality and presentation was very good. Selection was impressive with daily specials plus the daily entrees.
I had the opportunity to see three shows while onboard. Come Fly with Me, The Ise Show - Frozen in Time and of course Hairspray. Each show was excellent! Additionally, I saw the Aqua Show which just blew me away.
As for things to do on board...well more then anyone person can do in a week. From ice skating, to dancing, to the zip line, rock climbing, the Wave Rider, and daily -all day and night line - activities on the Royal Promenade.
Overall I recommend this experience in cruising. It is easily a 9 on a 10 score.
Disney Dream Tour
Today I had the pleasure of touring this magnificent ship in Port Canaveral, Florida. At 128,000 gross tonnage the Dream is Disney's latgest ship to date.
Having sailed the Wonder I can compare the original Disney ship to their new Dream. First off is the entry atrium which is much larger and more elegant. As you enter you feel the Disney touch from the statue of Mickey to the many hidden Mickey's throughout. As is the Disney tradition as guest board they are announced and welcomed by staff and characters alike.
Moving about the ship is easy with loads of things to see and activities to be involved in no matter what your age. So many things to touch, see and get involved with is the mission of Disney and as always they have come through with flying colors. The kids area is amazing with so many great things for them to be involved in.
Not to leave out the adults The District is the place to be. With many intimate clubs and louges it is an adult hangout for fun and libation.
The staterooms are well appointed with more then ample space even interiors. The family staterooms accomodate up to 5 guests but you must be careful in selecting the right stateroom as some onlyhandle 4 guests. Interior staterooms have the Disney magic with the virtual windows showing live video feed from the ship. This make it feel like your in an oceanview stateroom.
The one concern I did see is in the bathrooms which have either tubs or raised circular showers. These could present difficulty for seniors who have mobility challenges. Disney does offer special needs staterooms however these are limited and are spread out around the ship.
The Dream contiues the tradition of the three dining room experience. Guests rotate between the dining rooms moving with wait staff. This experience has proven very positive for guests so I am gald to see it on the Dream.
The Dream is a must for families, multigenerational groups and kids of all ages. Sailing 3, 4, and 5 night cruises to the Bahamas their is a cruise and a price point for all.
I rate the Dream a 5 star experience.
Celebrity Century Vacation Vignette Cruise - Panama Canal
What an amazing experience! Sailing from Miami to San diego with full transit through the Panama Canal is one of three absolute cruises in the western hemisphere everyone should consider. Read on and I will share with you the other two.
We left April 29th from Miami with close to 100 guests in the Vacation Vignette group. Our guests were from all over the world including Australia. Many were seasoned cruisers with about 60% retired and the others just cruise lovers.
Our ports of call included Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica , Guatamuela and Mexico before arriving in San Diego on May 15. And of course a full transit of the Canal.
Our group enjoyed a private reception as-well-as an exclusive complimentary tour in Costa Rica to the town of Sarchi high up in the mountains.
Below are some pictures of the group and ports of call below for all to enjoy.
As promised the other two "absolute" cruises in the western hemisphere are Alaska dn Canada and New England. If you haven't done these I suggest it is time.
For those looking ahead to 2012 we have the cruise of a lifetime for you and it is a Vacation Vugnette. Celebrity Millenium - November 2 - 22, 2012 Honolulu to Sydney, Australia. Again we will be the onboard host and we invite you to give us a call at 877-492-1201 to learn more about this great cruise. Call now for some unbelieveble rates for oceanview and veranda staterooms.
Now the pitures.
Vacation Vingette Cruise - April 29, 2011
Time is drawing close for our first Vacation Vingette hosting cruise. Sailing on the Celebrity Century we will depart Miami enroute via the Panama Canal to San Diego. Please watch this blog for updates from aboard the Century.
Radiance of the Seas Review
It has been several years since we had been on the Radiance of the Seas. Upon boarding her for a four night cruise to the Western Caribbean all the great memories of our past voyage quickly came back. The ship was in great condition.
As with all our experiences on RCCL the staff was welcoming from the moment we stepped on board. Our cabin (an oceanview) was clean, well appointed and freshly cleaned.
The dining room staff was well trained, food taste and presentation was excellent. We chose t do traditional main time dining and found ourselves at a table of 8 all by ourselves. MyTime dining was the choice many passengers now go with leaving the traditional guest more room and staff attention.
All in all I would give the Radiance of the Seas a 4 1/2 star. Well worth the money and certainly the location sailing from Tampa , Florida.
The sad news for our Tampa based clients is the Radiance is leaving going first to Alaska and the down under to join the Rhapsody of the Seas in Australia. She will be missed in the North American market but the great news is her sister ship the Jewel of the Seas will replace her during the winter months in Tampa.
First Images from Disney Dream
Karen Rumer, ACC toured the Disney Dream in Port Canveral. Here are some of the first pictures of this fabulous ship. Sailings are booking fast. If you are interested in a spring or summer sailing on this fabulous ship call now. Give Karen a call on 407-346-2066 or here at the main office on 407-320-0700.
Regent Seven Seas - Voyager
On December 10, 2010 I had the pleasure of touring the Voyager while she was docked in Ft. Lauderdale getting set to head out on a 7-night Caribbean Cruise. As I watched the passengers disembark all I could see were smiles and happiness. This being the first time I had experienced a Regent Seven Seas ship I was anxious to see what these passenegrs were so happy about. Well it didn;t take long to understand their happiness.
From the moment you board you feel the different. The Voyager is 48,000 gross tons meaning she is a small intemite ship in today's mega ship fleet. Her design and layout is very friendly. Most importantly is the staff. With a ration of 1 to 1.5 passengers you receive excellent service.
In touring the staterooms (all suites) you feel the opulents in the decor and layout. From marble on the bathroom floors to the upscale bedding everything screams quality. While onboard they were decorading the ship for Christmas and I could see trees and evergreens being added throughout.
I had the pleasure of dining in the Compass Rose main dining room. A single level dining room it is well laidout with plenty of room between tables. This makes you feel very comfortable and it is easy to manuver. The food was equisite and will meet or exceed the palet of the dining gourmet.
The best part of the Regent Seven Seas experience is it is an ALL-INCLUSIVE cruise. One price includes the cruise, taxes & fees, airfare, unlimited beer, wine and soda, gratuities, and all of your tours. (there are some optional tours available at discounted prices). When you compare this to main line cruising the pricing becomes very close with all the items added in. The difference is stateroom size, food quality, service and the onboard luxury experience.
The Voyager is a 6 star rated ship and it shows. Take a look at Regent Seven Seas cruise options now.
Here are pictures I took while onboard so you can see the luxury and layout of the Voyager.
Voyager Atrium Area
Reception Desk Shopping Compass Rose
Pool Deck Alternative Dining Lounge Area
Master Suite Master Suite - More Space Voyager Suite Sitting Area
CAT H - C Suite Front of Ship Suite
Baby It's Cold Outside
As winter sets in around the United States it is a great time to start planning your warm weather spring vacation. With so many vacation choices from land packages, to destinations vacations, to cruises in all parts of the world, it is easy to get confused and overwhelmed. What can you do? Contact your preferred travel professional.
Travel professionals are trained to weigh through all the suppliers and find you the perfect vacation based upon your needs and wants. Using a travel professional does not cost you rather they can save you real money and increase your probability that your vacation will be everything you deserve....without any negative surprises.
TBS Travel specializes in cruise vacations. Our travel professionals are all trained and experienced in cruise travel. Call us at 877-492-1201 and let us start you Spring 2011 vacation planning now!
Allure of the Seas
What a ship! I had the privilege to sail aboard the Allure over the weekend of November 26, 2010. It is an amazing ship with great amenities and lots and lots to do. The best part though was the food and quality of service delivered by the wonderful staff and crew aboard. While some other cruise lines are going in the wrong direction with their food and service RCCL has clearly demonstrated it's commitment to provide the onboard guest with the best of both. Overall I have to give the Allure a 6 star rating.
Here are some of the pictures taken while I was aboard.
1st row - looking aft at Broadway and the Aqua Theater
2nd row - more Boardwalk and the Loft Staterooms overlooking the Aqua Theater PLUS a look at the interior balcony statrooms
3rd row - the Boardwalk PLUS a look at the interior Promenade
4th row - the casino, Carousel and days activities information board within the Promenade
5th row - the Viking lounge and a final look at the Promenade
In December we will tour the Regent Seven Seas - Navigator while it is in Ft. Lauderdale. For our luxury cruise clients this will be an opportunity for us to see first hand the palatialness of this ship and to learn about the amenities and benefits of sailing Regent Seven Seas. Check back for more information and pictures.
Steve & Barbara Tanzer, co-owners of TBS Travel, selected to co-host
18 Night HAL Statendam Cruise - April 29,2010 to May 17, 2010
Ft. Lauderdale to Vancouver, B.C.
(full transit of Panama Canal)
On April 29, 2010 Steve & Barbara Tanzer will co-host the Vacation Vingette's 18 night sailing on Holland America's Statendam. As part of the Vacation Vignettes sailing guests will have the following benefits:
All are invited to sail this exciting cruise. Call TBS Travel at 877-492-1201 for more information or to book your stateroom of choice. Book early!
The TBS Teams registers guest TBS Team - Barbara & Karen Joanne Cotterman shares the RCCl story
Steve Tanzer wecomes the guests The guests are enjoying the evening Our celebration cake
TBS Travel held its first cruise night featuring the RCCL family of cruise lines.
With over 60 people in attendance TBS Travel hosted is first cruise night on October 27,2010. The evening was filled with lots of great deals, fun, laughs, and loads of doorprizes.
Joanne Cotterman, Business Development Manager -RCCL, was the featured speaker sharing the RCCL and Azamara story. Steve Tanzer, co-owner of TBS Travel, shared the Celebrity story showing a wonderful video featuring the Solstice Calss of ships. Both RCCl and Celebrity offered exclusive deals through TBS Travel to the guests in attendance.
The evening was completed with the cutting of the "OurCruiseAgent" cake celebrating the launch of TBS Travel's new website at www.OurCruiseAgent.com. For more information call 407-320-0700 or 877-492-1201.
Upcoming Event - Pre-inagural cruise on Allure of the Seas
I will have the opportunity to cruise aboard the brand new Allure of the Seas for a two-day cruise to nowhere. This exciting event is for travel professional to give us the chance to see this magnificant ship so we can share all the great informaion about it with our clients. Look for pictures and information following the event.
Coral Princess - August, 2010 - Vancouver to Anchorage
Back from Alaska and what a trip. We sailed on the Coral Princess on August 26, 2010 for a glorious 7-night north bound Alasa cruise from Vancouver, B.C. An Alaskan cruise is a must for everyone whether new to cruising or an old hand. Mountains, glaciers, trams, lakes, fish, bears, eagles and so much more . Where do I begin.
Let's start with the ship the Coral Princess. Here's all the good stuff:
Embarkation in Vancouver was very efficient and guick. Staff greeting you were very friendly and helpful. A first for me was going through US Customs in Canada. This made the process easier since we were now going to make stops only in the US (Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway). The ship is very nice. Built in the mid 90's it is still very clean and has been refurbished throughout, The staff is very friendly, onboard services are good and it has lots of newer conveniences like wireless throughout. I also found their internet connection the fastest I have experienced at sea. (Come on other cruise lines speed your's up) Princess does a spectacular job in Alaska. Onboard commentation by experts is one example.
Disembarkation in Whittier (Anchorage) is easy and efficient. Princess offers transportation from the port to Anchorage airport or the Welcome Center in downtown Anchorage. via train and/or motorcoach. Your bags are transferred automatically from ship to airport/downtown without cost. The best part is if going to the airport, Princess has a tour holding area where you can leave your bags until you are ready to check them into the airline (maximum check-in time is 4 hours before flight time) giving you the flexibility to visit Anchorage.
Now for the my other thoughts: The ships layout was challenging with many decks leading to deadends requiring you to turnaround and go back to access areas of the ship. This could be a challenge for seniors or anyone with mobility challenge. Food was average with the menu being just okay for selection. The dining room service was mixed in "any time" dining ranging from excellent to very slow.
The biggest negative was Princess still permits smoking in staterooms. With many people being health conscious this is a major no no. The smell of cigerettes permiates the hall way so each time you transverse the area you are subjected to second hand smoke. This is not good for the passengers, the cruise lines and Princess's reputation for quality cruises. I recommend they consider the lead of the other major lines and manage smoking to designated areas of the ship. The last thing I want is to have a stateroom that smells of stale smoke. so that I have to now be concerned with second and third hand health hazards while I am on my vacation.
Overall the Alaskan cruise experience was excellent. This feeling was echoed by many other pasengers who like me have made the Alaskan cruise many times before.
I highly recommend the Princess experience in Alaska.
Celebrity Solstice - Western Caribbean - May, 2010
In May, 2010 we had the pleasure of sailing on the Celebrity Solstice for the second time. We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale to the western Caribbean including port calls in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Cayman Islands, and Roatan, Hondurus. As you would expect the weather was very hot and humid which is usual that time of year.
The focus of this write-up is the Solstice. This ship is the centerpiece of Celebrity's fleet. Along with its two (soon four) sister ships the Equinox and the Eclipse this new style yet classic ship is ideally suited for the experienced cruiser. Dining aboard is a throwback to the hay day of cruising with excellent food and service. Celebrity has retained the expertise of the onboard wine expert supported with a wine cellar second to none.
Some of the special features of this ship include wifi through out the ship including the staterooms, the Solarium , which is an adult (age 19 and up) area with it's own pool and two hot tubs, the spa and fitness center. Additionally, the ships theater is one of the finest intimate show rooms aboard.
For the food connoisseur there are four alternative restuarants onboard. Our favorite is the Silk Harvest for it's asian cuisine and upscale service. Additioanlly there is a steak house and a speciality restuarant called Blu which is avaialble for Aqua Spa guests.
For the romantics out there I highly recommend this ship for it has everything needed to celebrate a romance whether new or old. Excellent space aboard for privacy, large well appointed upscale cabins, superb entertainment and of course some of the best overall service you have experienced.
I rate the Solstice a solid 5 stars!