Monthly Archives: April 2013

Driven by Memories

I a previous post, Why I Became a Travel Agent, I gave a few of the reasons that I love being a travel agent. I wanted to take some time and dive into one of the reasons a little deeper. The one that drives me the most is when I help people make memories they will have for a long time.memories-1v0n6fv

I love to hear about people’s trips when they get back. There isn’t much that excites me more than hearing someone say they had a time of their life. Then they go on telling you about all the fun stuff they did while they were there. It is great to sit back and listen, or read, and picture in your mind of what it must have been like. I like to think about it as experiencing it myself through my clients.

I don’t just like to hear about the good of your trip though, I also want to hear about the bad as well. I want to hear about things that drove you nuts, annoyed you, or even what you absolutely hated. These are the things that help me the next time you come to me to plan your vacation. The next time we will plan to avoid those things that you may not have liked.

I think of my clients as being in a relationship with me. I strive to learn more about them in order to provide a vacation made just for them. There isn’t an online booking website out there that does that. The next time you start looking to plan your vacation, go ahead and look at those online websites but also go ahead and give a travel agent a call. You maybe surprised on price, in a good way, and the personal service you get will be worth the call.bad-customer-service 2

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Quantum of the Seas Dazzles

Royal Caribbean International is at it again. The cruise line on April 16th released some of the new innovative feature of their new ship, Quantum of the Seas, set to launch in November of 2014. She will sail out of the New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty on 7- to 12-night itineraries during the winter 2014/15 season. If some of these new features don’t make you say wow, then it must take a lot to impress you.

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum of the Seas

“This new generation of ships gave us an opportunity to make another leap in vessel design.  Innovation has always been part of our DNA and we have taken advantage of all that creativity to design Quantum cruising,” stated Richard D. Fain, chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. Innovations were plentiful on the company’s Oasis class ships. From balcony stateroom on the inside of the ship, to the 7 different “neighborhoods”, to the zip line on board the ship, they had their work cut out for them to make a splash with their new class of ships.

Industry first on the Quantum of the Seas include:

  • RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving experience at sea which allows everyone from first-time flyers to seasoned skydivers to enjoy the sheer thrill and exhilaration of skydiving in a safe, controlled, and simulated environment.

    RipCord by iFly

    RipCord by iFly

  • North Star, an engineering marvel, takes guests to new heights – literally – with a jewel-shaped, glass capsule, transporting them on a spectacular journey more than 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver awe-inspiring 360-degree views.

    NorthStar

    NorthStar

  • The largest indoor active space at sea, SeaPlex has new features that will impress guests of all ages.  You can experience a circus school with flying trapeze, or play basketball on a full-size regulation basketball court.  By night, the first-ever bumper car and roller skating offerings deliver fun and excitement.  Guest can dance the night away to music provide by a DJ in a floating booth.

 

Bumper Cars SeaPlex

Bumper Cars SeaPlex

They didn’t stop here! They also gave the staterooms some of their innovating touches as well. These are just as exciting as the public space features.

  • Virtual Balcony staterooms virtual balconies to interior staterooms offering expansive real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations.

    Virtual Balcony

    Virtual Balcony

  • Family-Connected staterooms deliver more flexibility, using three different stateroom categories that connect to form a special layout that provides separate bedrooms and bathrooms for all.  These accommodations allow families and groups of friends traveling together to enjoy the best of both worlds when it comes to together and alone time.
  • With Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean introduces the largest variety of stateroom categories, including new Studio staterooms, some with balconies for single travelers, three Junior Suite categories and larger Loft Suites.

Don’t worry they are not getting rid of the popular thing you already see on their ships. Their venues and experiences popular with families such as the Rock Climbing Wall; FlowRider surf simulator; the award-winning Adventure Ocean children’s program; the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery; and the DreamWorks entertainment and events featuring the characters from animated movies: Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar; will all be back on Quantum class. They have also promised to keep the information on new and exciting features on the Quantum of the Seas coming. It’s going to be a fun few months.

 

To learn more about the Quantum of the Seas click here.

 

 

Author: Nathan Nehmer

Pictures and information courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

 

Categories: Cruise, Royal Caribbean, Royal Caribbean News, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why I Became A Travel Agent

I get asked often, how did you become to be a travel agent? The first few times I was asked this, I probably looked like that deer you see in your headlights when you are driving home. Why would someone ask this question is what I thought? Then one day I was talking to doctor and I asked him, “How did you decide to become a doctor?” Half way through that question I paused for a second and realized I need to make sure I have my answer ready for when I’m asked why I became a travel agent.

First, a little about my background, I grew up on a farm in a small Wisconsin town not too far from Madison. We grow vegetables and flowers to sell at the farmer’s markets in and around Madison during the summer.  How does a rural farm boy become interested in travel? I’m not real sure but as I think about it more reasons come to mind.rjl_1943_#1_0

I LOVE to travel!

Being a Wisconsin farm boy and working all summer long, I love to get away in the winter. My preferred destination is anywhere warm and near water. Hawaii is one of my favorite places because of the tropical weather and the laid back atmosphere. What is a better way to escape a Wisconsin February than to fly to Hawaii?Picture 033

I LOVE to research trips.

I love to sit down and start learning about a destination. It doesn’t mater if I’m going there or not; I want to learn more about it.

Google Brain

Your big online agencies are not always the best

Yes, I am talking about those sites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity. Going back to the part of me researching my trips, I often found that these sites were not the cheapest way to book a trip. They often do not provide you with all the flights that are available and if you have a question…well, I hope you can give up a half a day to sit on hold when you call them.

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I LOVE helping others make memories

Last but certainly not the least, I LOVE helping others plan a vacation they will remember for years. I strive to make their vacation planning easy so they can sit back and relax leading up to their vacation. I am there to help if problems arise during their travels. Finally, I love to hear about their vacation when they get back. Nothing makes me happier than to hear about an awesome time clients had on their vacation.

Categories: blogs, family, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Whale Tale

Today my wife Amy (@amyn231 on Twitter) takes over the blog to talk about one of her two favorite marine mammals, the humpback whale. We have seen our fare share of whales on our trips to Hawaii. Here she talks about the best experience we had seeing whales.

A Whale Tale

I love the ocean and am enthralled by dolphins and whales, I have been for years, and this is probably one of the reasons I love visiting Hawaii so much.   The only problem with my love of these animals is that I have battled motion sickness my whole life.  I’ve sucked it up and taken different medications for motion sickness and have been on snorkeling, dolphin, and whale watching cruises, but some of the best whale action I’ve seen is from land.

Whales from the Kilauea Light House- Kauai

Whales from the Kilauea Light House- Kauai

I’ve seen whales in Kauai at the Kilauea Lighthouse and from Dukes Canoe Club in Nawiliwili.  However the best I’ve seen is from the pool at the Castle Halii Kai at Waikoloa located in the Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island.  OK so the rules said that you couldn’t reserve seats by the pool, but I’ll admit I broke that rule.  I made sure we were the first to the pool when it opened to get the chairs that we could turn around and look over the cliff at the ocean.

Pool at Castle Halii Kai

Pool at Castle Halii Kai

Within an hour it started…..tour boats started to arrive and the humpback whales started to put on a show with breaching and tail slaps constantly throughout the day.  It seemed as if there were hundreds of them off that cliff, but I’m sure it was just a normal sized pod.  We would stop reading our books and turn off our cell phones and just watch them and take pictures, we didn’t need binocilars, it was truly magical.  The best part was we got to see more whales than anyone on those tour boats, didn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars and I didn’t get sea sick.  Sometimes the best moments on the islands are free.

Whales out from poolMore whales from pool.

Author: Amy Nehmer

For information on Castle Halii Kai at Waikoloa and the Big Island email: nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com. We will be happy to talk to you about our favorite destination.

Categories: Big Island, family, Hawaii, Kauai, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Things to Check Out On Kauai

I was going through a flash drive that I had used to save some information from a computer that was dying fast. I came across a bunch of blog posts that were written. Some were published on an old account that has since been deleted and some were never published for some reason. I will be sprinkling these posts in here and there. This first one is one of them that was published on the old account. Please enjoy!

Kauai is the oldest and furthest west island of Hawaiian Islands. It is the 4th largest of the main Hawaiian Islands with just over 562 square miles. Don’t let Kauai’s small size deter you from a trip there; there is plenty to keep you interested in this island paradise.  Known as the Garden Isle, Kauai is a nature lover’s paradise. Here are 3 things that may interest the traveler to Kauai.

  1. Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill

This is a tour I had the pleasure of taking, with my wife, on our trip to Kauai in 2009. On this tour you will have a look at the process and challenges of growing taro, a pant grown for its starchy tuber. Taro is pounded to make poi, the creamy purple paste you are told you have to try when you attend a luau. You also get to tour the historic rice mill that is filled with many artifacts from the days they grew rice in the Hanalei Valley. Lyndsey does a great job on this tour as she doesn’t read from a script and tells of her families personal experiences farming the land.  You can check out more at www.HaraguchiRiceMill.org

Taro Leaf and Root

Taro Leaf and Root

  1. 2.   Allerton Gardens

ParadisePart of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Allerton Garden and Mcbryde Garden are located in the Lawai Valley on the south side of Kauai. I definitely recommend paying the $45 dollars for the Allerton Garden tour. Visit http://ntbg.org/gardens/allerton-tours.php for more information.

Tree from Jurassic Park Located in Allerton Gardens

Tree from Jurassic Park Located in Allerton Gardens

  1. Kilauea Lighthouse
lighthouse.jpg

Kilauea Lighthouse

The Kilauea Lighthouse is on the northern most point of Kauai. The light house was built in 1913 and was used till 1976. During the months of January through March this is a great spot to see whales. You can visit the lighthouse on a self guided tour, but you can’t go up inside to the light itself. There is a $5 entry fee but it is so worth it!

whale.jpg

Whales off from Kilauea Lighthouse

Categories: Hawaii, Kauai, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carnival Triumph in the News Again

A severe storm in Mobile, Alabama yesterday was blamed for the Carnival Triumph breaking loose from her moorings while she was in wet dock getting repairs from engine room fire that blasted her into the news. This all comes almost within a year since the Triumph made news by getting caught up in a legal mess last March (Thoughts on the Carnival Triumph Fiasco) . Carnival can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to this ship.
I couldn’t help to think if this were my car, I’d be looking to get rid of her. But then again, I didn’t pay around 450 million dollars to have my car built. I also don’t use my car as my main source of income and don’t have passengers booked to spend their vacation in my car.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the shipyard workers injured in this accident and the one, who as of last night, is still missing.
If what they say about bad luck coming in strings of three is true, the Carnival Triumph maybe now one of the safest ships to sail on (When she starts sailing again).

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Photo from: dailyjournalonline.com

Author: Nathan Nehmer nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

Categories: Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, cruise news | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cruise Family Announces Plans to Form New Cruise Line

The Cruise Family, a group of cruise experts and bloggers on Twitter, announced today they plan to form a new cruise line.
The news was broke in a press conference held in the cruising hot bed of Cleveland, Ohio. Spokesman for the group, Mike Faust, says “The new line will offer a great vacation while helping to save the environment and fight obesity at the same time.” He adds, “We plan on making our ships as green as possible.”
Reports say that their first ship, which has yet to be named, will be powered by a unique source. All indications point to pedal power being used to propel the ship. When asked, Faust explained “At this time, we are not ready to release the details on how the ship will be the cleanest cruise ship sailing. I will say however, we will have the fittest passengers ever by the end of the cruise.”
The cruise line expects to be operating in the waters of the Great Lakes and will offer some very exciting ports of call. Faust explains, “This is a region we think could use an expanded cruise option!”
The Cruise Family expects to release more details of this venture on the Cruise Family Reunion held this July 5th. They invite everyone to join them on this fun-filled 3 day cruise.

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APRIL FOOLS

Categories: Cruise, cruise news, family | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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