Thanks to all those that went on our fabulous group cruise this winter. It was great to have so many new cruises along! You can now see why we all get addicted to traveling and having others along makes for even more fun.
We started out in Galveston, Texas. Most of the group shared a rented beach house for two nights prior to the cruise.
We boarded Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas and cruised for 7 nights with port stops at Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. The ship was enormous, the staff was stellar and the food was great. We had two large tables in the dining room for our group and had an outstanding waitstaff to take care of us.
I’m in the beginning stages of putting together a group cruise for winter 2020 right now. Please contact me if you are interested in joining us next year. Stay tuned for the announcement!
IATAN (International Airlines Travel Agent Network) promotes professionalism and administers meaningful and impartial business standards to travel industry professionals. IATAN accreditation is voluntary, and means that a travel business consciously works to assure you, its customer, of its legitimacy and commitment to the travel profession.
IATAN accreditation tells you that Jolly Mon Vacations is a serious, reputable, business professional and seller of travel. Jolly Mon Vacations is an IATAN Travel Sales Intermediary (TSI) agency. Our IATAN number can be found in the IATAN database by cruise lines, airlines and hotels worldwide.
IATAN accredited agencies must demonstrate that:
it has staff devoted to the affairs of the business, who have managerial skills and discretion
the business is a valid legal entity and has appropriate business bank accounts
it can produce letters of reference from national or international travel industry suppliers or from national travel associations
its Website and advertisements show how customers can contact the business
it complies with relevant Federal, state, county and local laws
it has no pending or unresolved complaints at state or local consumer affairs office
as part of the accreditation process, agencies must demonstrate revenue consistent with being a significant travel business.
As tourism grows, so have the medical costs in many countries that have had to cover vacationers using healthcare services while visiting.
As a result, an increasing number of countries are making travel insurance compulsory, a requirement for a tourist to even enter their borders.
A recent report noted how 15 of the 26 Schengen nations (a combination of European Union countries and independent nations like Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) currently require some type of insurance for visitors, students and expats.
Additionally, Cuba, Ecuador, Qatar, Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. are requiring the same. On Aug. 28, 2018, Egypt announced its plans to introduce mandatory compulsory insurance; and Thailand is currently undergoing a debate on mandatory travel insurance for visiting tourists.
According to the report, in many countries, “travelers are asked to show proof of medical or hospitalization coverage before they can enter.” Visitors who can’t provide proof of travel insurance may be required to either purchase a policy on-site or be denied entry into the country.
Late season hurricanes are very active this year. Do you have a flight, resort vacation or cruise scheduled soon? Recent flight changes, airport or resort closures and devastated ports or islands may affect your vacation.
Keep abreast of the current situation with all things on your itinerary. I highly recommend travel insurance and the use of a travel professional when booking your trip. This way you have protection and someone to assist you when you need it most.
Mother Nature can spoil your plan at any time. Being prepared is necessary and good peace of mind.
Peter Larson at River Cruise Guru Earns Adventurist Certification From
Grand Forks, ND, May 2017 – Pete Larson, owner of River Cruise Guru and Jolly Mon Vacations completed a specialized training program and is now certified as an Adventurist with UnCruise Adventures. The line offers adventure cruises aboard boutique yachts and small ships in Southeast Alaska, Hawaiian Islands, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Columbia & Snake Rivers, coastal Washington, British Columbia, Costa Rica, Panamá, and Galápagos Islands.
To join the Adventurist Club, travel agents participate in a series of online tutorials and pass an online exam. The Adventurist program details the nuances of UnCruise Adventures’ inclusive small ship adventure and river cruises along with destination information.
“We commend travel agents who take the time to complete the certification program,” said Tim Jacox, president and COO at UnCruise Adventures. “By becoming a specialist, agents have the expertise to paint a clear picture of our small-group adventures for their clients.”
UnCruise Adventures offers an alternative to traditional cruising by taking travelers into areas that are not accessible to larger ships and on activities that focus on the wilderness, wildlife and culture in each destination. Seven adventure vessels offer opportunities for outdoor activities including kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, skiff explorations, stand-up paddle-boarding and whale watching. One replica coastal steamer offers river cruising with an eye on history and included shoreside tours to points of historical interest.
Pete Larson is a Certified Travel Counselor & River Cruise Specialist
UnCruise Adventures’ yachts and small ships carry 22-88 guests on voyages in Alaska, Hawaiian Islands, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Columbia & Snake Rivers, coastal Washington, British Columbia, Costa Rica, Panamá and the Galápagos Islands. Un-Cruise Adventures, under the parent company of InnerSea Discoveries Alaska Inc., is a member of Trusted Adventures, dedicated to the highest standards of small-group travel and to giving back to the places visited.
The AmaMagna, will be the same length, height and draft as the line’s other vessels, but at 22 meters it will be twice as wide, allowing for larger cabins — most about 300 square feet — with a capacity for 194 passengers (40 more than Crystal Mozart).
Its width also means it will be the only ship docked in ports that allow two-deep berthing.
The new ship will feature ocean-style cabins, multiple dining venues (including outdoor dining), an elevator that goes all the way to the top of the ship, a heated top-deck pool and hot tub with bar, expanded entertainment and spa offerings and a water sports platform with zodiacs, canoes and other recreational equipment.
The ship will be green, using propulsion that’s a hybrid of diesel and electric engines. In total, there will be 10 small engines, with just four used for propulsion. If more power is needed, electric ones will be used.
Construction began on March 6 at Vahali’s headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia. When the hull is completed, the vessel will be finished at the company’s facility in Holland. Because its size will prohibit it from being towed directly to Holland by tugboat, it will instead be taken by freighter via the Black Sea.
Emerald Waterways currently has non-refundable and non-transferrable deposits. (same as most other river cruise lines)
To allow some flexibility for our guests, they are now offering a Deposit Protection Plan.
What is this NEW Deposit Protection Plan?
The Deposit Protection Plan (DPP) is a form of coverage offered by Emerald Waterways that protects the deposit amount paid on an Emerald Waterways cruise.
To participate in this program, the cost is $125/pp USD and must be paid with the deposit on the Deposit Due Date.
The Deposit Protection Plan is non-refundable and non-transferrable and cannot be added past the Deposit Due Date. The DPP also only covers Cruise or Tour deposit, it DOES NOT cover Air deposits.
How it works:
When guests choose to cancel or change their cruise departure date for any reason prior to the final payment due date as per the terms and conditions, the value of the Deposit Protection Plan paid will be charged as a fee.
Additionally, any third-party supplier fees incurred by us (i.e components provided by third parties such as, but not limited to, hotels) will be subtracted from the deposit amount and we will credit the remainder towards an alternative cruise. This must be booked within 24 months of the cancellation.
If guests do not book within the 24-month period advised, the deposit amount held on file will be forfeited.
The DPP does not, nor does it intend to, replace travel insurance. Emerald Waterways highly recommends all guests purchase travel insurance prior to leaving for their vacation.
If a guest declines the DPP at the time of booking, this will be noted on their reservation and will not be allowed to be added after the Deposit Due Date.
If guests who have purchased the DPP cancel after final payment due date, the Deposit Protection Plan is no longer valid. Their standard cancellation policy will apply to cancellations made after final payment due date. The cancellation fees will be advised by the Cancellations Team after cancellation in writing is received.
Guests who cancel prior to the final payment due date but have NOT taken out the Deposit Protection Plan than the deposit remains non-refundable and non-transferrable.
For more information, contact your Emerald Waterways Specialist, Pete Larson.
The fifth in the Emerald Waterways’ Star Ship fleet, the 186-guest Emerald Destiny includes the line’s indoor balcony in most cabins, complete with decked area and an open-air system as well as a swimming pool and cinema on the ship’s aft. It is one of three Emerald Star Ships to be launched this year, bringing the total fleet to seven. Emerald Liberté, which will sail the Saône and Rhône rivers in France, will launch in April. The Liberté can host 138 guests and offers all the same amenities as the Destiny, including the swimming pool and cinema. Emerald Radiance, which carries only 112 passengers, will traverse Portugal’s Douro River and will launch in May.
Contact Pete today for free assistance with your river cruise!
Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Margaritaville have announced a partnership to develop a collection of all-inclusive Margaritaville resorts.
The new Margaritaville, an All-Inclusive Experience, by Karisma will be Margaritaville’s entry into the all-inclusive resort market.
The collection will comprise new-build beachfront resorts in tropical destinations, including the Caribbean and Mexico, that will combine Karisma’s award-winning all-inclusive service and experiences with some of the signature elements of the global brand inspired by iconic singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. (my Hero!)
While it’s unclear where the first resort is slated to break ground, it will happen later this year with a opening planned for 2018.
“Our partnership with Margaritaville allows us to introduce a collection of new casual luxury resorts set in stunning tropical destinations,” said the Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Karisma’s exclusive representative, Premier Worldwide Marketing, Mandy Chomat in a statement. “Karisma’s expertise in delivering elevated all-inclusive concepts around the world makes this partnership a perfect fit.”
In her own statement, Margaritaville’s chief marketing officer Tamara Baldanza-Dekker called the partnership “a match made in paradise.”
Karisma currently owns and operates more than two dozen properties throughout Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe and aims to have 30 up and running around the world by 2020.
Source: Travel Pulse
Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS
Certified Travel Counselor & River Cruise Specialist
American announced it will begin selling Basic Economy fares beginning Feb. 10 in select markets, with expansion to additional markets later this year.(same as United Airlines did last year)
Here’s what you will get with American’s new Basic Economy fare:
* The same in-flight experience that all Main Cabin customers receive, including free entertainment options, soft drinks, and snacks, and the same seats.
* Frequent flyer miles. With a catch. Full AAdvantage miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars may be earned when purchasing these fares, but only one-half Elite Qualifying Mile will be earned per mile flown, and one-half Elite Qualifying Segment per segment flown.
Here’s what you won’t get:
* Seat assignments are made automatically and only when customers check in. Paid seat assignments can be purchased 48 hours before the flight.
* Upgrades are not permitted no matter what level your frequent flyer status us.
* Early boarding? Nope. Basic Economy customers will comprise the last boarding group and will be seated in the Main Cabin. Elite customers and eligible AAdvantage credit card members will continue to receive Priority or preferred boarding even when purchasing this fare.
* Tickets are non-refundable, non-changeable. Use it or lose it. No same-day flight change or same-day standby.
* Of course, the carry-on. One personal carry-on item that fits under the seat (such as a purse or small backpack) is allowed. No overhead bin luggage may be brought on board. Everything else must be checked, for a fee.
Elite customers and eligible AAdvantage credit card members will be allowed to bring one personal item, one rollerboard, and they maintain their current free checked bag allowance.
Contact us today for free assistance with your vacation plans.
Jolly Mon Vacations and River Cruise Guru are proud to be affiliated with the brand new Travel Leaders Network!
Travel Leaders Network — one powerful force to help us compete even more effectively for the hearts and minds of the traveling public.
As the largest seller of luxury travel, cruises, river cruises and tours in the travel agency industry, we will have unparalleled and cohesive strength within the greater travel industry.
Vacation.com, the largest travel agency consortium; Travel Leaders Associates (also known as Travel Leaders Franchise Group), a leading agency franchise group; and Results! Travel, a smaller franchise group, will be merged to form a mega-travel agency group with nearly 7,000 locations, 35,000 individual agencies and $17 billion in annual sales, including $6.5 billion in cruise and tour sales alone.
Highlights of the newest river cruising brand, Crystal River Cruises
From the regal cities of Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest, Frankfurt, Paris, Bordeaux and Basel, explore the Danube, Rhine, Main, Moselle, Seine, Garonne and Dordogne rivers on Crystal River Cruises with gorgeous, ever-changing panoramas of enchanting villages and lush landscapes. In-depth explorations and overnight stays in the heart of Europe’s cities and towns provide a vibrant and memorable experience.
The hallmarks of the Crystal brand – service, space, quality and choices – usher in a new era in European river exploration with Crystal River Yachts. With its signature All-Inclusive philosophy, Crystal offers an encompassing luxury experience: butler service for every suite; six-star service and truly exceptional food; unique Crystal Adventures that deliver memorable destination experiences – all working in synch to transpose the World’s Best Ocean Cruising to the World’s Best River Cruising. Crystal will redefine luxury river cruising.
All-Inclusive Crystal River Cruises
Complimentary All-Inclusive Luxuries aboard Crystal River Cruises
Gratuities included for all shipboard staff throughout the River Yacht including housekeeping, bar, dining staff and butlers.
All meals included, featuring Crystal’s innovative and acclaimed six-star cuisine, highlighted by regional specialties
Unlimited soft drinks and premium beverages including champagne, fine wine and spirits throughout the River Yacht
24-hour Wi-Fi access (via satellite) including free Wi-Fi/Internet usage of 60 minutes per person, per day.
State-of-the-art interactive TV system including in-suite movies on demand, extensive music library
Complimentary airport transfers to/from river yacht to airport. All transfers will be group transfers by motor coach on embarkation and debark days only:
– Airport/River Yacht – Transfers will operate between 8am and 6pm on embarkation day. Actual service times may vary depending on local traffic conditions and guests’ arrival schedules.
– River Yacht /Airport – Transfers will operate until at least 12 noon on the day of disembarkation. Actual service times may vary depending on local traffic conditions and guests’ departure schedules.
Onboard entertainment and enrichment programs
Destination-focused entertainment and enrichment program, including onboard lecture series
Destination expert on each voyage
Regional affairs experts on many voyages
Daily yoga and fitness classes
Daily choice of electronic international newspapers
Self-service guest laundry
Choice of complimentary curated Crystal Adventures shore excursions in every port
Complimentary culinary experience at highly renowned local establishments on many sailings
Complimentary Nordic walking poles
Complimentary audio headphones on all organized Crystal Adventures
A la carte, buffet and early risers breakfast offerings
Multiple dining venues
Open seating dining
Crystal Casual dress code
European sourced and trained chefs and hotel staff
Shipboard Public Spaces
Hydraulic Sun-Deck Bar
Fitness Center with state-of-the-art TechnoGym equipment and dedicated yoga area
Non-smoking environment in all indoor spaces (Except Connoisseur Club on Crystal Mozart)
The Overwhelming choices! Cruise lines are very different, pricing and policies are confusing, promos always change, inclusions and itineraries vary. A certified Specialist will solve those issues by making things clear to you and explaining it all.
No Fees! Our expert planning and booking services don’t cost a dime. We are paid directly by the cruise or vendors we sell. Expertise and experience for FREE!
We’ll save you money! We’ll save you money and you won’t have to try to figure it out yourself. A lower price than direct? YES, it’s possible with us! Our cruise line relations assure you get the best value possible.
We’ll save you time! Why re-invent the wheel? We’ve already got it figured out and have assisted hundreds of hapy clients. It’s what we do!
No detail is overlooked. Flights, transfers, hotels, insurance, river levels, seasons, payments, packing and more.
Unbiased advice! We don’t work for the cruise line, we work for YOU.
Planning is confusing! River cruising is very different and the planning can be confusing. We remove the mystery.
Expertise! We are certified River Cruise Specialists! Trained tohelp sort through things to deliver the experience you desire.
Experience! We’ve been there and cruised those ships! We’ve been on those rivers. First hand experience is the best teacher. We’ve been river cruising and assisting cruisers for more than 6 years. We specialize in river cruises and dedicate our time and resources into it.
You can trust your plans to us. You can check us out further at www.RiverCruiseGuru.com or www.JollyMonVacations.com …our sister agency.
Pete Larson, CTC, LS, DS
Jolly Mon Vacations and River Cruise Guru
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Americans are taking less and less time off from work these days. They actually earn time off and aren’t using it all.
Vacation not only gets you away from the job, it purges the mind and refreshes the soul. Vacations can reduce your stress and anxiety. They promote your well being and can improve your health.
Family vacations can be fun, educational promote bonding and create life-long memories. Couples can revive their love for each other without distractions. Celebrate a birthday, a milestone, an anniversary, a honeymoon or an event. Getaway just to relax and Remove yourself from your everyday life.
Are you using all your vacation days? I can help you with that.
For tours of Ireland and the United Kingdom, I love to recommend CIE Tours. I’ve personally toured with CIE on itineraries covering Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.
An escorted coach tour with CIE Tours can be a great way to cover a lot of ground and see the main sites people crave. Great drivers, guides, food, coaches, hotels make it all seamless.
For people that like to see a lot on a vacation, this is the way to do it. You will see and do a lot. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation with no schedule…this may not be for you. But, CIE does offer SELF DRIVE tours where you can do the driving and set your own schedule.
Many options and choices to be had. The beauty of these countries is amazing. The history of these countries is incredible. An unforgetable experience awaits you. All you need is someone to set you up with the itinerary that fits your travel style. That’s where we come in. We are trained and experienced in these tours and our assistance comes to you for FREE!
Contact us today to get started on your long awaited trip to Ireland and the U.K. We help you every step of the way. We are certified Ireland and Scotland Experts!
WHAT IS A PASSPORT CARD, EXACTLY?
It’s a wallet-sized plastic card (think the size of a driver’s license) that was “designed for the specific needs of northern and southern U.S. border communities with residents that cross the border frequently by land.” It’s been in production since July 14, 2008. Each passport card is valid for the same amount of time as a passport: ten years for adults, and five years for minors under age 16.
WHERE CAN I USE IT?
A passport card only applies to land or sea travel to certain locations internationally, which is noted on the back of the card. More specifically, it can be used when entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Despite some confusion on the part of airport employees, passport cards cannot be used for international travel by air, which means that while you may get through security in one airport, it’s unlikely you’ll slide through without issue everywhere you go.
Also of note: Some Caribbean nations—including Guadeloupe, Martinique, Barbados, St. Barts, and St. Martin—do not accept the passport card for entry into their country, so should you be traveling there by ship, confirm with your cruise line ahead of time what documents you need.
Jolly Mon Vacations will assist you with your passport and visa questions when we do your planning.