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Emerald Waterways new "Deposit Protection Plan"

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.

Cancellations:

If guests who have purchased the DPP cancel after final payment due date, the Deposit Protection Plan is no longer valid.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.

Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

River Cruise Specialist

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

1-218-779-3050

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Travel Leaders Network

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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.

The merger will be effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Cheers to a great 2017…and beyond!

Pete Larson, CTC, LS, DS

Certified Travel Consultant, Lifestyle Specialist, Destination Specialist

218-779-3050

pete@jollymonvacations.com

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Meet Crystal River Cruises

Highlights of the newest river cruising brand, Crystal River Cruises

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Overview

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
  • All soft drinks, beer and bottled water in-suite
  • 24-hour self-service pantry featuring specialty coffees, teas, wines and nonalcoholic beverages
  • 24-hour room service
  • 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

Dining

  • 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
  • Massage services
  • Library
  • Non-smoking environment in all indoor spaces (Except Connoisseur Club on Crystal Mozart)
  • Onboard currency exchange – shipboard currency Euros

Suites

  • Twice daily housekeeping services including evening turndown service
  • In-suite hors d’oeuvres
  • Individual climate control
  • Flat-screen TV in each suite
  • English-speaking and international TV stations
  • Butler service for each suite

Contact River Cruise Guru today for more information and COMPLIMENTARY ASSISTANCE! No booking fees, lowest price possible. We are with you every step of the way.

River Cruises are my Specialty!

CERTIFIED RIVER CRUISE SPECIALIST!

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

218-779-3050

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

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Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort Review

I’ve just returned from a week-long vacation in Grenada, “The Spice Island.” What a beautiful country full of warm and caring people! They are so welcoming to Americans. They love Ronald Reagan! They say, ‘he gave them back their freedom.’ (remember the invasion back in 1983?) They love us for it.

This new Sandals LaSource Resort sits right next to the Maurice Bishop International Airport and is a very short shuttle ride. The steep entrance drive is quite a fun ride during arrival. Upon arrival, you are let off at an open-air (tiny and unimpressive) lobby for check-in. If you have booked a CLUB LEVEL or BUTLER category room, you are escorted into the nearby, air-conditioned Club Sandals area for a private, more comfortable check-in process. Butler guests will be taken to their rooms for check-in. (how ‘suite’ is that!)

We had a Club Level Room in the Pink Gin Village. It’s a beautiful, beachfront building nearest the ocean. From our room we had beautiful, sweeping views of the ocean, pool area and beach. We were in the Penthouse, which is fancy for….third floor. With a vaulted ceiling and the best oceanfront view…it was worth the walk up the stairs.

Sandals LaSource Grenada
Sandals LaSource Grenada, Our view from the room.

The food and restaurants are great. We loved the French restaurant, Le Jardinier, the best. The service was stellar and the food delicious. No reservations were needed at this resort with the exception of Butch’s Chophouse and the Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. Both of those were very good as well. Lobster was out of season, so shrimp was served in it’s place, at Butch’s, for the ‘Surf & Turf’ that’s very popular. “Doggies” is a new addition, it’s a hot dog cart with all the trimmings. Open for about 3 hours per day around lunch time and parked outside The Living Room. Delicious and a great addition. The buffet and Mediterranean restaurants were good as well. I don’t care for buffets and this one doesn’t have any seating that’s air conditioned. Indoor seating is quite warm and so is the outdoor seating. I preferred eating elsewhere because of it. Don’t forget the great ice cream in the Cafe! (try the Nutmeg ice cream!)

Swim-up Bar, night time
Swim-up Bar, night time

Drinks abound at this high-end all-inclusive resort. The Living Room was a popular evening hangout with nightly entertainment and fun. It’s a covered, yet open-sided area with a bar and fun ‘living room’ style furnishings. We could hear the nightly music right from our room nearby. The main pool has a swim-up bar that was popular day and night. The main beer served was Caribe, which is very good. The Tipsy Turtle Pub had many other selections as well.

Sky Pool Butler Suite
Sky Pool Butler Suite

Service was great for the most part…expected at Sandals. Love that no-tipping policy, which takes a lot of stress away. The only problem we had was with the room stewards. A few nights, they didn’t get to our rooms for service…either day or night-time turn-down. On the flip side…the concierge at Club Sandals were AWESOME! They will bend over backwards to make your stay perfect. Well done! I can’t say enough times how getting at a minumum….a CLUB SANDALS LEVEL ROOM! (entry level rooms don’t have concierge and a whole lot more!) If you take nothing else away from this blog today….take that tip! CLUB LEVEL or BUTLER ONLY! So worth it.

The beach is very nice. Not an overly long stretch, but more cove-like. White & black sand with clear water. Not overly wavy either. Nice trampolines anchored in the bay to relax on. If you walk down past the Watersports area…you can walk off-property down the beach for quite a ways. Some very cool rock formations down there…very photo-worthy! You can also see the capital city of St. George’s down the coast. (lit up nicely at night) Lots of lounge chairs and even with those ‘chair hogs that tend to get up early and throw their stuff on chairs to never return’…won’t spoil it. Lots to choose from. Lots of hammocks as well. Drink service is also available…although spotty sometimes.

Off-property beach
Off-property beach

Entertainment was good. Loved the crew’s talent performances and beach party. White Night was fun as well. I don’t go to these resorts for entertainment…so many nights we skipped it. My favorite night-time activity is to find a nice, dark beach lounger near the ocean and listen to the waves lapping the shore while watching the stars and lights of the city. Nothing more relaxing than that. Make sure you protect yourself, as sand fleas can be pesky and they bite leaving some marks! (bug repellent)

We did one excursion (Island Routes) tour. It was the half day city tour. Very informative and fun. When we got to the marketplace, some guides kind of force themselves upon you. The driver said to ignore them, but after awhile…let him guide us around. He taught us many things about his people and country. He also expedited us to the stores with items we were searching for. Of course, he wanted a bunch of money at the end of the tour…but we tipped him $40 and felt it was worth it. (although, I didn’t like his ‘non-consent’ way of getting us to follow him) Lots of fresh spices and local items in the city markets. Bargaining is the way here, but I often times gave them what they asked…and they were genuinely grateful. The view from Fort Frederick is amazing!

Grenada from Ft. Frederick
Grenada from Ft. Frederick

All in all…it was an another AWESOME SANDALS VACATION. Most flights arrive quite late into Grenada. We arrived at 8:30 PM and were at the resort eating dinner by 10:00 PM. Some opt to stay in a local hotel the first night since they arrive so late, as it’s more cost effective than wasting most of your first day while traveling.

We are certified SANDALS SPECIALISTS! We know these properties very well, and have been to most of them. Sandals prices are the same, no matter where you purchase them from…SO WHY NOT LET US BOOK YOU? YOU’LL GAIN OUR FREE HELP AND EXPERIENCE at no extra cost! We know the best resorts for you, the best room levels, best views, best beaches, best pools, best excursions.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SANDALS RESORTS HERE:  Sandals Resorts

Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

Certified Travel Counselor and Sandals Specialist

www.JollyMonVacations.com

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Scotland & Ireland CIE Tour

We just returned from a fabulous trip across Scotland and Ireland. We escorted a group of 16 from the Midwest and what a great group of people it turned out to be!

CIE coach on a comfort stop in Scotland
CIE coach on a comfort stop in Scotland

Here’s how it went down:

Jolly Mon Vacations blocked some space on a CIE Tour that many people seemed to like. We picked a date that was doable to most, which was just outside of the busy ‘tourist season’, but still had pretty fair weather. It ended up being May 1st to 11th on an adventure across three countries.

Jolly Mon Vacations took care of the booking, paperwork, payments and documents. We also booked everyone’s flights, transfers and even a pre-night hotel stay.

Everything went off without a glitch! Our group flew into Glasgow, Scotland on the same flight and transferred to the hotel together. This gave our bodies some time to adapt to the time difference and rest before the start of the tour the following day.

We toured big cities, small towns, the highlands, the country side and everything in between. We cruised by boat on the infamous Loch Ness and across the sea on a ferry boat. We cruised across the River Shannon and cruised the canals of Dublin.

The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

We saw beauty everywhere:  castles, ruins, monastic sites, historic sites, farms, mountains, loughs, cliffs, waterfalls, bridges, National Parks and much more. We even stopped in the county my ancestors called home! We were immersed in the cultures of these places and experienced things we will never forget. This is the beauty of traveling by luxury coach.

Is this a relaxing vacation?

It can be. It’s a journey that takes you to places you won’t see any other way. From present day back to ancient times. There is a daily schedule and you will travel from place to place. Relaxing on the beach? Not going to happen. This is a different style of vacation. It’s comfortable but busy, inclusive and fun. This type of trip is much more about the journey AND the destination melted together as one. Your Tour Director is your Yoda and everything is taken care of for you.

You will make new friends and have some great bonding experiences. You will laugh together, dine together and enjoy the ride together. You will hug when the trip comes to an end and you will contact each other when its all over.

Jolly Mon Vacations exists to make thing easy for their clients. Seamless trips like this is what we do. Let us plan your next adventure, you won’t be disappointed that you missed something and no detail is left out. Contact us when you are ready to explore! We’ll make your dream a reality.

Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

Certified Travel Counselor, Destination Specialist, Lifestyle Specialist

www.JollyMonVacations.com

Email:  pete@jollymonvacations.com

218-779-3050

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5 – Tips to Save You Money on a River Cruise

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Pete on The Danube River

1.  Use a certified River Cruise Specialist! A specialist is highly trained in river cruises and has actually been on them before. They know the ins & outs of the different brands, inclusions, itineraries and much more. They can help you find the right cruise that fits your style and budget…saving you money. They know flight options, insurance, pre and post cruise stays, transportation, tours….you get the picture? You’ll pay the same or LESS than booking directly…and get MUCH BETTER ADVICE…all for free.

2.  BUY EARLY! When you buy early…and you can buy a full year ahead…they usually offer some great discounts. These ships are small and fill up fast. Waiting can cause you to ‘miss the boat!’ Why not get some of the best discounts by booking early and choose a cabin location or category that YOU want. (not settle for what is left) I repeat, buy early.

3.  Choose wisely. Each brand has its own style and inclusions. Some brands are much more inclusive than others. When comparing prices, take into consideration that some lines make you pay for extras…like gratuities, drinks, ship transfers, shore excursions and more. Some lines include it. Figure out what you need and how much more it will cost if you choose a line that doesn’t include it. You may find the more expensive price actually is the better value!

4.  Pre or post trip extensions:  You can buy them from the cruise line…but they can be expensive. It’s very convenient to add them on but be sure to weigh the cost of doing your own extensions. Your Rive Cruise Specialist can provide you with hotels and tours as well that may be a better value.

5.  Some lines offer discounts for paying in full at time of booking. Some offer discounts for paying with an electronic wire transfer. Some offer free transfers when you have them book your airfare. Some lines waive single supplements. Some have single berth staterooms. Again, your River Cruise Specialist can help you with all the discounts being offered that you may not know of.

The bottom line is this…Know before you go.

You don’t have to re-invent the wheel to understand river cruising. You just need to enlist an expert to answer your questions and help you make the right choices that fit your travel style. And that my friends…is why we exist!

Contact us today to get started on your river cruise planning.

We don’t charge any fees and we know river cruising!

Pete Larson,

Certified River Cruise Specialist

River Cruise Guru

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

218-779-3050

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

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8 – Vital Packing Tips & Advice

Packing Right

1.  Make a packing list

The easiest way to ensure you don’t over pack or under pack is to make a list. Figure out what you need for each day and list it. Type it, print it, check it off. You can always ask Jolly Mon for a copy of his own trip packing list!

2.  Choose a method

Your goal is to have what you need, meet flight requirements and get it there safely. I firmly believe in two packing methods. One is called, ‘packing light’ and the other is rolling. These methods can save you a lot of space and cause less wrinkles! ‘Packing Light’ is a method that folds clothes together in one big bundle. Rolling (or Ranger Rolling, tightly rolling each garment makes for more room in the suitcase. (which is great for motor coach touring where you live out of your suitcase) Choose a method that works for you. You can continue reading about this here: Click Here!

3.  Know before you go

Know your airline/cruise ship and TSA baggage rules. You can find out by checking your documents, the airlines website FAQ, and the TSA’s site. Know your weight restriction and baggage sizes BEFORE you pack. Nothing is more frustrating than being over the weight limit at the airlines baggage scale and shuffling clothes or paying enormous extra fees! Your travel agent can help you with this.

4.  Layers and dual purpose garments

Pack for wearing clothes in layers according to climate. Instead of a bulky coat, you can pack a couple of garments to ‘layer’ for warmth. This gives you more items to wear and cuts the bulk during packing. Dual purpose garments are something you wear with multiple other garments or pants that turn into shorts. Each pair of pants or trousers can go with multiple tops. Bring comfortable shoes that can be worn with multiple outfits and still be comfy! Saving space while offering more options.

5.  Never check your essential items

Valuables, medications, passports, money, credit cards, electronics, important documents and such should always be brought onto the plane in your carry-on bag. Keep them secure and close to you.

6.  Extra bags

Pack an extra tote bag into your luggage. They squish flat and come in handy for trips to the beach, a shore excursion, bringing towels to the pool or keeping your things together and secure. They can also come in handy if you buy some souvenirs at your destination and run out of room to pack them in your luggage. You can put them in the tote bag and use it as your ‘personal item’ to be carried onboard the plane and tucked under the seat in front of you. Smart packing!

7.  Mark it

Tie a colorful ribbon to the handle, or mark your suitcase with colorful tape if it doesn’t stand out in a sea of other suitcases. Remove all old airline or cruise tags. Attach a luggage tag with your cell phone number/name so that it can be identified. I like to put that information INSIDE the case as well. If the tag gets ripped off, they can still find you.

8.  Purchase and protect

Luggage is a personal choice but there are things to consider. No matter what amount of money you spend on a suitcase, it is going to get beat up. Cheap luggage won’t last long. Plastic gets broken, soft sides get ripped and it doesn’t hold up well. Many larger suitcases are simply too big. If you pack them full, it will be over the weight restriction. Buy the size that fits your needs and purchase the best you can afford. A well-made suitcase will hold up longer, protect your things and pay you back in longevity. Keep a close eye on your luggage during travel.

BONUS TIP:  Use your smartphone to take a picture of the items inside your suitcase before you close it up and again once it’s closed. If the luggage goes missing,  can show the airline staff what it looks like and you will also have proof of what’s inside for any claims that need to be made.

Jolly Mon Vacations and River Cruise Guru assist with all your travel needs from start to finish. Planning travel is a lot more than simply booking it. A lot of thought MUST go into the choice because not all destinations, resorts, hotels or cruise ships are the same. Pick the wrong one for YOU and your vacation could turn into a nightmare.

Trust in us, contact us today!

Pete Larson,

Certified Travel Associate / Owner,

www.JollyMonVacations.com & www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

Phone:  218-779-3050

pete@jollymonvacations.com

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Does your New Year's Resolution include traveling more?

Let’s face it…life is short. Time wasted is…well, time wasted. You can’t get it back. Once it’s gone…it’s gone. So my question is…why are you wasting it?

Life

Some people will argue, “I travel a lot on business.” That may be true, but that can be a totally different experience than traveling with your spouse, partner, family or friends. Traveling on business often means, you are a hostage of your job. You aren’t off exploring the reaches of the destination because you are there for a purpose. You didn’t pick the destination, your employer did. Your head is there, but your heart is not. Neither are is your spouse, partner, family or friends!

The Earth is very large and we roam a very tiny spot on it. Don’t you want to see more? Aren’t you curious? Do you have a bucket-list of things you want to see and do? What is stopping you? Is it something real…or is it really just an excuse?

Excuses are usually just that…excuses. There is usually a solution for every excuse you may have. “I don’t have enough money.” I hear that all the time. You may have said that when you wanted to go to college, buy your first car, have a child, buy your own house…etc. But, you found a way to overcome it and you ended up getting it.

Figure out a way around your excuses…and travel. Go see the things you’ve always wanted to. You have a limited number of days to live and no one knows when its going to be over. Get out there…the world awaits. I have the solutions for how you can do it.  The time is NOW.

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www.JollyMonVacations.com

“We’ll help you with that bucket-list.”