Posted on Leave a comment

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If guests who have purchased the DPP cancel after final payment due date, the Deposit Protection Plan is no longer valid.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

RCGuru Official Logo
Brought to you by RIVER CRUISE GURU www.RiverCruiseGuru.com
Posted on Leave a comment

Meet Crystal River Cruises

Highlights of the newest river cruising brand, Crystal River Cruises

crystalmozart

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

RCGuru Official Logo
Brought to you by RIVER CRUISE GURU www.RiverCruiseGuru.com
Posted on Leave a comment

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

JMV Official Logomini

Posted on Leave a comment

Cruise Lines Kick it up a Notch

DSC04236

More Photo & Video.

What is there to do on a cruise ship?
Norwegian Cruise Lines has stepped things up with many innovative and fun things to do onboard. On a two or three story ropes course, you can zip line and even walk the plank over the side of the ship! A great adrenaline rush. They also have the fastest water slides at sea. And when they say fast…they actually take your breath away! Far better than any I’ve been on anywhere. Mini golf, loads of other water features, rock climbing walls, basketball, fitness centers, spa, Broadway shows, comedy, live music, magic, exquisite dining, bars, and even a fireworks show to cap off the night. And that’s just some of the things on board. Wait until you get to the islands!

Jolly Mon Vacations knows the ships and itineraries well. We assist you in finding the right ship for you and your family at no cost to you.

Lets get your adventure started!
pete@jollymonvacations.com
218-779-3050
www.JollyMonVacations.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Margaritaville at sea! On a cruise ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s next new ship, Norwegian Escape, which will be based in Miami, will have Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar on board.

Jimmy NCL

Margaritaville will be a complimentary restaurant on the Norwegian Escape, which will debut in Europe next October and begin week-long Caribbean cruises out of Miami starting Nov. 14. The 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar will be an outdoor bar on the ship’s Waterfront zone and will feature live music nightly.

Norwegian’s new port at Harvest Caye, Belize, will have a Margaritaville when it opens next fall, and a 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar will open next year on Norwegian’s Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.

Margaritaville eventually will be expanded to the rest of the fleet, but details haven’t been set yet, said Vanessa Lane Picariello, Norwegian’s director of public relations.

Contact us to get your cruise booked!

No fees for planning and booking, so you save time and money!

www.JollyMonVacations.com

Posted on 3 Comments

All-inclusive resort vs cruise vacation prices

All-inclusive Resort
Jolly Mon Vacations is your ticket to savings this winter for your getaway.

“What will a week-long vacation to an all-inclusive resort cost me?”
Here are some prices for some one week getaways figured for two persons. Airfare is figured from Minneapolis, but can be purchased from most any gateway. Prices may vary greatly to deviate. There are a host of different resort and flight options but these were picked for best value and scheduling. Contact us for any specific requests or different resort options: pete@jollymonvacations.com

==========================

A week in Cancun, Mexico that won’t break the bank!
• Roundtrip NON-STOP flights for two on Sun Country Airlines from Minneapolis to Cancun, Mexico.
• Roundtrip transfers from Cancun airport to the resort. 7 nights stay arriving February 2 at the 4-star Krystal Cancun Resort in a Deluxe room.
• Price: $1,432 per person total.
• $100 deposit at booking

========================================

A week in laid-back Negril, Jamaica…just what the doctor ordered!
• Roundtrip flights for two on US Airways from Minneapolis to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
• Roundtrip transfers from Sangster International airport to the resort in Negril.
• 7 nights stay arriving February 2 at the 4-star RIU Negril Resort in a standard room.
• Price: $1,670 per person total.
• $1,263 deposit at booking, full payment due: 19DEC12.

RIU Negril all-inclusive resort
RIU Negril all-inclusive resort

======================================

Sunning in Montego Bay, Jamaica this winter can be a reality!
• Roundtrip flights for two on United Airlines from Minneapolis to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
• Roundtrip transfers from Sangster International airport to the resort.
• 7 nights stay arriving February 3rd at the 3.5-star Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in a Superior room. (thru Cyber Monday)
• Price: $1,371 per person total.
• $1,063 deposit at booking, full payment due: 20DEC12.

Holiday Inn  Sunspree Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

==============================================

Looking for something completely different? How about Costa Rica?
• Roundtrip NON-STOP flights for two on Sun Country Airlines from Minneapolis to Liberia, Costa Rica.
• Roundtrip transfers from Liberia airport to the resort.
• 7 nights stay arriving February 22nd at the 4.5-star RIU Guanacaste Resort in a standard room.
• Bonus: Complimentary city tour of Liberia. (4 hours)
• Price: $1,980 per person total.
• $100 deposit at booking, full payment due: 08JAN13.

RIU Guanacaste, Costa Rica

RIU Gaunacaste Pool area

RIU Guanacaste:
Where families, spa-lovers, active travelers and couples come for sun and luxurious sand, this inviting resort provides the perfect blend of service and smiles fronting Costa Rica’s warm Pacific Coast. Nestled amidst tropical palms and fragrant gardens, guests are treated to spacious guestrooms and suites featuring a regularly restocked in-room mini-bar and liquor dispenser; a pampering spa; fun-filled children’s amenities including a playground, activity club and pool; lighted tennis courts; a disco and 24-hour, all-inclusive restaurants and bars serving delicious cuisines ranging from Asian fare to a robust Steakhouse. Creating the perfect setting for unforgettable vacation experiences, this polished resort has something for every member of the family.

=====================================================

How do these all-inclusive resort prices compare to a one week cruise vacation?

-Here is a sample of what a cruise vacation actually costs:
• Ship: Ruby Princess sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to the Eastern Caribbean:
• Feb 3, 2013 for 7 nights. (FLL-Princess Cays-St. Maarten-St.Thomas-Grand Turk)
• Category BE Balcony: $1,210 per person cruise-only double occupancy. *
• Hotel night prior: $100 per person with free airport shuttle.
• Dinner & breakfast prior to cruise: $30 per person.
• Transfers from hotel to ship and ship to airport: $25 per person.
• Roundtrip flights from MSP-FLL: $377 per person.
• Shipboard gratuities: $80.50 per person/week.
• Water, soda, juice, specialty coffee, beer, wine, alcohol: $175 per person/week.
• Baggage gratuities/misc. gratuities: $15 per person.
• Actual total cruise vacation price: $2,013 per person.
*All soda, specialty coffee, wine, beer, liquor and some juices are extra on cruises.
Mandatory gratuities are 15% extra on beverages. If you were to drink a bottle of water, one soda and three mixed drinks each day it would add more than $25 per day, per person or $175 per person for the week. (which is added above. Adjust this according to your drinking preferences)

We advocate flying in to the port city at least one night prior to your cruise so a flight delay won’t cause you to miss your ship. We’ve added this into the overall cost above.

All-inclusive resorts generally include some other activities and tours that will cost extra aboard a ship. Each resort is different in it’s inclusions so study them closely when comparing a specific resort Vs. cruise vacation.

Some resorts, like RIU above include free Wi-Fi . Aboard ship, you will pay a premium for internet service. Since everyone does not require Wi-Fi service, this fee has been omitted above. Please add these costs onto your trip if its something you require.

Call, text or email us today if you are interested in booking your next vacation at the lowest prices available.

IMPORTANT! These prices /quotes /offers are time-sensitive and capacity controlled. They were priced on 11/25/12 and prices can rise and fall daily. All pricing and/or promotions are subject to availability at the time of booking. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise stated. Jolly Mon Vacations does not control these offers and cannot be held responsible for changes in price or terms.

Jolly Mon Vacations ALWAYS recommends that you purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance is not included in these prices but a personalized quote will be provided at request.

Jolly Mon Vacations
Call: 218.779.3050
Click: www.JollyMonVacations.com
Email: pete@jollymonvacations.com
Jolly Mon Vacations and its branch River Cruise Guru are owned and operated by Peter Larson.
The business is registered in the state of North Dakota, USA.

JMV Official Logomini

Posted on Leave a comment

Top 3 Classic Travel Scams: Protect Yourself!

As a travel agent and consultant, I get this question a lot:

“How do I know if this offer or ‘deal’ is legitimate or if it’s a travel scam?”

Here are a few classic things to watch for and how you can protect yourself.

1. The prize cruise or vacation:  “You’ve won a free cruise!”

You’re told you’ve won a free cruise or have qualified for a fabulous cut-rate price, but you’ll need to provide a credit card number to pay a deposit or processing fee. You may even be asked for your passport or Social Security number to prove that you’re the entitled winner.

If you give your credit card number, you may be charged “port fees” and other incidentals that exceed what you’d pay for an entire booking through a legitimate cruise line or travel agent. Provide your Social Security or passport number and you risk future identity theft. And your supposedly free vacation may require you to book a second guest at an inflated price.

2. The hidden sales pitch.

Some offers are designed just to get you to attend a sales pitch for a timeshare or an expensive and potentially problem-prone vacation club. You may in fact get a low-cost cruise, but past passengers complain of below-par accommodations – and high-pressure presentations that take not the promised 90 minutes but four hours or more. I’ve seen people leave these intimidating sales pitches in tears before.

3. The long-distance scam.

Offers are sometimes nothing more than a ruse to run up your phone bill. To claim your prize cruise, you’re told to call a 900 phone number or one with an area code of 876, 868, 809, 758, 784, 664, 473, 441, 284 or 246. Those codes seem all-American, but are actually for foreign countries, with the clock running at $5 a minute or more. In the end, there’s no cruise, only a high phone bill

How to Protect Yourself:

Last year, the Better Business Bureau received more than 1,300 complaints about cruises.

  • Beware of buzzwords. Travel promises tend to use language like “you’re eligible to      win” or “guaranteed.” One word that should never trick you: “Free.” It means just that — so don’t pay deposits or service fees on the promise you’ll get them back later.
  • Find out who really sent the offer. If an offer comes from an unrecognized source, assume the worst. But legitimate cruise lines may send past customers emails or mailings  about real low-cost offers. Before you respond, authenticate the address      with an online search. Watch out for look-alike Internet addresses that  are just a letter or two different from legitimate ones. Never click on attachments in unsolicited emails; they could unleash rogue programs known  as “malware” on your computer.
  • Get proper confirmation of your booking. If you book through a travel agent or other third party, make sure that you get two sets of confirmation numbers — one directly from the cruise line and one from the other agency. That will help in any disputes.
  • Pay with a credit card. That’s safer than a debit card or check and will allow for easier reimbursement or settlement of payment disputes if problems arise.

The bottom line is…its your money and its up to you to protect it. There is an easy way to do this when it comes to travel:

Use a reputable travel agent to do the work for you. They will find the best value for your money and most times it doesn’t cost you a thing extra. That’s right…we don’t even charge a fee to do the work on most vacation packages!

Travel agents offer so much more than you can get doing things yourself. From free planning, advice, upgrades, price reductions AFTER your purchase, proper insurance protection, trustworthy tours, transportation, assistance when trouble arises and so much more. We know the safety about your destinations, cruises and shore tours.

Travel agents are trained in what they do and often times they’ve already been where you are going and can offer loads of inside information you can’t get elsewhere. They can shop vendors that are not even available to the public and most times beat pricing you can find on the internet. Valuable resort and cruise line advice that will be critical to your stay will be given so there are no ‘surprises.’

Great travel agents are trained, certified and agency accredited. Look for one that SPECIALIZES in what you are looking for. (we specialize in all-inclusive resorts and river cruises in Europe, Asia and Russia)

Don’t fall for a scam, head to a trusted agent for real help and expertise!

Call or click to find out more about what we can do for you:

email:  pete@jollymonvacations.com

218-779-3050

Find out more about Jolly Mon Vacations and River Cruise Guru

Posted on Leave a comment

Scenic Crystal River Cruise Review: Part 5; The Tours

By Pete Larson, Owner of River Cruise Guru and Jolly Mon Vacations

We are River Cruise Specialists! Your free vacation planning source!

One of the best things about river cruising, is that many things are included in your overall price. Different cruise lines offer different amenities and inclusions so when you compare them…look into it closely. Something as simple as GRATUITIES or TRANSFERS not included can end up costing hundreds of dollars more in your final price. All companies are NOT the same which makes it difficult to know where to turn. My advice is to look for a RIVER CRUISE SPECIALIST because they know the cruise lines and what they each provide. Why reinvent the wheel when you can get FREE PROFESSIONAL HELP from a proven TRUSTED source?

Shore tours or excursions are included on almost all mainstream river cruise lines. AMA Waterways, Uniworld, Avalon, Viking, Scenic and many more include tours. Some of these lines offer your CHOICE of tours in some locations. This means you get to select from some different offerings that interest you most. Scenic Tours has offered this for years but now Avalon has a choice as well. Many of these cruise lines also offer OPTIONAL tours which you will have to pay EXTRA for but Scenic Cruises does not. In my opinion, they have one of the most all-inclusive river cruises out there. Next year, they WILL have the most all-inclusive product as they introduce many more inclusions such as butler service on all decks, private airport transfers and open bar to name a few.

On this Rhine River trip, we took advantage of each tour offered. Our first tour was a walking tour in the city of Cologne, Germany. When you leave the ship for a tour you are free to pick a group number. This way, you can be sure to be with your friends or family. Tour guides meet you at the gangway and then you go from there for walking tours. You will bring your QuietVox headset so you can hear the guide no matter where you are. This is nice if you are distracted by something or linger to take photos because you won’t miss anything.

The walking tours move around at a slow pace and on this one it was pouring rain so we made frequent stops under shelter. It’s a good idea to bring an umbrella so you don’t get your camera wet when you want a picture. Scenic Tours provides a large umbrella in your room for your use which is very handy. Most of our city tours lasted around an hour and took us to the main attractions. In Cologne, the main site is the famous Cathedral. This gothic cathedral is a masterpiece! The detail when you get up close is incredible. Inside, the acoustics and stained glass windows are amazing. There is no charge to go inside and it’s well worth a visit. After our walking tour we had a little free time to shop or do whatever you like.

Cologne Cathedral – Copyright River Cruise Guru

Scenic Tours is one of the few companies that own their own coaches to move guests around in. This is really nice because the coaches are always on time, in great condition and they will do everything the company needs them to do.

We went up the Moselle River to Cochem for our next stop. We took a walking tour of the town and then took coaches up the mountain to Reichsburg Castle. What a beautiful vista from the top of this mountain! On this day, the castle’s interior was closed to visitors. No

Cochem, Germany – Copyright River Cruise Guru

problem for us, because the guides still have access to the castle and they took us inside. (leaving the sad non-cruisers outside) The castle is amazing and filled with beautiful treasures of the past.

Next stop was Bernkastel, where the mere mention of the name makes wine connoisseur’s hearts beat faster! This town is the center of the vineyards of the Moselle Valley and they line the slate river banks for many miles. In Bernkastel, you could choose either a tour of the quaint city, a trip to Trier (the oldest city in Germany) or ride an hour and a half to Luxembourg. This is called a SCENIC FREE CHOICE and you must make your choice the day before so they can organize transportation. We chose Trier because the robe that Jesus is said to have worn during crucifixion was on display and we wanted to see it. This robe has only been displayed 17 times in over

Trier Cathedral – Copyright River Cruise Guru

2,000 years so this was an event NOT to be missed. Once we arrived in Trier for our walking tour, we cut away from the group and ventured out on our own. When we arrived at the cathedral to see the display there was a German mass going on. We watched the end of the mass and then proceeded through the sea of people to see the robe. I think everyone in that room was in total awe at what we were seeing and I can’t really explain how I felt standing there looking at it. It was one of those ‘awe’ moments you will never forget though.

Afterward, we walked around The Market Place, tried some apple strudel and visited the Porta Nigra which is a fortified gateway built by the Romans in the second century AD. It was a great visit to Trier despite the onslaught of rain.

Rüdesheimer Schloss Hotel – Copyright River Cruise Guru

Rüdesheim was the last stop for us and where this new beautiful ship would be christened in a grand ceremony later in the day. We disembarked the ship and checked into the Rüdesheimer Schloss Hotel right off the world-famous Drosselgasse. This is a lively area where you can shop, eat or hit the wine bars. We had a great German dinner at the Hotel Lindenwirt’s restaurant and wine bar that was delicious. Scenic Tours also provided transportation via train to the Siegfried’s Musikkabinett (Museum of mechanical music instruments) with admission as well as tickets to the cable car although we opted to tour on our own.

We headed to the cable car and rode to the Niederwalddenkmal at the top of the mountain. The view of the Rhine, the vineyards and the city below was nothing short of incredible. The Niederwalddenkmal is a statue commemorating the foundation of the German Empire. The statue was under construction during our visit and was very hard to see. The highlight was surely the view and the deer we saw run up the staircase to the statue!

Overall, the included tours on this Scenic Cruise were excellent. Guides and drivers did a great job and the attractions were top-notch. Free time was included at each stop and sometimes the stops seem a little short. Our cruise was on an accelerated pace because this itinerary was for travel agents, Scenic staff and press however.

Part 6 will follow this soon.

 

Posted on 3 Comments

Scenic Crystal River Cruise Review: Part 4; The Ship

Scenic Crystal River Cruise Review:

Part 4:  The ship

By Pete Larson, Owner of River Cruise Guru and Jolly Mon Vacations

We are River Cruise Specialists! Your free vacation planning source!

Scenic Crystal 2012. Photo © Jolly Mon Vacations

Scenic Cruises launched its sixth river cruise ship, the 169-passenger Scenic Crystal in April and we were on this maiden voyage. Scenic Crystal is 443 feet long and has cabins and suites ranging from 164 to 315 square feet, most of which have real outdoor balconies that you can enclose at the touch of a button.

We boarded this ship in Amsterdam for a trip down the Rhine to Rüdesheim where the ship would be christened before continuing down to Basel, Switzerland.

The Airport Transfers:

Scenic Cruises will pick you up at the airport when you arrive on departure day whether or not you purchase flights from Scenic. Scenic staff will be waiting  near the baggage carousel holding a sign. You may have to go to a bus or holding area for a little bit while others are arriving. In 2013, the included transfers will become PRIVATE transfers, so once you arrive at the airport, you will be whisked directly to the ship without delay! Show me another cruise line that offers that included in the price! Since we arrived two nights early, we simply took a taxi to the port.

Boarding Ship:

Upon arrival at the Scenic Crystal, staff came off the ship and grabbed our suitcases for us and took them onboard the ship. We climbed the gangway and entered the lobby of this amazing new river ship and met with the staff. They quickly introduced us to Igor, the Hotel Manager and he offered my wife a single rose. We were given our room keys and they ushered us to our stateroom. This was the quickest and hassle-free boarding experience I’ve ever encountered in all our travels!

The Butler:

Once in our stateroom, we were met by our butler who explained the room and services. In 2013, all three passenger decks will receive butler services included in the price! She made sure our devices were hooked to the internet and made us reservations for Portobello’s Restaurant at my request.

The Stateroom:

Deluxe Balcony of Scenic Crystal. Photo © River Cruise Guru

We had stateroom B205, which is a Deluxe Balcony, mid-ship on the middle (Rhine) deck. This is a nice sized room with closets, safe, Apple TV, mini bar, hair dryer, bottled water, two-twin beds configured into a queen sized bed with suitcase storage beneath. A sliding glass door opened onto a full outdoor balcony with glass/wood rail. There were two chairs and a small table. Scenic calls this area, the “Scenic Sun Lounge” because at the push of a button, a window slides up (just like a car window) and encloses the deck from noise, wind, rain and cold. You can enjoy your balcony at anytime! This is a great new feature and we used it a lot. You will need an electrical adapter/converter to power your electronics as they use European electrical plugs.

The bathroom. Photo © River Cruise Guru

The bathroom was the best I’ve had on any ship. It was larger than most ocean-going ships and it featured modern sink with LED down-lighting and a glass-walled shower that had three heads and an LED colored lighting display in the upper showerhead! It gave you a SPA-like experience right in your own stateroom. Unbelievable.

Noise and vibration:

Now you sometimes read reviews about ship vibration on certain cruises. On river cruises, the ships are smaller and follow a very winding river. These ships will sometimes make more noise during turns as they use side thrusters. The engine noise will be heard no matter where your cabin is located but it never seems to bother me. I know I’m on a moving vehicle  and when going in and out of locks there will be some bumping and engine noise. Is this something that ever kept me awake? No. I rather enjoyed the hum of the engines.

Daily Program:

The Daily Programme. Photo © River Cruise Guru

Scenic Tours leaves a DAILY PROGRAMME on your bed each day so you will know the schedule. The ship was to depart Amsterdam at 17:00 hours. (yes, they use the 24 hour/military time) Shortly before sailing, they gathered us for a Welcome Reception and safety briefing. Scenic Tours CEO/Managing Director came onboard and gave us a nice welcome speech and the ships Captain then took over the safety briefing. An actual ‘safety drill’ was held the second day and we all put on life-vests on the Sun Deck. There are no lifeboats on a river ship so you simply go to the upper deck when the alarm is sounded and they hand you a life-vest.

First Thoughts:

My first thoughts were WOW! The ship is brand new and pristine. I’ve been on a lot of ships before, but none that smelled of new paint and carpet. I expected the crew to be a bunch of inexperienced employees thrown together at the last minute not knowing how to do things. Boy, was I wrong! They were all spectacular! Like a well-oiled machine. Polite, knowledgeable and accommodating.

Crystal Lounge:

The Crystal Lounge. Photo © River Cruise Guru

This is a great space and well used. From reading a book, having coffee or a cocktail to having some lunch or dancing the night away this room delivers. Beautiful furnishings that are comfortable to eat lunch in or just sit and watch the scenery go by through the large windows.  There are coffee and tea stations here, available around the clock and the new lunch venue, The River Café. A light lunch fare is served there and it also houses appetizers and desserts as well. Forward of this area is the Portobello’s Restaurant (only set up in the evening, otherwise its an extension of the lounge) which is a special place to have a 7 course dinner. The dinner is special and the service is incredible. There is no extra fee for any of these dining venues. In 2013, drinks will be included as part of the cruise fare. That’s right, all-inclusive!

Portobello’s Restaurant:

This is considered to be a ‘special’ dining experience and will require a reservation due to limited seating area. There is no extra charge to dine here which is incredible. The staff is ‘extra-attentive’ and greets you with a flute of champagne upon arrival. There are many sized tables and we were seated at a table for six. We shared dinner with four other passengers and found them to be very fun and interesting. Dinner served was seven courses of delight. Several choices of regional wines were offered and each course was presented by the chef with a story. The meal was great, the service spectacular and the experience  was memorable.

Observation Deck:

Forward Observation Deck. Photo © River Cruise Guru

Forward of Portobello’s is a small but covered seating area right near the bow. It offers a fantastic forward view of the area you are traveling. It offers some sun or rain protection and even has some radiant heaters overhead which helped on a blustery day. A great spot to view the transit through one of the many river locks.

The Sundeck:

The Sundeck of Scenic Crystal. Photo © River Cruise Guru

A great big area to socialize, watch scenery and catch some rays. On our cruise, it didn’t see the use it would during the summer months but we still found it a great place to take photos and watch as we passed under low bridges. During nice weather it also serves as another alternate dining venue. The wheelhouse and the upper railings on the very top deck are sometimes put down. The wheelhouse is able to be lowered and the deck rails and canopies fold down. This makes it possible to fit under lower bridges on the river. We were allowed to sit forward of the wheelhouse during the passing of low bridges, but were ordered to stay seated. It is quite amazing how they scoot right under these bridges with very little clearance. There were only two areas to smoke onboard; one was the furthest point aft on the Sundeck, the other was right near the middle stairs/wheelhouse on the Sun Deck. The Captain said, “if you don’t see an ashtray, you cannot smoke there.” No smoking was allowed on the balconies either.

The Crystal Dining Room:

The Crystal Dining Room. Photo © River Cruise Guru

A very nice restaurant for all three daily meals right at water level. Many different sized tables to choose from and It operates with an open-seating policy. A great place to meet old friends or to discover new ones. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet-style. Mornings saw an omelet station and afternoons usually had some sort of carved meats available. Regional wines, beer and soft drinks are complimentary at lunch and dinner. In 2013, these beverages will be complimentary around the clock! We enjoyed the local Riesling wines very much. There was usually a choice between a couple of different wines with each meal. The food was served up in courses; appetizer, soup/salad, main entrée and dessert. I found each dish I had ordered to be very good. Sometimes they had a theme, like on German day the staff was dressed in lederhosen, German music was played, they served authentic German dishes and trays of bier!

The Staff/Service:

I found the staff to be very accommodating at all times. Whenever I had a question, they were there with an answer. The Cruise Director, Sylvie, was very good as running things. She gave the port talks each day in the Lounge and also took care of us when it came to tours and on debarkation day. Service staff were excellent both in the lounge and dining rooms. Stateroom staff were also very good. All gratuities are included with Scenic Tours/Cruises which is very nice and convenient.

Entertainment:

If you are the type that needs constant entertainment, you may be a bit bored on a river cruise. Entertainment usually consists of a piano player/singer/entertainer, dancing , local musicians brought onboard, lectures or a glass blowing demonstration. I found it to be a nice distraction in the evening when you could not see the scenery.

Internet:

The internet is a fee for service program now, (about $30 Euros/week) but in 2013 it will also be complimentary…and it should be. I found the internet to be very frustrating. It’s satellite -based so connections are horrible through the river valleys and locks. It seemed you could never get connected and once you did it didn’t last. I told the ship staff that if I had to pay for internet…I wouldn’t have. It just wasn’t worth the aggravation in my opinion.

Onboard Dress:

Casual elegance for the most part. Several of us men wore sport jackets during the more dressy nights, like the GALA dinner and in Portobello’s Restaurant. Most men wore collared shirts or polo’s and women wore dresses or pant suits.

Overall the dress code was not something to worry much about. As long as you look presentable, everything is fine. Yes, people were wearing jeans in the dining room. Women may need a shawl or sweater for the dining rooms or lounge as the air conditioning can be quite chilly inside.

Weather:

We had cold, rainy weather. Dressing in layers works very well on a river cruise. As the day heats up you can strip layers or the opposite if the temperatures drop. Rain was a big factor, so a raincoat was perfect as it also offered protection from water and wind. Scenic provides each stateroom with a large umbrella to use on excursions as well. These are great  for taking pictures when its raining so your camera doesn’t get wet.

Next Up:

The next sections (part 5) of this review will cover our Shore Excursions and tours followed by the naming ceremony and some other thoughts and tips. Stay tuned!

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com
Posted on Leave a comment

Amsterdam: The Netherlands

Amsterdam, April 2012

Part Two of our Scenic Crystal River Cruise Review.

By Pete Larson, owner of Jolly Mon Vacations and River Cruise Guru

____________________________________________

Today we are in the city center Amsterdam. We took an overnight flight into Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport last night. our flight took us directly over Ireland and England into The Netherlands. Although this area isn’t really known for beaches, they looked pretty nice and people were enjoying them.

When we arrived at the airport, we proceeded through Passport Control and picked up our luggage. We bought train tickets from a kiosk and proceeded down to the platform. The train is only about 4 Euros each from airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station. It can be a little confusing, but it’s the cheapest and fastest route into Amsterdam. No worries, there is plenty of room on the train to bring your suitcases. You will have to be able to lift them up and down some stairs, however.

Train Ticket Kiosk Screen: 

Amsterdam Centraal Station:

This is located right near the cruise ship piers. Depending on where your ship is docked, it can be a short or long walk. Port of Amsterdam is located nearby and would be off to the right of the picture below.

Upon arrival at Centraal, we headed towards The Damrak on foot. With suitcases in tow, we walked to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza City Centre which was about two blocks away. A word of advice:  in Amsterdam, pedestrians can be easily run down by bicycles, cars, buses, trams and trains. Look both ways before you step into any roadway to include the bike lanes.

File:Дамрак.JPG

     The Damrak:  Street where you enter Amsterdam from Centraal Station

The Diary of Anne Frank is an incredible story of human sacrifice and suffering in the hands of the Nazi’s. Today, we paid our respects and visited the Anne Frank Huis and Museum. This is a very moving experience. You get to see all the rooms of the home where they hid in the secret annex to prevent being sent to the death camps. Long lines stretched around the block and my best tip would be to buy tickets ONLINE before you go. You will be assigned a certain date and time to be there and you can walk right in past the lines! This is a DON’T MISS attraction in Amsterdam.

                                    The Secret Annex:  Anne Frank Huis

Amsterdam is a really fun and exciting city. You can walk pretty much anywhere and take in the scenery and city life. Canals abound and the architecture is beautiful. Communication is really not a problem as most everyone speaks English as well. Great restaurants and bars dot the downtown area as do the famous ‘coffee shops.’

Tip:  If you want a cup of coffee (Koffee), DO NOT look for it at a coffee shop. These are places where they sell and smoke marijuana. If you want coffee, head to a cafe. The regular coffee is quite strong and has a foamy layer on top.

Tip:  The clocks in Europe are based on the 24 hour clock. (aka: military time)

Tip:  Check out the canal areas at night. The lights give off an incredible night-time ambiance.

The famous Red Light District is a favorite for many tourists. It is quite different to experience other cultures like this. Scantily clad prostitutes are sitting in the windows luring in men. This is legal and regulated by the government. You will also find ‘live sex shows’ and sex toy shops in this area.

The Red Light District of Amsterdam

Stay tuned for the next part of this River Cruise Review!

Scenic Crystal 2012.

For more information or to get free assistance with your river cruise contact Pete below:

Pete Larson

www.JollyMonVacations.com

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

218-779-3050

pete@jollymonvacations.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Scenic Tours River Cruise: Scenic Crystal 2012

I encourage you to follow us on our travels on the brand new river ship from Scenic Tours: Scenic Crystal. We are embarking on her very first cruise from the shipbuilding in Amsterdam to the christening ceremony in Rudesheim, Germany. I’ll be blogging about it as it happens as well as posting the first pictures and videos of this new ship.

Please become a follower and subscribe to Jolly Mon Vacations Blog. Feel free to ask questions or comment and share this with friends as well.

We will see if were paying attention to our posts and awarding prizes to those that do. Each time you share our Facebook pages or blog posts enters you to win something fabulous.

Watch here and at www.facebook.com/rivercruiseguru
And www.facebook.com/jollymonvacations

Email: pete@jolloymonvacations.com
www.JollyMonVacations.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Deceptive Travel Pricing: 15 Ways They Deceive You!

Deceptive Travel Pricing: 15 Ways They Deceive You!

By:  Pete Larson, Owner of Jolly Mon Vacations & River Cruise Guru

Deceptive Marketing and false advertising is all around us. It’s on billboards, your hometown newspaper, on TV and the
internet. When a company intentionally leads you to believe something that is false,  is over-promising something, or burying
things deep within the ‘fine print’ so that you don’t understand what is occurring is being deceptive.

Travel is a business where this type of deception runs amok. They bait your interest with the promise of these incredible deals and low prices. They add all sorts of restrictions, cut away the value and confuse you with endless fine print. You end up with a hollow shell of what was promised, and your hard earned vacation ends in disappointment.

Lets look at some common marketing ‘tricks’ companies like to use to keep you confused:

Specific Gateway – Only valid from a certain airport.

Booking window – Only valid if you book before a certain time period. (act now! Limited time only!) Only valid when a certain
deposit amount is laid before a certain date.

Travel window – Only valid when you travel between certain limited dates. (usually their slow season)

Specific Accommodation– only valid when you book a certain room level. (higher category or they quote the lowest category
room where there is a very limited supply that may be sold out forcing you to book a higher category than advertised)

Specific Itinerary – Only valid when you book a certain itinerary. (in cruising or tours, it’s usually an itinerary that is not
popular)

Exclusions – Many things are excluded making the price lower. (taxes, port fees, fuel surcharges, transfers, obc, airfare) Offer valid only to individual bookings, not groups.

New Bookings Only – A discounted rate you can only get if you don’t already have a reservation. Cruise lines are notorious for doing this when they have trouble selling out a ship. Usually offered close to sail date, but only on unpopular ships, dates,  itineraries, or departure ports.

Early Saver Rates /Advanced Purchase – This is popular with Carnival Cruise Lines and many hotels. It basically means you pay
the entire cruise or hotel stay at the time of booking and your money is NON-REFUNDABLE.

Combining discounts– Offer may not be combined with any other discount. (Military, AAA, Govt, Club, coupons, shareholder
benefits, promos)

Limitations – Offer only good when a certain number of persons are booked. (quad occupancy, double occupancy) Offer only
valid when booking a certain number of days. (7 days)

Booking Limitations – Offer only valid in the USA, or only when booked online. Offer not transferrable. Offer expires if not
applied by certain date.

Residential Limitations – Offer only valid to persons living in a certain area, city, state or region. (California, etc.)

Availability – Offer only valid to a limited number of customers. (creating the need for speed booking) Offer subject to
change at any time.

Deceptive ‘Sales’-

-The ‘percentage discount’ deception:

The claim:   Save up to 40%- The ‘up to’ means the figure taken is the rack rate that almost no one pays in the first place, and on a higher category room making the discounted price no different than the regular price. This may seem like a deal, but its not.

-The ‘FREE!’ deception:

The catch is…it’s not really free. You must meet all the requirements first. Free, LOADED with conditions like:

  • Free,  only under a certain age restriction
  • Free, only when parents purchase something specific, or stay in a certain category room.
  • Free,  but you pay the taxes, port fees, surcharges, transportation, etc.
  • Free, while supplies last. (and the supply is so limited its near impossible to obtain)

How do you protect yourself?

You could study all this stuff day and night like I do, or simply engage in a trustworthy source to begin with:
A good Travel Agent. Let the buyer beware! A good travel agent is worth their weight in gold. Remember, if you see a vacation priced at some
unbelievable price…you aren’t getting the entire  story. This should be a red flag that the company is using some sort of deceptive pricing.

Let me answer some questions about Travel Agents, and how they can save you time and money while protecting you from bad travel choices:

Travel Agent, Travel Counselor and  Travel Consultants are mostly the same thing. They act on your behalf as an independent agent to shop
many different sources to find you a good price with good value ensuring it’s exactly what you desire. They bring the right vacation product to clients and book it for them. They answer questions you have, assist with insurance, get your travel documents in order, and assist you along the way.

Not well traveled?
Perfect! Travel Agents will help you become familiar with what to expect and assist you with activities at your destination. They can also monitor prices after the booking and go to the vendor to obtain discounts for you.  Using an agent can protect you from a bad vacation experience, keep you safe by advising you of where NOT to go, and make sure you arrive and depart with ease.

Q:  What can a travel agent do for me?

A:  A good travel agent will bring the desired vacation experience to meet the clients needs at the best value possible. We act as your ‘vacation broker’ so to speak. Jolly Mon Vacations always starts with a good client interview to find the needs and desires of the client. We match our clients using our expansive knowledge on travel, destinations, resorts, hotels, cruise lines, ships and other things. We have special relationships with vacation vendors that will package up your vacation needs at special prices. Often times our buying power can help us obtain a better price, amenities, upgrades or a host of other promotional benefits. The travel agent saves you both time and money!

Go ahead, type “cruise” into Google…228 MILLION links! Do you have time to sift through that to find a trustworthy source for a good price with great value?

Q:  How much will using a travel agent cost me?

A:  In most cases….NOTHING!

Jolly Mon Vacations doesn’t charge fees to do your vacation planning or booking. Free help, advice and assistance for you…and money stays in your wallet! We are paid by the vendor we use for each sale, and they add nothing to your price for our service either.
You pay the same whether or not a travel agent books your trip, so you win by getting free professional assistance! Many vendors will match any price as well, ensuring you get the lowest price for your trip.

Q:  How do I know I can trust them to find me what I need?

A:  Travel Agents are educated and certified in specific destinations, cruise lines, resorts, vendors and travel. Experience is also a
great teacher and yet another way we can assist you. Our knowledge is backed by actual hotel, resort, destination and ship inspections. We travel to these destinations and tour them ourselves to assist in placing our clients. Nothing backs up a good education like a real life experience! A legitimate Travel Agent will be accredited by a major agency such as the IATA, IATAN, ARC, TRUE, CLIA or a host agency. You can check their credentials to ensure they are valid agents in good standing that hold proper accreditation.  Don’t hesitate to ask about accreditation to protect yourself.

Q:  I don’t need an agent, I can just book it direct with the cruise line or resort.

A:  Not so fast! Did you know each ship, cruise line, itinerary, port, resort can be COMPLETELY different from one another? You
may be climbing on a ‘floating old folks home’ when you are looking for a party. You could be getting on a ship or a cruise line that totally misses the reasons you need a vacation. A good Travel Agent knows the ships, the ports, resorts and the overall ‘vibe’ of where it is you are going and how you are getting there. A Travel Agent works for YOU, and looks out for YOUR best interest. The people at the other end of the direct booking look out for THEMSELVES and their company.

When it comes to planning and booking your next vacation, hotel, or any travel:  see a professional Trave Agent!

Jolly Mon Vacations would love to help you with your vacation. When we give a price quote, you can bet that it includes all taxes, fees and outlines exactly what is extra. We hide nothing, and do our best to promote THE REAL price.  We are an IATAN accredited agency and we’ll
do our best to make it your best vacation ever! The honest way.

Pete Larson,

Travel Agent & River Cruise Specialist

Jolly Mon Vacations  …destination anywhere.

President and Owner

www.JollyMonVacations.com

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

Phone or text:  218-779-3050

pete@jollymonvacations.com

www.facebook.com/jollymonvacations

Posted on Leave a comment

Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours Wins Six Star Diamond Award

Island Routes is a major supplier of shore excursions in the islands. They can be pre-booked prior to your vacation to simplify the process, and give you more time to have fun!

Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours received its second straight International Six Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (AAHS), which rewards excellence in the global travel and luxury services industries.

“We are the first and only adventure tour company to ever be honored with this prestigious award, and it is a tribute to our Island Routes team to continue to garner recognition from our distinguished industry colleagues,” said David L. Shields, general manager. “We are dedicated to delivering exceptional customer service standards and guarantees, and we strive to showcase each of our destinations with diverse tours that have high appeal for the experiential traveler. It is gratifying to know that these efforts resonate with our travel partners.”

Island Routes offers more than 200 tours in Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua, Great Exuma, the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos. Tours include kayaking expeditions and river explorations, catamaran rides, swimming with sharks, zip-line tours, and ATV, Segway, horse and camel excursions. Island Routes tours are fully commissionable. For more information contact pete@jollymonvacations.com or 218-779-3050.

Jolly Mon Vacations is a full-service travel agency and travel adviser specializing in river cruising and the Caribbean.

Posted on Leave a comment

An Overview: River Cruising

 A river cruise, at first glance, seems like a wonderfully tranquil way to see some of the most historic towns and cities in Europe. Wait, did I say tranquil? Appearances are deceiving. Unlike ocean cruises, voyages along Europe’s waterways rarely offer much time “at sea.” And in port, there are busy sightseeing schedules included at all stops, which range from major cities like Amsterdam and Vienna to delightful, small towns and villages such as Austria’s Durnstein and Germany’s Breisach.

The biggest challenge about planning a European river cruise is identifying which itinerary most intrigues you. We’re here to help you narrow down your choice. But, before we get started, here are some things you should know, followed by a few tips:

  • Many river cruises are a week long. More exotic trips can occasionally stretch from 10 days to two weeks or longer. There are now some shorter cruises priced far less to give you ‘a taste’ of river cruising. These are great for a tighter budget, or if you simply don’t have all the vacation time needed to extend your trip.
  • They almost always start from fantastic cities; most trips include an overnight onboard, but if not, do try to plan a pre- or post-cruise stay. A few nights exploring Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna, Nuremburg, or Basel will enhance your vacation experience. These extra nights can be added right into the price of your cruise fare.
  • In almost all cases, daily shore excursions are included in the fares you pay. They’ll run along the lines of pretty basic introductory tours of the cities and towns you visit. Some companies such as Uniworld also offer fee-extra tour options that are a bit more unusual. A half day tour is usually followed up by some free time to do what you would like.
  • One caveat about cruising Europe’s rivers: The season typically runs from April to October, but be aware that heavy rain and spring flooding can make the rivers swell and the locks become impassable. (Many are under bridges, so if the water is too high, boats can’t fit underneath.) Likewise, if there’s a drought, low water can be a problem. If boats can’t move, you’ll be taken to the sights by motor coach. Christmas Market cruises run late November into December, and are a whole other blog post!
  • Wine cruises, enrichment, music, culture, or tulip cruises can add to the excitement of river cruising. There are many themes that help to draw in a wide variety of interests.

For more information, stay tuned…more to come! Subscribe to this blog, or LIKE us on facebook at: 

www.facebook.com/rivercruiseguru

Contact Pete, your River Cruise Specialist at:  pete@rivercruiseguru.com for more information on booking a river cruise today!

River Cruise Guru is a branch of Jolly Mon Vacations, owned and operated by Pete Larson

Posted on Leave a comment

How does a river cruise differ from an ocean cruise?

How does a river cruise differ from an ocean cruise?  

There are many differences between todays mass-market cruises and a much smaller, more intimate river cruise. On an ocean cruise the huge mega-ship is the prime destination. The ship is like an entire floating resort. A river cruise ship is more like a floating boutique hotel that brings you to the desired destination. River cruises offer a very cozy environment with only 100 to 180 guests on board, and within one week you can meet all of them and make many new friends. It is an educational experience, and it is as easy to get on and off the ship as walking in and out of a hotel. (On European itineraries) boats are docked most of the time in the center of a gorgeous city or quaint village, surrounded by lovely vineyards or old European heritage sites. 

Each day is a new port, and there aren’t any ‘sea days’ where you waste your time watching belly flop competitions or kids running amok. Each day you will arrive in a new port in the heart of it all. You will step off the ship and begin your new tour of discovery, which is also included in the price! That is another big difference, there are many more things included in your cruise fare with rivefr cruises. When the price is nearly all-inclusive…you will know your costs ‘up-front.’ No surprises.

River cruise vessels are only 3 decks high, and made to fit under the pictureque stone bridges that dot the waterways of Europe. You won’t get lost looking for a place to eat like on the big cruise ships. These small ships are built to specifically to observe the passing scenery, with lots of open deck space and many large interior windows. Imagine, floating by in your deck chair with ancient castles sitting high atop the river valley, wildlife in every direction, and vineyards stretched as far as the eye can see. Pass quaint villages where the culture unfolds before you, and sail into the heart of large cities…without a traffic jam.

You will see many different countries on your trip, and you only unpack once. No living out of your suitcase like on a bus tour driving town to town in close quarters, nor dragging suitcases from hotel to hotel. Your fabulous boutique hotel goes with you. What better way to travel through Europe?

Posted on Leave a comment

New T-shirts, New Contests!

New T-shirt design and  New Contests!
JMV's new t-shirt

Jolly Mon Vacations newly designed t-shirts are in stock! They look fantastic!

Facebook Fans….be sure you click ‘SUGGEST TO FRIENDS‘ on both JMV and/or my River Cruise Guru facebook business pages. Each new fan that (‘Likes’) it…and their referrer are entered to win FREE STUFF!
 
You can find both sites at:
 
While you are there, feel free to TALK VACATIONS or post some pics. There’s a lot going on, don’t miss out on the fun!
 
Not on facebook?
Visit my webpages at:
 
Call or text me at: 218.779.3050  (Verizon)
 
WHAT’S NEW?
Jolly Mon Vacations books all types of vacation travel, but one of our ‘specialties’ is River Cruising. The rivers of Europe, China, Egypt and Russia. Its a whole new way of immersing yourself in the destination.
 
I’ve got a great Cruise Blog at:
I write many travel related articles, reviews, and information. I also post pictures and videos. Come on by, and send your friends!
Thanks for your support, and please keep on referring your family and friends to Jolly Mon Vacations! Remember, I not only appreciate your referrals…I pay YOU cash for them!
 
Here’s how it works:
1. You refer your friends or family to Jolly Mon Vacations.
2. Once they book a vacation through us, and they travel…you get paid!*
(*The amount is based on the vacation booked, amounts may vary)
Your friends get a great price, fabulous service and an outstanding vacation.
You get some extra cash!
Hurry! This free cash offer won’t last forever!
Send them now! Jolly Mon Vacations will treat them right.
Jolly Mon Vacations
…destination anywhere.
Posted on Leave a comment

River cruising—a better way to explore

River Cruising Europe

 

River cruising is, quite simply, the best way to travel through many of the world’s most fascinating places. Comfortable and convenient, it offers a greater variety of destinations than you could encounter any other way—and lets you get in-depth exposure to each region.

Both experienced and first-time travelers are discovering the joys of river cruising—and you can too! Take advantage of Viking River Cruise Lines Early Booking Discount and enjoy a river cruise or cruisetour through Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China or Egypt in 2011.

2011 Early Booking Discount


2-FOR-1 Cruise plus up to 2-FOR-1 Air!
~plus complimentary wine with dinner.

Contact pete@jollymonvacations.com , your River Cruise Specialist today!

Hurry Expires July 31, 2010

Posted on Leave a comment

Cruising: The Benefits

If  you’ve never taken a cruise before, consider the benefits of taking a cruise vacation:

  • Getting there is have the fun! Cruising allows you to enjoy the ride to the destination! Nonstop deck activities, lounging by the pool, dancing the night away, hitting the SPA or a quiet spot with a book. You choose!
  • Cruises are all-inclusive! (or nearly) The price of your cruise covers your lodging, transportation to the destinations, all your food, non-alcoholic beverages and even your activities and entertainment. Some luxury lines include even more, such as alcoholic beverages.
  • On a Cruise You Unpack Once! If you want to visit more than one place, but you can’t imagine lugging around your bags,  packing and unpacking everywhere you go then a cruise is for you. Your stateroom is your floating hotel. You unpack and then you can leave everything on the ship while you explore the latest port of call and then come back on board for dinner, a show, or to rest and relax. Hit the casino, go to a movie under the stars, take in the sunset with your significant other. It’s all about choice…YOUR choice.
  • A cruise gives you a sample of multiple destinations! A cruise is a great option if you are not sure where you want to go. You can choose a region and then narrow it down to one that stops at a few places you may be curious about and have a small taste of the region as a whole instead of being confined only to one country. Get a variety of cultures and scenery all in the same trip.

A vacation is a great way to relax, get away from your stresses, have fun, bond with family and friends, pamper yourself, learn new things, and explore cultures while seeing the world. Whether you spend it on land, or on the sea…it’s all about getting away. A cruise vacation can be a great way to do it.

Posted on Leave a comment

Norwegian Cruise Lines Takes Delivery of New Ship "Epic"

Epic Stateroom

On June 17th, Norwegian Cruise Line  accepted delivery of its largest and most innovative ship, the Norwegian Epic. At 153,000 gross tons, Epic is the largest ship ever constructed in St. Nazaire and therefore represents a major milestone. “Norwegian Epic represents the next level of Freestyle Cruising with branded entertainment, more than 20 dining options and a wide range of accommodations including the largest suite complex at sea,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s CEO. “Following more than four years of development and construction, we are pleased to take ownership of this beautiful ship and introduce her to the world. We are confident that Norwegian Epic will amaze our guests.”

On June 21, the ship will sail a one-night preview cruise to Southampton, arriving on June 22 for a two-day inaugural sailing. On June 24, the ship will depart Southampton on a sold-out seven-day transatlantic crossing to New York arriving on July 1.

Norwegian Epic will be christened by entertainer Reba McEntire on July 2 followed by a two-day inaugural cruise. The ship also will be the host venue for the 34th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks event taking place on Sunday, July 4. The event includes a national, one-hour, live entertainment broadcast on NBC-TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Norwegian Epic arrives in Miami on Wednesday, July 7 where a welcome event will be held at Bicentennial Park from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information on the event, visit http://epic.ncl.com/epicmiami. Inaugural festivities conclude with a two-day sailing on July 8.

Book your next trip on this exciting new ship by contacting pete@jollymonvacations.com

Pete is an NCL FREESTYLE CRUISE EXPERT!