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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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Why I love CIE Tours

For tours of Ireland and the United Kingdom, I love to recommend CIE Tours. I’ve personally toured with CIE on itineraries covering Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

CIE

An escorted coach tour with CIE Tours can be a great way to cover a lot of ground and see the main sites people crave. Great drivers, guides, food, coaches, hotels make it all seamless.

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For people that like to see a lot on a vacation, this is the way to do it. You will see and do a lot. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation with no schedule…this may not be for you. But, CIE does offer SELF DRIVE tours where you can do the driving and set your own schedule.

Many options and choices to be had. The beauty of these countries is amazing. The history of these countries is incredible. An unforgetable experience awaits you. All you need is someone to set you up with the itinerary that fits your travel style. That’s where we come in. We are trained and experienced in these tours and our assistance comes to you for FREE!

Contact us today to get started on your long awaited trip to Ireland and the U.K. We help you every step of the way. We are certified Ireland and Scotland Experts!

Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

Owner, Jolly Mon Vacations & River Cruise Guru

pete@jollymonvacations.com

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Larson of Jolly Mon Vacations Earns CTC

NEWSBRIEF:

Larson of Jolly Mon Vacations Earns CTC

Peter Larson, owner of Jolly Mon Vacations in Grand Forks, ND, has recently earned the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) designation from The Travel Institute. This designation is awarded by The Travel Institute to travel professionals who complete a comprehensive, exam-based training program, demonstrate extensive industry knowledge and experience, and exemplify the highest standards of professionalism.

Pete Larson, CTC, has been a travel agent for 6 years and specializes in resort and river cruise vacations. Larson said, “I match clients to the right vacation experience without charging extra fees. Earning this elite CTC status demonstrates my commitment to clients who will now be better served by my increased knowledge and skills.”

Jolly Mon Vacations specializes in all-inclusive resort vacations and river cruises. We cater to both local and international customers.

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Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

Owner, Jolly Mon Vacations & River Cruise Guru

pete@jollymonvacations.com

218-779-3050

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Cruise Lines Kick it up a Notch

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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

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Life is short, where do you want to go?

In the grand scheme of things, we get set in our everyday routines. ‘Get up, go to work, go home, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, watch TV…go to bed. Repeat.’

Is this really what you were born to do? It’s time to get out of that rut. There’s a great big world out there to experience and we have a very limited time to see it. The time is now.

I’ve heard all the excuses. Heck, I’ve even practiced a few of them myself. Here’s the one I hear the most. “I don’t have enough money to travel!” Think about that for a minute. Is it REALLY lack of money or could it be lack of prioritizing what is really important in life?

I’ll bet you have some of these:

-A big screen TV, blue-ray player, stereo system

-A smartphone (or two) with a data package

-Cell phone bill, cable TV or satellite bill, internet bill, Netflix bill

-More than one car, maybe a boat, snowmobile or ATV’s

-Camping trailer, deluxe fish house or lake cabin

Prioritizing your list of wants and needs is key. You probably waste hundreds of dollars per month on things…but are those things ‘really’ important to your well-being or state of mind? Are they creating memories and joy that make your life complete? Do they alleviate the everyday stresses of your life?

Are you using all the vacation days your earn from your work? Are you maximizing the use of those days by traveling, either alone or with your family?

Find the things in life that are truly important to you and put them high on your list. Rid yourself of those things that just kill off your time and money. Chase your dreams, see the world and start creating those memories. Life is short and that clock is ticking.

Life

“I grew up, acquired some skills, made a family, worked hard, retired early and now I’m traveling the world.” Pete Larson

Pete Larson,

Travel Consultant, Jolly Mon Vacations

www.JollyMonVacations.com

email:  pete@jollymonvacations.com

phone:  (218)-779-3050

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~Contact me today and I’ll help you go over your priority list. Free assistance, really? Yes.~

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New Website Launch: Now LIVE!

The new www.JollyMonVacations.com website makeover is complete.

Please go check it out and tell me what you think. I’ll be tweaking it as needed to perfect it and to update content regularly.

What is new?

  • New, updated look.
  • New Social Media Center on Home page.
  • Complete remodel of the River Cruise Guru page/tab.
  • SPECIALS page refreshed with links at the bottom for researching/booking yourself. (for the serious DIY’ers)
  • New PHOTO & VIDEO page with updated trip photos & videos.
  • New BLOG link to find this BLOG easily.
  • Floating side links to easily SHARE the content on your social media sites, like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and others.

Please use the site and share with your friends! We are watching and will randomly award prizes for sharing our content!

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8 Tips on How to Go Through Customs & Immigration

customsWhen you arrive at your island destination you will need to clear immigration & customs. Each country is a little different, but the process is very similar. You can expedite this process by being properly prepared.
Preparation begins when you pack for your trip and if you plan to purchase any duty-free items in the U.S airport. Every island has different restrictions on what you can bring in “duty-free”. Each island also has “prohibited items”.

Depending on the airport and/or airline you depart from you may need to pick up your own immigration and customs forms at the gate prior to boarding. Other times they are distributed by flight attendants once you are in the air. Don’t forget to bring an ink pen to fill out the forms!

You will need to fill out an immigration form for each passenger. Go slow to avoid mistakes. Date format is often different from what you may be used to. Be sure to sign form. Some countries, like Jamaica, have a separate immigration card attached to form. You need to fill it out as well or you will be delayed at immigration. For most countries you will also need to fill out customs form. These are generally per family, but if you passports have different surnames you may want to fill one out for each different name. You most likely will have nothing to declare.

When you arrive at destination, proceed to immigration. Cell phones and cameras may not be used in immigration and customs areas. Please stay behind line and wait for next available immigration agent. You will need to present you passport and forms. Be polite and answer any questions asked. Once through immigration you can put your passports away in safe place. Keep customs forms handy.

Proceed to the baggage claim area. Make sure you get all your bags and that they are YOUR bags. You can grab a cart to make it easier. Check to see if customs exit has “Nothing to Declare” lines and get in line. Depending on county, the customs official will review your customs form and/or interview you. On occasion the customs agents may want to perform a physical inspection of you luggage.

8 Tips on How to Go Through US Customs & Immigration

1
Onboard your flight, you will be given customs and immigration documents. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, then you will need to fill out an I-94 form. If you are a U.S. Citizen, then you do not need this form. All passengers must also complete a customs declaration form. This form is required for both U.S. and Foreign citizens. Make sure to have the required documents completed before you enter the customs and immigration facilities.

2
When you deplane, follow the signs directing you to international arrivals, immigration and customs. Most often, you will walk through a hallway or go down an escalator to the customs and immigration facilities. In rare circumstances (mostly at smaller, more poorly run airports), you will need to ride a bus.

3
The first stop is at Passport Control/Immigration. If you are a U.S. Citizen, go to the lanes marked United States Citizens. If you are non-U.S. Citizen, go to the lanes marked Foreign Citizens. If you have another flight to connect with, there are sometimes special lanes for Connecting Passengers.

4
Give your passport and immigration/customs forms to the officer. He/she will look at your passport, scan it, and possibly validate it. He/she will also retain any I-94 forms, and validate and return the customs forms.

5
After you clear Passport Control, follow the signs to Baggage Claim. Here, you will claim your checked baggage, even if you have another flight to connect with. Check the screens for the carousel number that your flight has been assigned to and wait for your bags to appear.

6
Once you have claimed your bags, your next stop is at Customs. If you do not have any items to declare, proceed to the green lanes marked “Nothing to Declare”. If you do have items to declare, proceed to the red lanes marked “Goods to Declare”. Here, you will turn in your customs form and if you do not have anything to declare, you will be waved through to the exit.

7
If you have another flight to connect with, follow the signs marked “Connecting Flights/Connecting Baggage Drop-off” as you leave the customs area. If you are already at your final destination, skip straight to step 8. When you get to the connecting baggage carousel, be sure to place any liquids, gels, and aerosols that are over 3 oz, or any other items that are not allowed through TSA security checkpoints in your checked luggage. Check that your baggage tags match your final destination. Place your luggage on the conveyor belt, wheels or handles facing up (the bag itself should be upside down).

Continue following the signs marked Connecting Flights, and proceed through security to the departures area.

8
If you are already at your final destination, follow the exit and ground transportation signs. Once you exit the customs and immigration facilities you will be in the International Arrivals area. Here you will meet up with friends and family, or proceed to courtesy shuttles, taxis, rental cars, or other ground transportation.

For more information and FREE ASSISTANCE with your travel plans, please contact a professional travel consultant at Jolly Mon Vacations today!
No charges, no fees…just expert advice and assistance! No strings attached.

218-779-3050
pete@jollymonvacations.com
www.JollyMonVacations.com
www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

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European Christmas Markets

So which one to choose?

Well, every German Christmas market has its own specialities (the best wooden ornaments come from the Erzgebirge mountains; the Bavarian Forest produces superb glass) but if you’re planning a special trip to Germany to do your Christmas shopping, it makes sense to visit a market in a place you want to see in its own right. Hopefully, the following shortlist should help you make up your mind.

And by the way, a word of warning about the Glühwein. Hot alcohol hits you quicker, especially in chilly weather, and this mulled wine is often a good deal stronger than the stuff we drink at home.

Aachen

23 November to 23 December (aachen.de)

The market

Of all Germany’s Christmas markets, Aachen’s Weihnachtsmarkt is closest to the UK – less than four hours from London by train, changing in Brussels. The Weihnachtsmarkt, in the shadow of the cathedral, has in a spectacular setting. Be sure to try some Printen (the local gingerbread) and potato fritters (the local fast food).

The city

Founded by the Romans, who came here to bathe in its hot sulphur springs, Aachen briefly became the capital of Western Europe under the Emperor Charlemagne during the Dark Ages. The mineral springs are still here (you can swim in them or drink them; bad-aachen.de) and Charlemagne’s ornate cathedral is still standing – a relic of a time when this border town was the centre of a great empire.

Cologne

26 November to 23 December (cologne.de)

The market

From its main site in the cathedral square, close to the bustling central station, Cologne’s Christmas market spills over into several diverse locations around the city. The markets in the Neumarkt and Alter Markt are both charming, but the most scenic spot is the Hafenmarkt, on the Rhine, beside Cologne’s Chocolate Museum. Frikadellen (pork burgers) and Spekulatius (cinnamon-flavoured biscuits) are among the culinary favourites. Kolsch, a light lager served in a dainty 200ml glass, is the favourite brew.

The city

Cologne Cathedral – Copyright River Cruise Guru

Cologne’s gigantic Gothic cathedral dominates the city skyline, but this busy Rhineland city is also a lively centre of the arts. The Ludwig Museum (00 49 221 221 26165; museum-ludwig.de) houses the biggest collection of Pop Art outside America and some stunning German Expressionists such as Max Beckmann and Ludwig Kirchner.

 

Dresden

28 November to 24 December (dresden.de)

The market

Founded in 1434, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. Contrary to popular misconception, it isn’t actually the oldest – that honour belongs to Bautzen, a historic town on the Polish border which beats it by half a century. Never mind. Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is uniquely atmospheric, as the city’s Altmarkt is transformed into a gigantic grotto. Striezel is the Saxon word for Stollen, Germany’s distinctive Christmas cake, and Dresden’s version is commonly regarded as Germany’s finest. If you’re here on 8 December, don’t miss the annual Stollenfest (stollenfest.com), when an enormous Stollen is paraded through the city to the Striezelmarkt, where the Stollenmädchen (a sort of Christmas beauty queen) cuts the first slice.

The city

Renowned before the Second World War as one of Europe’s loveliest cities, the “Florence of the Elbe” was flattened by the Allies in 1945. However, since reunification it’s been painstakingly rebuilt and today the panorama Canaletto painted has been immaculately restored. As well as its beautiful baroque architecture, the Saxon capital has one of the world’s most wonderful art galleries, the Zwinger (00 49 351 49 14 2000; skd.museum), full of treasures by Renaissance masters such as Botticelli and Raphael.

Munich

30 November to 24 December (muenchen.de)

The market

Munich hosts more than a dozen Christmas markets. A lot of overseas visitors venture no further than the traditional Christkindlmarkt below the bell tower of the Neues Rathaus, but the smaller markets beyond Marienplatz are well worth a visit. The most picturesque is the Kripperlmarkt, which is devoted to crib sets and carved Nativity figures. For something completely different, visit Tollwood (tollwood.de), an alternative Christmas market with a focus on ethnic crafts, world music and international cuisine, which continues until 31 December.

The city

Forget the tourist clichés – there’s more to Munich than bierkellers, oompah bands and fat men in lederhosen. In fact, apart from a few weeks during the Oktoberfest, the Bavarian capital is one of Germany’s smartest cities, with lots of chic restaurants and private galleries, and a lively opera scene. Its greatest asset, however, is its close proximity to proper countryside. On a clear day you can see the Bavarian Alps from the city centre and the lovely lakes of Starnberger See and Ammersee are only half an hour away by U-bahn.

Nuremberg

30 November to 24 December (nuernberg.de)

The market

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt (literally, “Christ child market”) is Germany’s most celebrated Christmas market, attracting more than 2 million visitors annually. Air Berlin flies non-stop from Gatwick; the route ends in early January, but before then there is plenty of availability, The city’s culinary speciality is Lebkuchen (spiced gingerbread) but the biggest attraction is the Christkind (Christmas angel), who opens the market on the Friday before Advent, from the balcony of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in the main square. A local girl in her late teens, the Christkind acts as an ambassador for the Christkindlesmarkt. Despite its popularity, the market retains an old-fashioned atmosphere and an emphasis on authentic produce, especially the Nürnberger Rostbratwürste – delicious little sausages served by the dozen or half a dozen, with heaps of tangy sauerkraut.

The city

Nuremberg’s medieval heritage made it deeply attractive to the Nazis, who adopted this romantic city as the cultural capital of the Third Reich. You can still visit Hitler’s Zeppelin Field, a vast crumbling ruin on the edge of town. Thankfully, Nuremberg’s totalitarian past now feels like ancient history. Today its main claim to fame is as the world’s top producer of children’s toys.

There are many cities along the Rhine and Danube River that have great Christmas Markets. One can take a river cruise and hit them all in style. We recommend Uniworld, AMA and Avalon for these cruises as well as some others. We here at River Cruise Guru assist you ‘free of charge’ with your river cruise plans. We are Certified River Cruise Specialists that really know this unique cruise niche.

Contact us today at:

218-779-3050

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

www.facebook.com/rivercruiseguru

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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

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Scenic Cruises Launches True All-Inclusive River Cruises

Pete Larson, River Cruise Guru

Owner and Travel Consultant for River Cruise Guru & Jolly Mon Vacations

Scenic Cruises has announced what it calls the “first truly all-inclusive luxury river cruising experience.” New on 2013 cruises will be unlimited complimentary beverages (top-shelf brands are additional), private butler service for every guest, themed dinners with entertainment (including Hungarian and Bavarian itineraries), a personal GPS onboard guided tour system devices providing commentary, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Also new are three dining venues — River Café with all-day offerings; Table La Rive, for degustation menus; and High Tea on the Terrace. (River Café, Table La Rive and the GPS tour are not available on Scenic Emerald which will be relocated to the south of France)

New shore experiences include Scenic Enrich, exclusive experiences such as a private dinner and concert at Rastatt Palace; Scenic FreeChoice, 18 tours including the Hockenheim Formula 1 Track in Heidelberg; and Scenic Tailor-made, a bespoke GPS-guided tour system with full commentary, allowing guests to choose from independent walks or cycling tours exploring areas like food and wine or history.

“We are redefining the term ‘all-inclusive luxury’ with the addition of unlimited complimentary beverages available at any time throughout the ship, free Wi-Fi, and butler service for all,” said Managing Director Glen Moroney. “Our relaxing new River Café offers food items all day, including cakes and espresso coffee. And most important — there is basically nothing more to pay except for personal expenses.”

River Cruise Guru can attest to this, as we were invited to sail onboard the maiden voyage of Scenic Crystal and have personally experienced the 2013 changes ourselves on a special voyage. It was nothing short of incredible.

Also in 2013, Scenic “Space-Ships” will get “Sun-Lounges,” which allow guests to convert their private balconies into an indoor lounge. This is basically a step-out balcony that can be totally enclosed in glass for bad weather or wind. Unlike most river cruise ships with balconies, Scenic does not take away ANY space from the stateroom when adding balconies. Sun lounges will be retro-fitted to the entire fleet (except Scenic Emerald). Moroney also announced a number of technical ship upgrades including a “silent drive” system that significantly reduces noise and vibration, and a sophisticated and powerful air-conditioning system.

When it comes to river cruising, Scenic has really stepped up the game. A luxury product that no other line matches in terms of all-inclusive amenities.

To begin your river cruise planning, call us today! Expert river cruise knowledge and assistance at no extra cost to you!

River Cruise Guru is a branch of Jolly Mon Vacations located in Grand Forks, ND serving clients around the globe. We are RIVER CRUISE SPECIALISTS and we DO NOT CHARGE ANY FEES. You get expert advice, planning assistance and booking for the same or less than you would do things yourself. WE KNOW RIVER CRUISES!

Find out more at:  www.JollyMonVacations.com and www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

For questions and assistance contact Pete:

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

Phone or text:  218-779-3050

LIKE us on facebook:  www.facebook.com/rivercruiseguru

 

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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
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River Cruising: After booking comes the docs

Once your River Cruise Specialist has helped you choose your itinerary, finds a cruise line and ship that fits your style, books your hotels, transfers, air, insurance and everything is paid and in order…the waiting game begins. Watching that clock tick until that sail date FINALLY comes.

About two to three weeks prior to your cruise, most river cruise lines will send out your documents. In the cruising world, you’ll hear them simply referred to as….DOCS. What they are is mostly boarding documentation, ship information, itinerary, medical forms and other general information about where to go once you arrive in the port city. Depending on the cruise line, your document package could contain many different things.

Our documents have arrived from Scenic Cruises, a branch of Scenic Tours, which bills itself as a 5-Star Luxury All-inclusive river cruise line. Here is a picture of what Scenic Cruises delivered to us with our documents:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Two Scenic Tours backpacks with multiple compartments which will be great for excursions and tours.

-Two drawstring laundry bags for keeping the dirty clothes separtated.

-Zippered portfolio containing the docs, luggage tags, itinerary and medical forms.

-A handy full-colored guide book containing information on all the river areas our cruise will cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the docs you can expect for any basic river cruise. Read over them very carefully and follow the instructions contained in them.

Next up….

Packing:  If you’ve never packed for a cruise before, your travel agent can be your best friend. They know what you will need, what is not allowed, how to pack everything and what type of luggage restrictions you may face with air and cruise lines.

When traveling to foreign countries, there are things to think about like:

-What type of documentation, visas or passports will be required.

-Electrical differences: ensuring you have the right adapters and converters to power up and charge your devices.

-Currency differences: ensuring you know where to get local currency, how to get it and what to tell your bank before you leave.

-Where can I purchase additional tours or hotels for pre-cruise stays so you can explore.

-How to get the best airfare and insurance to cover all our expenses and medical.

-Are you traveling to a safe area and what you should do if trouble arises.

All this and much more can be found out from your travel agent and river cruise specialist! River Cruise Guru is a certified River Cruise Specialist. Our job is to assist you from start to finish, get you the best price and value possible and ensure your trip is a flawless as it can be…all for NO EXTRA FEES! That’s right…you won’t pay a dime extra for our expert services. Expert service for free…you can’t beat that deal!

Call or click today:

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

Call or text:  218-779-3050

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

www.facebook.com/rivercruiseguru

Jolly Mon Vacations and River Cruise Guru

Pete Larson, President

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com
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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

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SANDALS RESORTS OFFER COMPLIMENTARY RENEWAL OF VOWS CEREMONY

SANDALS RESORTS AND BEACHES RESORTS OFFER GUESTS

~ Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts Continue Helping Guests Celebrate Love ~

Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts are offering guests the chance to rekindle their love by providing an exclusive and intimate Renewal of Vows ceremony free of charge.  Couples who book a minimum six-night stay by January 27, 2012 for travel from September 4, 2012 through November 10, 2012, will have the opportunity to celebrate their marriage all over again at some of the most romantic places in the Caribbean.

Sandals Resorts’ and Beaches Resorts’ Renewal of Vows ceremonies are offered in a picturesque ceremony location dressed with a Beautiful Beginning wedding theme by Martha Stewart™ and include recorded musical accompaniment.  After receiving a renewal of vows certificate, the newly vowed husband and wife along with six guests can celebrate with a sparkling wine and chilled hors d’oeuvres reception.  The happy couple will then enjoy a second honeymoon dinner at a resort restaurant of their choice and a continental breakfast-in-bed the following morning.

The Renewal of Vows package also includes a personal consultant for the ceremony, a beautiful bouquet and boutonniere, a Renewal of Vows marriage officiate, two-tiered cake and one 5×7 second honeymoon photograph.  Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts make it easy for couples to say “I do” all over again in paradise.

As with all Luxury Included® Vacations, a stay at Sandals Resorts or Beaches Resorts offers more quality inclusions than any other resort company on the planet with superior accommodations, endless gourmet dining options, unlimited premium brand wine and spirits, nightly entertainment, watersports including snorkeling and scuba diving for certified divers and a myriad of other exclusive amenities.

Contact Pete your Certified Sandals Specialist today for your free vow ceremony and second honeymoon!

Phone:  218-779-3050

Email:  pete@jollymonvacations.com

Website:  www.JollyMonVacations.com

Website:  www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/jollymonvacations

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Uniworld Cruise Line Wins Best Dining

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

Uniworld Wins Best Dining at
the Cruise International Awards

Uniworld Boutique River
Cruise Collection has won Best for Dining category at the Cruise International Awards.
The awards ceremony, which took place in London this month, was the first ever
held by Cruise International Magazine to celebrate the best of the best in the
cruise industry. Importantly, the fact that winners were voted for by the
cruise-going consumer is a tribute to the exceptional quality and service
Uniworld offers its guests.

Uniworld began the ceremony by picking up the first award of the evening in the
Best for Dining Category. Uniworld was recognized for its Zagat-rated
restaurants and dining, for not just one specific restaurant, but for the
impeccably high dining standards it has achieved across its 14-strong fleet,
beating some of the cruise world’s most well known companies across ocean and
river cruises.

According to Guy Young, President of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection,
“Winning in the Best for Dining Category is a testament to the dedication
and work of Mrs. Beatrice Tollman, President and founder of our sister company,
Red Carnation Hotels, and who is heavily involved in the direction of interior
design and fine dining for Uniworld; Bernhard Zorn, Culinary Director of
Uniworld; the executive team; the individual chefs; the food and beverage
managers; and all the staff of Uniworld, who go above and beyond to ensure our
guests enjoy a first class dining experience on all our river cruise
ships.”

Uniworld provides guests with gourmet cuisine using fresh regional food sourced
locally and inspired by the appropriate season and region of the itinerary, and
paired with a selection of complimentary fine wines chosen by Red Carnation
Hotel’s acclaimed sommelier Eric Zwiebel.

As further commitment to the fine dining offered by Uniworld, the company
offers the Epicurean Adventurer Program™ available across 17 itineraries, and
designed to take food and wine lovers deeper into the world of wine and food
amidst awe-inspiring scenery.

Further to winning the Best for Dining award, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
also came ‘highly recommended’ in the Best River Cruise Category. As the Uniworld
brand is just a year old in the UK, to be recognised in such a way by the
consumer is a testament to the commitment and high levels of service shown by
all staff.

Call your ‘Uniworld River Cruise Specialist’ -The River Cruise Guru today!

We’ll find you the best price and we don’t charge any fees. FREE SERVICE! Leave your river cruise planning to a professional!

River Cruise Specialist, Pete:  218-779-3050

Email:  pete@rivercruiseguru.com

Website:  www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

River Cruise Guru is a branch of Jolly Mon Vacations:  www.JollyMonVacations.com

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Comparing Airfares: What You Need to Know!

Comparing Airfares:  What You Need to Know!

By Pete Larson,

Travel Consultant,

Jolly Mon Vacations

The major airlines
are evolving constantly, and the way we buy airline tickets has changed in a
short time. The airlines have basically forced us to search down our own
information via a website and book online. Most will charge an extra fee to
book by phoning their call centers. The internet makes it pretty easy to search
down flights, but comparing them to find the best fares is becoming much
harder. They want travelers to act as their own travel agent, but rarely does
the traveler know the airlines, the marketing tricks, or the search techniques
of the well seasoned travel agent. This can lead to hurried decisions,
misinformation, huge unexpected expenses and spoiled vacations.

Travel consumers are
confused and airlines like it that way. Confusion turns into profit for the
companies when travelers spend more money than they expected to. Airlines are
making 100% of their profit by these ancillary fees. Airlines have the right to
make money, but it shouldn’t be done by withholding information that consumers
need to make choices.

Airlines don’t
disclose these fees until after you’ve fallen for a low fare. Sometimes this
isn’t until after you’ve bought your ticket. Trying to figure out these fees
beforehand is both time consuming and frustrating. They entice you with an
unbelievable deal only to add fees onto the price so it only ‘appears’ to be a
deal, duping customers into buying without knowing the FULL price. Quoted
airfares exclude many items that now cost extra. Extra fees are being charged
for baggage, but some airlines are charging extra for other things as well.
Fuel surcharges are ever-changing and some airlines have a fee for a seat
assignment of for priority boarding. You almost have to be an accountant to
figure out the true price of flying!  It’
s much more difficult these days to figure out which carrier has the lowest
price. Even when you find a low fare, the add-ons change that in a hurry.

Entire airlines have
vanished from some of the major airfare search engines. This makes comparing
individual airlines much harder when you have to jump from site to site.

Buying airfare or any travel is best done by relying  on a
professional. Travel is not a commodity, and cannot be purchased that way.
There are just too many variables to make comparison shopping easy. More and
more travelers are realizing that vacations are best when they are planned and
booked by a travel agent. We study the rules, know the airlines, visit the
resorts, sail on the ships, read the fine print and know what things should
cost.

Searching for travel
can be overwhelming these days. Information overload keeps people confused and
companies intentionally mislead you for a sale. That’s what you are to them….’a
sale.’ To Jolly Mon Vacations, you are a very important client. We work in YOUR
best interest, advise you on reliable choices, make sure everything is in order
so your vacation is stress free and enjoyable. With Jolly Mon Vacations…there
are no SURPRISE fees! For most all our services, there are no fees.

Contact us and we will get you started in the right direction.
We believe an educated traveler is a happy and safe traveler.

Email:  pete@jollymonvacations.com

Phone or text:  218-779-3050

www.JollyMonVacations.com

www.facebook.com/jollymonvacations

Twitter:  TheJollyMon

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New Nonstop Flights from Minneapolis, Milwaukee to Caribbean & Mexico

In response to increasing demand for nonstop flight service for the peak winter travel months, Funjet Vacations has just announced new nonstop charter and value flights from Minneapolis and Milwaukee to popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico.

Destinations include Jamaica, Punta Cana, Cancun/Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Ixtapa and Puerto Vallarta from both Milwaukee and Minneapolis plus Los Cabos from Minneapolis.

These flights will operate seasonally for departures as early as December 18 on various dates through May 19, 2012 nonstop from Minneapolis via Sun Country Airlines and Milwaukee on AirTran Airways with morning departures and afternoon returns available.  All flights also include one free checked bag per passenger plus free XM Radio for travelers on AirTran Airways.

Travel Agents who book these nonstop value flights will also receive special instant savings of up to $150 off per reservation. Jolly Mon Vacations can further help you with more information and booking. As always, NO FEES! Our assistance and booking services are COMPLIMENTARY!

Contact Pete:  pete@jollymonvacations.com

Phone:  218-779-3050

www.JollyMonVacations.com

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

www.facebook.com/jollymonvacations

www.twitter.com/thejollymon

www.twitter.com/rivercruiseguru

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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

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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.

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Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Ships 2011

Hello from the River Cruise Guru and Jolly Mon Vacations!

Here is some real exciting news from Uniworld!

In 2011, Uniworld will launch three NEW beautiful boutique cruise ships:

  • The ultra-luxurious S.S. Antoinette will sail on our very popular “Castles along the Rhine” itinerary and will elevate the standard of river cruising.

S.S. Antoinette Stateroom

 

The Douro Spirit—the premiere ship on the Douro River—will sail Portugal and Spain’s spectacular UNESCO World Heritage-designated Douro River Valley, and every stateroom will feature a French balcony.

  • The lovely River Victoria will take our guests to the treasure trove of architectural and cultural gems of our “Imperial Waterways of Russia” itinerary with all staterooms on the top two decks having full balconies.

Similar to our entire fleet, these ships will offer an exceptional, unrivaled river cruise experience for our guests who want to enjoy the best sights in Europe and Russia in world-class comfort. In addition, Uniworld will have completed the remodeling of our entire fleet in 2011 with the final three being River Ambassador, River Baroness, and River Princess.

For FREE assistance in choosing, comparing and booking a river cruise, please contact Pete at  The River Cruise Guru. We are river cruise SPECIALISTS, and we are standing by to asssit you. Full service travel counselor and River Cruise Specialists.

Pete:  pete@rivercruiseguru.com

218-779-3050

The River Cruise Guru & Jolly Mon Vacations

www.jollymonvacations.com

www.rivercruiseguru.com

Contact us today to get started on YOUR dream river cruise!

Europe, China, Russia…destination anywhere!