– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
Avalon Waterways – Myanmar – Part VI (Kya Hnyat to Kyauk Myaung)
Avalon Waterways – Myanmar – Part IX (The Ship: Avalon Myanmar)
Avalon Waterways – Myanmar (Burma) – Reflections: “Isn’t This Amazing!?”
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
One of the most curious, and antiquated, aspects of the travel business is the protectionist approaches of various cruise lines.
In this world of international travel and essentially boundary-free internet access, many cruise lines slice up the market so that American travel agents are prohibited from selling cruises to residents of the United Kingdom, Australia, etc. Americans really do not experience this sort of anti-competitive behavior because there is not a single cruise line that prevents a New Jersey travel agency from selling a cruise to a California resident…and, as I will discuss, there are very few non-United States travel agencies that can economically compete with a strong American-based one.
I figure the reasons are varied and relate to trying to protect the smaller-in-number European and Australasian agencies; to allow for more profitable (i.e. higher) pricing overseas (since the US dollar is so weak at the moment); to work within industry practices virtually unheard of in the United States due to, in large part, competition (such as hefty cancellation fees charged by the agency…not the cruise line, padding of pricing through made-up fees, etc.), etc.
Some cruise lines may have initially balked at international competition, but some, like Seabourn, have said essentially, “We have international clientele and we are a worldwide company, so why should we do anything but support international travel agents?”
Regent Seven Seas also takes a similar approach. Surprisingly, however, its sister company, Oceania Cruises has a protectionist policy that I have, fortunately, been able to work around.
Cunard has a similar protectionist policy, but doesn’t really seem to enforce it. Absent a bit of “slight of hand”, an American agency might have problems booking one of its UK clients on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruise Lines.
From my perspective, competition can only be a good thing.
One cruise line executive asked me, “Well, do you want UK travel agents competing with you here in the U.S.?”
My response, “I already compete with the biggest agencies in the world, so why would I want to prevent that competition? The end result is the agency with the better service, better experience, and solid pricing will probably get the lion’s share of the business…and that means the client (the cruise line’s passengers) will ultimately have a better experience even before they get on the ship. Everyone that should win does. Who loses? The agency that isn’t providing the cruise line’s passengers with the same positive experience you (the cruise line) strives to provide them once they walk up the gangway.”
And that is from where my motto (or mission statement) was born: “Be Treated By Your Travel Agent As You Will Be Onboard!”
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